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Subject: Nuclear Risk rss

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Evan Stegman
United States
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I didn't come up with this. I think I read about it in one of my older brother's gaming magazines when I was a kid, tried it and found it plays much faster (there are a LOT fewer dice rolls). However, there are some variations from the original rules. Some because I only read them once many years ago so have had to rely on my memory and some because I thought some needed to be changed.

1. Two new sea lanes are added to the board. One from Brazil to North Africa and one from Madagascar to Western Austrial. The continent bonuses for South America amd Australia increassed to 3 and Africa to 4.

2. Starting on a player's 3rd turn, when a player is eligible to take an armies, they may take up to half of their armies (rounded down) as nukes instead (we've always used the red pieces to represent nukes).

3. Defense: Nukes defend the country they are in AND any of the player's countries connected by land. They do not defend countries connected via water only. Nuclear weapons only defend against nuclear weapons; they have no defensive effect on invading conventional forces.

4. Attack: Starting with a player's 4th turn, they may attack with nukes. During their attack phase, a player may launch nukes from any country. Each nuke launched removes 1 defending nuke (nukes in the country being attacked and countries connected by land). Once all defending nukes are gone, each nuke removes one army. You may not nuke your own countries or countries with no armies or nukes.

5. Armies are still required to own a country. If a country contains only nukes or nothing (i.e., a nuclear wasteland that is no longer radioactive), no one owns it and if it is not a nuclear wasteland, it is still required to get the continent bonus. Any player may by moving in 1 or more army pieces as an attack. They now control all nukes in that country.

6. Nuclear Wasteland (optional): If not playing with this rule, players are not allowed to nuke a countries last piece - they MUST leave one piece (either regular army or nuke). To play with this rule: if an attacking player uses nukes to remove ALL armies from a country, it becomes a nuclear wasteland (mark it with a quarter or something). It belongs to no one and is not required to be occupied to control the continent. It remains a nuclear wasteland until the beginning of the player who launched the attack's NEXT turn.

7. Nuclear submarines (optional): You may place up to 5 nuclear weapons in a nuclear submarine (just make a pile somewhere in an ocean). You may have only one nuclear submarine. Nuclear attacks may be launched from a sub as normal. Subs may never conventionally invade a country. Also, when you lose your last country, with your dying move you may launch any nukes in your sub against any country.


- The main thing this variant does is speed things up by vastly reducing the number of dice rolls involved in an attack. Most of the time, the nukes are used just to soften up the defender. What you are trying for much of the time is to reduce the defender to a single army and then take it over with conventional forces.

- Defending over water: Defending only via land is the way the original was written. We tried it both ways and prefer it over land only because it forces players to spread out their nukes some and possibly making them more vunerable.

- The nuclear attacks can be spread out. You can launch some nukes, invade a country coventionally, launch some more nukes, attack another country conventionally, and so on.

- Wastelands is the rule I've tinkered with the most. I've tried varying lengths of how long it remains radioactive. With the rule as written above, it becomes a defensive move: people can't invade from that country. But since you can't nuke an empty country or one with your own pieces, it can't become too abused because you can only do it for one round of turns and then it will be open again.

- The subs can be interesting sometimes. They basically are nukes that can't be stolen by an invading army and may delay someone wiping you out if they think the 'last gasp' attack will weaken them too much. We have even bumped up the limit to 10 nukes sometimes to make the decision to wipe out a weak player more difficult.

One last thing:

No matter what way I play Risk, I hate the progressive ramping up of armies you get for turning in cards. It eventually gets to the point that you get more armies than you can get by owning every continent to the world and that is lame. The end game is too often decided by who can turn in cards at the right time.

I vastly prefer to play with set values:

3 soldiers = 4 armies
3 cavalry = 6 armies
3 cannons = 8 armies
1 of each = 10 armies

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James Davis
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me and my friends came up with a similiar sort of thing. but its a bit different. what we did was start out with one territory each with 5 units. you could expand and abbandon territories. for nukes we used the wild cards in the deck so if you had one of these in your hand you had the option of nuking a territory. the rules for this were that it would kill all but one unit in this territory and would take 3 away from the territories directly next to it and then 1 from the territories 2 away from the territory.

we found that this really helped stop that stalemate that usually happens in risk and opened up the game for alot more diplomacy, its better to be with the nuclear powers than against them. lol even tho me being the usuall extreme despot would fight the world

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