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Casual Saturdays: More Risky Talk – A Brief Discussion of Strategy September 6, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Casual Days, Other Random Stuff.
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’m not going to pretend to be a RISK expert, but I have noticed a curious strategy among fellow RISK players. Anytime I mention RISK to someone new I meet, if they play it, their reaction is usually along the lines of: “Oh yeah! I love that game! I always go for Australia!” Now, Australia is a very good continent to own: it ensures two extra reinforcements every turn, and is extremely easily defendable because it has only one access point.

However, I’ve noticed that Australia is oftentimes not a good location for your “homeland.” (I’m using the word “homeland” to mean the area you first attempt to take over in the game, and then direct most attacks out from.) Yes, it provides plenty of defence, you can stay holed up there for a long time, and endure through much of the game if you can keep it. However, if you attempt to build Australia as your homeland, there is only one place to move your frontline attacks: into Asia.

Now Asia is huge, and grants seven bonus reinforcements. If you can take and keep Asia, you are probably going to dominate the game. However, most other players will stop what they are doing to ensure that another player does not take Asia for this very reason. I have seen games won where someone’s main goal is to take Asia, but these are rare, and often involve a good deal of luck. In order to move anywhere else on the board, you will have to get there through Asia, and therefore have to keep both your frontline and distant homeland well stocked with troops, and this can often be hard to do.

So, summing up, Australia’s best quality is also its worst: it’s isolated. However, in my opinion, there is a very similar continent which poses much less problems: South America.

South America, like Australia, gives two reinforcements, and is also easily defendable because it has only two access points. However, unlike Australia, from South America, you can easily move to any continent except Australia. South America is connected to North America and Africa. If you can successfully invade from Brazil to North Africa, then you are also connected to Europe. One further invasion (into either Egypt or East Africa) ensures your path to Asia. In other words, South America puts you only one or two territories away from every continent (once again, except Australia). From here, you can use almost any conquering strategy at your disposal.

To clarify, trying to own Australia is certainly not a bad thing. If you have the opportunity to take it, you’d be a fool to pass it up. However, it is not the best place to make as your homeland; rather, it should be more of a side-project. Now, you obviously can’t make South America your homeland in every game. The games that I’ve played involving two players fighting for the same homeland usually end up with one (or both) of those players dying off very quickly. It’s usually better to move away, than to waste a massive amount of troops on a cold war. But, in situations where I can make South America my homeland, I always take them.

Now as I said in the opening, I am no where near to being a RISK expert. But I’ve played my fair share of games. I’m not the world conqueror too often, but I’m rarely the first person to die either. So you may or may not want to take my advice with a grain of salt. This was mainly meant to be me wondering why everyone goes for Australia, when I’ve always thought South America seemed the better choice.

Well, what do you fellow RISK players think?




1. Michael Quiroz - September 15, 2008

Wow! You’ve sold me. I have never played the game of Risk, but if I do I am going straight for South America. On another note, your website here is pretty sweet.

2. lotrking - September 15, 2008

Thanks. 🙂

Of course, I’d highly recommend RISK, best game ever, imo.

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