Flash of Steel header image 2

The New Risk

February 2nd, 2008 by Troy Goodfellow · 5 Comments · Board Games, Review

Apparently there is a new version of Risk. You can read Lara Crigger’s review of Risk: Black Ops over at Gamers with Jobs. (By the way, Lara has started blogging, so let’s hope she can keep the content coming.)

I hate Risk. Always have. As fun as conquering the world sounds, especially when you’re 11, the building of killer stacks and leaving it all up to a roll of the dice never felt very strategic or interesting. I learned where Irkutsk was, but that’s about the extent of my education from the game.

Black Ops adds missions and resources – a huge change from when the only things you had to count were cards and territories. Probably won’t be enough to take me away from Blue Moon or Ticket to Ride or Thurn and Taxis. But nice to see them mixing it up.


5 Comments so far ↓

  • Scott R. Krol

    Meet the new Risk, same as the old Risk.

    I’m not convinced that the changes will truly alter the core mechanics enough to make the game more palatable. As an example, check out the current “new” Risk, the Star Wars saga version.

    In it you have some nifty ideas. Players can acquire starships. There are shifts in the light and dark side of the Force that impacts play. The Imperials get a Death Star to blow up planets. Different victory conditions for the players, such as the Rebels can pull an insta-win by eliminating the Emperor, while for the Hutt player he just needs to occupy enough resource systems to win. Resource cards that also double as event cards.

    And yet…and yet it still boils down to what makes Risk such a poor game: he who makes the biggest pile of forces wins. In every variant of Risk they’ve put out, no matter how they try to spice it up, gameplay always boils down to that one aspect.

  • Lara Crigger

    Scott – you’re exactly right about the problem with all the previous Risk variants. It always came down to who had more forces. Only Risk: 2210 A.D. came close to changing the fundamental game mechanic (game automatically ends after 5 turns), but it didn’t go far enough. It was still too complex.

    That’s why I think you should give the new Risk a chance. It really does feel like playing a completely different game. Yes, in new Risk – and any wargame, or war in general – whoever possesses the most resources does have an advantage. But unlike old Risk, it doesn’t give you the *winning* advantage. It only gets you closer to obtaining Objectives.

    And once someone obtains three Objectives, that’s it – game over. It doesn’t matter how many territories you might have taken over, or how many Cities or continents you may control; if you aren’t the player with those 3 Objectives in your hand, then you’ve lost. Conquest for the sake of conquest is not rewarded in the new Risk.

    Something else that I couldn’t get into in the article for space reasons – once someone has taken an Objective, that’s it. The Objective is out of play. So if someone already has the “Control North America” Objective, it doesn’t matter if that player loses control of North America, or you manage to take control of the continent again. The Objective is gone forever.

    So it is a much different game than old Risk. Give it a shot when it comes out. And if you don’t like the new rules, well, I guess you can always just play good ol’ Global Domination instead. :D

    (PS: Thanks for the shoutout, Troy! Blogging’s hard work – how do you manage to do this every day? :D)

  • Troy

    Every day? Not even close. I tried that but there just wasn’t enough interesting to say. There still isn’t most months, unless I want to repeat stuff I wrote two years ago when I had maybe five visitors a day.

  • Scott R. Krol

    Lara, I’m sure at some point I’ll give it a spin. Though we’re (and by we, I mean my gaming circle) not fans of the game, there’s at least one person who owns every single version of the game. Usually for the bits. As an example, the European version has some really nice Nappy minis that can be used for other gaming, and of course the recent Star Wars version provide plenty of figures for say, replacing the Twilight Imperium flag infantry with Stormtroopers.

    That’s the beautiful thing about board games. Even if the game isn’t that good you can usually cannibalize the parts for other things. :)

  • Natus

    While it’s respectable to kick Risk on BGG, I myself have quite enjoyed their space variants. The Star Wars games have actually almost been turned into CDG’s! And not only are the games themselves flashy, colorful, and fun, but they give more bang for the buck, of course in my opinion, than other stuffier space opera (or more generally conquest-oriented) games that take three times as long to play. This includes, but is not limited to, the venerable Twilight Imperium 3.

    Thanks for the notice! I hadn’t heard of this at all and I can’t wait to try it out.