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The Best Alternatives to Risk
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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This is a list of games to play with people who might like Risk. Essentially it a list of "The Best Light Wargames for 3 or more Players", and I actually renamed it from that.

Most of the games on this list are sourced from my previous geeklist, Ultimate Light Wargame Battle! but feel free to add any games that you think belong here.

To qualify for the list games have to be "Best with" or "Recommended with" 3 or more players and have to have a category of "Wargame".

Update: Now sorted by the combined rating, giving points for the rank compared with other games on this list for BGG Rating, BGG Ranking and #Plays. A penalty is given if the game is not "Best With" 3 or more players and a bonus is given if the game is Print 'n' Play (because of cheapness & availability).

Other lists in this series:
The Best Space Games
The Best Co-operative Games
The Best Party Games
The Best Dexterity Games (or 48 dexterity games that are better than Jenga)

And my full reference geeklist for choosing games:
The Which Game to Play/Buy Metalist
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1. Board Game: Shogun [Average Rating:7.62 Overall Rank:78]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 3960

nishikawa-collector: "Boy was I happy to finally get this game. It does not disappoint. I already like Wallenstein (see my rating/comments there) but they have improved the game here by fixing the random turn order problem, lessening the type of events and adding multiple maps to play on. I am a Japan freak, I admit (having lived there 12 years of my life), but this game captures the Warring States Period perfectly. Artwork is fabulous. Recommend to anyone for a great evening of tactical fun!! Thank you Queen Games."

Rating pts: 2
Rank pts: 1
Plays pts: 6
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 9
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2. Board Game: Wallenstein (first edition) [Average Rating:7.56 Overall Rank:183]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 4835

npetry: "I have played Wallenstein many times now, and the game remains a solid 10 for me. This game is superb -- it is a bit longer than most of the games I play (~3 hrs), but it is completely engrossing for the duration. The game uses a variety of novel mechanisms that provide _controlled_ randomness, leading to many interesting decisions. Among these, the battle tower is a standout -- it provides a quick and amusing way to resolve combat, and since unused armies remain lodged in the tower for future battles, players' luck tends to average out much better than dice. Overall, a stunning game from a master designer!"

Rating pts: 4
Rank pts: 2
Plays pts: 4
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 10
 
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3. Board Game: A Game of Thrones (first edition) [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:190]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 4133

Warbringer 25: "This is the best designed strategy game I own. It captures the feel of the books its based on with amazing art, interesting game design and amazingly balanced rules. If you like the Game of Thrones novels and you like games like Risk... then you owe to yourself to buy this game. It is fantastic!!"

Rating pts: 8
Rank pts: 4
Plays pts: 5
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 17
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4. Board Game: Struggle of Empires [Average Rating:7.54 Overall Rank:187]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5, 6, 7 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6, 7 players

Total Plays: 1953

kamchatka: "Sometimes I feel like this game's most boring and tireless promoter. It's a great empire-building game with a perfect balance of depth and ease of play; it can run a little long for some people, but the downtime is interesting enough, particularly with 5-6 players. Some people think the most original element of this game is the alliance mechanism, in which you bid over who you're allowed to attack. Personally, I think the best thing about Struggle of Empires is that while it doesn't have too terribly many measurements of success to keep track of, it has a wide range of tiles that allow you to really customize your strategy. There is no single obvious route to victory."

Rating pts: 5
Rank pts: 3
Plays pts: 13
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 21
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5. Board Game: StarCraft: The Board Game [Average Rating:7.35 Overall Rank:235]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 2904

martybjsg: "After 10 plays this game is incredible. It has all the stuff I like - A theme that fits, a variable setup, too much to learn quickly. I love playing a game that I have to 'discover' as I go. For instance, the same race on the same starting planet may have to played totally different since the other planets and races will change. The components are worth the price of admission - great minis, very durable cards, and big planets that fit everything they need to without being cumbersome. A minor quibble is the organization of the rulebook is not intuitive (for me) and the index very incomplete (a good start, though!). I doubt I will tire of this game soon and I know there will be expansions coming to spice it up even more. This is a 10 in my book.
This is the most addictive boardgame I can recall playing. Just one more... just one more... Reminds me of Magic the Gathering without cost too much $$$"

Rating pts: 7
Rank pts: 7
Plays pts: 9
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 23
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6. Board Game: Friedrich [Average Rating:7.57 Overall Rank:274]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1278

crackedlcd81: "This game recaptured some of the feeling I had when I first got into European games some 10 years ago, a feeling that's been missing from all the repetitive and boring German games for a couple of years now- a sense of discovery, esotericism, and innovation. Friedrich is a brilliant, brilliant game and a masterpiece of design work- a more or less traditional historical wargame with a traditional card game to resolve combat. Simple enough, but the subtleties of design decisions are difficult to describe without being able to demonstrate the experiential realizations that you will come to during the game as you become aware of how it all fits together. Beautiful."

Rating pts: 3
Rank pts: 5
Plays pts: 20
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 28
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7. Board Game: Vinci [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:379]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 2495

qrux: "Very good empire building game. Not as deep as Britannia or History of the World but flows much quicker. It is about as complex as Risk so it is very easy to teach new players."

Rating pts: 12
Rank pts: 8
Plays pts: 10
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 30
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8. Board Game: Nexus Ops [Average Rating:7.28 Overall Rank:225]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 5354

oskari: "Light, fun, and short war game. Very good with two players as well. The Secret Mission system does a great job of standardizing the length of the game, and it also keeps you on your toes all the time.
For a Hasbro game, the component quality is exceptional. I was very pleasantly surprised. Only the box, the monolith, and the player mats are of the usual Hasbro quality."

Rating pts: 17
Rank pts: 11
Plays pts: 3
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 31
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9. Board Game: Britannia [Average Rating:7.26 Overall Rank:348]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 4 players

Total Plays: 1303

Deliverator: "Awesome light war game. I love the ebb and flow for each player as their nations come into play. It's a fairly scripted game as nations come in at specific times but there's enough room to experiment and enough incentive to push yourself to get the hard-to-earn points that I don't think any two games will play exactly the same."

Rating pts: 13
Rank pts: 10
Plays pts: 19
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 42
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10. Board Game: Diplomacy [Average Rating:7.09 Overall Rank:360]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 7 players
Recommended with 6, 7 players

Total Plays: 1923

Balthus Dire: "amazingly rich--combining negotiation and role-play encouraging elements (my friend always writes up proclimations of war and reads them like a herald when changing alliances) with a tight, satisfying, abstract-game-like combat mechanism. will run long (6+ hours), but highly recommended. PBEMs can last a year+, but may be the best way to play."

Rating pts: 18
Rank pts: 12
Plays pts: 14
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 44
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11. Board Game: Axis & Allies [Average Rating:6.77 Overall Rank:727]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, 5 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 2029

dante9: "Holy crap is this a good game. The alternate rules are what make the game so much more fun. The new edition fixed a lot of the annoying glitches in the original edition, like the one-hit battleship."

Rating pts: 22
Rank pts: 15
Plays pts: 11
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 48
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12. Board Game: Wings of War: Famous Aces [Average Rating:6.89 Overall Rank:548] [Average Rating:6.89 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, more than 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, more than 4 players

Total Plays: 3894

rapier1642: "The game mechanics of this system are great. Simple, effective and to the point, they allow for a fast dogfight, with friends after only a few seconds of rules explinations. Also the game has high replay value, especially when the other sets (Watch Your Back & Burning Drachens) are mixed into the fray."

Rating pts: 25
Rank pts: 16
Plays pts: 7
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 48
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13. Board Game: History of the World [Average Rating:7.14 Overall Rank:388]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 6 players
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 1403

The Gamester: "Just a super game. Probably the thing I like the most about it is that no one is ever totally out of the game. But that's sure not everything I like about it. The game board & the pieces are fabulous. You need to play the game with the old original rules at the back of the rule book though. That's the best game. Great fun, good strategy."

Rating pts: 20
Rank pts: 13
Plays pts: 17
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 50
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14. Board Game: Tide of Iron [Average Rating:7.30 Overall Rank:353]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 4 players

Total Plays: 2005

Bro-dee: "This game is perfect, for war-gamer like me, it is obvious will bring a lot of fun and enjoyment because it's really based on historical background and a lot of details in resolving attack or even defense, various type of unit squads make it very different with other war-games alike.
Several scenarios can be picked and you can determine what kind of game you want to play, either you want to defense while your opponent attacking or vise versa. Even Newbie who usually plays tactical combat in computer can win over board game experts."

Rating pts: 6
Rank pts: 6
Plays pts: 12
Not Best With penalty: 30
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 54
 
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15. Board Game: Heroscape Master Set: Rise of the Valkyrie [Average Rating:7.41 Overall Rank:192] [Average Rating:7.41 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 9899

volnon: "I rate this game so highly not just because it plays well, but because the plastic hex board is the best design I have ever seen for a changeable board. It is FANTASTIC! I bought 5 games and bought 3 extra water tile bags on Ebay to create some huge water maps. This game will be talked about for years as a kind of classic."

Rating pts: 11
Rank pts: 9
Plays pts: 1
Not Best With penalty: 30
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 51
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16. Board Game: Ikusa [Average Rating:7.03 Overall Rank:468]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 906

cabalzero: "My absolute fave of the MB games. Not as mired in technological tidbits as Axis & Allies, Shogun is simpler to play but harder to master than the other MB games. It does benefit from having more than 2 players, though. And how many "American" games can you name with a blind-bidding element? Yeah, that's what I thought."

Rating pts: 24
Rank pts: 14
Plays pts: 22
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 60
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17. Board Game: Condottiere [Average Rating:6.70 Overall Rank:672]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 3131

kuhrusty: "A favorite. Simple rules, only a few types of cards to understand, but they work together in interesting ways. I like that it's possible to win even when you have a bad hand of cards. (But of course some hands just can't be saved.) Also, few things are more satisfying than winning when everyone else at the table is trying to stop you."

Rating pts: 31
Rank pts: 22
Plays pts: 8
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 61
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18. Board Game: Risk 2210 A.D. [Average Rating:6.74 Overall Rank:744]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4, 5 players
Recommended with 3, 4, 5 players

Total Plays: 1524

dodonna: "Fixes the flaws of the original "Risk" by imposing a five-turn limit and doing away with the massive army build-up. Some of the card effects are a bit random, but I find that aspect appealing. The sea zones open up the traditional world map, and the moon adds more options for would-be conquerers."

Rating pts: 27
Rank pts: 20
Plays pts: 15
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 62
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19. Board Game: Wooden Ships & Iron Men [Average Rating:6.96 Overall Rank:767]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2, more than 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 2 players

Total Plays: 627

cull: "I love this game. I usually only play the basic rules. It's great fun to maneuver with the wind to the right spot and let loose with a whole broadside. Most plain-looking board and pieces I've ever seen, but somehow it works. But miniatures would make it even better."

Rating pts: 26
Rank pts: 21
Plays pts: 24
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 71
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20. Board Game: Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition [Average Rating:6.94 Overall Rank:1281]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3 players
Recommended with 3, 5 players

Total Plays: 319

Bagpuss64: "Excellent grafting of theme onto Risk mechanics. Surprisingly well balanced and far less dice-dependent than might be anticipated by those who learnt to play vanilla Risk as a child. Some genuine tactical considerations, and with three factions chasing unique agendas, a real challenge for experienced gamers while offering a theme-rich and enjoyably light game for non-gamers."

Rating pts: 16
Rank pts: 25
Plays pts: 36
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 77
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21. Board Game: Viktory II [Average Rating:6.97 Overall Rank:1765]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 4 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 players

Total Plays: 418

Ze Weeg: "The perfect balance of simplicity, speed, and strategic depth. Though outstanding as written, the rules are easily tweaked to give you exactly the wargaming experience you are looking for. Hard for me to get motivated to play the longer wargames in my collection when I can scratch the same itch with this little gem, and get in several games during the same amount of time. Brilliant!"

Rating pts: 19
Rank pts: 30
Plays pts: 30
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 79
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22. Board Game: Battleground: Fantasy Warfare [Average Rating:7.01 Overall Rank:1083] [Average Rating:7.01 Unranked]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 2 players
Recommended with 2, more than 2 players

Total Plays: 741

TomVasel: "Granted, some people won't want to play the game, because they enjoy painting and modeling miniatures. But for those people like myself, who want to play a miniatures game and don't have either the time or the money to dish out on a miniatures system that may or may not be supported by its company, the rules are excellent - the Command Action system is one of the best I've every seen - and all you need are dice, a marker, and the cards! A miniature game I can carry in my pocket! That alone should make you want to pick up the game, but believe me when I say that the gameplay is much, much more than the size of the game."

Rating pts: 14
Rank pts: 19
Plays pts: 23
Not Best With penalty: 30
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 86
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23. Board Game: Warangel [Average Rating:7.68 Overall Rank:2760]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3 players
Recommended with 2, 3 players

Total Plays: 132

Angra: "It's a great game - and the worldwide success is the best witness to it; sure it won't be very complex - but who ever said that the more complex things are the better? Moreover, this game has the excellent merit of not hiding itself behind high-sounding names or very famous brands. Even if it was born from an easy idea without too much fuss, it reached an incredible and well deserved success - solid rules, open to many variants, easy to learn and easy to play. That's the way games should be."

Tony's note: this game has a mass of 9 & 10 ratings by Italian geeks who have not rated anything else. However it did receive a positive review by Tom Vasel.

Rating pts: 9
Rank pts: 35
Plays pts: 42
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 86
 
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24. Board Game: Age of Mythology: The Boardgame [Average Rating:6.19 Overall Rank:1823]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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Best with 3 players
Recommended with 2, 3, 4 players

Total Plays: 1429

PopeBrain: "(10 plays) This game truly feels like we are waging epic battles with powerful mythical creatures. This is a three player game. Period. This game has been bagged around BGG over the years, but it just works with the people I play with. Sure, there's downtime for one person in combat, but they're always watching, cheering one player on ... goddamn peanut gallery. The combat system is what people don't like mostly, but we really like it. One on one, beast on beast, like the tales of old. It works for this game (and this game only, I think). I may never get sick of this one."

Rating pts: 40
Rank pts: 32
Plays pts: 16
Not Best With penalty: 0
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 88
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25. Board Game: Conquest of the Empire [Average Rating:6.81 Overall Rank:758]
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
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(Not best with any number)
Recommended with 4, 5, 6 players

Total Plays: 1091

bookgnome: "WOW! I was blown away when I opened the box. Everything is of the highest quality from the pieces to the dice to the markers...even the box is covered with a nice, textured linen paper. Eagle went above and beyond with the production, and I'm kind of surprised the price stayed at $60.00. Struggle of Empires was one of the best games I ever played, so I'm expecting this to be just as enjoyable and even more so thanks to the amazing quality of the board and bits. Limiting the action cards to shorten the playing time is a good idea in my opinion, since some of the main negative comments about SoE was the 3-4 hour length."

Rating pts: 21
Rank pts: 17
Plays pts: 21
Not Best With penalty: 30
PnP Bonus: 0
TOTAL: 89
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