‘Risk’ game review
By Ed Appleby, Illustrator
This week, we’re taking a look at a classic game, Risk, and assessing how the publisher tried to fix the major issues in the game’s most recent version.
Risk is a classic board game for two to six players first published as La Conquête du Monde in 1957 and then translated and published by Hasbro in 1959. Players attack and defend in order to conquer territories. The game ends when all other armies have been wiped out.
The problem with classic board games is that they are popular and well-known because they came first. That doesn’t take anything away from the mechanics of Risk, which are simple enough for anyone to understand. Instead Risk suffers from an issue that was very prevalent in the age before complex rules and dogmatic play testing.
Anyone who has played Risk knows about its two glaring flaws: the game takes forever and the winner is obvious well before the game ends. Many licensed editions have tried to deal with this issue: Risk 2099 only has six rounds of play and Lord of the Rings Risk ends once the ring reaches Mordor. But the basic English version remained broken for 52 years.
Enter Risk (2011). This version implements a different mechanic for ending the game: rather than wiping out all of the other players’ armies, you now play until one player has a certain number of territories or the “cease fire” card is drawn. This is a simple fix that ends the game well before it stops being enjoyable.
So if you want to experience a classic game that has been fixed in a very subtle but reliable way, pick up the 2011 version of Risk and have fun conquering the world.