Gather ye and I shall relate the tale of my finest hour.
Bear with me as I say without hyperbole, that I have a reputation of being a neigh unbeatable board gamer. I say neigh, because I am indeed beatable. But it is a rare thing.
So rare, in fact, that there exist some who have never defeated me from across the board. A few (who I am happy to name as friends) once concocted a plot most devious and foul.
You see, these three friendly foes decided one day to play a ruse. The ruse was a play. They three the actors. “Risk” was the stage. And here was their script:
By solemn vow, they three would defeat me at all costs. To the exclusion of all! And so did they then begin the true game. Two of the conspirators returned to their rooms. One knocked upon my door. “Perhaps, I might provoke you with a game of Risk,” he proposed.
“Why, of course,” I replied. “Let us be about it!”
“Then let me procure the board,” he says, backing into the hall. “Oh.” He turns. “Perhaps, while I procure said board – if indeed it is available – perhaps you could visit our two friends.” Here he names his conspirators. “Mayhap, if their studies allow, they might join us in this duel most grand.”
“I am your humble servant,” I replied. I was off to complete my deed. To my joy, fortune was with me. Our two friends were both free and interested in joining this endeavor.
Yes. Very interested indeed.
It was in a public hall that we gathered. So that all might bear witness to the evening’s event.
Armies bivouacked. Cards dealt. And with little ceremony – the game was afoot.
Imagine, kind reader, my dismay as my opening positions fell rather quickly. As the first turn ended, my jaded heart stirred as the first tendrils of concern constricted it. A few armies placed – a token reserve – mere skirmishes in far distant lands. My gaze bore into the map, trying to untwist a Gordian Knot.
Had I looked up instead, I may have caught the smirks of the three conspirators.
As they concluded their second turn, my hopes were dashed upon the rocks. Perhaps three of my armies remained. No more. Their fate was all but sealed. How could this have happened? And so quickly?
My loss was inevitable. And with that the coils of fear dissipated and cool resolve – the patience that mountains possess – filled my mind. I scanned left and to the bottom of the board. Yes. One lone army. In that most rarified of territories. The mantra of the greatest of history’s generals filled my ears with a rush and a roar. “Conquer Australia. Conquer the world!”
And on my second turn, I placed two armies in Australia. I placed none in South America where the red player loomed so large. I placed none in Europe where the blue player had ravaged me so. No. I placed them both in Australia where the green player dwelt. And declared my turn over. With a mere 3 armies to my name, I could brook not a single defeat and remain whole. “I am yours, if you want me,” I said to the green player. “You need only attack. And, of course, win.”
Red and Blue Each incidentally squashed my infestation with little thought. They then placed their reserves on their borders in preparation for their next turn. “Hey!” says green, “I’m not done.” He nods his head towards the lower right corner of the board.
Where I waited.
Ah. Yes. Now it all makes sense. As my friend/foe grabs his pile of reserves, I look him in the eye. “You will win,” I say. “It is inevitable. But I will make you earn it. You will pay with the blood of your followers. Look to the armies already gathered on your borders. You will defeat me – oh, not this turn – not the next. Well, maybe the next. But by then they will have continents secured. You will not. You will kill me. They will kill you. This will make me happy.”
“Instead, I offer you this. Secure your precious Asia. I will not leave this barren rock. If ever I do, purge me from this world. In a few turns, your forces will vastly outnumber mine. I have but 3 armies on one territory. Surely, I am not a threat?”
“Close enough, guys,” he calls to his conspirators. “Game on.”
And thus I watched three great armies wage a terrible and costly war. I stayed nestled – safely – on a barren rock, protected by a great insurmountable wall that I called the green player. Oh, each turn I rallied forth and took a territory. But only one. It gave me a card, you see; One precious, precious card. Then I’d retreat back to my sunny, tropical, luxurious barren rock. It was a happy home. Armies joined me, two by two. Few died in battle. For you see, complacency breeds contentment. I’d take a spot in Australia, green took it back. It was more of a ceremonial war. I sought not glory and he had far greater concerns keeping his precious Asia free from malcontents.
Then, when I was fairly forgotten, I did the unthinkable. I fought 3 battles at once and won all of Australia. I told green that our truce was still intact. Asia was his, and glory be it. Of course, Asia wasn’t his. Red and Blue solved that dilemma. He placed a great army on the gateway to Asia. Mine stared at it from across the isles. We both had enough to cause a stalemate, but to attack would be suicide.
But this was all according to plan. I had 4 cards. I wanted no more and no less, so further battle was out of the question anyway. I had but to wait for the moment. And it would come in time.
Anyway, every army that joined my cause – including precious pairs of aborigines native to Australia - stacked on that precious border. But green’s armies had to divide and protect and die for their cause.
Then, late into that long, long night - the moment came: A flurry of plots and plans and counter plots. Red vied to destroy Blue – tried and failed. Blue had but a single territory. Iceland of all places. Well, Blue had more than that. He had 5 cards in his hand – had just gained his 5th. And by now a set was worth 30 troops. He showed his hand to Red and said, “that was a big mistake. You’ve no armies left and this is YOUR end.”
I cleared my throat. “Perhaps, you’ve forgotten that it is now my turn.”
Gentle reader, the night grows long and the fires dim. I shall bring this tale to its most satisfying conclusion. For you see, on any atlas, Iceland would appear to be quite some distance from Australia. But one might be surprised to discover that it is but 6 territories as the bird flies (or the cannons roll). Alternatively, one might describe it as five easy victories and a terribly large Asian wall.
That wall certainly decimated my forces. All the forces garnered over an entire game! But there were a few survivors. Just enough to take 5 territories and plant a flag upon Icelandic soil.
At this point, my friendly foes were certainly put out. “Foul!” one cried. “Most low, indeed," called another. “We let you live for this entire time upon your little island paradise. And now you repay our mercy by eliminating a player? Is he now to sit idle because of your treachery, while this game trods its beaten path?”
“Friends,” I replied. “I know much about sitting idly by. I’ve written a book about it. Just now while you played. But let me assure you: He will not sit idle at all. Observe.”
Here, I claimed his 5 cards. Joined them to my 4. By the count 9. And anything over 6 allowed one to immediately place an army. Or 30. Actually, 65 with two sets. These I placed, and with these I defeated Red. I claimed his 3 cards. Added them to my 3 to make 6.
I conclude my tale by placing 85 more armies upon the board and vanquishing Green who had served me so faithfully well.
I have enjoyed many victories since then. But that remains my finest hour. And so, each year that passes, on the date that they fell before me – I light a candle in their honor.
With a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.
Fabulous report! I truly enjoyed reading your tale of epic victory over the unholy alliance arrayed against you.
This session report is proof positive that Risk is not merely a game of rote repetition, rolling dice and moving armies, but a manifestation of the above-mentioned human elements. Strategy, planning, diplomacy, and human adaptability all play far too large of roles to make this simply a dice-based game of luck.
In conclusion, Thank you for sharing & keep up the great work!
Steve R Bullock
Wow... what a great read!
Well done, oh Risk player.
There are none so foolish as those who underestimate their foes.
Apparently, HE had never gone up against Arnold Rimmer then, eh?
He let you live? In Australia? Seriously?