Published on June 11th, 2012 | by Greg0
Risk: Legacy Reimagines The Board Game
Risk is a classic. Plenty of board gamers got their start playing Risk, bringing in friends and family to battle it out over continents and countries. Some of the staff take it seriously enough to design their own boards on huge roll-out maps, and most everyone has grown frustrated of the Australia gambit, or left a game in frustration when it dragged on and there was nothing you could do to change the inevitable.
We saw a few board games last week, including one of our current favorite strategy games, Lords of Waterdeep. Today, we take a closer look at a new version of Risk that really does take some risks, throwing much of the formula for board gaming out of the window, and pushing your comfort level a bit. In fact, the game itself is meant to be destroyed, damaged, and irreparably changed as you play, meaning that the lifespan of the board itself is not indefinite. Risk: Legacy (from Hasbro, which appears to not have the game on their site) requires that players make decisions that will effect future games- whether they are around the table or now. It’s a difficult feat, but it’s well-balanced here, and makes each copy of the game unique, as players sign their names, tear up cards, and add stickers to the board itself that alter the rules in some interesting ways. It also means something new to board games, a mechanic that is pretty much impossible to recreate digitally.
Made for three to five players, much of the basic rules are still in place- each player still controls armies, attacks and defends with die, and you can still win by eliminating opponents. But now there are factions, which are distinctive. You can also win by gaining key tokens, and this new victory condition means that games are quite a bit faster- maybe an hour and a half but even quicker on occasion. It’s a rare board game that has spoilers, but sealed envelopes are only to be opened in the case of, say, a player winning twice- and they change the dynamics quite a bit. There are nuclear weapons too, which add an interesting twist.
With the right group of folks, this is a great game to play regularly for a few weeks. It’s still Risk- people who dislike the original aren’t likely to be won over, despite the many twists. But for those who like the strategy, and want something a bit faster, more accessible, and less likely to end in a screaming match and broken friendships, Risk: Legacy is a lot of fun. Just don’t open that secret envelope. Available now, online and in stores, for around $50.