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Risk Europe» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Risk Europe: A Must Have rss

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Jonathan Rosenberg
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Before the meat of the review, some reviewer context, as I think it helps the reader to assess the likelihood of the similarity of the reviewer's subjective tastes to the reader's. If you think you won't find it helpful, please skip right over it!

The Reviewer

I'm a 49-year old guy with a wife and two kids (15-year old girl; 12-year old boy). I grew up on Risk, Stratego, AD&D, Diplomacy, poker and assorted oddities such as Checkpointanger, Feudal, and Africa Korps (the latter two among the simpler of Avalon Hill games). I enjoyed Castle Risk in my late teens, but thought it only slightly scratched the itch for a Risk variant that overcame some of Risk's evident limitations (endless dice-rolling; too much down time between turns; limited decision-making).

In my 20s, there was an intensive period of Magic:The Gathering, and lots of gin rummy.

In my 30s and 40s, with kids, we bridged into Carcassonne, Ticket to Ride, Forbidden Island, Castle Panic: Wizard Tower expansion; Nexus Ops, Yinch; Dvonn, and Pandemic. My kids and I generally favor light to medium-weight rules sets, with lots of player interaction. I have solitaired War of the Ring a dozen times, but only played it once with an actual opponent (too heavy a rules set for my kids, and I'm not part of a gamers' group).

I have one buddy who I play Battle Line with (we both think it's the best 2-player card game ever), and we've played it at least 500 times.

I like abstracts, but prefer themed games that have at least some conflict and lots of player interaction. I love games in which the rules MAKE SENSE as reasonable abstractions of the theme (when a rule makes sense, I don't mind what otherwise might seem fiddly about it).

The Game: Risk Europe

Bought it two days ago on a Friday. Solitaired it that day. Played a 4 player game with my family that night, and again the following night (in this second game, we played somewhat more correctly than the first time, recognizing a few rules we had not followed correctly). Played a 2-player game this morning with my son). So, the verdict, 4 games in:

I LOVE THIS GAME!!!
Components: Really, really nice -- pretty high-quality sculpts, with different themes for each of the 4 armies (one is clearly Viking-inspired, another has eastern Horse-Archers, and the others are Frankish or German or Italian something similar). Very attractive board (though I wish it were more rectangular -- the large square makes it hard to have enough room even on our largish dining room table). Great castle and crown pieces, and actually enough dice -- 12! Cards are decent stock and the graphics on the cards and board are sensible and helpful.

Rule Book: good, almost great. The rules are well-written, and though it took several read throughs while playing to understand (for example, the specific distinctions between Maneuver and Expand), they MAKE SENSE.

Playing Time: like old-fashioned Risk, this can be over in an hour, or go on nearly forever (especially if players smartly pile on the leader). One might want to determine a set number of Rounds in advance as a game end point if no one has won earlier.

Replayability: based on my 4 plays, LOTS. Many different starting configurations, and 2, 3, and 4-player options. There are also other variants involving Mission cards, but I've not yet checked those out.

Fun: TONS. Even my wife, who is the farthest person from a gamer you will likely meet, enjoyed it.

Some specifics:

I'm not going to do a deep-dive into the rules, but the game combines elements of games like Old Risk (territories, some dice-rolling with defender winning ties), Nexus Ops (certain troop types strike first in battle, with different chances of hitting), and I'm sure other games.

This game involves lots of hand management, but not in the annoying way of games that become ALL about hand management at the expense of even a hint of verisimilitude. Here, you have 8 cards, and each Round get to use two that you have pre-selected. In doing so, you really feel like an Emperor or Tsar or Queen who is making sweeping decisions over the course of a year or similar period.

You start with one or more Cities, there are Castles that help significantly on defense, and you can Expand into empty or enemy territories or Maneuver along your own supply lines (connected territories occupied by your troops). You can also Tax a City and all its connected territories to raise revenue, or Spend that revenue to buy Castles or different troop types, or even a Crown card (that gives you a Crown toward the total number of Crowns needed for victory).

You win by holding a combination of Cities (each worth a Crown, except Rome which is worth 2) and/or Crown Cards totaling 7 or more for a 4-player game (with higher needed totals for 3 and 2 player games).

In 2 and 3 player games, there are Mercenary armies that players bid each Round to control. And you also bid for 1st Move and 1st City placement.

The game is FILLED with interesting choices -- for example, each card has two options -- for example, Expand OR Maneuver, or Tax or Spend. The choice between those options can be painful. Each Capital City has its own special "ability," that can enhance and influence your strategy.

Battles happen at the end of a Round of two cards -- so if a player initiates one by moving troops into an enemy territory with their first card, LOTS can happen before the Round ends and the battle occurs. The defending player may use a Reinforcements card, or may Maneuver more troops in, markedly shifting the battle outcome.

Battles are MUCH less frequent here than in Old Risk, and far more consequential. Invading an enemy territory may disrupt their supply line, reducing their potential tax base and their ability to Maneuver.

Battles are also intuitive: Siege Weapons (very expensive) fire first, followed by Archers, then Cavalry charge, and lastly comes the Old School Risk Roll (attacker rolls up to 3 dice, defender up to 2). What this leads to is that a mixed force of 10 units (say, 1 Siege Weapon, 3 Archers, 2 Cavalry, and 4 Foot) will DECIMATE an enemy force of 10 Foot Soldier units. The defenders will likely lose 3 units before they even get to roll. Foot soldiers cost 1 Silver Coin, 2 for Archers, 3 for Cavalry, and 10 for Siege Weapons. Siege Weapons cost a bundle in large part because, without them, you can't attack a territory containing a Castle.

The unit pricing and effectiveness seems exceptionally well-balanced, as with so much about this game.

In sum, and as stated above, I LOVE this game, as do my daughter and son -- and my wife likes it, which is really saying something. But I also think that a serious gamers group will also really enjoy this -- it's medium-weight at most in terms of rules, but with a ton of strategy and an enjoyable amount of luck.

Highest recommendation.
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Roger Reisinger
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Risk gets dumped on a lot as a bad game. Truth is, it isn't a bad game, just most of us played the crap out of it when we were kids and modern games are so sophisticated that Risk looks simple and 'dumb'. My personal opinion is that even if I have outgrown Risk myself ( along with many other gamers ), it would still be a good experience for a fledging wargamer new to gaming in general.

With that said this sounds like an interesting version of Risk with enough new mechanics to make it interesting even for experienced gamers, and it doesnt hurt that your wife liked it too. I'll definitely check it out, thx for the review.
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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You're quite welcome. Given when Risk was invented (1957), it has held up pretty well. I certainly played it enough from age 8 through 22 that it isn't a "bad" game. But I often wish that newer, better games had been around at that time -- as with TV, I feel we're in a bit of a golden age of board games...
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Daniel
United States
Santee
California
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The flavored versions of Risk have all been good to varying degrees. LOTR trilogy, Star Wars Original Trilogy, Revised, 2210, etc. This looks like another great addition.
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Dan Long
United States
Tacoma
Washington
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Target is carrying it at $39.95.
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Enrique Dueñas
Spain
Madrid
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I was gladly surprised with this game. I didn't expect much, but it's actually a very, very good combat-and-conquest game!
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Pepe Carrillo
United States
Tuscola
Texas
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Really enjoying this game, but the blue army's battering rams should've been missile weapons like the others. They seem out of place when compared to the others, especially when using it for the bombard action. Just saying...
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Mark Turner
United Kingdom
Farnham
Surrey
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It's a very fun game, and I hope it gets the recognition it deserves.
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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"Really enjoying this game, but the blue army's battering rams should've been missile weapons like the others. They seem out of place when compared to the others, especially when using it for the bombard action. Just saying..."

I know! Those battering rams are a constant source of derision from my wife and kids. I guess they sort of fit the Viking theme of the blue units, but those three guys look like they can barely LIFT it, much less slam it into a gate...
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Mark Turner
United Kingdom
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I really don't see the problem with the battering rams. They're distinctive, and were used in siege warfare. They don't imply that's all the army has; they represent that it's an army with machinery in tow. Just as the melee units also symbolise different units, from pikemen to spear men to skirmishers.
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Pepe Carrillo
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Tuscola
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MrMT wrote:
I really don't see the problem with the battering rams. They're distinctive, and were used in siege warfare. They don't imply that's all the army has; they represent that it's an army with machinery in tow. Just as the melee units also symbolise different units, from pikemen to spear men to skirmishers.


My point is that it seems silly using battering rams for regular field combat and the bombard action. Unless you roll them against a downhill enemy...
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Raf B
United States
Oakland
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I've probably read too much Asterix the Gaul, but I sort of picture the three guys hurling the rams over great distances. whistle

Great review! I'm sold.
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Ryan Bretsch
United States
University City
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What a well designed game. Wasn't even expecting this in 2016.
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Justin Farkas

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Illinois
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Reminds me a bit of castle risk but with more depth and decisions!! This is the first risk in years that I am interested in picking up. Great review!
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Jonathan Rosenberg
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Thanks! Enjoy the game.
 
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James Carpenter
United States
New Lenox
Illinois
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I haven't been this excited about playing Risk in a long time! This is by far the neatest version I have seen. Traditionally, LOTR Trilogy was my favorite, but this may take the cake. Thanks for the review!
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John S
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I agree, this one is a winner.

I am very impressed with how it all plays out.

What I like:

The figures are very nice and the four colors clearly contrast each other. Too often I see colors chosen for game components that are so close that under less than ideal lighting (not to mention those with a bit of color vision defect - I hate the term "color blind" - ) are often difficult to tell apart. As mentioned, one must take care as to some of the archer figures as they may get confused with the foot soldiers.

The map is very nice along with the other cardboard parts.

I would have like a full sized rule book without the shaded pages and a bigger font.

I played a 3 player game this past Saturday along with my pals Steve and Britt.

The mercs got London and Stockholm as their starting cities.

I chose Madrid and Paris as I liked the free troops placed in those cities when taxed.

Britt took Berlin and Cnostantinople and Steve had Kiev and Rome.

Steve got off to a fast start and soon had 6 crowns and was marching on another unoccupied city. I got control of the mercs and helped by Steve's prior move with them, I took one of Steve's cities to knock him back a bit.

I then marched on Rome but forgot to build a siege engine and thus found myself in the embarrassing position of being next to Rome and not being able to attack it as it had a castle.

I soon fixed that problem and took Rome but in the same turn the mercs took Paris from me. I should have been able to hold in Paris but that merc army kept rolling 6s and my bid to end the game fell 1 crown short that turn.

But within a few turns I was able to win by buying a crown card in spite of losing London.

In the end I held Madrid, Dublin, Rome and a city in North Africa and had bought 3 crown cards.

All players stated they wanted to play this again very soon.
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mortego

New Kensington
Pennsylvania
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I am a recent "Dudes on a map" fan and after seeing The Dice Tower review (Tom & Sam) and the Hasbro "How to Play" video, I am SOLD! I want to pick this up soon before the Holiday.

What I like:

CARD DRIVEN PLAY: Wow, I like playing Risk: Star Wars Edition which also is card driven so when I saw that Risk Europe had the same concept I knew I would like it. I like having to custom program my orders for optimal play and knowing that I can't use those same ones again until I've used all 8 makes me think that planning is key to success.

THE MINIS: The fact there are four different armies in color and shape gives it a good thematic feel for me. The siege pieces are cool and especially blue's battery ram.

The Board: Big square, this I really like, it's not that I hate the traditional rectangle of board games, I just like that THIS game is different in that way.

The Dice: I really like that there are 12 included with game and even though Risk uses black and red dice, it doesn't bother me that these are all red. I can always get dice in the same color as the armies, that'd be cool.

I look forward to playing this for the first time!
 
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