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Home > Popular Commercial Games > Board Games > Risk Board Game Rules and Strategy

Board Game Rules and Strategy

Risk is a turn-based strategy board game played by 2-6 players. The game board is a model of the world map, and the objective of the game is world domination.

Each player controls troops of Napoleonic-era Infantry, Cavalry and Artillery. Each round, players deploy reinforcements, invade adjacent territories (if they wish), and redeploy their armies (if they wish). The game ends when 1 player has successfully evicted all others from the game board, thereby earning the title of world ruler.

Let's Play Risk !
Risk Logo

Risk: Roll the Dice and
Rule the World!

Risk was invented in 1957 by French film director Albert Lamorisse, and is patterned after Napoleon Bonaparte's 19th Century campaign for world conquest. Since the game's inception, various spin-off versions have been created offering themes such as Star Wars, Transformers, Lord of the Rings, and others.


The Risk Game Package:

* The Risk game board

* Miniature military pieces (in 6 colors)

* 5 pieces 6-sided dice (in 2 colors)

* A deck of Territory Cards

* A deck of Mission Cards

* A "Golden Cavalry" piece (used as a pointing device to indicate the game's progress)

Objective of the Game:

To eliminate all other players, and thereby conquer the world! A player is eliminated when his very last army is defeated, and therefore his very last territory is invaded.

The Risk Game Board:

The game board is a representation of the world map during the 19th Century Napoleonic Wars. The world map is divided into territories (or countries) which make up continents. There is also a Battle Zone where armies meet to decide the outcome of invasions.

Gameplay Mechanics :

Setting up the Game Board: The classic RIsk game involves 42 territories on the world map. During the initial setup, players take turns to claim territories and deploy their troops. By the end of the set-up phase, all territories will be occupied, and all of a player's troops will be deployed.

Playing the Game: Once the board is set up, the game properly begins. Each player takes a turn, and each player-turn can be described with 5 parts:

* Part 1: Trading-in Risk (Territory) Cards (Optional: if eligible; Required: if player holds 5 cards)
* Part 2: Deploying Reinforcements
* Part 3: Invading an Adjacent Territory (Optional)
* Part 4: Re-Deployment of Troops (Optional)
* Part 5: Claiming a Risk Card (if eligible)

From the above, it is clear that a basic turn merely involves deploying reinforcements. It is up to the player if he wants to be an aggressor by invading neighboring territories, or if his defenses needs fortification by means of moving troops from one of his territories to a neighboring territory.

Trading-in Risk Cards: When a player has certain card combinations, he can 'spend' these cards in order to claim more troops. The number of troops claimed in this manner increases as the game progresses, so that the 4th player who trades-in risk cards will get more troops than the 3rd player, but not as much as the 5th player who does so.

A player can hold 4 cards without being forced to claim troops, even though his cards allow him to do so. However, when a player holds 5 cards, he is forced to trade them in.

Deploying Reinforcements: This is the one essential act that a player must do in any given round. The number of troops he receives depends on the number of territories he holds, and he receives bonus troops for holding all territories of a continent.

Invading Adjacent Territories: An optional action, a player can choose to invade neighboring territories provided he has enough troops to meet the minimum requirements. The outcome of an invasion attempt is determined by dice throws. Statistically, an invasion force is likely to succeed if it is much bigger than the troops defending, although there is no way to predict how many casualties will be sustained by the invasion force. Also statistically, invading yields a slightly better chance of crushing the opposition than if a player merely defends (i.e., waits to be invaded).

Re-deploying Armies: Player are given one chance to fortify a territories by moving excess troops from one neighboring territory. It is important to note that all territories must be occupied by at least 1 army, regardless of the tactical value of doing so.

Claiming a Risk Card: A player who successfully carries out an invasion during his turn receives a Risk card from the unused pile at the end of his turn. Regardless of the number of territories that a player successfully invades during his turn, he only can only receive 1 risk card during this phase, so it is 1 card or nothing.

The 5-Card Rule: As a rule, a player can only convert Risk cards at the beginning of each turn. A player who ends up holding 5 cards at the end of his turn has to wait until the start of his next turn to convert such cards. The Exception: Players who end up with 5 or more cards during the invasion phase of his turn must convert such cards right away.

Snatching Risk Cards: The player who successfully eliminates another player gets all the cards held by the eliminated player.

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