I am an avid fan of the Risk board game and all it's offshoot. 2210 in particular is an excellent game. But Risk does have a drawback. The two player game. Against an equal opponent, under classic risk and 2210, if you got first turn, you would win. Ok, so a serious run of good or bad luck by the relevent parties could alter it. But with average rolls, that first turn advantage would carry through to win you the game, unless you majorly fucked up. Against a less skilled opponent it's something I can overturn. Against my brother, against my most regular opponent nige, people who are familiar with how the game works, that who goes first dice roll was game deciding. Now once you throw some more human players into the mix, who can gang up and double cross, you have a fantastic game. But knowing he can have a safe margin against the neutrals, the first turn aggressor can go hell for leather and leave you with barely anything. You then claw a little back, but then the second turn comes and his territorial advantage counts... you never recover. The neutrals ignore him, he ignores them. If the neutrals were another human player, they would exploit the weak points he'd left. No such luck in the two player game.
I was in Tesco last night and I spotted Risk: Balance of Power. it is designed to be a 2 player game. As it was only £20 I picked it up. I obviously haven't had chance to game yet, but a quick perusal of the rules makes it look interesting. One player, randomly determined, sets up ALL the pieces. His opponent then chooses which army to be, blue or red. This motivates the deployer to provide advantage to neither side. They also have an interesting way to win the game - you complete certain objectives. Once you have completed three objectives you win. There's the obvious owning of continents, but also capturing key locations and sea lanes. The basic game mechanics are the same. There is an added part to this game in the command charts (not used in the basic game, only in the command room version. But the basic looks piss easy, a way to teach someone who's never played ANY risk before) where you keep track of your casualties and can trade them in for a boost in your turn. This looks an interesting way to stop one side from hammering the other - the trouble with two player risk, once one player gets a considerable margin, there's no way back. At least with other human armies they can gang up on him. Not so in two player. Here the more you batter your opponent, the more of an advantage he'll be able to claim in retaliation. It seems a good way to keep things close, rather than having one player steamroller the other.
I'm back at the club Monday but have agreed to teach people Space Hulk, maybe get a couple games in myself. But I might look to try this in the not too distant future. Perhaps before ToFG kicks in and absorbs all my wargaming time :oP
Here it is available on amazon and here is someone elses review (someone who has actually played it I presume :oP)
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