Paul Owen
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"He who will not risk cannot win." -- John Paul Jones

My son (15) and his friend and I played Risk last Sunday afternoon. In our three-player game, my capital was in Greenland, my son's in Australia, and his friend's in Argentina. My son easily took over Australia and moved quickly into southern Asia. In so doing he completed the "Control 18 territories" objective. His friend took over South America and a substantial chunk of North America. I sought my first objective by taking over all of Europe, and succeeded only on my last dice roll. So I was in a pretty vulnerable position even after my end-of-turn redeployment, and feared that my son's Asian army would roll into Russia.

My son smelled blood in Asia, however, and ignored me in favor of trying to take over the continent. His friend's strong holding in Japan, however, would not fall, so my son's Asian campaign stalled. His friend sought to finish taking over North America, but he, too, could not complete the task.

As a result, my European position remained unperturbed, which made my next decision rather straightforward - to take over Africa. Europe gave me five additional armies, and I started everything in central Africa, whence came the great tide. Once I'd conquered Africa, I agonized over whether to jump the Atlantic and attack Brazil to break up the South American stronghold - but that position wouldn't have been as strong (given the way I left my armies) as it was to attack the Middle East and shore up the defense of my eastern border. At the end of my turn, I'd taken over my second continent and thus completed my second objective ("Control two continents").

My son and his friend discussed the fact that I held everything from South Africa to Greenland and ought to be squeezed from both sides. It certainly would have made sense at that point in the game - after only two turns, when I held two objectives of three needed to win - to gang up on me and take apart my continental holdings. Strangely, however, the desire to control Asia still consumed my son, and after re-taking the Middle East, he turned away from European Russia and instead attacked his friend's holdings, east across the steppes. His friend, equally pre-occupied, then nearly took over North America, but I held my ground in Greenland. At that point, my continental holdings still remained intact, and I started my third turn with 16 armies and seven cities. The next step was obvious. I attacked Brazil to obtain my eighth city and third objective, to win the game.

So I won in three turns, largely I think because my son and his friend allowed their own agendas (occupation of Asia and North America, respectively) to distract them from stopping me from winning. Nevertheless, I came away convinced more than ever that this re-vamping of Risk has breathed new life into an old classic and made it a fun game to play, far more fun that the original ever was.
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Jorge Sánchez
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pdowen3 wrote:
Nevertheless, I came away convinced more than ever that this re-vamping of Risk has breathed new life into an old classic and made it a fun game to play, far more fun that the original ever was.


It sounds good. I should try, because since I discovered life far away from Risk and Monopoly, both have sucked for me and I don´t want that.

Nice session review.
 
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donald rhyne
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I didn't know risk had a new version.Last played
1970's.
 
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Los 28
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pdowen3 wrote:
So I won in three turns ...


Wow, I cant believe that the game ended in just three rounds of play !
That was a super quick-y game.

 
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Paul Owen
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Thanks for the comments. Here's what I said in my blog (http://paulowengames.blogspot.com) about my initial impressions of the Revised Edition:

I should note that I was never a big fan of the original Risk (designer Albert Lamorisse [director of the French short film The Red Balloon], publisher Parker Brothers), largely because it simply took too long to play. It didn't really seem to be much of a strategy game, either, at least not at the age I was playing. A lot of pushing and shoving, taking territory only to have it taken back. Worst, if it was a multi-player session, it became a player-elimination game, which as anyone who has followed my blog knows is a fundamental flaw in any multi-player game outside of a tournament.

My opinion of the new Risk, however, is quite the opposite. With the introduction of objectives and the change in the way cards are traded in for armies, players have some real decisions to make, and that's something I appreciate in a game. Particularly nice is being able to identify a winner in a reasonable amount of time, rather than requiring world domination simply to end the game. Generally speaking, a winner emerges long before any single player is really close to elimination. I think I most appreciate the fact that the facelift addressed only the weaknesses of the game and retained many recognizable, likable elements, right down to the combat mechanism - which is an imperfect attrition system but still an interesting tactical problem at times.
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Los 28
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pdowen3 wrote:
... the original Risk ... took too long to play.

Worst, if it was a multi-player session, it became a player-elimination game, which as anyone who has followed my blog knows is a fundamental flaw in any multi-player game outside of a tournament.


pdowen3,
I agree that original Risk took too long, and that player-elimination in the game (or any game) is usually a negative. I just wanted to make it clear that in my previous comment (above yours), in where I said that I was surprised that the game ended in three rounds, is that I was surprised that the game ended that quickly. I also like that the new Risk Revised Edition shortens the game, but I think that a game ending in just three rounds (with three objectives necessary to win, thus ending in the shortest possible scenario) is way too short. This can barely "count" as a game. It’s like opening the box, setting up, playing, and then putting everything back in the box 10 minutes later (exaggerating of course). It just doesn’t leave any "good memories" of strategy or play in the player's minds after the game (not much to talk and brag about later).

I'm curious ... were you the first player to start ?
It seems that the first player has a slight/moderate unfair advantage (even with the extra card that player #3 received in your game). What do you think ?


pdowen3 wrote:
My opinion of the new Risk, however, is quite the opposite. With the introduction of objectives and the change in the way cards are traded in for armies, players have some real decisions to make, and that's something I appreciate in a game.


I agree completely.
The objectives and the rewards, put a nice twist to the new Risk.
And it's nice to see that they changed how you receive troops when turning-in cards. The old method was just unfair and awkward, as a player could turn in cards late in the game, and get a huge un-warranted amount of troops.


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mar hawkman
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I agree, being able to trade cards for more troops than are on the board was ridiculous. the new system was much better. Goals are nice too. it makes the actual strategy something to think about. Not having all the goals in play make it even more interesting by adding variety.
 
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Paul Owen
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Los28 wrote:
pdowen3 wrote:
... the original Risk ... took too long to play.

Worst, if it was a multi-player session, it became a player-elimination game, which as anyone who has followed my blog knows is a fundamental flaw in any multi-player game outside of a tournament.


pdowen3,
I agree that original Risk took too long, and that player-elimination in the game (or any game) is usually a negative. I just wanted to make it clear that in my previous comment (above yours), in where I said that I was surprised that the game ended in three rounds, is that I was surprised that the game ended that quickly. I also like that the new Risk Revised Edition shortens the game, but I think that a game ending in just three rounds (with three objectives necessary to win, thus ending in the shortest possible scenario) is way too short. This can barely "count" as a game. It’s like opening the box, setting up, playing, and then putting everything back in the box 10 minutes later (exaggerating of course). It just doesn’t leave any "good memories" of strategy or play in the player's minds after the game (not much to talk and brag about later).


I agree with you - mostly. Yes, our game was much shorter than I expected it to be. Frankly, I think the reason is that my opponents were careless and not really thinking in terms of breaking my control of Europe and then later Africa. That's what left me with so many armies at the beginning of Turns 2 and 3 and therefore the ability to complete an objective every turn.

But I disagree with your sense that our session didn't "count," as though we barely got the game out of the box before it was over. We all felt like we got a good (if quick) game of Risk in, and we look forward to the next one. I think my opponents will be a little more aggressive about challenging continental holdings next time, though.

Los28 wrote:
I'm curious ... were you the first player to start ?
It seems that the first player has a slight/moderate unfair advantage (even with the extra card that player #3 received in your game). What do you think ?


That's an interesting question. I was the third player in our game, which means I went last but got the bonus card.

I think I agree that the first player has an advantage from the standpoint that every territory he conquers in his first turn deprives one of his opponents of starting armies (for every three territories conquered) as well as starting locations on their respective first turns. Starting with no losses in a three-player game, my son as first player was able to complete the "Control 18 territories" objective fairly quickly. I haven't played this version a lot, but I would imagine that's a pretty standard opening for a three-player game.

I didn't get much out of the bonus card I got at the beginning of the game because, since I completed an objective every turn, I was ineligible to receive a card every turn. But I think that's an unusual case. I think in general, giving the #3 player a card at start is reasonable compensation for the potential of losing territories to both opponents before his first turn.

Los28 wrote:
pdowen3 wrote:
My opinion of the new Risk, however, is quite the opposite. With the introduction of objectives and the change in the way cards are traded in for armies, players have some real decisions to make, and that's something I appreciate in a game.


I agree completely.
The objectives and the rewards, put a nice twist to the new Risk.
And it's nice to see that they changed how you receive troops when turning-in cards. The old method was just unfair and awkward, as a player could turn in cards late in the game, and get a huge un-warranted amount of troops.


I completely agree. I particularly like the way the scale of the card-turn-in table works. The number of troops received per star increases as the total number of stars turned in goes up, so there's an incentive to save cards up for a big army later - against the normal incentive to turn in cards and get the troops now. It's a classic decision trade of urgency vs. quantity.
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