Published on May 8th, 2013 | by Gregg Miller
Oh, So It’s Like Risk
Gregg Explains- Risk: Legacy (Spoilers Ahead)
So, after this paragraph, consider yourselves warned.
Risk Legacy is a unique board game experience for up to five players. Over the course of fifteen games that form the primary campaign, the players are going to work together to shape their own version of this board game. Now, it appears that when it’s all said and done you can play the game after the last campaign game is finished, but I’m not sure how replayable this will be. I’ll return to this at the end of the series.
We are earth 30046. The premise of the game is: in order to solve the issue of dwindling resources on Earth, instead of going to the moon, someone makes alternate Earths for colonists to settle on and do what humans do. The thing is… people being people, wars break out and your particular board is a look at the culmination of what happens on that particular version of Earth.
The game has five factions, each with a thematic back story. Initially, when the box was opened, we made some assumptions on faction selection, and most of us picked by whatever seemed best at the moment. So, technically the opening selection for the factions we did is quite different from the instructions in the box. Me? I picked the tan looking pieces, since that was the closest color to yellow.
The factions went as follows:
- Gregg “The Explainer”: Sahara Republic
- Matt “The Favorite”: Imperial Balkania
- Travis “Buuut Anyway”: Enclave of the Bear
- Dave “You’re On Maps”: Khan Industries
- Stacie “Why’s Your Face?”: Die Mechaniker
After the factions were selected, we each got a sticker pad with the appropriate faction’s name on top, and two stickers. Each sticker was a special rule that tweaked the game. Normally, you’re supposed to pick which of the two special faction powers in some unified way, but as I mentioned we kinda just picked who we wanted to be so each of us got to pick our own power for the very first game. In later games we won’t necessarily have the same factions we originally selected.
Now the fun part! A common practice in this version of Risk is that certain decisions are incredibly final. After we selected one of the two special faction abilities, the instructions stated to throw away the remains of what was not selected. With great ceremony we ripped up each sheet, thus ensuring there was no salvaging of the unselected faction powers.
What did each faction get?
- Sahara Republic: When you’re counting up how many countries you control for reinforcements, you round up instead of down.
- Imperial Balkania: If they roll double sixes in a defense roll, they shut out the attacker from attacking that territory for the rest of the turn.
- Enclave of the Bear: When you claim a territory card, you gain one troop reinforcement, if you control the territory.
- Khan Industries: When you take the reinforcement action at the end of your turn, you don’t have to make a continuous chain between territories.
- Die Mechaniker: If you roll all three attack dice with the same number, and you defeat at least one defender unit with that roll, you wipe out all defending units.
Next, we were given a set of twelve coin stickers. Territory cards work differently in this game. In previous editions you need to match a territory, or some symbol on the cards. In Risk: Legacy they have just the listed territory, and coin icons. At the start of your turn, you can turn in any number of cards, you tally up the coin value of each card and consult a chart on the board. That’s how many extra reinforcements you get, in addition to your normal start of the turn reinforcements. Every territory card by default starts with one coin icon, but now we got to add twelve more stickers in whatever fashion we so chose, making that territory card worth more. We each took a turn selecting one territory from anywhere on the board, adding one sticker to that card. After those first five were finished, we shuffled all the cards back together, then drew seven at random to add an additional coin icon to it.
- Africa: Central Africa – 3. South Africa – 2. North Africa -2.
- Asia: Siberia “Soviet Coin” – 2. Ural – 2.
- North America: Northwest Territory – 2. Western United States – 2. Central America – 2.
- South America: Argentina – 2.
- Europe: Russia – 2.
- Australia: New Guinea – 2.
Some explanation on the above list. Central Africa happened to be one of the original five selected, and it was drawn at random, making that territory highly profitable, should it show in the game. Siberia specifically had its coin placed upside-down, and was designated the “Soviet Coin”.
So, we rolled to see who goes first, and then we all started to stake our claim. The beginning setup has you pick a territory to place your base, as well as eight troops and n the first setup, we just can’t be adjacent to each other. Matt started on Central Africa, in hopes to having and holding the territory if the card came up. I started in Western Australia to have an opening bid for the “Australia” tactic. Stacie started in Western Europe, Travis in Argentina, and Dave picked up Alaska. Every player is then given one random Scar card. These are cards that permanently change how easy or hard a territory is to conquer. Ammo Shortages make it so the defender takes a -1 number penalty to the highest die they roll, while a Fortified Bunker adds a +1 number bonus to the defender’s highest die roll.
Since the vast majority of the map is empty, a lot of the opening turns are spent on expansion and getting established. Though I made an opening bid on trying to take Africa in addition to Australia. Travis expanded North out of South America, while Dave split between Asia and the Northern part of of North America. Stacie was largely left alone as four of us made back and forth attempts at each other. Over the course of the various matches, four of the Scar cards got used, while Stacie declined using hers. This caused her card to be returned to the remaining Scar Card pool, for later games. In the end, after Stacie nearly made a conservative advance, Dave cashed in for additional reinforcements, and swiftly completed the victory condition.
Once a player has four Stars, they win. At the start of the game, if your name is not listed as a previous winner of any of the fourteen previous campaign matches, you start with a Star token. Every base you control on the board counts as a Star, effectively setting up the first game so that everyone is half way to winning on turn one. At the start of your turn, if you have four territory/coin cards, you may cash them in for a Star token, instead of for additional troops. There will be additional methods of earning Stars, the rules explain, but they will be released from their sealed packetsonce we complete secret objectives.
Ammo shortages developed in Central Africa and Indonesia. Defensible bunkers were built in Venezuela and North Africa. The winner of a game gets to sign their name on the board, and select a Winner change to the board. These range from clearing a Scar (like ammo shortages), founding large cities, fortifying cities, naming continents, tweaking the reinforcement bonus to continents, and more. Everyone who wasn’t wiped out gets a more minor, and smaller list of options to apply to the board.
Dave founded a major city “Ninja Stronghold” in Alaska, which has a mechanical benefit that allows only Dave to start in Alaska from now on, in addition to Alaska counting as three territories total, for whoever controls it. Minor cities of “Bære Staller” by Travis in Brazil, “Revolving Door” by Matt in East Africa, “Hogwarts” by Stacey in Siberia, and “Yellow City” by Gregg in Eastern Australia.
So far, this is an incredibly interesting version of Risk. Next game, I’ll go into some repercussions due to the choices we’ve made, victories won, and more. Now, after this game was resolved, Dave and Matt started looking over some non spoiler discussions on the game. Anyone reading this who has played the game already might have been crying out “You guys messed up!” when I started talking about the Faction special abilities. The thing is, and we dug through to verify, our version of the game came messed up this way. Evidently, our factions were jumbled and switched. We’re still debating among ourselves on deciding if we’re going to “fix” the faction powers, or not. Right this moment, it’s kind of semantics on which Faction has which power.
For the upcoming second game, it will definitely be a roll of the dice to determine who plays which Faction, since the default rules state that the the highest roller decides which Faction, in addition to where they are starting. Until then, see ya!