Risk can be played with a variety of "house rules". However having studied around the net I have concluded that the following set of rules (in the video below) can be considered the standard game (for now).
In Risk, you are essentially playing a game of diplomacy. You need to know how to handle the currency of the game (armies), and how to master the art of balance (too strong and you become public enemy number one, too weak and you become target number one).
Risk is a game where you always need to be considering other peoples plans, and what has just happened on the board. You need to be able to assess the other players character and experience BEFORE the game starts (If possible, i.e. when people turn up to play).
So which continents to choose?
First, I cover the most common choice - Australia. It's best strength is that you have a "safe" corner from which to expand later. Funnily enough this is also its weakness, as its hard to expand with such a narrow front. Secondly, South America is very popular, and this is also my favourite choice.
Thirdly, Africa can be a useful continent to start with.
However the others often spell trouble (at least early in the game), the video explains why.
Securing a continent can be thought of as a steady return for no additional work (apart from maintaining the continent), and therefore its a great advantage in the game. However in some high class games, players will now allow each other to take continents, so taking more countries instead becomes the priority.
Try to gain a continent with diplomacy if you can. At the start of the game you are all very vulnerable, you do not have enough armies to be sure of a gain (only probably sure). I explain Risk dice rolls in the next video.
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I use an example starting layout and cover my opening negotiation with the player that could cause me the most trouble.
In the opening phase of Risk, you want to try to gain at least one peace treaty with another player. An Alliance is also good, you don't want to be the last player left without a friend in the game. That is only going to get you into potential trouble (by being a target of the players who are in an alliance).
You want to avoid fighting at the start of the game, because you have so few armies. You just want a card.
Before I go over the dice roll probabilities I contrast this with gambling activates to give you some perspective on taking a "Risk" in the game of Risk.
Dice roll statistics in Risk.
I looked around the net for various articles on the subject. If you Google it you'll see there are quite a few Pdf's out there, often saying something similar. However the two that made the most sense to me and I recommend are
Here I cover the probabilities of winning/losing or drawing (one loss each) for all of the individual dice combinations.
However, the important thing to remember is what happens when these situations are applied repeatedly in a longer battle.
The second half of the video concentrates on what happens with 3 v 2 dice when 5,10,20 and 30 armies are involved.
The stats are quite revealing, and show that in fact the more armies you have to start with (or expend) in the battle the more sure you are of victory (over an equal or lesser force).
I now look at how to play the opening move and the middle game, particularly how to handle the other players - the art of diplomacy.
How to play the opening move. Covering early battles and the timing of your attacks.
In this video I continue the series of how to play risk with my opening move in a trial game. I cover a few variants of the rules, and concentrate on taking my first continent (South America). After a successful battle knowing how many troops to move into the new territory is a decision which needs thinking about carefully.
Diplomacy throughout is important, even during this phase.
The art of diplomacy in risk. Scenarios for handling certain types of people.
How do you handle different types of people. Here I give strategies for handling the following personality types..
1. The psyco - someone who just wants you out of the game, and doesn't care if he loses either. That's a hard one to handle! However I've been there before on a number of times.
2. The newbie - a dream yes? Well not necessarily. They may be inexperienced at handling setbacks, they may take the slightest attack personally and seek revenge. Diplomacy is the answer!
3. The aggressive early attacker - how to wait for opportunities to clean up after other peoples aggression.
4. Stalemates early in the game. What if Australia can't be taken (3 interested parties), I look at how diplomacy can be used to weaken your rivals.
After the initial phase of the game, often the bottom 3 continents will be owned by one person (unless its a very tight game), and you need to ensure that no-one is getting the top three continents (that supply more reinforcements than the bottom three).
The video talks about keeping a balance of power, and also the art of conversation (inc. deflecting verbal attacks).
How to play the middle game. Waiting for opportunities and handling borders.
The middle game (in conjunction with ongoing diplomacy) is often about keeping your position balanced whilst waiting for others to make a mistake.
Often this mistake can come about through someone else's greed. Or indeed should they be flush with success and over extend, this will provide you with an opportunity.
People implode, they can't stand the pressure and make some wild illogical attack. I've seen it many times. It's like they panic and turn into a lemming.
Buffers. Use of buffer territories is an important tool in handling other people in risk. A Buffer can be a poorly occupied territory which is occupied by either two or three players (alternating), or by one player but with only 1 or 2 units.
Counter threats. Can be applied effectively by politely pointing out an attack on yourself will lead to a terrible retribution.
I find politely doing this carries more threat as the threat is magnified in the recipients mind. An out and out shouting match gets it all out in the open so there is no suspense. (but obviously can work too).
How to play the transition from the middle game to the end game.
I start by showing a strategy I don't agree with, that is allowing a weak player to be contained within your empire, waiting for enough cards to strike and kill him off. I suppose this might work if you have lots and lots of armies.
However I don't like this idea, because I have won many games by reducing my enemies options whilst increasing my own. This idea allows your (weaker) enemy to surprise you - you are no longer in control of the situation. If he is that weak - just finish him.
I prefer to secure my borders, making my enemies plans to be predictable, so that I have a plan in place to counter any expected attack.
Fortification is the process of moving one set of armies from one territory to any other territory in a single turn, as long as the route to the destination is connected. I talk about things to think about when fortification.
I cover thinking ahead of what happens after a successful attack. You always need to think about what happens to your remaining armies.
Finally I look into what to do when a game is getting complicated and any move by you might make you the target of an attack by the next player.
Places to play risk online
I hope you have enjoyed this series and that it has improved your game. Please comment below, I'd like to hear from you..