February 27th, 2010
I talked about boardgames that everyone could try, in my mid-February blog posting. Today’s post is a follow-up to that.
(Click here in case you missed it.)
I talked about how boardgames these days are generally divided into the German- or Euro- types, which focus more on how we place the game pieces, and the American-style boardgames, which give more emphasis on movement of the pieces.
The German/Euro games tend to explore abstract themes and have general, non-conflict oriented settings, while the American counterparts often depict conflicts, be it historical or otherwise.
Today we’ll discuss a little bit more about the latter, especially a particular franchise that has captivated gamers with its loose depiction of global warfare.
The one game
When I grew up in the 1980s, the only conflict boardgame I could think of was Risk. This classic boardgame first came out in 1959, making it one of the first mass-produced conflict simulation boardgames to ever come out!
But did you know that it was based on a French game of world domination? I know this might qualify as a Euro game but bear in mind that the company that would make it a family staple today, was Parker Brothers, which would later be acquired by Hasbro, making it as American as fast food burgers and fried chicken. The official Risk website at Hasbro has the dirt, and more.
The Hasbro site is excellent especially for newbies, since it’s got game overviews, tips and tricks, as well as strategy guides.
Risk is as simple as it gets for a world domination type of game: place your armies across the board, attack your opponents, and the last person (nation?) standing wins the game.
Today’s Risk is as updated as ever – with fancy new pieces, an all-new board and plenty of options to go around. All the changes do nothing to detract from the original’s excitement and fun-ness that makes it a family and party classic. Hey, which world domination game can be taught and played in an hour or two?
Available in plenty of different flavours
In fact, this elegantly simple formula has been replicated numerous times, in different settings. Risk in Middle Earth? Check. Risk for Star Wars? Done twice even, one for the Clone Wars era, and a lesser known one for the Rebel Alliance vs the Galactic Empire conflict. Transformers Risk? Yeah that was one of the newer ones.
A couple of years back, a Risk game was also made in tribute to the top-selling console game, Halo. My personal favourite remains Risk Godstorm, which is set in ancient times when deities across different cultures clashed with one another, taking us humans along for the rumble.
BoardgameGeek.com has the updated list of past and present Risk games, both official and unofficial, here. Sadly, a good number are no longer available in local stores, though Risk Godstorm, Risk 2210 plus several other variants are still sold in better game stores and toy shops here.