Risk 101 - About the Board Game

The basics about Risk, an enduring classic board game

Board game of Risk
Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

Risk is probably the best-known and most-played war game. Some would argue with the moniker of "war game" being applied to Risk, since that label often is used to describe games with much more detail and adherence to historical accuracy. But using it in the broad sense -- a game about war -- Risk definitely is a war game.

First published in 1959, Risk has proven to be an enduring classic. In 1986, Castle Risk (played on a map of Europe) was published; 2001 brought Risk 2210 AD (featuring underwater and moon territories), and 2002 saw the publication of Lord of the Rings Risk (set in Middle-earth).

The game has been published in many languages and several computer versions.

Risk Rules and Variants

The rules for Risk have been modified several times through the years, not even including the new rules for Castle Risk, Risk 2210 AD and Lord of the Rings Risk. Perhaps most notable was the addition of Secret Mission Risk. These links will take you to Risk resources for official rules and unofficial variants.

Risk Strategy

Risk isn't the most complex game in the world, but knowing some basic strategies will help you win more than your fair share of games. This link takes you to a page that includes tips from a variety of sources, including our "How to Win at Risk" feature.

Playing Risk Online and Via Computer

There are few ways to play an official version of Risk online, but numerous unofficial sites offer the opportunity. If you're interested in playing by computer but not online, there are several freeware and shareware programs available in addition to the official CD-ROMs.

Risk History

The history of Risk isn't as complex or controversial as the history of Monopoly, but it's worth taking a look at.

If You Like Risk, Try These Games

Risk definitely fits into the "light wargame" category, and these games should find a welcome home in the collection of any gamer who enjoys Risk.

  • Axis & Allies
  • Axis & Allies: Europe
  • Axis & Allies: Pacific
  • Battle Cry
  • History of the World
  • Memoir '44