'Risk' board game: Rules clarifications, strategy tip

I’m new at playing Risk and some things are unclear.

(1) Suppose I attack a territory with some armies. The battle ends. I move some armies into the conquered territory. Can I use those armies that don’t move be used for another attack in the same turn?

(2) Same scenario as above. Can the armies I move into the conquered territory then be used for another attack in the same turn?

(3) Clarification for ‘free move’ phase: You can only pick one country for moving armies, right? If you would like to move armies in two places (e.g., one country in Europe and one in South America), you have to pick just one, correct? Seems rather odd…

And one strategy tip: The rules say you can elect to use fewer dice than your maximum allowed number. Would there ever be a reason to do this? When and why?

Thanks all!

(1) Yes.
(2) Yes.
(3) Yes, just one country.

As for strategy: If you use (say) three dice to attack from (say) Alaska to Kamchatka, and win, you MUST move at least three armies into Kamchatka. There may be situations where you don’t want to do that and don’t wish to use your free move to move them back. Does that make sense?

(1) yes
(2) yes – in fact it’s quite usual to have a mass of armies sweep through several areas.
(3) yes

If you roll n dice on attack and win removing the last army in the enemy territory, you must move at least n armies into the conquered territory. If that territory is isolated and cannot attack any others, you might wish to move only one or two armies there rather than 3.

ETA: And glad to see we agree :slight_smile:

Yes, assuming those armies are in a territory that connect to another territory that an enemy army occupies.

Absolutely. This is how the game usually ends… A player will get a massive injection of armies, and strategically place them so he can move through the unconquered territories as easily as possible, always leaving one army behind and taking the bulk of the force forward. This usually works when you have enough armies to obliterate your opponent. However, when you leave 1 army in a bunch of territories, you are setting yourself up for a reversal if ypu don’t take your opponent out completely (or at least hurt him to where a comeback is virtually impossible without some major luck with dice rolls.

Yes. To your first part. And yes to your second (since it is the same question, basically)

I have used fewer dice on a roll occassionally, but only when on defense. If I have only a few armies left in a territory, rolling one will drag out the inevitable. And if I get lucky and pull a few 6’s in a row, I lose nothing while my opponent loses an army for each 6 I roll. Sometimes, an opponent will get frustrated and stop the attack, or he may feel like his advantage isn’t great enough to continue.

When you roll the maximum, especially on defense, you are increasing your chances of at least “splitting” with the attacker. Trading 1 army for 1 army is never good when you are the one with fewer armies on the board. I never roll anything but the maximum number of dice I can roll when I am attacking. Increasing my chances of winning is what it is all about, and I will roll the maximum number of dice permitted whenever I attack another territory.

You are welcome!

ETA : I thought I would be the first to reply, but I am what, number 4? Geez, you guys are fast! Well, at least I spent some time putting quotes around each question, and gave more than yes and no answers, which is something.

Or not.

Awesome, truly. I knew it would only be a matter of moments before I had my answer, but it’s still impressive.

To rather hijack my own thread: The idea of the massive sweep by huge armies seems unbalanced…does this game generally play well, do you think? My 8-year-old son is taking an interest in strategy games, so I’m wondering what is worth investing our time learning.

I think I’ll start another thread for recommendations…

the escalating card rule is so that you don’t spend more than the entire day sitting around a single game. as it is, i think a typical game already averages around 3-5 hours.

with online play there are now many variants, including a fixed card rule that greatly reduces the sweeping domino effect. there are also many variants for 3) that includes an unlimited reinforce option. gameplaywise however, it makes sense to restrict your troop movements to add another layer of strategy.

Yes, it plays pretty well. The massive army sweep might seem unbalanced, but as Stink pointed out, you wind up leaving a trail of barely-occupied territories that are ripe for a counter-attack. Plus there’ll always come a time when the defending player keeps rolling 6s and manages to destroy your hundred-man army on the shores of Australia with a lone defender.

And the sweeping army strategy is one that doesn’t come into play unless you have been playing for hours and have reached a large card exchange rate for armies.

I have played some epic Risk games that have gone on for 6+ hours, and in the wee hours of the morning, even though you are exhausted, you have invested so much time into the game you just don’t want to lose.

So you start looking at all sorts of strategies to win. Usually, it isn’t just a big pile of armies sweeping through the game after a few turns. When there are only two players, this seems to be the case since one of you must conquer the other. But when you have 4 or more players, you make strategic alliances during the game, then one of the two that made the pact screws the other one out of necessity (think the pact of Steel, Hitler and Stalin, and then Hitler launching Barbarosa). Unless you are very lucky and happen to be ignored by the other players, you almost have to form an alliance with at least one player so you don’t get obliterated before you get your second or third turn. And they will also rely on you to take a mutual enemy down and keep them viable in the game. But all good things come to an end sooner or later.

One of the things that is important is to be the guy that wipes out an opponent. Because you get the motherload of extra cards that he has been hording. Usually this turns your cards into one if not two sets of cards that can be tuned in for armies, and this is when the real advantage becomes apparent. Again, this isn’t exactly the same when only two are playing… When you have only two people, the player on the defensive has a hard time getting any traction and usually will amass armies to fortify his strength positions while putting a few on the front, so he can take one territory and get that all important card. If you miss taking a territory during one of your turns, you will miss getting a card, and that can be devistating in an one-on-one game.

There is an app out there made by Hasbro (I think) which is a pretty fun game to play while you have some time. And there are different levels of difficulty. So, if you play the easiest, you can be finished in 30-60 minutes.

Nothing is worse than losing that epic 8 hour battle. It seems so stupid that two grown men can get into the roll of a few dice so seriously, but occassionally, you will be on the brink of victory, only to have your opponent roll double 6’s 5 times in a row, stopping you cold in your tracks, and leaving the board wide open for a counter attack.

Everything comes into play the longer ypu go on. The number of territories, your card sets, any continents you control… Each plays a part in hoe many armies ypu get before your turn starts,n so in the scenario of one massive army sweeping through and not making it, if the other guy has a few cards to turn in, you are late in the game so he gets a bunch of armies, he can start the march back into territory recapture.

Eventually, someone’s luck will turn and your dice will follow the odds. Bigger armies almost always beat smaller armies, although not always. But it seems to usually be the case when you roll 3 dice to two that you will at a minimum split, and at best, you will take 2 and lose 0. That can demoralize an opponent, especially when they are holding on for dear life and don’t have enough rolls left to survive.

I think Risk is a great game to introduce someone to strategy, especially if they don’t get bored easily. However, if you play with 4 or more players and you are knocked out early, you may have a long wait to play the next game.

There is also a bit of luck involved when you are dealing with dice rolls. However, for the most part, bigger does take smaller, so you aren’t going to see any special weapon that you have hidden in your arsenal to bring out and equalize the game. This game more resembles a war of conventional weapons, where no side gets any advantage of fortifying positions and defending. There is no topography, so attacking is always the rule. You must attack to put yourself in a poaition to win.

There are probably much better strategic war games out there for advanced and older players, but for a kid, I’d say Risk and Stratego are two good games to start with.

Just to be specific, you can only move armies from one country to one other adjacent country. No moving armies from one country to two different ones, or from two different countries to a single destination.

I noticed in the current rules of Risk, you start with only 1 or 2 armies on each country. There is no reinforcing of armies before the game starts.

The other change I thought was quite odd is that you no longer turn in sets of cards. The cards simply show a country with 1 or 2 stars. You can turn in cards individually or as many as you want to get bonus armies. I don’t recall how the bonus escalates as the game goes on, but I believe it does so in a similar way to the sets, except you can turn them in 1 at a time if you choose.

I found both of these changes strange and majorly game-changing. How do you think they would impact overall gameplay and strategy?

Well, IMHO, the massive sweep is exactly the point of the game. In most games, there’s an initial consolidation period after which each player has a more or less contiguous and defended territory, and the rewards for turning in cards has gotten big enough to make a difference.
Then, each player has to start making a decision: If I turn in cards, is that re-inforcement (and my dice luck) enough to wipe out another player (and get their cards/continent), or will I fall short and leave myself open to a devestating counterattack?
Without the massive sweep (and to a big extent, the escalating set rewards), the game wouldn’t have that element of strategic gamble which IMHO makes it more fun. After all the game isn’t called “Micromanaging a drawn-out and predictable war of attrition”, is it?

And for suitability; the big problem with physical Risk is that it often takes forever to really finish a game. At least forever for an eight year old – more than two hours typically. I recommend finding a good computerized version – with the computer rolling dice, a game can be finished often in 45 minutes.

And if the game is taking too long, I recommend playing one of the modern variants that come with a built-in turn limit. Risk 2210 & Risk Godstorm are good ones. Or if you’ve got a fandom you like, I believe the LOTR and Star Wars versions have similar additions.

Or move on to Small World. :slight_smile:

Ah the age old question? I have a big ass pile of armies abutting this other army, do I take this turn or the next to attack and hope the dice hold out country by country to wipe out the other guy? Leaving behind the lonely garrison troop of one army per country will I have enough mass to vanquish this intellectually challenged creten before me?

If my bold valient attempt tragically falls short I shall leave myself vulnerable to his insolent counter-attack after turning in his cards for approxmentally twenty eight gagillion armies? Oh the agonies of indecision. Nepolition had it easy gambling flesh and blood lives over the agonies of a plastic army carddboard map.

I once had two games with my brother, a youth pastor and members of his teenage flock. After years of getting creamed by my brother the more experienced player, they immediatilly ganged up on him and spent all their time and energy knocking him out. I was left pretty much alone building an uber-super power. I walked the globe in one turn. Game two they realized it was prudent to take out the shrewd old guys ASAP. Then who knows how long to kil each other off by death of a thousand cuts.

Lesson learned, a few kids can working together kill off one or two players. Then what? As a stratadigy game it’s brilliant example. A two player game not so much, but as a six person microcosim it’s facinating.