Board Games like Risk: The Best War Strategy Alternatives

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I love Risk. I remember many family evenings when I was child playing it. 

The secret missions are my favorite. Not only do you have to win your objective, but prevent others achieving theirs.

And of course, secret mission mode means it’s a different game each time you play.

What’s more, Risk is affordable, engaging, and nicely set out.

Yet it isn’t for everyone. The miniatures are much nice than when I was a child. (We didn’t have actual miniatures, just blocks of plastic with bits sticking out.) But even the modern Risk miniatures don’t reach the standards of true miniatures for hardcore tabletop players.

What’s more, yes every game is different, but in the end, there is an overarching theme. And perhaps that can get a little boring.

That’s why I’ve been finding games similar to risk, but different enough to enjoy. Each one has its own little twist.

So are you ready to try something new? Check out my list of games like risk.

War Strategy Board Games

War strategy board games are usually super interesting. There’s something innate in humans that brings out the conqueror.

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.

You might still wage a world war, achieve global domination or conquer new star systems.

But you’ll achieve most of this through dice rolling and moving tokens around the board.

Risk itself is a good game, that involves strategy, combined with an element of luck. It was created in 1957 by a French Film director called Albert Lamorisse.

Risk is the most well-known of the genre, but there are many strategy board games like Risk and I’m here to help you pick one you like. 

Board Games Like Risk

Board Games Like Risk

There’s so many board games like Risk, I almost don’t where to start. Let me begin with my favorites:

Axis & Allies – Best Overall Risk Board Game Alternative

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 2 hours

Age: 12+

It’s 1942 and 5 major powers are struggling for global domination in the world’s second World War.

Which empire will you be and how will you conquer the others?

Axis and Allies is another good choice in games like Risk, which has some more history behind it. The title was published in 1981, and like Risk, there are many different versions to choose from (including, bizarrely, a zombies version.) 

The 1942 version I include here is one of the most popular and a good one to start with.

The Axis & Allies rules are more complex than Risk’s. Axis and allies can be enjoyed by casual gamers, just be aware it has a slightly steeper learning curve.

Avalon Hill Axis & Allies 1942 Second Edition WWII Strategy Board Game, with Extra Large Gameboard, Ages 12 and Up, 2-5 Players

For me, this is one of the games most like Risk. At its most basic level, you need to capture and hold territories. Sound familiar?

Unfortunately, customers who have played the game historically tend to complain about modern versions of the game. They say it has a cheap, and even simpler, feel to it. This includes this version.

I don’t see that myself, but I’ve only played this board game recently, so I can’t comment on the difference. To me, it’s an excellent board game.

If you enjoy Risk and want something similar but new, then this is a great choice for you. If you’ve played Axis & Allies before, you may be disappointed by modern versions though.


  • Classical War Strategy Board Game
  • Affordable


  • Who wants to play Germany in WWII?
  • Steeper learning curve than Risk
  • Not as high quality as historical versions

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Settlers of Catan – Best Non-War Strategy Game

Players: 3 to 4 (up to 6 with extension)

Playing Time: 60 minutes

Ages: 10+

A very well-known board game similar to Risk is Catan. It follows the same themes and involves a lot of planning in an effort to gain victory. 

It’s not normally included on a list of war games, as you don’t wage war, but there’s a similar strategy involved, including an element of area control

The game is designed to establish the colonization of Catan, with players having to deal with any curveballs and incidents they come across. It takes time as well as strategic thinking to take risks and it’s an amazing and intricate game for your collection.

Catan (Base Game) Adventure Board Game for Adults and Family | Ages 10+ | for 3 to 4 Players | Average Playtime 60 Minutes | Made by Catan Studio

Settlers of the Catan is a board game with an increasing cult following. This resource collecting game has 19 land blocks surrounded by the ocean. Various places produce their own resources, for example, grain, ores, wool, and brick. 

In Catan, players build settlements, cities, and roads with the objective of becoming the dominant force on the island of Catan.

Instead of world domination, you have island domination. I like it.

Instead of constant battle, you have trade and diplomacy.

Yet you still need to think what strategies you will use to control the map.

Settlers of Catan is often regarded as being a complicated game with difficult rules, yet I’m not sure that’s the case. 

You win by having 10 victory points on your turn; victory points are achieved by things like holding a special card, holding the longest road card, or having the biggest army card. 

The basics are quite simple really. Anyone can learn to play this excellent board game easily. It’s mastering the game that gets harder.

While Settlers of Catan does have an element of stealing resources, it isn’t a war game. Instead the focus is on trade and negotiation.

You do need at least 3 players for the game to work, and to play with 5 or 6 players you need to buy an extension.


  • Non-violent strategy game
  • Builds negotiation skills
  • Not too hard, but great for strategists
  • Easy to understand rules


  • Needs at least 3 players
  • For 4+ players you need to buy an extension
  • Hard to master winning strategy

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Eclipse 2nd Dawn – Best Splurge War Board Game

Players: 2 – 6

Time: 2-4 hours

Ages: 14+

Tension and division have increased within the major species as a whole. Old agreements shatter, diplomatic agreements are forged quietly. A clash between super power appears inevitable — it is still not clear what will happen in this galactic conflict.

Following on from the success of the Eclipse game, originally launched in 2011 comes this version.

This is the game for hardcore tabletop players. It isn’t cheap but your get an amazing quality set for your money.

I’m talking true miniatures, custom inlays, trays and tiles. This is a portable tabletop war game, not just a mere board game.

Eclipse: Second Dawn for The Galaxy – Board Game by Lautapelit 2-6 Players – Board Games for Family – 60-200 Minutes of Gameplay – Games for Game Night – Teens and Adults Ages 14+ - English Version

Don’t expect to have a quick match with this board game. It lasts a little longer than a typical risk game–allow at least 2-4 hours, or more if you have multiple players.

If you are prepared to invest the time and money, you get to control a vast space-based civilization, research technologies, and build spaceships.

If you get bored of the old alliances, then use your new technologies to start an interstellar conflict.

This is an amazing game, yet it isn’t for everyone. If you have the original game, it’s probably not worth the upgrade, and if you are fairly new to board gaming, Eclipse is maybe not the place to start.

Yet for everyone else, if you can afford it, get it. These games have limited runs, the original one is already hard to find, consider getting this one while you can.


  • Beautifully designed board game
  • Genuinely works well with 2-6 players
  • Stimulating mechanics
  • Easy to accommodate experienced players and beginners together
  • Repeatable, can play many times


  • Very Pricey
  • Length games

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Risk Junior – Best Risk Alternative for Children

Players: 2-4

Playing Time:  20–30 minutes

Age: 5 +

If you want to play an easier version of Risk, perhaps because you have young children, then consider the Risk Junior board game.

This fun game is not only easier to understand, play and win, but it takes less time to play. Great for a quick pre-dinner game with young children.

It is less dependent on strategy and more on chance, with a lot of luck involved, which actually helps even the odds and gives the younger players a chance to win.

Hasbro Gaming Risk Junior : Strategy Board Game; A Kid's Intro to The Classic Game for Ages 5 and Up; Pirate Themed (Amazon Exclusive)

The adult version of Risk can also sometimes be a little bit nasty. Between mature adults it’s all in good fun, but kids can feel hurt when attacked. This game takes some of the sting away and makes sure no-one feels ganged up on.

On the other hand, it can be a little dull for older children and adults. Personally I love playing it with my kids, since they are having fun. But I certainly wouldn’t wheel it out to play for an evening with friends!

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.

I’m not sure if this falls into the list of games like Risk, since it is actually a version of Risk. Still, it’s different enough to include.

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

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Dominion Best Card Deck Builder Risk Alternative

Players: 2-4

Playing Time: 30 minutes

Ages: 8+

Another outstanding competitor on any list of games like risk, Dominion is an fascinating and compelling title whose aim is to test your abilities as a king. 

Warning: This is not a board game. It’s a deck builder card game. These can be great fun and have their own advantages.

Card games are more portable, quicker to play, need less space and can be just as fun as board games. But not everyone wants this, and they are usually simpler, and not as visual nor kinaesthetic as a board game.

Rio Grande Games Dominion 2nd Edition | Deckbuilding Strategy Game for 2-4 Players, Ages 13+ | Updated Cards, Artwork, Streamlined Rules

Though not an actual board game, this card game includes everything from the standard War Game which makes it perfectly suitable for this list. This title is played as kings who are trying to expand their kingdoms’ size and wealth by acquiring all the land available. 

This game absolutely still involves strategy, has fun gameplay, and is engaging. I mean you literally get to build a kingdom on cards.

Customers loved playing this game, but some report receiving sets with missing cards. Check your set as soon as you get it.

Here’s a suggestion: if planning a game night, consider using this game as a “quick warm up.” You can then break for food / refreshments, before playing the main board game.

Honestly if you haven’t tried a deck builder game before, and like the Risk board game, then you should try Dominion.


  • Portable War Strategy Game
  • Quick-fire games once you know how to play
  • Second edition is even better than first edition
  • Affordable


  • Reports of sets with missing cards
  • Packaging is a bit flimsy-check for damage

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Other Board Games Like Risk

There are a lot of other games that have some Risk similarities, here’s a short list:

Small World

Players: 2-5

Playing Time: 1 – 1.5 hours

Ages: 14+

In a world too small for everyone who will survive to achieve world domination? Small World is a fantasy themed war strategy game that is good fun and offers an interesting paradigm.

It has a similar feel to Risk while being very different.

Small World is ideal for Risk lovers who feel like a world war but are getting a little bored of Risk itself.

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Twilight Imperium

Players: 3-6

Playing Time: 4–8 hours

Ages: 14+

Twilight Imperium is a galactic conquest version of Risk, great for sci-fi fans!

It’s a bit more than just a board game as it comes with so many pieces. Prepare to set aside a big space and a lot of time to play it.

Twilight Imperium 4th Edition | Strategy Board Game for Adults and Teens | Adventure Game | Ages 14 and up | 3-6 Players | Average Playtime 4-8 Hours | Made by Fantasy Flight Games

If you have the time and the space, and feel like leading a vast interstellar civilization, conquering new start systems and defeating aliens, then this could be the game for you.

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The year is 1774. The colonies have begun using guns and organizing militias in retaliation for the tax increases imposed by British authorities. On the 19th of April militiamen attacked a squad of British Redcoats. America’s revolution has started.

Who will you play? The American continental army? Great Britain? Or perhaps the French Army? There’s even a role for the Native Americans.

Academy Games | 1775 Rebellion The American Revolution | Board Game | 2 to 4 Players | 60 to 120 Minutes

What’s especially nice is that when playing as 4 players, you can play as 2 alliances of two. Team play is a nice feature often not found in strategy board games.

Formal alliances of two each also stops 3 players from ganging up on 1 which can happen in other games.

The movement and battles are similar to Risk but with more variety. Another great game to enjoy if you like Risk.

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What Next?

Honestly when I see a list of tabletop games I’m tempted to buy all of them at once. Yet I don’t suggest you do purchase that many games in one go. Most of them will only end up sitting in the cupboard.

Buy the board game you like the most from this list. Enjoy it, then get the next one, or maybe consider other games

Still can’t decide? Then I suggest you get Axis & Allies.