Articles Interviews Rob Daviau on the new RISK- Q&A
 

Rob Daviau on the new RISK- Q&A Rob Daviau on the new RISK- Q&A Hot

Since I'm one of the three or four  BLACK OPS recipients who actually played  the game, I thought it'd be cool to chat with Rob Daviau about  RISK- not only about the revisions, but also why the game is significant, worth playing, and still relevant today- no matter what the hobby board gaming cognoscenti say.  All this babble about "gateway games" and more people still, to this day, get into the hobby by way of playing RISK when they're a kid than ever have playing TRANSAMERICA.

The interview is over at Gameshark.com , of course- where people likely don't hate RISK as much as they do at other boardgaming sites because they haven't yet developed that "I'm so sophisticated and beyond mass market games" stick up their ass yet.  Next week is a TWBG installment (featuring special guest director Martin Scorcese) but the following week will be the BLACK OPS/RISK refresh review.  Preview- yes, I liked it a lot.

Now, let's see if this F:AT article gets 3,500 hits...

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Comments (40)
  • avatarMalloc

    Well Done Michael... Risk is far too often bashed for no reason. This was far more interesting to read than Greg S' Review of Goa on the Geek this morning.

    On a somewhat related note I picked up Risk:Star Wars- the original Trilogy Edition on clearance at Toys R Us for $15 bucks the other day. (Also Crossbows and Catapults for those of you who have kids or just lick shooting and blowing up things)

    -M


    -M

  • avatarMr. Bistro

    I think the reason Risk can generate so much anger is due to how you place troops right before you attack. A player can analyze their position on the board all they want, but the big plunk-down of armies can suddenly change everything. You think you're sitting pretty on Africa, then in less than second you're staring at a horde of enemies in South America who are looking to come over. The plunk-down is the board gaming equivalent of the middle finger.

  • avatarMr. Bistro

    I meant to add that the plunk-down's nastiness is mainly due to its sudden nature - there's no build-up of troops to warn you.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    But there is warning...if you know somebody's got a lot of cards, you know you're probably in trouble. What Rob said about the cards working as kind of a timer to the game really surprised me, I hadn't thought of that...it gets to a breaking point where somebody just has an assload of cards and can pretty much lay waste to anybody.

    But that is a good point Mr. B, that the board position can change so dramatically in the space of one turn and that can really piss you off! Of course, I think that's fun and dramatic, and I kind of like getting pissed off...

  • avatarmikoyan

    As Michael said, there is a warning, you can see how many cards someone has. If they have 4 cards and they just go the 5th card, you know they have to trade in. If they have 3 cards, they may be able to trade in, so you know it might be a good idea to strengthen somewhere or create your buffer zone.

    I don't mind the cards and how the numbers of armies go up because it can truly affect the balance of the game. Since it goes up incrementally, it's not entirely random.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    The cards are very different in the new version...there's no matching sets or getting one of each type or anything like that. It's just stars, and the more stars you've got the more armies you get. So there's no more holding out trying to get that calvary card to make the set. More on that in the review.

  • avatarmikoyan

    You can't hold on too long becuase you have to turn when you get 5 cards.

    Anyways, do the new cards have bonuses for territories that you own?

  • j_r

    Good article. I always thought Risk pissed people off so much because 1) you often get a string of bad die rolls in a row, and you can't do anything about it, and 2) getting beat on directly by another player is humiliating in front of your buddies (I get pissed off in RTS computer games for the same reason-- watching your base get destroyed is aggravating).

    As for the objectives in this new version, are they similar to the objectives in the Mission Risk variant of the 2003 version of Risk? That variant had 4 objectives for each player, 3 of which were minor/easier and a 4th one that was tougher. You won if you completed all objectives. It was stuff like conquering territories on certain continents or across water, etc.

    It seemed to me that games like Nexus Ops and Twilight Imperium might have been influenced by the missions/objectives in Risk, and not the other way around. Mission Risk has been around for a long time (but the original version only had one objective per player, drawn at the beginning of the game).

    I always had liked the escalating armies in the original Risk as a timer to the game. The main annoying thing was that the battles lasted too long and sometimes got tedious. Only 2 armies are lost per dice roll, and when you have stacks of 20 armies or more, it gets too repetitive.


  • avatarBulwyf

    Excellent interview. I wonder if Rob ever read "Knights of the Dinner Table". There was one strip in the magazine where the Knights played "Risque" for their boardgame night. Needless to say hijinx ensued and the evening ended in a table flip. Good times...

    As for the battles taking too long, I don't think that will be a problem. From what I am getting through session reports is that armies just don't get that big. Also the possible bonus attack and defense dice help attrition large formations nicely.

    I'm very much looking forward to trying out the new version. I have a space on my shelf cleared out for it right next to Nexus Ops.

    -Will

  • avatarmikelawson

    You know, I'd never thought of the American card version being a timer before. It does make sense, but it used to annoy me to no end when that would happen. I really liked the European version better.

    --Mike L.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    The armies do still get pretty big from what I've seen...but it still feels more controlled and doesn't get so out of whack like the classic game seemed to at times. The bonuses from the special mission incentives are well done- they're not these massive benefits, just slight things that make your world dominating life easier.

    One thing I'll bring up in the review is that I didn't really see the point in separating "major" and "minor" objectives- sometimes the minor ones were harder!

  • avatarJuniper

    When is HASBRO finally going to release FARM RISK, in which battles are resolved by dropping animeeples into a cardboard battle tower?

  • avatarmikoyan

    Hmmmm Farm Risk....You could have Willie Nelson starting concerts to prop up the family farmer, then crappy John whatever the hell he's called these days songs.....

  • avatarJuniper

    No, it has to be farming in the 17th century. And it has to have a Deck of Dice, because regular dice cause leprosy in gamers.

  • avatarCitadel

    That was a great interview. I am still confused about what Black Ops is and what the new Risk is. Are they the same game? Is Black Ops a limited edition prerelease of the new version of risk? Will they have the same graphics?

    I think the interview and the Risk versions thread has whetted my appetite for the Star Wars Risk. I wish I could find it here in the UK for $15.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    When is HASBRO finally going to release FARM RISK, in which battles are resolved by dropping animeeples into a cardboard battle tower?

    No, that version is to be released by Hans Im Gluck and it's a "Trading Tower" whereby the animeeples trade life for death. There is no player conflict in the game.

    BLACK OPS is 100% the same game (apart from the graphic presentation) as the new RISK that will be on store shelves in a couple of months. There are no features, mechanics, components, or other elements in BLACK OPS that will not be in the commercial version. The commercial version has a completely different presentation that is still pretty damn awesome. I can't find a picture, but its very reminiscent of Soviet propaganda posters. The pieces are these cool arrows so it looks like a strategic map.

    BLACK OPS is a promotional copy that Hasbro did to promote the new edition and get people warmed up for the new edition. They wanted to do something special for a pre-release and boy, did they ever.

  • avatarbillyz

    Nice Job Mike! You know, it's funny that I'm known as a sore looser amongst my buds, and yet I'VE NEVER FLIPPED A TABLE IN MY LIFE. I've tossed dice with frightening accuracy and power, but nary a table flip.

    Mike, I've been thinking*. Now that you have quite a few quality articles under your belt, maybe you should test just how far ol' Bill's rubber band will stretch. Something along the lines of paid fare, and entry to a major gaming convention: Gen Con, WBC--whatever.

    I'm thinking gen Con's the easier sell. Push the angle of you covering boardgaming's E3... yeah. Oh! And a per diem! DON'T forget to ask about a per diem...

    Ok, so that's bus fare, entry fee, boardgaming's E3, and per diem. Once you get those down going all Hunter S. Thompson on Abner's ass is purely optional.

    I'm pulling for ya buddy.


    *NEVER a good thing.

  • avatarmikelawson

    You know, billyz, Bill *does* read F:AT. It's not like he's not going to see that one....

    --Mike L.

  • avatarmikelawson

    Besides, if Barnes does go, we can all put a few bucks together and have either Thaad or Biglizard put Barnes in the Klingon Jail 'n Bail....

    --Mike L.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Now that you have quite a few quality articles under your belt, maybe you should test just how far ol' Bill's rubber band will stretch.

    It stretches far enough for me to get to any convention you guys might be attending within about 100 yards of my driveway.

  • avatarbillyz

    You know, billyz, Bill *does* read F:AT. It's not like he's not going to see that one....

    *LIES*

    Besides, if Barnes does go, we can all put a few bucks together and have either Thaad or Biglizard put Barnes in the Klingon Jail 'n Bail....

    Hehe. Money well spent. I wonder if Barnes has a sweet singing voice?

    It stretches far enough for me to get to any convention you guys might be attending within about 100 yards of my driveway.

    Driveway CON. I like the sound of that.

  • avatarbill abner

    You know, billyz, Bill *does* read F:AT. It's not like he's not going to see that one....

    This is true.

    I actually invited Mike to come up to Origins which is like 30 minutes from my house. He called me a name and then screamed at me for 15 minutes. I'm actually quite scared of him. But getting Mike to *cover* a gaming convention -- yeah good luck with that. I doubt he'd go if I asked him.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Driveway CON. I like the sound of that.

    Let's do it. We'll play games out on my driveway, Robert Martin can make everyone his famous "Rojito" while offering miniatures painting workshops so you all can paint up your DRAGONLORDS minis, local raconteur Steve Avery can regale you with tales of gaming hilarity at my comedic expense, and you can win a chance to wear Billy Motion's fabled Darkthrone T-shirt for five minutes. Frank Branham will likely drop by with some satanic game like HAPPINESS but wind up playing PROPHECY the whole time and we can set Richard Launius up with a PA so he can provide commentary on a game of CUTTHROAT CAVERNS ("Alright boys, you gotta look out for those Boogens, they'll get ya". The problem is that my driveway is at like a 70 degree angle, so tipsy revelers will need a safety harness.

    But getting Mike to *cover* a gaming convention -- yeah good luck with that. I doubt he'd go if I asked him.

    I don't know Bill, I think we could do the whole FEAR AND LOATHING thing, you and I...I wonder how an adrenochrome rampage and Eurogamers mix?

  • avatarbillyz

    This is true.

    I know it is Bill. I was just being a jackass*.

    I'm actually quite scared of him.
    Yeah, it's those skinny guys with that crazy look in their eyes you got to watch out for. But I'm sure you can take'im.

    But getting Mike to *cover* a gaming convention -- yeah good luck with that. I doubt he'd go if I asked him.

    Hehe. Mike's loathing of conventions and con attendees is well documented. You have to at least admit that the idea of Mike covering a con has Gonzo written all over it.


    * It's shamefully easy for me.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Haven't you guys heard about that Atlanta Game Fest where I threw a chair and cut myself a la Iggy Pop? A room full of dead-eyed, fat-gutted Eurogamers silently shuffling cubes around player mats and there's one table filled with rowdy hooligans playing the REALLY NASTY HORSE RACING GAME. My pink horse gets waylaid on the way to victory by Robert Martin's timely play of a faller card so I snapcased on the whole event. I threw my chair and hollered. I was laughing but then I realized I was bleeding. A couple of people looked over in that "I'm hunched over and too anchored down to turn around in my seat" way. I think that was actually the last time I went to a big event like that.

    No, I take that back. The last one was the one where Rick Thornquist showed up and Robert and I debated if it was really him or not. I argued that his hair was MUCH too poofy and suspected it was an imposter trying to cut in on the attention that being an internet celebrity offers.

  • avatarbillyz

    I don't know Bill, I think we could do the whole FEAR AND LOATHING thing, you and I...I wonder how an adrenochrome rampage and Eurogamers mix?

    Who gets to be the three hundred pound Samoan?

  • Mr Skeletor

    Nice interview, but it was missing 2 very important questions:

    1) Why didn't Mr Skeletor get a free copy of Risk: BLack Ops like everyone else seems to have.

    2) Why the fuck would you have Greg Schlosser playtest this?

  • avatarmoofrank

    I see.

    I thought that the person who showed at the Mercer Games Extravaganza and played Supremacy all day sort of looked like Barnes, but his tattoo was totally mired in 80's comic fandom.

    I have been to Origins. Too many people. I definitely can't go this year....but the money is being spent building a giant sun / game room with a hot tub and a 10 foot walk to the swimming pool.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    No, that wasn't me...that was Steve Weeks masquerading as me. The thing is, instead of the Watchmen tatoo, he somehow thought I had an Ambush Bug one.

    Hot Tub plus gaming? Do you know how much panic those words instill in the hearts of gamers? Wet pieces, humidity, having to take your shirt off in front of other people...

  • avatarbill abner

    Mike's loathing of conventions and con attendees is well documented

    He's not alone in that regard. I really hate going to cons. Even videogame industry stuff like E3 is just a big pain in the ass. I used to go to the Ohio State CapCon every year when I was in school back in the early to mid 90s but that was never to play anything; we'd all go to buy stuff. We'd walk out with our VISA cards (which we had NO business having) smoldering. I remember buying Mighty Empires there..a game that now gets like $500 on eBay. I had two copies of that game. I have no clue where they are now.

    The one year we all decided to play something...I think it was an RPG session of a game called TORG, we were sitting in this shockingly white room waiting for everyone to come in and then the gamemaster shows up wearing these long white robes carrying this massive staff with an enormous eagle head on the handle.

    My buddy Cliff simply said, "What the fuck...are you serious?" And we spent an hour being miserable as everyone argued about their character.

    Good times.

    I've been to Origins twice: once to cover it for Computer Games Magzine and once just to go and buy some stuff from some of the speciality shops. But the idea of going there to game holds absolutely no interest with me at all.

  • robartin

    The ultimate edition of Risk came out like 5 years ago. It's called Quest for the Dragonlords. Other than that, the article was pretty good.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Does Robert Johanssen cut you a check monthly or quarterly?

  • robartin

    I don't need to be paid to recognize excellence.

  • avatarbillyz

    He's not alone in that regard. I really hate going to cons.[i/]

    I'll be honest here and say that I only started going to GenCon 2 years ago.
    It's funny 'cause I've been wanting to go to any con since my early teens -only I didn't want make that long drive alone. The very first memory I have of Gencon is pulling into a parking garage next to the ICC, and seeing some dude dressed in a starry purple robe, with huge PVC scimitar slung over his shoulder, and the palest fucking king I have ever seen in my life walking out towards the sidewalk. My buddy Brian looked over at me and another fisrt timer and said,"Gentlemen, welcome to Gencon!"

    On the plus side I've net some cool people at the con over the past two years. last year I had Joel Yoder pop my Magic Realm cherry. Nice guy. It was quite enjoyable.

  • avatarbillyz

    I really hate the fact that there's no edit button on this thing.

  • avatarbill abner

    I've just had the absolute worst luck at conventions as well as going to gaming groups where I didn't really know anyone.

    I had a Blood Bowl mini broken by a stranger at a local tournament (he hurled the damn thing so it wasnt really an accident). The weird white robed eagle staff guy, the guy that showed up at my buddy's house to play a Civil War minis game (I forget the name) in FULL Civil War Union Reinact garb. Him donning the General Buford look was actually kinda funny and would have been fine if he didn't end up being an enormous dick -- yelling at teammates for making "bad moves".

    I'm just programmed now to play with friends or at least know them 2nd hand. I guess if I never had anyone to actually game with that the con thing would be a bigger deal. But I do, and it isn't.

  • avatarbillyz

    I had a Blood Bowl mini broken by a stranger at a local tournament (he hurled the damn thing so it wasnt really an accident).

    What the hell?! I was doing BB tournaments for a while (I helped my buddy Brian with the Deathbowl up Montreal) and that is the first time I have ever heard of someone PURPOSEFULLY damaging another player's fig. I hope you cold cocked the fucker.

    The weird white robed eagle staff guy, the guy that showed up at my buddy's house to play a Civil War minis game (I forget the name) in FULL Civil War Union Reinact garb. Him donning the General Buford look was actually kinda funny and would have been fine if he didn't end up being an enormous dick -- yelling at teammates for making "bad moves".

    I'm telling ya Bill, anybody who dresses up for a hobby is fucking loopy. No ifs, ands, or buts.

    I'm just programmed now to play with friends or at least know them 2nd hand. I guess if I never had anyone to actually game with that the con thing would be a bigger deal. But I do, and it isn't.

    I know what you mean. I guess, for me, a con is more about getting away from the wife for a week with my pals. Kinda like a hunting or fishing trip only geekier, and -by default- a a lot less manly.

  • avatarRyan B.

    Leave it to me to switch gears and talk about: Clue! I'm thrilled to think Hasbro might think about giving this game some twists as well. I have a TON of friends that like it.

    I'm one who believes that Clue! doesn't need to be tweaked all that much in terms of *base* gameplay. What it does need, however, are new locales with some "special" tweaks designed to give some variability to the game for each locale.

    The Cluedo! game set in the train station or on a train (I can't remember which) was brilliant, in terms of setting. From reading about it, it just sounded like it just needed some unique game playing traits to truly set it apart from the base game.

    They've made the changes (in fact BIG changes)like this once before.... in Clue! The Great Museum Caper. And that turned out to be an outstanding game, if a bit underrated.

    The thematic setting in Clue! is excellent. And I love the how the base game plays. Easy to understand and fun. Clue! just needs to expand the storyline:

    Some very rough outlines:

    1. Clue: (Train Station) or (Train)
    2. Clue: (Mountain Lodge)
    3. Clue: (Parisian Hotel)
    4. Clue: (English Manor)
    5. Clue: (The Getaway...) (by DC3, by Train, or Motocar)
    6. Clue: (Steamship)
    7. Clue: (Monte Carlo)

  • avatarSouthernman

    Mike - you could have asked Rob the question that has been bugging me for months:
    'Is there a card limit in Risk: Star Wars Original Trilogy the same as Risk:Star Wars Clone Wars ?'
    ... you just don't think of the big picture.

    I actually got three guys from my mainly euro gaming group last night to try out Risk: Star Wars Clone Wars (pity there wasn't 3 or 5 of us as I love the Original Trilogy version) and what happened .... my dice curse struck and our team was obliterated. I actually got to go first and couldn't win a single invasion so no cards - and it was all down hill from there - I think I threw one 6 and a few fives the whole night. My luck was summed up in one attack when I threw three 1s !!!

    Citadel - TK Maxx had Original Trilogy for £12.99 in Feb/Mar and I have also seen it cheap (not at the moment) on Amazon from 3rd party sellers.

  • avatarSchweig!

    When I first played Risk as a teenager I thought "Holy Moly that rocks"! I'm from Germany and played Settlers before, which I thought was dreary. So much for gateway games...

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