There’s a New Risk in Town

Did you play the board game Risk as a kid?

If so, you probably remember it as a game that took a really long time to play…if you survived. If you were eliminated in the first 10 minutes of the game, you had to sit there and watch while everyone else played for next 5 hours.

Despite it’s flaws, I always enjoyed Risk (except for one fateful game with an ex-girlfriend that inspired this blog entry). I fancied the idea of conquering the world with little plastic pieces. When do you ever get to capture Kamchatka in real life?

However, since discovering “Euro” games (games like Settlers of Catan and Ticket to Ride), I’ve hardly played Risk at all.

That all changed with my decision to buy Risk Legacy a few weeks ago. I’m writing about my experience with the game on this blog (instead of my board game blog) because I think anyone who has ever played Risk might enjoy learning about this fascinating version of the game.

Risk LegacySo here are the three things that make Risk Legacy particularly unique:

  1. You play until all players are eliminated OR until someone gets 4 points. Almost all of the old rules to Risk still apply, including the elimination rule. But you’ll hardly ever end a game of Risk Legacy with the last man standing. Instead, you win based on points. This drastically cuts down the time it takes to play the game, and it pushes you to do crazy things like run a suicide mission through the heart of Africa to take over someone else’s base and get that last point you need.
  2. You permanently change the game every time you play. This is monumental. I’ve never seen this in a game. And I mean it quite literally–at certain points during the game, you will place permanent stickers on cards or on the board. I’ve heard about this element of Risk Legacy for a while, and it didn’t sit well with me. Why would I mar my precious board game with stickers? But as it turns out, it’s amazing. Every action and every game matters because of these permanent changes, and you really take ownership of the game and the story you’re telling as you play. It’s been neat to share that story with new players every time I play, as well as give them the chance to add to the story as well.
  3. There are spoilers. This is the other innovation that I’ve never seen in a game. There are 6 sealed envelopes (you can see 4 of them in the photo) that you have to open when certain things happen in the game, and they permanently change the game after that point. We didn’t open any of these envelopes until the third game we played, and we still have several more to open. I have to say, the experience of opening these envelopes is incredible. You know that some element of the game is going to forever change, but you don’t know what it will be or how it will impact the current game. And just the idea of a board game with spoilers is simply amazing.

If you or someone in your life used to enjoy Risk, I would highly, highly suggest you check out Risk Legacy. It’s one of the most unique gaming experiences I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to continue telling the story that we started a few weeks ago.


7 Responses to “There’s a New Risk in Town”

  1. Paul says:

    You found the “Do Not Open, Ever” envelope, yes?

  2. Renate says:

    I bought Risk Legacy for my boyfriend’s birthday in March. Everyone we know has played Risk in the past and got bored with it, so suggesting that they played Risk Legacy was quite difficult. Once they played it however, they were addicted! The mystery of opening the envelopes and compartments, the ability to personalise the game and become invested in certain teams and places, coupled with a shorter game time means that Risk Legacy is a massive winner in our house.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      That’s great to hear, Renate! It’s definitely a far more immersive and engaging experience than classic Risk.

  3. JT says:

    I never had the patience for Risk, even as a kid. My dad and I would play for 2 hours and then sign a peace treaty. I have actually found, in boxes of stuff like my old security blanket, peace treaties from when I was 8 that list the territories and line of demarcation (ie, “King Richard agrees not to set foot in Australia, Admiral JT will relinquish possession of Kamchatka.”).

    What an interesting concept to alter, permanently, the board. I think Magic did this with their Unhinged and Unglued card sets (one said “Tear this card into at least 16 pieces. Throw in the air. Exile any cards in play that a piece lands on”). It almost requires that the people you start with are the people you finish with. Otherwise, “What do you mean I have to start in Eurasia? Irkutsk, Yakutsk and the Ukraine are under mushroom clouds!”

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      I’ve actually found that it’s a lot of fun to share with new players because you get to tell them the story of the world so far. A mix of old and new players might be ideal.

  4. […] fascinated by the concept of legacy style or campaign games. I watched how much you geeked out over Risk Legacy, and it was almost enough to make me investigate it and I am not a fan of the Risk franchise […]

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