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Subject: Risk (2016) rss

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Dave Shapiro
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The harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly. - Thomas Paine

Hasbro has been tinkering with Risk for many years. The last significant change occurred in 2008 with the introduction of the Black Ops version. The game was altered from the classic conquer the world to an open mission game with capitals. The additional reinforcements by submitting a set of cards was dropped in favor of ‘stars’ that provided reinforcements based on the number submitted. These changes shortened the game substantially and introduced a debate over which was the better system. Now eight years later, Hasbro has re-introduced Risk with, once again, many changes to the system

It appears that in the debate between the Black Ops adherents and the classic game supporters, it is the latter that carried the day. Risk (2016) returns to (almost) the original 1959 edition of the game with certain refinements and additional ways to play. (Even the whales and ships found on the original map board have returned.) All of the map connections from the original game are there. For anyone who has played the classic game, this will feel very familiar - very comfortable.

The artwork on everything from the box ,to the map, to the containers to hold the units is possibly the best looking of any of the standard editions. (The ugliest is probably the Black Ops version with the red colored seas and arrows for units - the only proper way to describe that map is...grotesque.) Each of the player units is housed in a ‘chest’. Though not necessary, it indicates the detail Hasbro has introduced into this edition. The map is colorful with each of the territories actually being colored rather than a colored outline for territories. The only ‘missing’ item from the map is the Continental Value Legend. Rather than the box in the corner of the map, adjacent to each continent is a medallion that lists the value for the reinforcements for complete control of that continent.

Over the decades, there have been three methods for determining the reinforcements from the territory cards submitted: the infinitely increasing value, the stars and the set value method. The method that had been most popular in the North American versions is the ever increasing value of the sets. The first set is worth 4, the second is worth 6 and so on. La Conquete du Monde (the original design for Risk) had established values for each set - a set of infantry was worth X, a set of cavalry was worth Y and so on. This method is still employed in games produced outside of North America. Parker Brothers altered the original method in order to speed up play - with ever increasing values, it was inevitable the game would end quickly (usually five to seven turns). The most recent method has been the ‘stars’ method. Every territory card had one or more stars on it and these could be submitted for additional armies. This method appeared in almost every version of Risk from the Black Ops introduction until now. Risk (2016) returns to the classic, ever increasing system.

Two other items that have been eliminated are the open missions and the surprise end of the game card. This is a mission version of Risk but it is the secret mission version. Though the secret mission version of the game is popular in games outside the North American production, it saw only a very short stay in the Hasbro version before it was replaced with Black Ops.

In the last revision of Risk there was a card that could be shuffled into the territory deck and when the card was revealed, the game ended. This is completely gone from the game (and it should be).

The rules provide four methods for play. There are rules for the classic version - conquer the entire world. Rules for the secret mission version and a version of Capital Risk that has been a bit streamlined. Finally there are rules for a two player version. Two player versions have always been a problem in Risk games. Both Balance of Power and Plants versus Zombies were specifically designed as two player versions. The rules for two players now are basically the classic rules with the inclusion of neutral armies. The only change is that a player need not defeat both his opponent and the neutral armies to win - just his opponent. It is probably a moot point as neutral armies are usually the first to go.

All of the goofy attempts to change Risk into something it is not have been removed - the purists should be delighted. Personally, I find it the most attractive edition of the classic game to appear in decades.

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David Dawson
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Excellent rundown of this edition and how it compares to previous versions. I wish there was a way to play the 2008 open mission/capital version in this printing, as that would be a truly definitive Risk game to have. But I'm glad they returned to having the secret mission cards, at least.
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Christian Kalk
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I may have to buy this edition.
 
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Ryan Falzon
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My favorite edition of risk so far! The map is very well made! Fixed a few issued that really bugged me. (Italy touching egypt).

The sculpts are sweet and actually stand up well(the previous edition had annoying foot soldiers that kept falling over)

Rhe cards FINALLY use a standard size(Standard american) and can be sleeved easily. The cardboard boxes are a very nice touch!

Bought it kuz of your review, and I highly second for peeps to get this edition.
 
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Martin Charette
Canada
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I just bought a copy of the game at “Toys Are Us” in Québec Canada on Friday March 31st 2017 as it was not on their shelves in 2016. I am please that Hasbro re-introduced the secret missions they had embraced in 1993 but steered away from in 2003. I am bewildered as to why the game of Risk used to have six sets of coloured armies, and now has just five sets of armies. Six player games are worth playing as the 42 territories divided by 6 will give each player 7 territories. In the event of a game with less than six players, the opportunity to have more colours to choose from is quite nice. If you are playing with 5 players and are using the even distribution method where each player receives the same amount of territories with exactly 3 troops on them, the sixth colour becomes handy to be used as a neutral player that occupies the 2 remaining territories. Can we bring the sixth coloured army back please? The colours of the armies have changed in name but very little in appearance, black has become indigo and red has become orange in name but the soldiers actually still look black and red. Given that one of the coloured armies has been dropped and that there used to be six secret missions stating “Destroy a certain Coloured Army” now there can only be five of these secret missions. To keep the mission deck at twelve, Hasbro had to come up with a twelfth mission so here comes the mission of “Conquer Europe and Australia” a mission much too easy to accomplish in relation to the other missions. If you draw the mission “Conquer Asia and South-America” what are your odds of winning against the player who draws the mission “Conquer Europe and Australia”? Very close to zero. The Europeans already had the two additional missions of “Conquer Europe, Australia and any other continent” as well as “Conquer Europe, South-America and any other continent” Could we not have merged those two mission into “Conquer Europe, Australia and South-America” to form our twelfth mission? The British went one step further in recognizing that the “Destroy a certain Coloured Army” missions where far too easy in a game with many players so they added the twist in the event that another player eliminates a colour that was your mission, then your mission changes to “Conquer 24 TERRITORIES with at least 1 SOLDIER on each”. I see that the mid-turn forced card trade-in has returned to 6 cards rather than 5 cards as was properly changed in 2003. A forced card trade in at 5 or 6 cards at the beginning of a turn but at 6 cards in mid-turn is confusing to people learning the seemingly overwhelming game. Making it 5 either way was the right thing to do and it should have remained as such. I see that the bonus soldier earned for controlling a Capital (Headquarters) at the beginning of a turn has been removed contrary to the 2008 edition. I get the impression that someone at Hasbro was mandated the responsibility of returning the game to the basics with a tight deadline and having never embraced the game themselves, just dug up stuff from the past, pasted the pieces together without any research or consultation of the Risk playing community. The sixtieth anniversary of the introduction of this game to North America is just upon us in 2019. This game has the potential of entering into the classics of Chess, Backgammon, GO and Mancala if it is done right. If we research what players are actually doing with the game and do away with the issues that prevent new players from adopting the game, we could regain former players that went to A&A, Carcassonne or Settlers. It’s time to return the mid-turn trade-in at 5 cards, return to the one bonus troop for controlling a capital, do away with the “Destroy a certain Coloured Army” missions and replace them with more “continental conquering missions”, add the continent of Antarctica to open a back door to Australia and come up with an attractive way of playing a 2 or 3 player game. What’s with the territories of Canada becoming Alberta, Ontario and Eastern Canada? First it was Alberta, Ontario and Quebec then it changed to Western Canada, Central Canada and Eastern Canada for games sold in Canada for obviously politically correct motivations. Now the only province (state) where the word Canada appears is the province for which 49% of its population does not identify with Canada where Hasbro has their Canadian head office.
This is sort of like an anti-politically correct statement. Don’t get me wrong as I am a federalist. Nice to see the names of the Continents with their bonus value just beside each continent.

Elvis Gratton, Mont-Tremblant, Québec, Canada, 2017.
Think Big Sti!
 
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