Aww, the game of Risk. The perfect game for teenagers to gather together, roll some dice, and conquer the world. Unfortunately, if you don’t play it right, you could be out sleeping on the couch.
My dad had the youth from church over to play this game one night, and the first person out did just that. My siblings and I were a little younger, so we went and got a bunch of toys, (picture My Little Ponies) and carefully laid them out on the boy, trying not to wake him up. We were successful and ended up with some great pictures.
If you don’t want to be out in the cold, follow the strategies below.
- Capture a continent and control it early
- Always take one country to collect cards
- Hold onto cards as long as possible
- Form alliances with specific conditions and terminations
- Eliminate the weak to collect their cards
- Don’t spread thin, unless you can eliminate someone
- Don’t play the game again until people have forgotten your victory
Capturing a Continent
Early in the game, you need to control a continent to gather your troops. The easiest to control in order are; Australia, South America, and Africa. Those should be your early targets. Australia is good, but you can get stuck there. Africa is great, but you really need an alliance to protect your backside.
“Never get involved in a land war in Asia..”
Every single turn, you must take a country. The cards are so powerful in this game. Early on, your whole purpose is to survive and gather armies until the cards become more powerful.
This also means that you want to hold onto your cards as long as possible. Every time someone else plays cards, the value of the cards increases. Sometimes you are forced to play, but unless you can really do some damage, you want to wait and build up your armies.
Alliances are key to winning here. Unless you want to create ill will by backstabbing your buddies, (only works once) you need to set up specific conditions for your treaties. For example. You could say, “I promise I won’t attack you in South America this turn, if you promise not to attack me in Africa on your turn.”
Most people won’t back out of a treaty like this because it will kill their in game credibility. You can almost guarantee that your back will be covered. If they do back out, you can use it as leverage to get someone else to work with you to eliminate them.
This is also to your advantage because you aren’t breaking any treaties yourself.
Eliminate the Weak
Use your alliances to eliminate the weak. Often, you can get someone else to help you to eliminate someone. You may have to let them do the finishing moves to get the cards, but you may be able to negotiate for it.
Keep your Armies Strong
Be careful about spreading thin early on. Sometimes it is worth the risk to eliminate someone, (this is a great time to make a one turn alliance) to get their cards, but try to cover your back as much as you can. This can be taken to the extreme. If you get trapped in Australia, you won’t be the first out, but you won’t end up winning the game in the end.
Take the Victory, and Run
Once you win, don’t play Risk again for awhile. Everyone remembers that you won, and they will make sure you pay for it the next time you play.
After everything you can control, sometimes they just get lucky, and you have to live with it.
Anyone have any other advice? I feel like this game isn’t played as much anymore, but it used to be a regular at many tables.