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Rule Variations
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Two-player Risk

The rules for this 2-player game were developed by Michael Levin of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and were included within the Official Rules published in 1975.
This 2-player version is played according to the traditional rules of Risk. Each player takes 40 armies and alternately places one army on an unoccupied territory until each has occupied 14 territories.The remaining armies are alternately distributed on the occupied territories. The remaining 14 territories are occupied by a force called the Allied Army. These armies are composed of playing pieces different in colour from those used by the two players. Two Allied Armies will be placed on each unoccupied territory for a total of 28 armies.

Each player accumulates armies in the traditional manner. At the beginning of each turn, the Allied Army is entitled to one half the number of armies the player receives, rounding down. So, if a player obtains a total of nine armies, the Allied Army is entitled to four. Each player places the armies on the board according to the traditional rules. After a player has accumulated his armies, placed them on the board and completed his attacks (but prior to the fortifying phase) the opposing player places the number of Allied Armies (determined above) in Allied occupied territories.

Each player attacks according to the traditional rules. A player may attack the other player or the Allied Army. When a player attacks the Allied Army, the other player rolls the dice for the Allied Army. Immediately after the Allied Armies are placed, the player who placed them may act as the Allied Army and attack the other player's armies. He need not use the armies immediately but may allow them to accumulate in a territory. However, if they are not used, the other player may use them to his advantage when he gets the use of the Allied forces. When a player is commanding Allied forces he may not attack his own territories. Allied forces do not pick up Risk cards, and they accumulate armies only in the manner described above.

The first player may take his free move only after the second player has stopped attacking with the Allied Army. The Allied Army is not entitled to a free move.

The game ends when one player loses all his territories. If the Allied Army loses all its territories it may no longer obtain additional armies and game play is continued according to the traditional rules.

Capital Risk

ach player has a "capital" in one of the initially-occupied territories. The player to capture all capitals wins. Capital Risk often leads to much shorter games.

Secret Mission

Secret Mission Risk, which was the standard game in European editions for some decades[3] until 2003, gives each player a specific mission short of complete world domination. Players do not reveal their missions to each other until the end of the game, which is after the first player to complete and hold the mission shows the Secret Mission Card and wins the game.

The missions are:

  1. Capture Europe, Australia and one other continent
  2. Capture Europe, South America and one other continent
  3. Capture North America and Africa
  4. Capture Asia and South America
  5. Capture North America and Australia
  6. Capture 24 territories
  7. Destroy all armies of a named opponent or, in the case of being the named player oneself, to Capture 24 territories
  8. Capture 18 territories and occupy each with two troops

It is important to note that with destroying the army of a said colour, the player with the card does not need to destroy all of the armies himself. If an opponent destroys the last army of the said colour, the player with that mission card still wins.

In 2003, a different "Secret mission" version of the game was released, in which each player received four (easier) secret missions to complete.

Alternate Card Turn-In Rules

In some editions, the cards display either one or two stars. Cards may be exchanged to draft a number of armies depending on the sum of these stars (limited from 2 to 10 stars) according to the table below. Cards may be accumulated as long as the player wishes. The new armies are immediately deployed in any combination across the player's occupied territories.
One common house rule follows the same ratios of troops, but simply uses cards instead of stars. This "currency" method prevents the wild escalation of reinforcements that occurs with the traditional rules. Players are forced to turn in their cards if they have a full set of five.
If an Objective has been accomplished on the player's turn, that player is prohibited from also drawing a Risk card on that turn. The territory on the card is irrelevant when drafting troops.

An additional card exchange regime is to offer a fixed number of armies depending on the emblem on the card. Three cannons would receive four armies, three infantry would receive six armies, three cavalry would receive eight armies, and one of each emblem would receive 10 armies.

Yet another card exchange regime follows the escalating exchange rules, but after awarding 15 armies for the sixth exchanged set the number is reset to the original four armies before increasing again with each exchange.

Other Rule Variations

The official rulebook suggests variations to the game-play mechanics for "Risk experts," any or all of which can be used depending on player preference. These suggestions include:

  • Reducing the rate at which Risk card sets increase in value so that they only go up by 1 each time.
  • Allowing for armies to move to any controlled territory if it has contiguity between it and its destination (rather than only an immediate neighbour).
  • Granting an attack advantage (the option to re-roll one die per battle) when attacking from or to a territory for which the attacker holds a Risk card.
  • Granting attackers the ability to change one of the dice rolled so that a six is showing. An attacker may do this only once per turn.

In addition to these official variations, many computer and Internet versions have different rules, and gaming clubs often use house rules or competition-adjusted rules. These may include structure such as forts, free-play (players take turns simultaneously), or other rules.

See also: Basics, Strategy & Dice Probabilities




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