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Game Review


The world conquest game

Ages 10 and up
Parker Brothers
Rules © 1959,1963,1975,1980,1990,1993 Parker Brothers
game in play
Uncle's Games link

2-6 Players60+ minutes


Using military force, attack your enemies to take control of every country in the world.


The classic version of the rules is called "World Domination Risk."

The board is a map of the world with 42 regions (aka countries.) Play begins in the "setup" phase where each player in turn places one army in an unowned region. Once all regions are claimed, players may add armies to regions that she/he already occupies. The number of armies that players start the game with depends upon the number of players: 3 players get 35 armies each, 4 players get 30, 5 get 25 and 6 get 20. (2 player setup has special rules.)

Each player's turn has three steps:

  1. Get and place armies

  2. Attack

  3. Fortify

To calculate the number of new armies a player gets to start his/her turn is based on 3 things, the number of territories controlled, the value of any continents controlled, and the value of the cards that were turned in. Most commonly, the number of armies is based on the number of territories -- Count the total number controlled and divide the total by 3 (round down)... 11 territories = 3 armies, 14 = 4 armies, etc. Players will always receive a minimum of 3 armies each turn.

If a player controls a whole continent, he/she receives a few extra armies based off of the chart on the board (see picture.)

If a player has a set of 3 risk cards that match (all 3 cards have matching symbols, or three cards with 1 of each type of symbols), then the player may trade the cards in for more armies. This is the most important part of the game. Each set of cards turned in, by ANY player, makes the next set more valuable. The first set of cards turned in gets a player 4 armies, the second gets 6 armies, third 8 armies, and so on... the eighth gets 25 armies... So, players get more armies later in the game, and massive armies can suddenly appear when a player is almost wiped out.

One card is awarded after each turn when a player has successfully captured a new country. When a player has 5 risk cards, he/she MUST turn a set of 3 in on his/her next turn.

New armies may be placed on any region you currently have armies.

To attack, players state the region's name that they are attacking from and name the adjacent region that they are attacking. Attackers roll up to 3 red dice and defending players roll up to 2 white dice. The number of dice depends on the number of armies in battle. If the attacker plans to move 3 or more armies into the region he/she is attacking, they may use 3 dice -- if they plan to move two armies, they use 2 dice, and 1 dice for 1 army; Attackers must always leave 1 army behind in the region they are attacking from. Defenders may use 2 dice until they have only one army left.

When the dice are rolled, the battle is resolved by matching the biggest number on the red dice with the biggest number on the white dice -- the player with the smaller number loses one army. If they tie, the defender wins. If there are two dice in play for each player, the second highest number on the red dice is matched with the second white dice -- and a second army will be lost by one of the players. Dice can be rolled until the attacker chooses to stop, or the attacker has only one army left. A new battle must be announced or the attacking player will end their attacks for this turn.

After attacking, a player may fortify their position by moving 1 and only 1 army from 1 region to an adjacent region that he/she owns.

closeup of the Armies/continent chart

game in play

Winning Conditions:

  • The player who successfully conquers all of the regions on the board, wins.

Our Opinion:

Thumbs Up! Risk is a game that many people own. Like Monopoly people either love to play it, or hate it. This quality was discussed at great length by the Zombies. A few of us don't like the game while others adore it.

There surfaced three main reasons that some of us dislike the game. First, the game can be excruciatingly long; a six hour game is not uncommon for a competitive group. The second reason is that the randomness of the dice can ultimately thwart a brilliant (or at least well planned) strategy. In our game, there were several instances where the lone defending army eliminated vast opposition due to great dice rolls -- in once instance 10 attacking armies lost to a lone defender.

Finally, the exchange of cards for armies is either the best aspect of the game -- or the most unreasonable depending upon your preferences. As the game progresses, the number of armies gained by the cards far outweigh the population base of the regions housing them. Failure to 100% eliminate a player from the board will surely bring them back into the game when they turn in a set of cards for 40+ armies. The endgame becomes a series of massive armadas sweeping across the world -- only to fall just short of total victory and then the opponents repeat the exact same sweeping attack in the other direction.

In the end, the Zombies agreed that the game was fun until the massive onslaughts begin to be exchanged. After that point, the game gets dull for players who aren't in the immediate line of fire and dice are rolled constantly for 20 minutes per each player's turn. Getting to this point is fun... completing a game is nearly impossible. In the many years that I have played Risk, I do not believe that I have ever really played a game to completion. The game starts fun... but after 2 hours degenerates into tedium.

The Zombies recommend that if you like simple war games -- get this one. It is at least 2 hours of fun each time you play. But don't spend too much money on it -- you'll just regret trying to keep track of all of the little pieces.

Where to buy:

Any local toy store -- Our copy was from a Target and cost about $9.

Uncle's Games link

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