Risk is probably the most widespread war strategy game ever created, and undoubtedly one of the all-time classic board games.
Using secret mission Risk, you can have many different types of game, even with Classic Risk gameplay.
Yet perhaps you are longing for something more? Maybe you want to try a different theme, or even distinct mechanics?
Or perhaps you want to introduce your children to Risk, and they are just a little young for the Classic game.
Well, it’s a good thing that there are so many great versions of Risk out there!
- 1 About Risk
- 2 Risk Board Game Versions
- 2.1 Classic Risk – Best Overall
- 2.2 Risk Legacy Board Game – Best for Fixed Groups
- 2.3 Risk 60th Anniversary Edition Best for 6 Players
- 2.4 Risk Star Wars Edition – Best for Young Star Wars Fans
- 2.5 Risk Junior – Best Risk Version for Children
- 2.6 Risk Warhammer 40K – Best for Warhammer Fans
- 2.7 Risk Europe – Best for History Buffs
- 2.8 Other Risk Versions
- 2.9 DIY Risk
- 3 Best Risk Board Game Version
What is about humans that we find the idea of conquering the world so appealing?
Well, perhaps it’s because it is just a game, and we can rule on paper without all the responsibilities that entails!
Created in 1957 by Albert Lamoriss, a French Film director, the classic board game Risk is one of the most appealing war strategy games.
This classic strategy game isn’t particularly bloodthirsty, and nicely combines luck and strategy to give experienced players an advantage but not an overwhelming one.
Since I have children, I do prefer the less blood-thirsty ones. And that’s another advantage tabletop games have–they are rarely, if ever, as graphically bloodthirsty as video games.
Even better, since it comes in many versions, you can be sure to find a theme that appeals to you! From Lord of the Rings to Risk Legacy, there’s something for everyone!
Let’s look at some of the Risk board games out there, including the Classic Risk game line.
Risk Board Game Versions
Classic Risk – Best Overall
Playing Time: About 1-2 Hours
I have to mention the classic Risk board game version. To me, this strategic board game is amazing and a great place to start for people new to Risk.
I remember many an evening playing this exciting game when I was a child, and the modern version is, to me, better quality, with actual miniatures instead of ugly tokens.
I love the secret mission mode as it changes the game a bit each time. It’s also usually quicker than conquer the world, which can drag on if you’re not careful.
The manufacturer recommends the game for ages 10+, but in my experience, you can go younger. For younger players, I suggest starting in conquer the world mode (where it is easier to help them) then, once they have the hang of it, enabling secret mission Risk.
In fact, conquer the world is an excellent way to start for anyone new to the game.
Apart from very young players (less than 8), I can’t think of anyone this game isn’t suitable for–unless you’ve already got it and are looking for alternatives.
My one dislike is the inaccuracy of the map, in particular the way Russia is portrayed. I think it’s an improvement from when I was younger, but still could be a little better. I mean I understand why they do it, but why not split Russia into regions instead of just implying Eastern Europe = Russia. (Ironically, when I was younger it was Eastern Europe = Ukraine!)
Anyway, if playing with young children, I do suggest looking at a real map afterward and perhaps pointing out the inaccuracies.
Other than that, this is an awesome game. It’s so amazing to move armies around the game board, and of course, the dice mean no attack is guaranteed to win!
- Nice strategy game element of luck
- Classic game played by generations
- Great for everyone
- Lots of variations with secret mission mode
- Better quality than 30 years ago
- Some artistic license with the map
- Eventually, you want something different
Risk Legacy Board Game – Best for Fixed Groups
Playing Time: 1 hour each game (15 to reach conclusion)
What’s done can never be undone. That’s what Risk Legacy is about: You literally change the game each time you play.
Cards are put permanently out of play, and new components revealed each time you break open the box for a round. Every game you play will affect each future game.
Ask yourself–are you comfortable ripping up pieces of the game? Because that’s what you will have to do in Risk Legacy! I’m uncomfortable destroying things in this way, but it is a feature of legacy games.
Risk Legacy is also designed for about 15 rounds. After that, you can absolutely still play it, but the game stops changing. At one point, Hasbro produced an expansion pack so you could keep playing, but, unfortunately, no longer does so.
I think this is a board game to play with a fixed group of people over a limited time. It’s less fun if you are swapping players who then need to live with previous decisions. It’s also not as enjoyable if you continue after the first 15 games, or stop before the end.
This actually makes it a good family game. And once you’ve finished with it, you can always go out and buy another, differently-themed, legacy game. Some customers even went out and bought a second Risk Legacy game.
- Changing gameplay
- Hidden surprises
- Easy learning curve
- Reports of poor QC and wrongly labeled components
- Need to destroy parts of the game
- Works best if played for a limited number of games
- One player can build a permanent advantage
Risk 60th Anniversary Edition Best for 6 Players
Playing Time: 2 hours
This is your standard Risk game with 6 different colored armies instead of 5, meaning up to 6 players can take part.
The pieces are larger than previous versions and have some nice detail to them.
Gameplay is still the same. Although it is enjoyable for those new to strategy games, seasoned veterans may find it to be a bit dull.
- Nicer armies
- More players
- Beautiful gamebox and detailed game board
- Standard gameplay
- Flimsy army trays
Risk Star Wars Edition – Best for Young Star Wars Fans
Players: 2 or 2 teams of 2
Playing Time: 1 hour
Ages: 10 +
Since the Risk Star Wars edition game pits the Empire vs the Rebel Alliance you need either 2 or 4 players, with 4 players you are playing as 2 teams of 2.
This game is ideal for young Star Wars Fans. The gameplay means no one gets eliminated, and the missions are pretty cool.
It’s pretty exciting at first with three simultaneous actions: The battle to destroy the Death Star, the attack on the planetary shields, and the fight between Luke and his father.
I think for older adults, it’s exciting at first, but does perhaps get a little repetitive.
In any case, this isn’t really a Risk game. I’d class it more as a Risk-themed Star Wars game than a Star Wars-themed Risk game. Still, it’s good fun, especially with children, and I think worthwhile.
- Tie Fighter shaped game board
- Easy to learn gameplay
- No player elimination
- Could get repetitive for older players
- Can’t play as 3 or 5 players
- Not Risk
This isn’t the only Star Wars Edition game available; other Risk games set in the Star Wars universe include:
The Black Edition has the same gameplay but much nice pieces, cards, and board–get this if you want to splurge on something you will be keeping.
The Clone Wars Edition is based on Star Wars I-III and pits the separatists against the republic. This means you do need an even number of players (2 or 4).
Risk Junior – Best Risk Version for Children
Playing Time: 20–30 minutes
Age: 5 +
If you want a more accessible version of Risk, then Risk Junior board game is ideal for young children.
It’s super-easy to learn how to play and win, plus it has a lower playing time, making for a nice quick game to fill in part of the day.
Since it is much more dependent on luck than than strategy there is a very good chance for younger players to win without any “help.”
Plus, it avoids the potential “bullying” that can happen in the adult version of risk when everyone gangs up on one player, or where a player is eliminated.
Of course, this means it can be a bit boring for older children and adults. Still, if, like me, you enjoy playing with your children, then this game is ideal.
There were a lot of customer complaints around the dice flipper ships. Using these to roll dice tended to upset the whole board—a nice idea but not very practical.
Get this game if you have young kids (4-7) you want to gently introduce to tabletop games, especially war strategy games.
- Simple gameplay
- Quick game
- Anyone can win
- Not as stimulating for older children/adults
- Dice flippers upset whole board when used
- Gets repetitive
Risk Warhammer 40K – Best for Warhammer Fans
Players: 3 to 5
Playing Time: 1 to 2 hours
While I personally feel that if you want to play Warhammer, just buy a Warhammer 40K game, it seems I am in the minority.
Risk and Warhammer fans alike love this game! It takes the Warhammer universe and theme and applies classic Risk gameplay to it.
It is a bit more complicated than regular Risk, and customers adore the miniatures and Risk cards.
If you like Warhammer or enjoy Risk and want to try a new map, this is a game worth trying.
- Nice gameplay
- Beautiful design
- Somehow it just works
- Unbalanced faction powers
- Basically just classic Risk with a Warhammer theme
Risk Europe – Best for History Buffs
Playing Time: 1 to 3 + hours
Ages: 12+ (Manufacturer recommends 14+)
The Risk Europe game is set in the Middle Ages, where you play a medieval king vying for power.
The game is slightly more complicated than classic Risk gameplay, but that’s a good thing because it gives you some nice variety.
Unfortunately, players find that the game can get stuck in a monotonous mode where no-one is winning, and there is no end in sight.
To overcome this I suggest adding a fallback rule that after a certain amount of time or turns whoever has the most territories is the winner.
If you are interested in history, then this could be a nice Risk version to play.
- Interesting take on Classic Risk gameplay
- Well made pieces and parts
- Game can get “stuck” and become monotonous
- Playing times vary wildly
The same game is also promoted by Winning Moves in a licensing deal. It’s worth checking them both to see which is cheaper.
Other Risk Versions
There are many other Risk versions, including:
Risk 2210 AD. This futuristic version of the risk game includes stealth, missiles, and Armageddon. It will typically last 4 hours, is suitable for age 12+ and 2 to 5 players. Unfortunately, it’s often not available.
Risk Game of Thrones. Risk Game of Thrones is really 2, or even 3 games in one. You literally have 2 game boards with one being designed for 2 player matches and the other for 3-5 players. Or play with up to seven players across both Westeros and Essos. The manufacturer recommends it for over 18s only, not because of the difficulty level but the content. I like Risk Game of Thrones but it isn’t a family game if you catch my drift.
Risk Lord of The Rings. With gameplay options including classic Risk rules or a particular Lord of the Rings version this game offers some decent variety. Be aware this Lord of the Rings version is smaller than the previous on. Ages 9+, 2-4 players. Unfortunately, the Lord of the Rings version is often not available which is why I haven’t focused as much on it.
Firstly let me be clear that if you are planning on doing a DIY version of Risk because you want to save money, it probably won’t work.
I mean, if you already have the miniatures, maybe it could be a budget option, but otherwise, the DIY Risk will probably cost more than just buying a version of the Risk board game.
So why do it? Lots of reasons:
- It’s fun, and a great experience to make your own board game. Children love this.
- You can customize it to how you want. What matters to you?
- Want an accurate world map? OK.
- Want games that last days? No problem.
- Want to play on a fictional map of your own? All you have to do is design it!
- Need more players? Get more colors.
- Once you’ve built it, it will be super easy to customize and adapt.
If you fancy doing a low-cost, simpler DIY board game then check out my DIY board games article. I’ll be honest, I actually haven’t made my own DIY Risk Board game, so this is really just an idea based on some things I found in my research.
One other caveat–obviously you should adapt the parts of this you want to do! This is just my idea:
Create a Map
So you can actually create custom maps at Map Chart. This lets you color in different areas, starting with the world map, or regional maps.
It even lets you create scenario maps like Europe at the time of World War I or World War II.
This is a fantastic way to get the map you want. You can also create several maps to really spice up the game.
In fact, check out this custom map I did of Europe at the time of WW1. For me, it’s great because the map is accurate historically, but I’ve also grouped smaller countries and ignored micronations/country parts (while still leaving them on the map.)
License/Attribution: Created By Jason McKee using Map Chart. CC BY-SA 4.0.
Feel free to use the map yourself. But if you do that, have a go at some point in the future at creating your own map. Mine really isn’t that good! There’s lots of options and ways of doing it.
Since mine has fewer nations than Classic Risk it’s probably best suited to quick 2 player matches. Modern Europe has a lot more countries, plus you can split them up, to create maps for longer games and more players.
The advantage of my map is you can print it out in A4 ( oe Standard Letter size) on a home printer and then use it. I recommend laminating if possible.
Bigger maps will need bigger printers, but if you don’t have large format home printers or laminators, what you need to do is print it out over several sheets, laminate, cut the “connecting” edges then “piece” together when playing.
Or take to a local print shop who will probably do it at quite a low cost.
For miniatures (i.e. armies), you’ve got a few options here:
- Buy a Risk game to get the armies. The classic Risk game will give you 5 colors (players). The Anniversary edition gives you 6.
- 3D Print your own (if you have a 3D printer), or ask a friend. Use any design you like, there are loads out there. Check out these Lizard men models, for example.
- Buy a set of nice miniatures. (You may need several sets)
In terms of the logistics, you will need:
- The same number of colors as players. One option for more colors is to paint some of the miniatures.
- Three different types of miniatures. If need be, I suggest similar grouping variations in the same type. Eg. soldiers in different poses can be one type. If you do end up with more types, don’t worry. Put them aside, and perhaps swap them in if you feel like a change. If following conventional rules, you need 40 soldiers, 12 cavalry and 8 artillery per color. It doesn’t matter if they don’t look like “soldiers”/”cavalry”/”artillery” as long as everyone knows what they are.
Design your own risk cards, they don’t have to be fancy, just include the name of each territory and an indicator as to whether it’s infantry, cavalry, or artillery. Print out on a sheet, cut out and laminate.
In a standard game, there are 44 risk cards, one for each territory and 2 wild cards. If you use my map above, there are only 20 territories, which would mean 22 risk cards.
The chances are that with a custom map you will end up with a different number of territories, so just do a different number of Risk cards.
Dice – just order some online. If you want to mix it up, you could get 8 sided dice! If you ended up ordering a Risk box set then use those dice.
Secret mission cards. This will depend on your map and rules. Why not look at the standard Risk board game’s secret mission cards and make up some of your own that would apply to your map? Print them, cut them up and laminate.
“War crates,” I mean literally use any boxes lying around or order some online. You just need a way of storing everything.
Best Risk Board Game Version
If you are just starting with war strategy games then I recommend the Classic Risk game. It’s rules are not too complicated, it has some decent variations to it, and it’s good fun.
Or, check out my list and choose a Risk board game version with the twist you would enjoy.
If none of the Risk versions mentioned here appeal to you, then consider getting a game like risk. Or make your own game!