Risk

So… you’d think that with all the time I invest in playing World of Warcraft, the most interesting thing that I encounter would be something that’s in the game? Not so.

My oldest brother came back from Singapore for two days to go to an interview for a university in Phoenix, AZ. And at around 11PM my room’s eletric fuse jumped. Being the idiot that I am and having no idea where the fuse box is, my brothers and I gathered for a game of risk. It’s probably the best time the three of us had spent together in a long long time, and the game itself is interesting enough to describe in detail. Comments on possible strategies to win this game would be great… I’m still trying to figure out what I can do to win this game.


please refer to this Risk map if you forgot the layout of the game. (it sucks, but it’s the best thing I can pull out of google)

Here’s the setup: I started by taking up Australia. My older brother Wesley snatched Europe. My oldest brother snatched most of Northern America. Australia was uncontested; in Europe and North America, I had about 2 units placed on a hold-out (Alaska and Ukraine, not that it matters). My oldest brother Alan is just learning the game so he evenly distributed most of the troops around Asia, North America, and Vernezuela. My older brother Wesley and I started having an arms race – I owned Brazil, as well as the three pieces of land in Southern Africa. I’m not sure why, but he invested most of the pieces to even me up in defending Argentina.

The game opens – and Alan snatched Alaska, even when the numbers aren’t overwhelming (3 against 2) – then I realized the folly of my plan. Wesley was warning me that I was doing something direly wrong but I ignored him – I keep thinking it’s because he thought I wanted to take South America (which would be stupid), but actually it’s because I didn’t defend North America well enough. With the North Eastern part of Asia also in Alan’s hand, it means that North America is basically unchallenged – bad for the rest of us.

So I took my first gambit – I continued my plan to move completely out of South America and pull all of my troops to invade and occupy North Africa, and in a few turns I took over Africa. We didn’t talk, but silnetly Wesley understands that I’m the only one capable of punching a hole into North America and so despite a 2 to 1 advantage (about 10 units at W. & E. Europe vs. 5 units on Egypt & North Africa) on the Europe/Africa front, he didn’t attack me. I risk my everything and hold no prisoners for the next few turns, moving across Asia in a single territory army (take a land and move all units to reinforce) and rounding up China, Mongolia, and Kamchatka. The snowball kept going until I hit Alaska, and I finally broke up Alan’s North America hold with 15 units on Alaska.

Throughout this time Wesley did nothing – he just pick up his units and buff up Europe. Alan was taking his time to defend South America and Greenland, so the punch in Alaska came semi-unexpected. Without North America, the tide of the war suddenly turned. Around that time, I had enough risk card trade-ins to move quickly across North America like a plague, but Greenland stalled me – the stalmate between Wesley and Alan made Iceland and Greenland hold about 30 units each.

With Alan crushed, Wesley started his move – he first invaded Africa (which is expected, it was about 30 to 10 + 10 on Egypt and North Africa. Seeing that it’s a good time to retreat, I move my units out of Africa and quickly take over Southern America instead. Without the extra unit support from Africa, my continuous invasion on Greenland had worn thin, although I was able to wear Alan’s defense down to 12 units versus 6.

Next came the big gambit. I had about 25 troops at Brazil. Wesley had 3 in North Africa and the bulk of the troops in Egypt (Alan is ready to harass the European front). In a sudden offensive I pulled all the troops out of Brazil and into North Africa – an easy victory, then, in a true gamble, attack Southern Europe (which is the launching point of Wesley’s army so only 1 troop is left) with the 2 troops I can spare from North Africa, and proved successful. With a Risk trade ready in my hand, I was able to break up everyone’s continent hold while keeping two for myself. It was another one of those key moments in the game.

Wesley took a turn to reclaim Europe and Africa, and buffed North Africa with overwhelming odds so that I wouldn’t be able to pull a blitz ever again. Next comes Alan’s turn, who buffed his own defense for a last stand. My turn came and I had 5 risk cards to trade in for a total of about 45 – and made a critical mistake. I buffed Brazil to 35 troops to even up with Wesley’s defense in North Africa, and push a final offensive against Greenland, and sure enough it crumbled – I fortified Greenland with 30 against Wesley’s 30 in Iceland, and thought that victory is mine…

But I forgot that Wesley had two continents also! adding 13 troops to Iceland and making a couunter-offense, Greenland suffered a crushing defeat – 43 against 30 comes down to about 28 troops left for him to spare. He moved the troops back to Iceland, but my advantage is lost – with the last Risk card drawn, I can no longer hope for a fast buff to crush his troops, and my other areas are also wearing a little thin. To add insult to injury, Alan was able to trade in one last set of 50 troops, and launched a menacing offensive from his NE Asia stronghold to the rest of Asia.

Then it goes downhill from there – with North America nowhere in sight, the best I could do was to launch a massive counter-offensive against North Africa. I crushed Wesley’s troops but I was down to only 6 troops left to defend Brazil. Meanwhile, I wisely pulled all 30 of my troops defending Siam back into Australia to avoid Alan’s wrath. For the last few turns, it was a ping pong battle of losing and retaking Africa, and skirmishes in Asia. Wesley and I earns 9 unit each turn for the most part, and Alan was not able to finish up Asia with his final buff… and it was 5AM and Alan had to take his flight at 1PM, so we called it a draw, talked about strategies for a bit, and went to sleep.

The good news is, I think that I’m finally holding my own against my two brothers in strategic thinking – Wesley used to whoop me every time I play games like this (StarCraft, Axis and Allies, etc), but this time I think I had a real chance of winning. I believe I’ve made a few brilliant moves and manipulated Wesley and Alan appropriately for my own ends. Besides the unwise decision to invade Greenland and simply hold out (letting Wesley get a 3 troop bonus for Africa), I think I was the one with the best chance of winning all along.

Anyway, back to WoW…

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