Friday, April 24, 2009

Strategy Tips: Turn Order

So, myself, Darrin, Steven, Marcus, and Thomas played a game of Risk 2210 the other day. I decided to be a little experimental during this particular game and test out some strategies. My focus was on the turn order during the game, particularly in year 5. I thought I would share some of my thoughts regarding the importance of turn order, plus a few tactics to help.

How is turn order different in Risk 2210 than in classic Risk?
If you're a fan of classic Risk, you know that the turn order never changes. At the beginning of the game, the first person to take a turn is chosen and then the turns proceed depending on who's sitting where at the table until the end of the game. In Risk 2210, the order of turns changes each round (year). Turn order is decided by each person getting to choose which turn they want. The order in which turns are chosen is determined by a bid of energy at the beginning of the year. The highest bidder chooses first and so on. If anyone bids the same amount or if more than one person bids 0, then it comes down to a roll of a die.

How can this be part of a solid Risk strategy?
Let's say you are in conflict with another player. You attack him and weaken him, but in the process make yourself vulnerable. His turn is already over for this year, but if he goes before you in the next year, he could retaliate and potentially hurt you very badly. In these kinds of situations, bidding energy is very important. Before you attack or get into a conflict with someone, check to see how much energy they have. Will they be able to outbid you? Part of your plan may need to be to keep more energy than your opponents, so you can choose when to take your turn.

Year Five
Without a doubt it is most beneficial to take the last turn in year 5. The vast majority of games I have seen or been a part of have ended with the player with the final turn winning the game. This is because the last player can take as much land as possible, leaving only one man behind each time and not have to worry about anyone coming behind him and taking it. He also is able to count each person's score and knows what he needs to do to win the game. The only times that I have ever seen the last player lose the game is when he either: doesn't have the forces to take much land at all... meaning he must have been extremely weak already, or he is Cease Fired by another player and cannot move.
In the game I played the other day, I decided to make sure that no matter what, I had enough energy to outbid everyone else in year 5. I barely kept enough and was able to go last, and I won the game. There were other factors that came into play of course, but this was the biggest one.

So keep energy conservation in mind (lol) at all times and make sure you can outbid another player if you need to. Also, if you want to win games, do everything you can to go last in year 5. Leave me a comment. Let me know what you think, or if you have tips or suggestions for readers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Online Games

It was brought to my attention that I should share a little bit about the computer versions of Risk that are out there. Now, I'm sure there are software games that you can go out and buy to either play with your friends or just against the computer, but I'm kind of poor so I'm not going to do that. The alternative to that are free downloadable versions that are floating around out there on the net. If you find yourself with a decent amount of free time and want to sharpen some of your skills in between big games with your friends, you might want to check this stuff out.

One of the best ones that I have found is a downloadable Risk game called "Invade Earth". This is a Java-based program that allows you to play several different versions of the game, including our favorite, 2210. The website for it is
I'm not sure if it's playable live online, but you can definitely play it with your friends on your computer, or just alone against the AI. The downfall here of course is that it takes the human interaction part out of the game, which is a huge part of Risk. So, if you're using it to sharpen some of your skills, keep in mind that this is not a full representation of what it's like in a real game. Nevertheless, it's still a fun little game, and it's quick to play, especially if you play the AI because they take their turns in like 4 seconds. You can also tweak the rules in some aspects to make it more like the way you are used to playing.

Another thing I found, which is pretty much awesome, is a Facebook application. It's called facebook ATTACK! and it's found here
It's essentially the original version of Risk for Facebook. You can play a live game right then and there with random strangers, or you can challenge friends and play a game over time... each person taking their turn whenever they want. Now, strategy for this game as I have found is COMPLETELY different from the strategy for 2210, which is what I discuss on this blog. I wont go into detail about it... mostly because I don't know it. But, if you're a fan of the old Risk game, I just thought I'd let you know that this is out there.

I also just signed up on a new website a friend found for me called "conquerclub". It looks like a bunch of varied Risk style games for players online. I haven't really gotten into it yet, so I'll post later and let you know how it goes. Thanks for reading and don't forget to leave me a comment!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Strategy Tips: Reputation

What is a Risk Reputation?
This tip is one of those essential parts of playing and winning risk. Also, it works in every version of the game. If you're like me, you play Risk alot. And, most of the time you are playing with the same general group of people. Over time, each player builds a reputation by what style they use in the game.
One of the definitions for the word reputation is "A specific characteristic or trait ascribed to a person or thing". It shares the same root word as the word "repeat". So, basically, a Risk reputation is what a player is known for doing. It could be a style of play, or it could be a specific action, or even things you say and ways you manipulate others (manipulation is another part of strategy that I will discuss later). You're going to want to get to know your opponents well. Pay attention to the things they do, so the next time you play, you will already have an advantage on them by knowing their rep.

How do I Build A Risk Rep?
To build your own rep the way you want it, stay steady in the way you play and the things you do. For instance, if you want people to be afraid of you, attack them unprovoked, or retaliate at every opportunity. If you do this enough, eventually they will think twice about getting in your way, even before you do anything. If you want to fly under the radar and make people think you aren't a threat, attack less. Be kind and fair to people. They will think of you as a generous player and will trust you... and most likely not attack you out of spite or anything.

What's the Best Kind of Rep? Are There Good Ones and Bad Ones?
First of all, you don't HAVE to have a rep, but you will probably develop one anyway whether you want it or not. If you want to try not to... just be random. Change your style all the time and act randomly so that other players can't pinpoint your personality in the game. It can be beneficial to be the "wild-card" player.
There really is no "best" kind of rep to have, it all depends on your style. I've seen different reputations work out well on occasion for all types of people. But, yes, there are BAD reps. For instance, the last thing you want in Risk is to become labeled as the guy(or girl) who gets bullied and pushed around. Sometimes it is inevitable, yes. Everyone comes to a point in the game sometimes where they must allow another player to push them around. But, don't let it happen every time, or people will go out of their way to do it to you.
I think every type of rep has its good points and bad points. For instance, a friend of mine has a rep for being vengeful. Everyone knows that if you mess with him and make him angry, he will go out of his way to hurt you... even if it means losing himself the game. This is a great rep to have in that now... we think twice before attacking him. But, it's also a bad rep to have in that people are sometimes scared to trust him and work with him in the game.

Think carefully about how you are representing yourself to the other players, especially if you know you will be playing them again and again. Once you build a rep, it's hard to change it.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Strategy Tips: More Dice Probability

Probabilities of winning a dice roll in Risk
(various die combinations)
one die two dice three dice
Defender one
Attacker wins 41.67% 57.87% 65.97%
Defender wins 58.33% 42.13% 34.03%
Attacker wins 25.46% 22.76% 37.17%
Defender wins 74.54% 44.83% 29.26%
Both win one n/a 32.41% 33.58%

Here's a chart I got from Wikipedia. According to this, the attacker always has the advantage statistically. This chart excludes the use of 8-sided dice as well.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Game 1, Part 2: Lane

Ok, here goes the second part of the game that was played.
Year 1
I (Lane) started off the game placing men in North America (NA). I placed my entire force in the southern part, while James placed half of his force in the northern part. During my first turn, I purchase a Land Commander and a Nuke Commander, and take down James' force, which allows me to take the entire continent of NA.
Year 2
During my second turn, I propose a deal to Steven, who to the south of me, in South America(SA). He has been in a battle with Chris for the waters in the west that allow access to Asia. I know he is planning on taking them back from Chris, and I want to take the waters in the Atlantic. We agree not to attack each other both in our respective continents and water territories. James is in Europe(EU) to my East.
My grand strategy:
  • Take and hold North America and the North Atlantic waters(NAW)
  • Ally with Steven in the south and weaken James in the East
  • Prepare to invade Asia from NA in year 5
After making the deal with Steven, I prepared to attack James. My plan was to make sure he could never be powerful enough to attack me from EU and possibly even gain a foothold and take EU myself. This turned out to be a mistake on my part. I didn't see a cease fire card coming when I declared my attack, and it stopped me in my tracks. I was forced to fortify and hope that James could not retaliate.
Year 3
He did retaliate. He bid to go before me in year 3 and was able to take my NA bonus during his turn. In my next turn I took it back, and offered a deal to James between NA+NAW and EU, which he accepts because of the fact that Steven has made his way into EU and is threatening James from the other side. Also during my 3rd turn, I play 2 scout forces, which happen to be close together in EU and Africa.
During the same year, Darrin plays an invade earth card, with which he is given the chance to invade a territory of mine in NA with a very large force on the moon. I am forced to promise him that I will never attack him on the moon in return for him not attacking me at that moment.
With neither James nor Steven a threat any longer because of the deals, I am able to begin to focus attention on Asia.
Year 4
Before I am able to, however, Chris plays the armageddon card, allowing him and all others to play nuke cards free of charge. For me, this utter and mostly random devastation results in the loss of both my NA bonus and NAW bonus.
In the 4th year, I have only enough resources to take back my bonuses, buy a diplomat and some diplomat cards, and wait.
Year 5
By my turn in year 5, which is the first turn, Steven has completely replaced James in EU, making my previous deal void. I decide to attempt to take EU with a large force I have set up in the NAW. My scout forces in northern Africa and EU will help me. The closest threat to me once I have EU will be Darrin, who has a few forces in Africa, and many on the moon. I promise him that I will take a bonus away from Chris on the moon during my turn, which greatly benefits him, in return for him never attacking me in EU. I'm able to take EU from Steven, taking him out of that area of the board, and take James completely out of the game in the process.
Chris plays next. I assume that he will attack me, but have a cease fire that I'm ready to play in the event that he does. To prevent this from happening, though, Chris is able to assassin bomb my diplomat and my land commander, making it impossible for me to use any cards. He attacks with a large force that takes out most of my forces in EU and several in NA.
I finish the game with 8 territories, a bonus of 2 for having NAW, and a colony influence card (for water) worth 3. A score of 13 and 4th place.
Crucial Moments:
  • Attempting to attack James and failing, then being attacked by James
  • Making deals with Steven, James, and later Darrin
  • Armageddon
  • Being assassin bombed and attacked by Chris
Once again, please comment. Let me know what could have been done better. What did I do right or wrong? What would you have done differently? Thanks and look out for Game 1, Part 3: Chris coming soon.

Strategy Tips: Dice Rolling

I'm still working on Game 1, Part 2, please be patient.
Let me take a minute to discuss an interesting part of Risk strategy: chance.
Now, how can something like chance be part of your strategy? In the game of Risk there are many things that rely on chance. You cannot control them, but there are several things that you can at least attempt to predict. The focus here is to manipulate the chance into working for you, not against you. Be an informed player... know everything there is to know about the game. One of the most useful things to know is the chances you have of winning a battle.
I found a fun little website that calculates the probability of winning a battle based on how many armies (mods in our case) each player has. This calculator is based on classic Risk, though, which means it does not take into consideration 8-sided dice, but it is still very useful to know the basic probabilities. Also, the calculator assumes that each player always rolls with the maximum amount of dice allowed for each roll.
Here's the link for the calculator itself:
Here's a chart. The numbers in the center represent the chance (by percent) that the attacker will win:
                           Defender Mods
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13
1 | 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
2 | 42 11 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
3 | 75 36 21 9 5 2 1 0 0 0 0 0 0
4 | 92 66 47 31 21 13 8 5 3 2 1 1 0
5 | 97 79 64 48 36 25 18 12 9 6 4 3 2
6 | 99 89 77 64 51 40 30 22 16 12 8 6 4
7 | 100 93 86 74 64 52 42 33 26 19 15 11 8
8 | 100 97 91 83 74 64 54 45 36 29 22 17 13
9 | 100 98 95 89 82 73 64 55 46 38 31 25 20
10 | 100 99 97 93 87 81 73 65 56 48 40 33 27
11 | 100 99 98 95 92 86 80 72 65 57 49 42 35
Attak12 | 100 100 99 97 94 91 85 79 72 65 58 51 43
Mods 13 | 100 100 99 98 96 93 90 84 79 72 66 58 52
14 | 100 100 100 99 98 96 93 89 84 79 72 66 59
15 | 100 100 100 99 98 97 95 92 88 83 78 72 67
16 | 100 100 100 100 99 98 96 94 91 88 83 78 73
17 | 100 100 100 100 99 99 98 96 94 91 87 83 78
18 | 100 100 100 100 100 99 98 97 95 93 90 87 83
19 | 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 98 97 95 93 90 87
20 | 100 100 100 100 100 100 99 99 98 97 95 92 89

As you can see by the chart... in a battle between an even number of mods (4 on 4, 8 on 8, etc.) the attacker has a chance of winning above 50% once the battle reaches 12 on 12 or higher.
Also, the attacker usually only needs to have 1 more mod than the defender to top a 50% chance in battles where the defender has less than 12.
What all of this means for me is that the defender does not necessarily have the superior advantage that I had once thought. The fact that the defender wins in the event of a tie helps alot, but the fact that the attacker gets 3 dice also helps. According to this calculator, the odds are very even. So, when playing our version of Risk, you will need to rely on only 2 things (asside from cards) to give you an advantage when in battle: superior numbers and 8-sided dice.
Remember... 8-sided dice come from commanders and bases. So, if you want to defend a territory well, get a base or a diplomat there... and if you want to successfully take over others' land, get the appropriate offensive commander (remember the Nuke Commander works everywhere). If the statistics are correct, the 8-sided dice should be an integral part of your strategy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Coming Soon

I will be posting "Game 1, Part 2: Lane" very soon. I apologize for the delay; I've been sick for the last 2 days, and I couldn't really concentrate on breaking down the strategy and stuff. So, check back soon for the next post. Peace out.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Game 1, Part 1: James

As I said before, we played a game of Risk 2210 last Thursday night. I have spent some time dissecting the strategies of each player, and I will now take a critical look at them, player by player. I'll start with my good friend James Jordan:

Year 1
First of all, the way we play the game is a little different from the standard way at the beginning. Instead of choosing where we want our armies(mods) to start on the board, we pass out the cards, randomly assigning starting positions to each person. Each person then, one at a time, is able to place their remaining mods on any territory they own to reinforce it, just like the classic way. James originally decided to attempt to take over North America(NA), but was thwarted by me(Lane), when I began also placing mods in NA before the game began. James then shifted to placing mods into Europe(EU). So James began the game with a considerable force in NA facing my army, which was twice its size. He also had another army of equal strength in EU. This created a distinct disadvantage for him, seeing as it would have been impossible to take both continents and keep them defended. Here is a view of all the starting positions (represented by initials) and devastations (unusable land represented by DV) in the game.
As you can see, James and I are now both in a bit of a bind. Neither person bids any energy at the start of the first year, and it just so ends up that James goes before me. On his turn he decides to use the force that is in EU to take the cont. and leave the entire remaining force in NA. His hopes for doing this were that I would not be able to get the entirety of NA during my first turn, thus having no bonus. This plan turned out to be a crucial mistake. I was able to amass enough power through a superior force and two 8-sided dice via commanders to wipe out James' entire force in NA with very little casualties. James now has a much smaller force to work with than everyone else. His strategy must shift.
James' Grand Strategy:
  • Take and hold EU throughout the game
  • Gain a strong foothold in Asia while protect his other borders
  • Amass enough strength to move south into Australia
He takes EU on his first turn, and fortifies it further on his second.
Year 2
He also makes a strategic deal with Darrin, who has his forces in Africa. They are not allowed to attack one another's respective continent for the remainder of the game. With no threat from the south, and no real forces in Asia to worry about, all James has to do is protect himself from me in the west. On my turn during the second year, I attempt to attack James in EU, but he plays one of the two "cease fire" cards in the game.
This move is very important strategically for both me and James. For James, it means that he must decide to either take revenge on me for making him use his powerful card, or simply fortify further to make sure I can't do it again in the future. He chooses to retaliate.
Year 3
In year 3, he outbids me and takes the first turn. He attacks NA and takes out 3 of my territories plus my bonus. He then fortifies back to EU to protect himself from a counter-attack. During the attacks, he refused a deal offered by me, but later makes a pact between my NA+North Atlantic Water(NAW) and his continent of EU.
The reason he changed his mind about the pact is very important. Later in the 3rd year, Steven placed a large force of reinforcements into a nearby country in Asia. This country was not thought of as a threat before, but now presented itself as the beginning of the end for James. With a huge threat looming in Asia, James decided it best to form an alliance with me, and no longer worry about the battle happening on his western front. Steven attacks and takes Ukrayina, a key country in EU, and fortifies it thoroughly.
Year 4
In the next year, James is able to outbid Steven to take a turn before him, but is not able to retake Ukrayina, seeing as Steven had a stealth station and a few stealth mods. The station allowed Steven to roll two 8-sided dice, which put him over the edge. During Steven's next turn, he completely removes James from EU, leaving him only 1 territory in Asia, which is taken by me before James' turn in year 5.
James ends the game with a score of 0.
Crucial moments:
  • Placing forces in two continents ealy in the game
  • Using Cease Fire
  • Making deals with Darrin, and later Lane
  • Being suprise attacked by Steven
  • Failing to retake EU
Please leave me a comment... give your opinion about the things that James did right or wrong, and what he could have done differently to make a more positive outcome for himself in the game. Also, let me know what you thought of my synopsis. Thanks and look out for Part 2 coming soon.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Some Pictures

So, 5 of us played a fascinating game of Risk Thursday night. The players were Chris Colee, myself (Lane Trahan), Darrin Post, Steven Fontenot, and James Jordan. I apologize for taking so long, but I'm currently still in the process of dissecting the strategies and actions of each player, and will post about it soon. Until then, I thought I'd put up some pics that I took with my handy cameraphone. The one on top is a shot of the game board itself, below is a shot of two of Steven's commanders. The next is a shot of Steven, followed by Chris, and another of Steven. I should have the game synopses of the game itself sometime tonight or tomorrow.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Let's Get this Game Started

Welcome to my blog. I want to get started by introducing the game for anyone who has never heard of it or who has only played the original version. For a detailed look at the rules of this game, go to
Click on "download the rulebook".
Allow me to discuss some of the differences in this version as compared to the original.
  • Turn limits and turn order: The goal of this game is not to take over the entire wold. There is a 5 turn (year) limit, and the player with the most points (territories + bonuses) at the end of the 5 years is the winner. Each year, the turn order for each player changes. This is decided by bidding energy and choosing positions. The winner of the bid chooses his turn order first, and so on. All energy bid is lost by the player bidding it. There are certain advantages for going either first or last depending on your strategy in the game.
  • Energy: Energy works as money in the game. It is used to buy commanders, command cards, and bases, and is needed to play most command cards. It is also used to bid for turn order. The amount of energy received by a player at the beginning of a turn is equal to the amount of reinforcements the player receives.
  • Additional Territories: Not only are most of the names and shapes of the territories on Earth different, but this game also includes a 3 moon continents, and 5 water continents. The water territories can be accessed from various points on Earth, which are easily seen by lines drawn on the board. The moon territories however, can only be accessed via a base on earth and can only be entered by 3 points on the moon itself. All of this makes for a more complicated and interesting game.
  • Commanders: There are five special pieces in the game known as commanders. They are the Land Com., Moon Com., Water Com., Nuclear Com., and the Diplomat. Commanders can be purchased at the beginning of a turn for 3 energy each. The commanders allow the controlling player to have dice bonuses. The Diplomat is the only defensive commander, and thus allows a player to roll an 8-sided die for defense if the Diplomat is attacked. The other 4 commanders use an 8-sided die for attacking. The Nuke can use this bonus anywhere, but the other 3 are limited to their respective types of territory (water, moon, and land). In addition, a Water Com. must be purchased to allow a player to travel into any water territories and a Moon Com. must be purchased to allow access to the moon territories. Finally, the commanders allow usage of their respective command cards.
  • Command Cards: There are 5 types of command cards which correspond to the 5 types of commanders. Each card costs 1 energy to buy, and various amounts to use. A card cannot be played unless the player owns the corresponding commander. Each deck is strategic in its own way, and in my opinion, the key to winning the game is almost always found in the cards. See the rule book for a detailed list of the cards and what they do.
  • Bases: Every player receives one free base to place on any territory they control at the beginning of the game. Additional bases can be purchased for 5 energy each and are also given for free or cheap with some of the cards. The bases provide a very powerful defensive bonus. The defender of a base is allowed to roll two 8-sided dice, making it very hard to take a well-defended base. In the event that a base is successfully taken, the attacker replaces the base with one of his own. Also, these bases are the only points in which a player is allowed to leave earth and enter the moon territories.
Alright, now that that's out of the way, we can get into the fun stuff. I want everybody to keep in mind that my friends and I have some "house" rules that we use. Not everything we do is exactly the way it is laid out in the rule book, but we feel like the way we play best suits us. One of the great things about the game is how versatile it is. As long as everyone playing agrees on the rules, just about anything can be changed to suit your preferences. I will try to point out the things we do our own way and explain why we do it as they come up. Tonight (hopefully) will be our first documented game. I'm going to record everything that goes on, and attempt to break down the strategies for you to read. I'll also try to get a video of each player introducing himself, so you can be familiar with us.
Please feel free at any time to comment and let me know what you would like to read about on this blog. I want this to be as helpful and interesting as possible for the Risk fans out there, and I'm also hoping to get some new players into the game. So let me know what you think and have fun playing!