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.