Ron Perlman once said “War…war never changes”.
But then Old Snake once said “War…war has changed”. Who do I listen to? Who’s right? Well…in this situation, both are right. I recently purchased Risk Legacy, a new variant on the old Risk formula. What makes this one different is as you play the game, you and the other players help shape the world you play in. For example, none of the continents are named to begin with. You know Australia? Well it doesn’t exist here. Sure it’s on the board, but it’s not “Australia”. There are cards that you read, follow it’s intructions and then tear the card up in half, there are sealed envelopes that will only open once certain objectives are filled. Hell, you even get to sign the board if you win! The world is a blank canvas, waiting for you to mold it into your own “perfect” world, full of stories, tales and memories of your games and friends.
I picked the game up and I spread the word to my Risk loving friends and once they heard, they wanted in. “It’s a 15 game commitment” I told them. Their only response? “We know, we want in”. We organised a night and a time and it was all set in motion. Once my friends were here, it was time for setup and to pick factions. But at this point, I think it’s time to hand it off to Brendan, leader of the Enclave of the Bear. Brendan was at the first battle of the new world, experiencing the terror and ferocity of war, he has better knowledge of the events that transpired…
We are a strong and powerful people, us of the Enclave of the Bear. We are genetically altered beings of great strength and will fight to the ends of the Earth to rightfully claim this planet in our name. We were sent here after scientists discovered they could create duplicates of the old Earth, untouched by man and ready to begin life anew. We thought this would allow a new order of peace and friendship to spread through the lands…but it wasn’t long before the wars started. There were other factions that sprung up, vying for a piece of this world. The Saharan Republic, led by Heather are owners of old weaponry, but rely on guerillia tactics. Khan Industries, led by Lawrence, are not trained well and their machinery is inefficient but live by the motto “People and guns are easy to make”. Die Mechaniker, led by Elijah, are heavily armoured and can take a battering. And the last faction, led by Murace is the Imperial Balkania, who are the purest of humans, well trained and organised.
Battles were fought and for a long time, nothing was claimed, but one day that all changed. War had finally begun, and there was no way any of these people were going to take the world easily.
My first order of business was to find a suitable place to start and establish a new HQ, I chose what on Earth is called Argentina. My foes took place in other countries. Murace took Eastern Australia, Lawrence took China, Elijah took Russia and Heather took South Africa. We sent our troops out to help gain new ground and scout territories and I quickly took over most of what was originally the continent of South America and North America. Murace quickly gained the entirety of the old Continent of Australia, with Heather taking most of what was known of Africa. Lawrence and Elijah scrambled to control most of the former continents of Asia and Europe, with Elijah using Russia as a base and heading backwards over Europe gaining territories. Lawrence, having set up in China tried to gain as much ground as possible in Asia, mostly succeeding.
We had finally set up and were ready for the first of many wars on this new world. My first order of business was to control South America and gain access to more troops, with plans of continuing my assault later into the northern parts of North America and head into Africa. I was successful and quickly gained South America as my own. I decided to wait and recover. Murace moved next and with his skills of quickly gaining troops, looked like he had the upper hand on all of us from the get go, which scared us greatly, even if others didn’t show it. He attacked and moved into Asia. Heather was next and in retaliation, fought back against me, but was unsuccessful in her attempt, much to my glee. I watched over troops that were in other territories and defended them well. Eventually though, my troop in Africa that was marooned in between both Elijah’s, Heather’s and Lawrence’s armies was destroyed by the Saharan Republic. Heather had gained control of Africa. Elijah made his move next, trying to push back Lawrence’s defenses early. He was partially successful. Next, Lawrence retaliated and took on both Elijah’s and Murace’s armies and both succeeded and failed. He regathered and refocused.
This war was already becoming fierce and I hoped I could quickly gain an advantage. Whilst defending myself and laying out an offense, I bided my time and gathered my resources. I was formulating a plan and hoped others would not catch onto what the Enclave of the Bear was up to. As time went on, people were gaining new ground whilst losing others. Murace managed to crack into Europe, whilst Lawrence expanded into the lower parts of Asia and Europe. Elijah was defending his troops with great force and Heather was controlling her armies effectively in Africa. At this point, it was even and anything could wildly change the tide of the battle.
It reached a time when I felt I could activate my plan. I had all the elements ready, enough resources and troops at my disposal to help claim victory in the first war. I needed to strike quickly and efficiently for this plan to work and I had one shot at it. I used my resources to gain an advantage and readied my troops for a full on assault of Africa. Heather steadied her defenses in preparation. Utilising the quick route from Brazil to North Africa, I sent my troops to attack hers with the hopes of taking over. I won easily, with my several troops overpowering her small army there. Our next step was to continue into Central Africa, which again, we did with ease. There was only South Africa left, where her base stood, before I could claim victory.With my armies, whilst losing a few troops, still strong, against her small army, I thought this would be an easy victory. I lost a few more troops in this battle, but eventually, due to my genetically altered strength, we overcame our enemy and won.
This was the end of a long and bloody battle, but just the first in what I think will be a long war. We, the Enclave of the Bear, have quickly asserted our strength and dominance in this new world. The other factions now recognise us for what we can do. They will not take us lightly, or they will soon learn our true power.
Our first game of Risk Legacy was interesting. We had a new bunch of rules to learn and new things to set up. With the factions, we had to assign them each a power that carries on over all games right from the get go. These varied from gaining extra troops at certain points, to pure luck things like my ability to steam roll enemies as long as I get 3 of a kind with a dice roll. Our first game ran quickly though, with about an hour run time. These first few games will run quick but gain in length as time goes on.
As a result of my victory I gained the ability to do two things. One was to sign the board declaring me as the winner. This was a great moment for me, as in the 3-4 years I’ve been playing Risk, I’ve never won a game, so to do so here, on a version where winners will be remembered and my victory helps shape that world, was important to me.
The second thing was one of 3 actions. A) Name a continent, which would not only be great in shaping the world, but if I own it, gain extra troops. B) Found a major city, name it and gain a bonus. and C) Cancel a scar, which I couldn’t do (Scars are bonuses added to a city). What did I pick? I chose to name a continent. This was the hard part, because I wanted a name that would be cool, but something I loved. I chose to rename the continent of South America for a few reasons. I love the continent in Risk, and try to take it when I can and because I love pretending to be a Che Guevara-esque figure in the game. What did I rename it to though? Hyrule. I felt this was the best name for this place and no one complained.
Everyone else managed to hold on in the end too, with no factions being eliminated. As a result, they either got to increase resources for a country or find a minor city. Heather chose to increase resources, while Murace, Lawrence and Elijah found minor cities. They named them Pallet Town, Stratwood and Opportunity respectively. After this we packed it up and called it a night.
Risk Legacy is one interesting game. It engages me in the game more than I’ve ever had before, probably because of the whole personal aspect to it. It’s an extremely fresh change to the old formula and it helps create memories, I mean the day after we finished playing it, me and Murace were messaging each other about moments that had happened in the game the night before. Our second game is up soon, hopefully things will continue to be interesting…