‘Risk’ is a strategy board game of diplomacy, conflict and conquest. Originally released in France 1957 as La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World) following its invention by Albert Lamorisse whilst vacationing with his family in Holland. The game was later bought and adapted by The Parker Brothers in 1959, publishing the game under the name ‘Risk – The Game of Global Domination’.
Over the 59 years of existence, Risk has prevailed as one of the most popular board games in history, inspiring other popular games like Axis & Allies and Settlers of Catan, as well as receiving a multitude of published and fan-made adaptations of the board game. The following list contains a number of licensed Risk variants that have been popular amongst the games follower base:
- Risk: 2210 AD (2001)
- Risk: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Addition (2003)
- Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Addition (2006)
- Risk: Legacy (2011)
- Risk: Game of Thrones (2015)
- Risk: Marvel Cinematic Universe (2015)
The list goes on with new expansions coming out year-by-year for trending games, movies and TV series. The game has not only been limited to offline gameplay, but has also been adapted as a PC game; allowing for Risk enthusiasts to play online with those seeking global conquest around the world.
The Parker Brothers + Hasbro
As mentioned before, The Parker Brothers (TPB) had purchased and adapted the early existence of this game of global conquest. TPB was an American toy and game manufacturer which later became a brand of Hasbro. In looking back at the beginnings of ‘The Parker Brothers’; both George Parker and his brother Charles had the belief that strategy and amusement games should be enjoyed by adults as well as children. It was from this common viewpoint that they created ‘The Parker Brothers’ in 1888. Since their early beginnings, more than 1,800 games were published under the name TPB, including their more popular titles, Monopoly, Risk and Cluedo.
Hasbro, Inc. (Hassenfeld Brothers) is an American multinational toy and board game company. To this date, Hasbro is the publisher of Risk. It was in 1991 that Hasbro purchased the Parker Brothers brand and products, along with toy + game manufacturers Kenner and Milton Bradley. This massive multi-million dollar deal shifted Hasbro into becoming the third largest toy + game maker in the world.
Risk has benefited greatly off the backing of such a powerful publisher like Hasbro; ensuring that it maintains a high level of popularity in the competitive market of board games through funding, branding and continual development of expansions of the game.
Risk is a game of global domination stylised on a map of the world, containing 6 continents divided into 42 territories. The game is designed to be played with 2 – 6 players aged 10 years and older, each acting as a general of their own army depicted by a different coloured token. The objectives of Risk are straight forward; to conquer the world through strategised attacking, defending and reinforcement of territories. The player with the most territories by the games end is declared the winner. Players turns are split into three parts:
- Receive and Place Reinforcements
- Fortify your Position
The outcome of the combat part of a players turn (attacking of defending) is decided by the rolling of dice. The player with the higher accumulation of the rolled dice wins the battle and claims the territory.
Beyond Risk’s simple mechanics, is a complex dynamic of strategic possibilities created through machinations and alliances of rival generals, the layout of territories as well as the luck of the dice roll. The combination of these aspects results in an endless amount of strategic possibilities, ensuring that the novelty of the game never wears off after numerous times playing.
Upon unboxing Risk, you will find the following:
- 1 Game Board – The game board features a coloured map of the world. Split into 42 territories, each clearly named. This board’s fresh use of colour and familiarity of world continents makes it easy for new players to adopt the game.
- 6 coloured armies featuring 3 different troops (Calvary, Artillery and Infantry)
- 42 Territory Cards + 2 Wild Cards
- 12 Mission Cards – a later inclusion in the game Risk, giving players objectives to conquer.
- 6 dice (2 white, 3 red)
- 1 Rule Book – The rule booked is formatted clearly and concisely into a booklet, allowing for first time players to easily follow step-by-step instructions on how to play the game.
I believe it is pretty clear that 59 years since its beginning, Risk is still as popular as ever. Growing up with this game, I have had plenty of fragile alliances, arguments, tears, glory, world domination and most of all fun. Risk would hands down still be may favourite board game ever played, due to its conflicting nature, ability to strategise against mates and it’s capability to be different every time I play. I can however, fault the early adaption of the game for it’s potential to take up to anywhere between 1 hour to 1 week to finish. Risk has inspired my board game, in which I aim to adapt areas that I like (its strategising and conflicting nature) as well as dislike (inability to finish quickly), to create my own game of conquest.