Winning Strategies for the Risk Board Game

No less than world domination is your goal in the Risk board game. Invented in 1957 by French film director Albert Lamorisse, Risk quickly became a worldwide success.

Although the mechanics of the game are simple, Risk provides a strong strategic challenge every time you play.

Strategic Ideas Help Your Risk Board Game

  • Continental divide. Holding a continent at the end of your turn increases the number of reinforcements you receive, making continent grabbing a popular goal. In general, continents with fewer borders are easier to defend. At one end of the scale, you have Australia with only one border; at the other, Asia six. While it's tempting to go for the easy to defend continents, they also offer very little in the way of expansion opportunities. As a middle ground, South America has two access points, whereas North America and Africa have three. A popular long-term goal is to capture North and South America, giving you two continents with only three total access points.

  • On the border. Early in the game, it's usually best to concentrate your forces in a small area. A compact formation is easier to defend. Concentrating your troops on the borders of you domain will protect it from attacking forces. Sometimes a strong defense can even compel opponents to look elsewhere for easier attack possibilities.

  • Offense or defense? The geography of the game board creates opportunities to pursue an offense or defense-based strategy. Australia (with only one border) is custom made for the player who wants to play defense. Europe and Asia (with many borders) give a player many opportunities for expansion. Knowing which style of play you'll embrace can give guide your choice of territories to attack.

  • Know when to hold -em. Risk cards become more valuable as the game progresses. You should try to hold onto your cards as long as possible to increase the number of reinforcements you'll receive. Also, when choosing a victim to attack, look for a weaker opponent with several cards. You pick up all the cards of any opponent that you vanquish completely, which can lead to mid-turn reinforcements.

  • Land rush. Although continents are a popular goal, they're not the only way to approach the game. Early in the game, connected territories can be as valuable as continents. It only takes six connected territories to get the same reinforcement bonus as holding Australia. Whatever your strategy, you should try to gain at least one territory per round to ensure a constant flow of Risk cards.

  • Maintain a stranglehold. The territories on either side of an ocean access point are called "choke points." Iceland and Greenland are examples of choke points. Strategically, you'll want to control choke points, especially the ones connected to a continent you hold. Massing armies on a choke point is a good way to defend your continent while keeping your opponents from gaining the continent where the choke point is located.

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