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Gilead James
United Kingdom
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So I got this as a present to my family this Christmas. We played it three times so far and I for one absolutely love it.

One thing I'm not so keen on though is the way players accumulate bonuses permanently tied to them (a major city only they can start in, continent bonuses, and missles-per-win). There are three problems with this, to my mind:
1) The strong get stronger, which is frustrating for the weaker players and boring for the stronger players.
2) Players with bonuses tied to cities and continents will feel obliged to start in those continents, game after game, which could makes games unnecessarily samey (for example, I've got a major city in North America, I've renamed it, and I've planted a minor city there too, so it's advantageous for me to start there every single game, but really I'd rather mix it up a bit).
3) Players who join the campaign later down the line, or AFTER the campaign is finished, are greatly disadvantaged.

I would be much happier if all the bonuses were associated with factions, not players. This would also add to the flavour, since it makes sense that Imperial Balkania have a home city, a continent where they get a bonus, and tactical advantages won from past victories.

The only thing I'm worried about is an unopened enveloped having some unforeseen impact on this. So far, we've opened the "same signature twice" and "player eliminated" envelopes (from a game I won by eliminating everyone else, hurrah!). The contents of these envelopes do not seem to raise any problems, but I've no idea about the others.

So... I was hoping someone who's opened all the envelopes could tell me if my proposed variant is going to run into problems, preferably without dropping a spoiler.
 
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Jens V
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Minor cities don't give any benefit to their founders, so there shouldn't be any special incentive to start in a continent with many of "your" minor cities (well, there might be a personal attachment, but that is it).

The major cities certainly give their founders a bit of an advantage, but that can be easily avoided when another player places their HQ in a territory that's directly adjacent to the major city territory. My group has finished game 8 this month, I founded a major city in Argentina after game 3, and have only been able to start there in 1 out of the 5 following games. Well, the fact that I also named South America after game 4 probably added to this behavior by them as well …

Missiles really do favor the winners a bit, but part of every games of Risk is about the weak factions "ganging up" against the stronger ones, so it's not as much of an advantage as one might think. Also,
Spoiler (click to reveal)
if you decide to add Risk Legacy: Bonus Cards (everybody should!), you'll get a means of making missiles much less threatening for one of the players


In some of the packages that you'll open, there will be some game mechanics that will automatically make the factions less balanced (intentionally!), so (TL,DR) I would not recommend tying more things to them. The game is great and very well thought through as it is, and should be left like that in my opinion

Edit: To answer the original question: as far as I see it, there is no game mechanic that would break if missiles aso. were tied to factions instead of players (we have yet to open two packages, but I doubt they will bring anything that changes this). Still, I wouldn't do it (reasons listed above).
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Klure Junior
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I get your thought process, but the true solution to having one strong player is for all the others to gang up on them to create more balance.
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Gilead James
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Thanks for your thoughts JV and Matthew. I agree that ganging-up can address overly strong players, but I'd still personally rather that players were more equal.

I was thinking that with factions becoming increasingly unbalanced, the weakest player (least wins) could get first choice of faction, then the second weakest, and so on.

As an aside: I know minor cities don't come with player-specific bonuses, but if one player is very likely to start in a specific continent, then other players are less likely to start there (or they will end up in a one-on-one deathmatch for that continent, which will massively weaken both players in that continent), so it's likely (though certainly not inevitable) that a player with the only major city in a continent is also going to easily get nearby minor cities.
 
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Jens V
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lumpthing wrote:
I was thinking that with factions becoming increasingly unbalanced, the weakest player (least wins) could get first choice of faction, then the second weakest, and so on.

That won't work with some of the additional rules you'll (very soon, usually after game 3-5) get with another package.
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David Goodnuff
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lumpthing wrote:
...
So... I was hoping someone who's opened all the envelopes could tell me if my proposed variant is going to run into problems, preferably without dropping a spoiler.


In short yes your variant won't work. Seriously just play the game by the rules...there are specific reasons why the rules are the way they are and any attempts you may have to change them will only make things worse.
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Phil Mechanic
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klurejr wrote:
I get your thought process, but the true solution to having one strong player is for all the others to gang up on them to create more balance.


I agree with the comments about letting it play out, but this is quote above is key. Risk Legacy isn't like, for example, Game of Thrones or Diplomacy, where agreements and alliances with fellow players are critical to securing success. But it is a massive part of the balancing mechanism.

You may find that one or more faction becomes demonstrably more powerful than the others. That has happened in our campaign, and since that point, the faction has never won. Instead, players need to form a fragile alliance against the common enemy whilst planning their own perfectly timed winning move.

There's also a mentality / rationale for play thing here. RL allows players to make decisions that don't always help them win, but do increase the fun factor, and personally I would always encourage people to have that in the back of their minds too. E.g. after 1 game, we slapped a -1 sticker on Australasia to make turtling there far less attractive. Not an optimal move for the winner, but one that led to much more interesting and open subsequent games.
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