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Risky Risk
October 5, 2011 1:12 PM   Subscribe

Risk, the game of World Conquest, has been a feature in mainstream boardgaming for decades, but is not usually well thought of by more serious boardgamers. Several recent editions have been better received, but the latest iteration (out sometime later this year) may be the most divisive yet. In Risk Legacy, each game played will permanently change the board and rules based on who won and how. Are boardgamers ready and willing to alter their boards with permanent markers and stickers and tear up unchosen cards? Some early reviews have been positive, but opinion is still divided. The designer answered some questions on BGG as well.
posted by kmz (75 comments total) 28 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll give it a shot if there's the possibility of ending up with a board that reads, simply, "SKYNET."
posted by Halloween Jack at 1:19 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


I think there should be a way to combine Risk and Pandemic.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:23 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


In college, we taped four sheets of illustration board together and created an enlarged Risk board. Then we combined the playing pieces from four or five games and held marathon games. We played in loose teams.

Always start from Australia.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:24 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I, for one, think this is going to be a lot of fun.
posted by diogenes at 1:25 PM on October 5, 2011


Always start from Australia.

Clearly the only fair way to play that is for everyone to start from one of the multiple Australias.
posted by wanderingmind at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow sounds great. What kind of legacy does the guy whose turns always take 10 minutes leave?
posted by Joe Chip at 1:26 PM on October 5, 2011


Antarctica starts here
posted by quarsan at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


we combined the playing pieces from four or five games and held marathon games

You thought the main problem with Risk was that it wasn't long enough?!?

I admire your fortitude ;)
posted by diogenes at 1:28 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


Risk is a game which gets rebranded almost as often as Monopoly, so I'll approach this with some healthy scepticism. That said, the original is a fine game, for either kids or drunks. How is this different from making ordinary house rules?
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:29 PM on October 5, 2011


I always pick the green pieces and pretend we're Martian invaders.
posted by oddman at 1:30 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


> Are boardgamers ready and willing to alter their boards with permanent markers and stickers and tear up unchosen cards?

Sure! Also, requiring players to buy a new game every time they want to start over is a great business move!
posted by ardgedee at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If I had a regular gaming group, I would absolutely try this out. I also really want to know what the spoilers are, because the reality is that I don't have a gaming group like that and will never play this game.
posted by jeather at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


As one of the OG commentators, I love seeing my worlds come together. This is an interesting design exercise and I recommend those who are skeptical now read the "early reviews" link. To me it makes an interesting academic idea sound pretty compelling game wise as well.
posted by meinvt at 1:32 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


For a side trip down memory lane, here's some random trivia: the guy who invented Risk, Albert Lamorisse, also directed the Red Balloon.
posted by SpacemanStix at 1:33 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


Risk is a game which gets rebranded almost as often as Monopoly, so I'll approach this with some healthy scepticism.

Risk 2210 is actually a great game.
posted by diogenes at 1:33 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


This looks awesome, now do Diplomacy.
posted by empath at 1:35 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Always start from Australia.

My hierarchy of preferred starting continents: S. America > Africa > N. America > Australia > Europe > Asia. Yes, Australia is an easy route to two more armies per turn, but then you're stuck either trying to take Asia early, which is nigh impossible, or defending an extra front as you try to conquer elsewhere. Brazil is where it's at.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:36 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've played a bit of Risk on an iPad app lately, and I really think the worst thing about it is, simply, its length when played on a physical board. All that dice rolling adds up. Most people around here who have played Risk think of it as a game that usually takes at least a day to play, which, considering its fairly shallow depth, is a bit incongruous. (At least standard wargames, which can be as long or longer, can bring a stronger sense of simulation to the game, which some players find very appealing.) If the dice rolling and matching is automated, then the game goes much faster. It's still not perfect, but it's a good deal better.

I think that, no matter the version, if the rules to Risk do not somehow address that length problem, either by remedying it or justifying it, it's going to be looked down upon.

Oh, and to provide my own answer the designer's rhetorical question, "WHY PERMANENT," simply, it's so players who want to start over with a new board will have to buy a new set from Hasbro. There's no reason they couldn't have the rules suggest setting aside unchosen cards, or supplying a whiteboard map with markers.
posted by JHarris at 1:42 PM on October 5, 2011 [5 favorites]


This looks awesome, now do Diplomacy.

I wish there were a ton of rebranded versions of Diplomacy. I love the game and think a bunch of my non-gamer friends would, too. I mean, they love Werewolf/Mafia, and the same sort of devious impulses underlie both games. But there's no way I'll be able to to get them to play a board game about the run-up to WWI.

I know there are a lot of fan boards out there...has anyone made a purely abstract Diplomacy board? Or at least one that doesn't take place in Europe, Westeros, Middle-Earth, etc?

If you can't play nice, play Diplomacy.
posted by Ian A.T. at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wouldn't say conquering Asia is 'nigh impossible', as long as you quickly get to, what is it, Ukraine and the Middle East? Park your units there, chase out the scragglers through Siberia, and boom. Game over. Three entry points, so the same as N.A., less than for Europe or Africa, but way bigger payoff. Holding the Ukraine is tougher, since it's needed for Europe rather than Asia.

Enh.
posted by Capt. Renault at 1:44 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I know there are a lot of fan boards out there...has anyone made a purely abstract Diplomacy board? Or at least one that doesn't take place in Europe, Westeros, Middle-Earth, etc?

Yes.
posted by dfan at 1:46 PM on October 5, 2011


I really like this concept, but I wish it was being done as some kind of download-and-print yourself game. Not because I'm averse to paying money for board games (my wallet wishes that were), but because...tear up a card? I'm not sure I could bring myself to do that. If I could print another set and do it all over again, then sure.
posted by cjelli at 1:46 PM on October 5, 2011


Risk 2210 is actually a great game.

Amen. One of my favorite memories from college was an all-night game of Risk 2210 with two friends.

This new version sounds very interesting to me, although tearing up cards and permanently marking the board seems a bit extreme. Surely there should be a way to accomplish the same effect with clingy stickers and sidelining cards into an envelope, or something.
posted by gauche at 1:49 PM on October 5, 2011


I wish it was being done as some kind of download-and-print yourself game

The widespread availability of vector graphics, reasonable printers at home, and cheapass editing software makes this eminently doable.

Just don't post the results anywhere Hasbro is likely to see.
posted by aramaic at 1:49 PM on October 5, 2011


It would be cool to get a group of people to agree to play a game of Risk Legacy one a week for a few months and stick to the rules. Otherwise the inter-game dynamics might not really show up clearly.
posted by GuyZero at 1:52 PM on October 5, 2011


I'm another Asia conqueror. You blitz it, with a path that lets you reinforce to bottle up Australia, block Europe and North America and Africa. +7.
posted by zippy at 1:53 PM on October 5, 2011


My hierarchy of preferred starting continents: S. America > Africa > N. America > Australia > Europe > Asia. Yes, Australia is an easy route to two more armies per turn, but then you're stuck either trying to take Asia early, which is nigh impossible, or defending an extra front as you try to conquer elsewhere. Brazil is where it's at.

South America is absolutely the best starting position. Not only do you get an easily defendable continent, but you're in a position to expand into North America, which is also fairly easy to defend. Save all that Asian nonsense until the end of the game.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:54 PM on October 5, 2011


YES I LIKE RISKY RISK AS IF IT WERE MY PROFESSION!! TELL ME MORE ABOUT IT
posted by steef at 1:55 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


"This led us to wondering why games always have to reset," he continued. "Movies and books are static forms of entertainment meant to be viewed but not altered. Games, by nature, demand that the user create the experience. We wanted to push that boundary to have lasting effects. Now you really create the experience. This game is not art to be hung on a wall but a leather jacket to be worn around until it has its own unique story."


For the simple reason that I want to be able to replay the game. I want to be able to play with different groups. I want to be able to try out different strategies. Interesting idea but only if it played on the computer where any "permanence" could be changed
posted by 2manyusernames at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2011


I really like this concept, but I wish it was being done as some kind of download-and-print yourself game. Not because I'm averse to paying money for board games (my wallet wishes that were), but because...tear up a card?

My friends and I used to play ironman Magic:tG where you tore up all cards that got destroyed.
posted by empath at 2:01 PM on October 5, 2011 [6 favorites]


The starting position in Risk is in no way sacred; there's a random distribution of territory at the start. 'Replaying the game' would involve removing that randomness. What's happening here is they're saying, well, instead of having a random starting position, let's have a starting position that depends on the outcome of the last game. Instead of controlled randomness, we'll have a game that evolves; the game then picks up narrative because of that dependence on prior runs. I think it's a fantastic idea, and would love to see how it plays out.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:05 PM on October 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


I hated this game as a teen, but ever since I downloaded Lux Deluxe (and Lux Touch), it's become one of my favourites. The difference? The computer AIs don't waste any time. Instead of hours of tedium, I can finish a game in ten minutes. Plus I can choose to play against any number of opponents, with any number of strategies and handicaps on any random board. The computer isn't that great at the game but, if you have them cooperate, you can arrange a serious challenge.
I do not have any financial interest in Sillysoft, I just like their software
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:06 PM on October 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


On topic: If this new version allows similar experimentation and variety as Lux's random maps I'm +1.
posted by Popular Ethics at 2:08 PM on October 5, 2011


Landgrab.net is a great site for pickup Risk games (in real time or over the course of days/weeks/months) with many variations, maps, and rulesets. But this might bring me back to the board. Oh, who am I kidding? I'll just play Catan.
posted by rikschell at 2:08 PM on October 5, 2011


I think that, no matter the version, if the rules to Risk do not somehow address that length problem, either by remedying it or justifying it, it's going to be looked down upon.

As far as I understand, Risk Legacy (like Risk Black Ops) uses victory points to end the game, and games tend to be much shorter. The early review mentions games of 30 and 45 minutes.
posted by kmz at 2:09 PM on October 5, 2011


Or you could play a good boardgame.

Sigh, I have become what I hate. I consider myself a boardgamer, I am on my way to my weekly game night as I tap this on my phone. And I hate Risk. I will read the rules for this version again, but I suspect my problem with the game is in its DNA.
posted by X-Himy at 2:21 PM on October 5, 2011


So there's a variant of Diplomacy called "Pure." Instead of being played on a map of Europe, it's played on a map with seven territories, all connected to each other. Each player starts with one army in one of the territories. If you get to four territories, you win.

I've never tried it, but I've always sort of wanted to. All the fun of lying to your friends, with none of the military stuff. Honestly, I think a game that was Pure+[something] might be the Perfect Game, but I've never really figured out what the [something] should be. Maybe Cosmic Encounter-style powers for each player?
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 2:22 PM on October 5, 2011


Not to continue my derail, but if Googlers Of A Future Age land here looking for abstract Diplomacy variants, the ancient webpage that dfan linked to above had two that looked promising as jumping off points: rectilinear topologically-equivalent map, circular topologically-equivalent map. Additionally, you could use the place names from Chromatic rather than trying to make up new ones.

Finally, this is awesome.

posted by Ian A.T. at 2:29 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think the comments so far confirm that if there was going to be any chance at all that this game would be played as intended, it has to have permanent markers and permanent stickers. It's too easy to want to press the re-do button when something doesn't work the way you hoped, and if they include an easy re-do option with the game the odds of anyone ever playing it through as designed drop dramatically.
posted by Pater Aletheias at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


kmz: "I think that, no matter the version, if the rules to Risk do not somehow address that length problem, either by remedying it or justifying it, it's going to be looked down upon.

As far as I understand, Risk Legacy (like Risk Black Ops) uses victory points to end the game, and games tend to be much shorter. The early review mentions games of 30 and 45 minutes.
"

If Risk takes too long stay away from games such as The Campaign For North Africa with a playing time of 60,000 hours - nearly 7 years!
posted by 2manyusernames at 2:38 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


I am still remembered in song and legend in Kamchatka and Madagascar. The lone roman numeral who gave his all against an insurmountable force and in the end was saved by a doomsday device board-flip.
posted by Kafkaesque at 2:42 PM on October 5, 2011 [10 favorites]


My favorite-ever risk variant was a homebrew that we called 'Nuclear Risk.' Simply, the country cards could be used in their normal method (turn in sets for armies, bonus if you control the country on the card), _or_ could be used to hit the country depicted on the card with a salvo of nuclear missiles, destroying all units in the province and making the area uninhabitable for the rest of the game. You could, however, attack _through_ an irradiated country at the cost of one unit. Army payoffs for controlling a continent scaled with the number of habitable countries remaining on that continent. (So if you blow up half of Australia, it's only worth one army to control. But probably even more defensible than before...)

And here's how it ran:
The game devolved into a crazy war of attrition; one of the big factors in risk that causes the game to end is that the size of the armies grows semi-exponentially through turning in cards. By more-or-less removing that mechanic (it's almost always better to destroy a huge pile of an enemy's armies than to get a handful of your own...), armies stayed small as the available land area consistently shrank, and required more and more armies to just mount an attack through the vast expanses of nuclear wasteland. Meanwhile, huge amounts of trust was being piled into temporary alliances which necessarily burst apart from time to time. It's the most in-room animosity I've ever seen generated by a game other than Diplomacy.

Really, it was kind of like a so-bad-it's-good movie. The game managed to be simultaneously so fucking terrible and completely engrossing that it wrapped back around and became one of the best game experiences I can recall. Eschaton as board game is great.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:56 PM on October 5, 2011 [13 favorites]


If Risk takes too long stay away from games such as The Campaign For North Africa with a playing time of 60,000 hours - nearly 7 years!

Campaign for North Africa is legendarily long but BGG lists it at 60,000 minutes, not hours. Of course 40+ days play time is still pretty ridiculous. I think the longest boardgame I've ever played was full table Age of Renaissance, and that was 6 or so hours. I do tend to stay away from wargames altogether.
posted by kmz at 3:00 PM on October 5, 2011


Diplomacy maps such as Chromatic and Pure are designed so that the players have identical starting positions, but boards that offer wildly asymmetrical starting positions can be at least as interesting. Colonial is set in Asia circa 1870. The British start with a huge number of units but they're scattered from Aden to Hong Kong. They have influence everywhere but are also vulnerable everywhere. Japan starts with far fewer units but they're all concentrated in one place, allowing them to start the game with a fierce attack. Similar odds of winning, but the different starts encourage wildly different styles of play.

Any game with asymmetrical starting positions can be like starting a game of chess short a rook. Unbalanced, but immensely satisfying if you can somehow pull off a win in spite of disadvantages.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:16 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


kmz: "If Risk takes too long stay away from games such as The Campaign For North Africa with a playing time of 60,000 hours - nearly 7 years!

Campaign for North Africa is legendarily long but BGG lists it at 60,000 minutes, not hours. Of course 40+ days play time is still pretty ridiculous. I think the longest boardgame I've ever played was full table Age of Renaissance, and that was 6 or so hours. I do tend to stay away from wargames altogether.
"

oops! thanks for the correction.

I never played that game but used to enjoy similar games from Avalon Hill and similar companies
posted by 2manyusernames at 3:16 PM on October 5, 2011


Campaign for North Africa is legendarily long but BGG lists it at 60,000 minutes, not hours. Of course 40+ days play time is still pretty ridiculous. I think the longest boardgame I've ever played was full table Age of Renaissance, and that was 6 or so hours. I do tend to stay away from wargames altogether.

Having once managed to grind all the way through a 2 player game of Fire in the East, the concept of a 60,000 minute game is mind-boggling. Surely insanity and violence would start to set in at around the 200 hour mark.
posted by N-stoff at 3:24 PM on October 5, 2011


Wow! This sounds cool. permadeath for boardgames.
posted by hot_monster at 3:46 PM on October 5, 2011


Boardgames meet the sandbox? Sounds intriguing.
posted by never used baby shoes at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2011


diogenes: "we combined the playing pieces from four or five games and held marathon games

You thought the main problem with Risk was that it wasn't long enough?!?

I admire your fortitude ;)
"

Now - you ain't seen nothing till you seen what these guys did.
posted by symbioid at 4:12 PM on October 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


My hierarchy of preferred starting continents: S. America > Africa > N. America > Australia > Europe > Asia.

Africa rarely lets me down. Europe and Asia are so independently unwieldy that players after those continents will pester you at most, and simply pestering them back keeps those continents divided. A couple doofuses will pour resources into warring over Australia. Most times I've played, whoever lost Australia is the person with the best shot at North America... but it will take a long time for them to take the extra territories given the sacrifices they've accumulated. You're left with South America to worry about...

So really, Africa + Brazil rarely lets me down. Most resources focus on holding Brazil once Africa is in hand. If it falls, you still have a 3-2 advantage in recruits per turn (plus the extra territories controlled, which might give you an extra man depending on how things break down).

The other added benefit you have is that whoever is dominant in South America has a technical and strategic duty to prevent North America from being controlled by someone else. The 5-2 advantage there is a lot more dangerous than the 3-2 advantage Africa has over it. So, this can be where shady diplomacy makes the difference, but even playing quiet, you're in good shape.
posted by pokermonk at 4:19 PM on October 5, 2011


As far as I understand, Risk Legacy (like Risk Black Ops) OFF uses victory points common sense to end the game, and games tend to be much shorter . The early review mentions games of shaving off the final 30 and 45 minutes.
posted by biffa at 4:49 PM on October 5, 2011


Wow! This sounds cool. permadeath for boardgames.

AHEM. No, boardgames already have permadeath, in that the other players won't generally let you go back to a previous move if you lose. This is like a game that modifies itself as you play, which is potentially very interesting, while also destroying itself (interesting as a play mechanic, but terrible for people who actually BUY the game because they're ruining its resale value and also making it so they have to buy a new set to explore different gameplay, which is the real thing here. It sounds like it was devised by marketers, that that part is awful, and I would hate to see it gain traction.
posted by JHarris at 4:58 PM on October 5, 2011


I think the idea of ripping up a card from such a game would literally leave me twitching in shock the first time someone actually did so.

Fark you, Hasbro. I love Risk, but in your thinly veiled revenue grab, you have denied yourself a buyer of this edition.
posted by pla at 5:01 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


JHarris: Yeah, I would have thought there are plenty of opportunities to modify ongoing rules without the board mods you mention. For something like Power Grid then messing around with the amount of fuel that comes on the market can mean very different games, this is done in the spin off versions but you could do it by agreement or even to some ongoing metric if you put your mind to it.

For new games you could have game mechanics that vary and design a game with variation over time built in, rather than the add-on marketing here, and that could be pretty interesting.
posted by biffa at 5:05 PM on October 5, 2011


I think there should be a way to combine Risk and Pandemic.

I think this should be entirely manageable, and maybe already happens in some games. Essentially pandemic is entirely co-operative in nature, while Risk is competitive. In real life we largely exist in an area which is between these two extremes. We can benefit strongly from co-operation while also operating completitively. For example, we work to keep the companies we work with in business whilst at the same time competing for more pay/responsbility/prestige with our co-workers. Effectiely we have mixed-motives. To put it another way we can co-operate to make a larger pie but then compete to take the biggest possible slice of the pie. No co-operation means a smaller pie but being a sap can get you screwed over. The same sort of thing can apply up to national level. Nations join the EU to gain free trade benefits but will compete for every possible competitive advantage.

Many basic competitive board games will have some level co-operation, as most people will have experienced, ie coming to a deal to leave two players better off by avoiding some penalty or screwing over a third party, but I would have thought there is a lot of potential for a game which plays the co-operative element off more strongly against the competitive element. (And I am more than willing to believe there are already good examples.)
posted by biffa at 5:15 PM on October 5, 2011


keep it real STRATEGO!
posted by robbyrobs at 6:27 PM on October 5, 2011


This looks awesome! Mr. Bonnie and I really enjoy Risk Godstorm, and I recall enjoying Risk 2010 as well.

Of course, I'm one of those people who also just enjoys original Risk. I once played a game that lasted 3 consecutive days. It was a full weekend with breaks only to sleep and go to IHOP. Oh college....
posted by bloody_bonnie at 6:29 PM on October 5, 2011


Someone mentioned liking to start in South America and then capturing North America. I think it's a hell of a lot easier to do it the other way around. North America has always been my favorite continent to start in because it's just as powerful as Europe, but much easier to defend with only three defense points, all of which are connected to just one other enemy state. Having control of North America makes defeating South America almost inevitable. Breaking into Europe and Asia is easy too.
posted by jkafka at 6:42 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see your point, JHarris. I think the best possible implementation for this would be one where you could "restore" the game to its original state at some point, and start over.

Gameplay would obviously need to be quick (20-30 minutes tops), and a group of friends could play several rounds in an evening, thus creating a unique gameboard, options, and rule tweaks by the end of it...and then, if they wanted, wipe everything clean and start from ground zero again the next night - or keep all the changes and keep going at the next get together.

I think that would be a very interesting design for a boardgame, as it would allow for a different experience every game, but could still be "reset" to allow for different explorations.

Hmmm....off to the drawing board with me.
posted by never used baby shoes at 6:48 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no reason they couldn't have the rules suggest setting aside unchosen cards, or supplying a whiteboard map with markers.

I was thinking smart gamers will just get some laminate to put over the board with dry-erase markers or use tracing paper. (of course, the folks on Boardgamegeek will have printable versions of the map up soon enough, and you can just print your own...)
posted by yeloson at 8:55 PM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


The worst Continent to try to win from is Europe. Europe can only win by allying with North America, against Asia

This game was a pretty slick piece of Cold War propaganda! Better run a crushing NATO alliance, or the swarthy hordes are gonna turn in cards, and bury you.....
posted by thelonius at 9:07 PM on October 5, 2011


If you guys aren't playing the excellent (and free) Conquer Club, you are missing out.
posted by V4V at 10:12 PM on October 5, 2011


I definitely don't get why anyone would be tearing up unused cards when it seems perfectly straightforward to set them aside.

Definitely not getting this, and that's mostly as someone who doesn't play Risk, but this clearly seems like a cash grab. I like the notion of a game that develops over plays, but I absolutely abhor the commercial nature of the implementation.
posted by LSK at 10:46 PM on October 5, 2011


Hmm. They own Risk and My Little Pony. There's gotta be some crossover there. Hell, maybe that's what Discord did to Fluttershy.
posted by rodgerd at 1:39 AM on October 6, 2011


I'm guessing no cat owner has ever successfully played Campaign for North Africa.
posted by drezdn at 5:35 AM on October 6, 2011


Hmm. They own Risk and My Little Pony.

My Little Pony: Hatred is War
posted by drezdn at 5:36 AM on October 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, this sounds awesome!

JHarris: It sounds like it was devised by marketers.

I do not get that feeling from it at all. It feels, to me, like that Minecraft Chain World experiment, or that flash game One Chance. I doubt that many people will end up buying a second copy of this game. Permanently restricting your ability to play a game (in a certain way) is cool and incredibly flavorful. It always bugged me that people could clear their cookies and experience different endings on One Chance. A lot of hardcore gamers who want to milk the most out of a game are the type of people who read choose-your-own-adventure novels breadth-first rather than depth-first, and savescum right before important battles or decision points in adventure games. I'm like that, so there's something kind of exciting to me about a game that prevents me from doing that and makes me commit to certain choices knowing that I cut myself off from certain content and types of gameplay. (One game that does this well is Echo Bazaar. I kinda hate that I can't see everything, but kinda love how mysterious it makes the game.) Writing on this board with dry-erase markers so you can wipe it off and start again makes it sound a heck of a lot less fun, IMO.

Anyway, that speaks to the complaint that this game will encourage people to buy multiple copies in order to experience new gameplay: I think some games are more fun if you don't get to experience all types of gameplay, and I doubt people will buy multiple copies. There's also the complaint that the game is disposable. That doesnt worry me: all sorts of party games are already essentially disposable. Once you've played through all the Scattergories or Cranium cards, that's it, you're done. It's true that you could resell it, but given that I have yet to sell off a game, resale value isn't something that plays a big role in my purchases.
posted by painquale at 7:10 AM on October 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Surely there should be a way to accomplish the same effect with clingy stickers

Clingy stickers? Who conquers the world with clingy stickers!?!?

Actually, sounds like a good idea. Or dry erase markers ...
posted by krinklyfig at 8:21 AM on October 6, 2011


painquale : Permanently restricting your ability to play a game (in a certain way) is

...Unbearably annoying. I get to make hundreds of irreversible decisions every day, in the game called "real life".

Or put another way, when I want to "play", I don't play "mid-career software engineer doing yet another integration between accounting/POS/inventory systems". ;)
posted by pla at 8:41 AM on October 6, 2011


"The concept seems simple enough. It's the application that throws me. There are two main problems: (1) there are one billion rules, and (2) the game requires nonstop mathematical finagling that would constipate Einstein. The rule book is laden with such mystifying pronouncements as the following: "An ancient spell-using red dragon of huge size with 88 hits points has a BXPV of 1300, XP/HP total of 1408, SAXPB of 2800 (armor class plus special defense plus high intelligence plus saving throw bonus due to h.p./die), and an EAXPA of 2550 (major breath weapon plus spell use plus attack damage of 3-30/bite)--totalling 7758 h.p." Here we have a game that combines the charm of a Pentagon briefing with the excitement of double-entry bookkeeping. I don't get it."
posted by kaibutsu at 9:23 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ukraine is GAME to you?!
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 9:50 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do not get that feeling from it at all. It feels, to me, like that Minecraft Chain World experiment, or that flash game One Chance.

Again, it all comes down to profit motive. A lot of people took notice when Magic: The Gathering came out and earned a big pile of cash by playing with scarcity and game customization in a way that didn't seem to restrict its popularity. I see this as just another way to try to sell extra game copies to take advantage of that. I give the developers enough credit that they didn't design it with this in mind, but I wouldn't doubt someone at Hasbro involved with product approval probably noted this fact with dollar signs in their eyes. This is the company, after all, that is pushing CCG mechanics in D&D and Gamma World.

I doubt that many people will end up buying a second copy of this game. Permanently restricting your ability to play a game (in a certain way) is cool and incredibly flavorful.

There is potential in this idea, I admit, but as pla notes, one of the reasons we play games is because the rules can be explored again and again at our leisure.

I realize some some people might see this as kind of a contradiction coming from me, seeing as how I write about roguelikes and the entire point of playing those involves not going back to previous saves once your character kicks the celestial bucket. And I find some of the most interesting roguelike play mechanics are those that bring in metagame elements, like Nethack's bones levels, that customize the game as you play it. At least with those, however, the player can always take matters in his own hands in cases where the game state becomes degenerate, by deleting bones or reinstalling.

Pretty much my entire objection to this lies in my suspicions that Hasbro approved this idea with the view of selling extra copies. I'm that mistrustful of Hasbro's intentions at this point. I admit it, I'm kind of biased, but I'd still be looking at this somewhat warily even if it was Mayfair, Rio Grande or anyone else trying this.

It always bugged me that people could clear their cookies and experience different endings on One Chance.

I don't know, that sounds like designer overreach. When you release a game into the world it isn't yours anymore, it's the players'. If what you designed is interesting enough then players should play it the way it's intended; if it's obviously broken, they'll house-rule around the flaws in the game. This is as it should be, it's participatory, they're engaged with the game and exploring it instead of consuming it. It's possible that this could produce adverse rules such as with Monopoly's Free Parking jackpot, but this is better fought with communication than rule police.

(There is more that could be written here, but I'm short on time right now.)
posted by JHarris at 10:58 AM on October 6, 2011


Dunno, as a person who played Risk for the first time at a house party with a 12-year-old, I'm intrigued. Sure $55 is a lot to pay for a boardgame that might end up being trashed after a couple of years, but I love the idea of continuity, especially if one plays with the same folks on holidays and vacations.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:07 AM on October 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don’t have to pour all your resources into Australia to defend it. You just need to make it too costly to take, which isn’t difficult if the aggressor is also trying to take and hold Asia. This means you can usually “pay” for Australia with the two units you get per turn while you develop interests elsewhere. Sure, it’s not providing units to a common frontier in that case, but it’s two units per turn that someone else isn’t getting.

That said, I am not a fan.

There are a few games out there that use rule change as a game mechanism. I can see the appeal of continuity, but you'd have to have a dedicated gaming group, and I'm just not sure the underlying game is worth the time and attention in this case.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:37 PM on October 6, 2011


My least favorite game of all time.
posted by Chuffy at 6:02 PM on October 6, 2011


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