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Risk 2210 A.D.» Forums » Reviews

Subject: Risk 2210: Fixes Some Problems, Adds Some New Ones rss

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David Giles
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Risk has a bad rap. People complain about all the flaws in the game--the 12 hour playing time, Australia, the randomness, etc. etc.
Risk 2210 fixes many of these problems rather elegantly, but also introduces some new ones. This review is a quick summary of improvements on the original Risk and problems that remain to be fixed, as well as my thoughts on each one.

(Note: this is not intended to be an exhaustive review; I only touch on gameplay elements that are relative to the points I'm discussing. I recommend looking up another review, or, better yet, the rulebook, if you want to learn more about how the game is played.)


Risk 2210 Fixes:

-The Static Board.
Although not as bad of a problem as, say Axis and Allies, the typical Risk game is rather predictable: Whoever has Australia will defend it vigorously and never lose it, the guy who has Asia will never ever hold on to it, etc.
In Risk 2210, 4 territories are chosen at random. These territories receive a Nuke token, meaning that they've been destroyed or contaminated or something; nothing can enter or move through these territories.
Believe it or not, this small change has a HUGE impact on the game. The layout of the map is rather dramatically changed, shaking up the game. For example, I've had several games where Australia is inaccessible, one where North America lost half its territories (but kept its full continent bonus), making it easier to hold, and another where the Middle East became a choke point between three continents.
This is my second-favorite change; the board feels different every single game. It really ups the replayability value.

-Australia. Australia's cool, if you own it. Otherwise, it's a thorn in your side, and completely unassailable.
Risk 2210 adds two additional routes into Australia, both composed of several Water Colonies (read: additional spaces). These extra entry points force the Australia player to spread out his forces, but the Water Colonies act as a buffer, making sure that conquering Australia will never be a cakewalk.
I think this is a really elegant solution to the tendency to "Turtle" in Australia. In most other Risk variants (e.g. The Clone Wars), the "Australia" continent simply has a second entrance. This nullifies most of the defensive properties of the continent, making it much less appealing. The way it's implemented in 2210, Australia is still quite defensible, but not impossible to take.

-Counting. "OK Red, your turn." "How many reinforcements do I get? One, two, three, four....Oop, forgot the Middle East. One, two, three..."
Risk 2210 adds a Scoreboard, which players use to keep track of how many territories they own, along with the amount of reinforcements they get. During play, it can be adjusted quite easily, and, if you lose track, players can count (when it's not their turn) to double-check.
This is my single favorite addition to 2210. In fact, I find it difficult to play without the Scoreboard now. Although it's not hard to count, it slows the game down considerably. This is another small change that has a huge impact on the game.

-The Randomness. Risk is, at heart, a dice-based wargame. With heavy emphasis on "dice." It's not uncommon for two defending armies to hold out against seventeen, or for an offensive force to breeze past an evenly-matched defending force like they weren't even there. Once or twice, it's amusing. After twelve times in a row, it gets old.
Risk 2210 adds elements that allow a player to influence his luck. Generals can be purchased which allow the player to roll 8-sided dice (instead of the regular 6-sided), which gives him a higher chance of winning. Players can also buy "Space Stations" defensive, land-based (go figure) fortresses, which allow players to roll 8-sided dice while defending, as well as providing extra troops.
I like this change. It's nice and adds a little flavor (the generals have different abilities), but it isn't as drastic as other changes.

-The 12 hour game time. Risk ends when there's one player left standing. This is fine and all, when you play against a computer, but with humans? Risk has a tendency to stretch on for a long, long time, often unreasonably so.
Risk 2210 introduces a new mechanic, where the game ends after turn 5. Players then score points equal to the amount of reinforcements they'd get on their next turn, and certain cards (worth extra points) are added to the total. Whoever has the most points wins.
This drops Risk from a 12-hour game to a 2- or 3- hour game. It's still not ideal, but it's much better. However, this introduces a problem, which I'll discuss shortly.


So, Risk 2210 does a lot of cool things. But what problems does it have?

Risk 2210 Breaks:

-The Last Turn.
Risk 2210, along with the time limit, introduces the concept of a "last turn." Thus, whoever goes last on the last turn has no need to play defensively. They can spread themselves as thin as they want, and it'll be OK, because no one's gonna hurt them. Meanwhile, all the other players are furious as they see their continent bonuses (and, therefore, points) evaporate in a puff of dice rolls.
This, in my opinion, is 2210's greatest weakness. The last turn is simply broken. I think a quick variant would be enough to fix it, but I have yet to hear one that I like; I have a suggestion of my own, which I'll tell you about in a little bit.

-Bidding For Turns. Risk 2210 introduced the concept of a cash-based economy to the Risk franchise. It's drastically simplified, though; you get "Credits" equal to the amount of troops you recieve each turn. These Credits are used to buy Generals, Power Cards, and Space Stations, as well as bidding for turns.
By turns 4 or 5, there is generally someone that has more credits than he can spend. Thus he can outbid anyone for turn order, selecting the all-powerful Fifth Spot on the Last Turn.
An idea I have to fix both this problem and the last one is rather simple: on the last turn, players select Turn Order in reverse order of scoring; thus, whoever has the fewest territories picks first. He can decide if he wants the Fifth Spot, or if he's afraid he'll get destroyed by his rivals before he's able to go, he can pick another one. Conversely, the most powerful player will get stuck with the third, second, or (gasp!) first spot, whichever is considered least desirable by the other players.
I must say, though, besides its broken-ness, I don't like bidding for turn order. It just doesn't seem to add all that much to the game, and can often get a player frustrated if he's consistently going third (generally the least desirable).

-The Moon. "Didn't you hear? The Moon is the new Australia."
The Moon is a spiffy addition, but, because it starts empty, is generally one of the first to be taken. After someone owns it, they generally start dumping troops on the three landing zones, effectively making the Moon impenetrable. If anyone tries to land on the Moon, the Moon's owner plays all kinds of defensive cards he's been building up, destroying the attacking army and urinating on their robotic corpses. The Moon's owner then chills on the Moon for the entire game, not interacting with anyone else unless it's a missile salvo or some half-hearted land defense (after all, he has the Moon. What concern are land-based territories to him?). And, if he decides he is sick of kickin' it up in the sky, he can play a card to come back down, dumping all the troops he's been saving on top of some poor sap who didn't bother to look up.
I don't think I've seen the Moon actually be contested for more than a turn or two, in all my games. Again, it's spiffy, but it just introduces a bunch of new problems.



Final Judgment:
I really enjoy Risk 2210. Overall, I think the changes were positive, and it adds a whole new layer of strategy to what was essentially a dice-rolling game. Just about everyone I've played it with enjoyed it too; the one exception was a guy that ended up winning anyways.
And, the best part? If you don't like the changes, you can play regular Risk, too. The board is the standard Earth board, and the territory cards (used for randomly selecting territories) can be used for reinforcements as well. The Scoreboard can even be used to keep track of how many reinforcements a set of cards will give you!
The pieces have even come in handy for other games. You get a set of five pawns in five colors (the Generals), which you can use for your print-and-play games, or old-school Dr. Lucky. You get a set of about 500 tokens (the armies) in three denominations and 5 colors, which you can use for pretty much anything. In this regard, the armies are more structurally sound than, say, Clone Wars armies, and smaller than Risk(2003) armies, and are in a generic-enough shape to be used for just about anything. The Credits (round cardboard chips in two denominations) can be used for scoring. And, you get dice. Who doesn't need more dice?

All in all? Highly recommended, especially if you already like Risk. I've gotten my money's worth many times over.

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mateo jurasic
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simple fix for the last turn last player advantage.
Instead of giving one victory point for every territory you have at the end to determine winner (as the rulebook says), we used the number of units you would get for the number of territories you have at the end as the point bonus. This makes that last player rush for territories less overpowered.

Never felt the Moon was a problem, because it is 3 separate continents that EVERY player with a base can attack, assuming they have the moon commander.



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Rob Arcangeli
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Good review of a good solid game.

For the last turn problem my group came up (stole from Warhammer 40,000) a random turn ending mechanism. When the 5th turn is done roll 1D6 and on a 5+ the game has finished, if not, play another turn and roll again with 4+ ending the game and so on. See how offensively the last person plays if there is a chance the game isn't done yet.

Of course this could make the game go on for 4/5 more turns so doesn't help the time problem.

In our games we also allow players to use their money to buy and sell ANYTHING. Cards, armies, bribes, continents, the moon etc. everything id fair game if you have the money and someone willing to sell. I often take the role of "arms dealer", building a nuke commander and buying up all the missles to sell for other peoples wars.
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mar hawkman
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Like Mateo said, in my experience the moon only gets turtled on if whoever went their first was up against incompetent opponents. If your opponents are expanding into the moon or water, COUNTERATTACK! It seems obvious to me really....
 
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Håkan König
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In our group, anyone going last was facing at least 4 opponents intent on destroying him before he had the chance to attack anything. Going last in a turn was a certain way for us to make sure that we wouldn't have any unit s left to attack with.
 
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mar hawkman
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Yeah, whoever goes last is least likely to survive at all.
 
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Andrew Prizzi
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Nice review, and a great game. One of my favorites.

I do have to disagree with some of your critiques though.

-The last turn being "broken". Perhaps the first time you play this might catch people off guard, but one people have played the game this shouldn't be an issue at all. The guy who goes last has some advantage? Ok so either A) bid to be the guy who goes last or B) failing in that, gang up on him so that he hardly has anything left when he does go last. It's a wargame. So make war on your enemies.

-The Moon being the new australia. Going all out to the moon is a risky (no pun intended) strategy. IF you're buying a space commander and space cards, you're neglecting your forces on earth which are probably being wiped out. Also, you're 3 landing zones can all be attacked from any of the space stations on earth, and you can't strike back unless you get the card that lets you go from the moon to earth, and then you have to luck out on which territory you draw to attack. Yes, the moon starts empty and is easy pickings, but it's the other players faults if they just stand buy and watch one player gobble the whole thing up.

In short, I think some of what you describe as "broken" features of the game are really issues with how the people in your group respond to each other's play.
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Clay Stuart
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Great review! I used to play a ton of Risk and this review makes me want to get Risk 2210.

I bet it's being sold all over. Does anyone know where they are selling this at the lowest price?
 
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mar hawkman
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I've had a surprising amount of difficulty finding it. Probably due to being out of print for several years.
 
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Andrew Prizzi
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Whenever I stop in a toys r us, they seem to have copies. Also looks like its available on amazon.
 
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Was George Orwell an Optimist?
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brokenimage321 wrote:
It's not uncommon for two defending armies to hold out against seventeen, or for an offensive force to breeze past an evenly-matched defending force like they weren't even there. Once or twice, it's amusing. After twelve times in a row, it gets old.

Actually, it is uncommon for two defending armies to hold out against seventeen. The precise odds of doing so are calculable. And if by 'evenly matched', you mean that each side has the same chance of winning, then seeing the attacker win twelve times in a row is a 1 in 4096 shot, so most people will never see it happen.
 
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David Giles
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I was exaggerating to make a point. Basic Risk is notoriously luck-based, with luck often going quite sour. Risk 2210, while still luck-based, has a few elements to mitigate the randomness.
 
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mar hawkman
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Yeah, every game has at least one occasion where one side gets absurdly lucky....
 
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Gary Gary
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Cheers for the review, made some interesting points!!

Has anybody played any of the expansions and would they recommend any of them. I'm intrested to hear if the mission cards or command decks are any good
 
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Jason Jullie
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marhawkman wrote:
Yeah, whoever goes last is least likely to survive at all.


Yep. In our group, if you bid for last turn, you will probably have nothing left when you finally get a chance to go. Everyone knows the power of going last and you pay a HIGH price for taking it.

On the first play, it can take a group by surprise, but after that it shouldn't be a problem.
 
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mar hawkman
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garypoos wrote:
Cheers for the review, made some interesting points!!

Has anybody played any of the expansions and would they recommend any of them. I'm intrested to hear if the mission cards or command decks are any good
Tech commander is nice, Factions RULE! Mars is cool. Amoebas are kinda lame.
 
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Ben Kus
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This is a great Endgame alternative I have come across from this site in another forum post, sorry I cant remember who to give the credit to.

Alternative Endgame - Endgame is unknown till end of Turn 4
▪ If you wish to negate the huge advantage of a player going last during the last turn, you can use these alternative endgame conditions:

o At the end of turn (or year) four, roll D6. Game ends, if you roll 5 or 6.
o At the end of turn five, roll D6. Game ends, if you roll 3, 4, 5 or 6.
o If not before, then game ends at the end of turn six.
 
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mar hawkman
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It's been mentioned several times in multiple threads.

one version has additional die rolls at the ends of turns 6+ where it ends if you don't get a 1.
 
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The Bids are not broken. Neither is the final 5th turn. In fact, after playing this game for years I now realise that these are the best features by far. Whenever I introduce this game to newcomers I always leave the explanation of this part till last and it always hooks them. The resource management mechanism of this game is fantastic. There is simply not enough energy to do all you WANT to do, so you need to decide what you NEED to do. Knowing that you can buy/bid a turn means that you might be able to get two turns in a row, or that you can prevent someone else from doing so. Knowing who is going to get the final 5th turn ramps the strategy up, not down. It is entirely possible to win without going last or to lose even after saving up all your energy to buy the final turn. Buy cards. Make treaties. Enforce cease-fires. Entrench on the moon. Assassinate commanders. Nuclear armageddon. Out-bid opponents. The great thing about this game is that whatever plan you have, you can be assured that there is a card or a strategy which can thwart it. Unlike vanilla Risk, there is no certain tactic at all, and this very much includes the Bid and 5th Turn mechanism.
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Benjamin Maggi
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Having played Risk: Lord of the Rings (not the revised Trilogy edition but the original one), which had an end-game mechanic based on a die roll which purported to represent whether the ring was found, I discovered that I liked the 2210 5-turn limit. A "maybe end turn" die roll as suggested as a variant above leads each player to go for broke at the end of the turn and then hope the game ends, which when it doesn't lets the next person take over. It is hectic but not enjoyable to have every player go "all in" turn after turn until a lucky die puts them all out of their misery.
 
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mar hawkman
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I like the ambiguity of not knowing when the game will end. Sure, it makes strategy less predictable, but the game gets stale otherwise.
 
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WARNER AIREY
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About the alleged broken bidding. You can bid a maximum of 3 energy tokens. So no matter how rich, you can't automatically outbid energy paupers (you just need to save 2 energy, and makes sure you take three territories, to get the third, as a bonus).

Here's another mistake. Back when I was creating my User Name, I mistyped 2210
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mar hawkman
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haha, my name is based on a typo I made back in 2000, but it was unique so I ran with it.
 
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Bret Guy
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risk2010guy wrote:
You can bid a maximum of 3 energy tokens. So no matter how rich, you can't automatically outbid energy paupers (you just need to save 2 energy, and makes sure you take three territories, to get the third, as a bonus).


From the rules, page 4: "Before the start of every year, players bid for
Turn Order. Take all your energy markers in hand.
Secretly choose how many you want to bid and
place those in your other hand. You may bid
anything from 0 to everything you have."

Not sure where you found the three-token-limit...?
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