Players: 3 to 5
Game Length: 90 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 3-5 players who can regularly play together and are keen to play a unique take on Risk
Do you know Risk? You should; it’s up there with Monopoly as one of the classic games of the 20th century, with about the same number of dull rethemes. Like Monopoly, Risk has a well-deserved reputation of being a game that wears out its welcome, lasting for many more hours than its simplistic gameplay mechanisms deserve. Even with secret objectives that can grant a player victory without eliminating all other opponents, the game can be an interminable slog.
Risk Legacy turns the classic formula of Risk on its head, in two ways. The most noteworthy of these is that Risk Legacy allows players to permanently change the board in a number of ways. Players will gain ‘scar’ cards, that allow them to add penalties or improvements to certain regions, making them easier, more difficult or more desirable to hold. After a game, the winner will be permitted to sign the board with their name and make other changes to the board, such as adding a city they get to name. New rules and cards will be unlocked by certain events, changing how the game is played. The changes you get to make to the game range from the mildly interesting to the completely game-changing, and over multiple games, your own version of Earth will become unique and personalised.
The less obvious way that Risk Legacy changes the classic game of Risk is much more important for those wanting a satisfying game. A game of Risk Legacy can typically be played in about an hour; certainly less than the evening-long sessions that people have come to expect of the original game.
Risk Legacy achieves a quicker play time by requiring players to achieve four ‘star’ points to win the game; each player’s headquarters counts as a star point, and players who haven’t notched up a win on the board yet start with another star, putting them halfway to victory out of the gate. All that is required is for them to control two other players’ headquarters in the same turn, perhaps in a single large push, and they immediately win the game. On top of that, there are other ways to be granted a bonus star, such as trading in the territory cards that are granted for conquering something on your turn. This works to keep individual games quick, and lets players to take part in the most engaging part of Risk Legacy – changing the board.
Naturally, Risk Legacy relies heavily on the dice and diplomacy of the original game. You may find yourself getting ganged up on if you get a lead on your opponents, and the dice can be unfair to you on what should be a game-winning push. Still, as the game is much quicker than the original Risk, this won’t be as frustrating. Risk Legacy plays best if you are able to play repeatedly with the same group, as each player forms an attachment with their chosen empire and racks up wins on the board. If you can’t play regularly with the same group of 3-5 players, Risk Legacy can end up consigned to the shelf.
For those who are familiar with the game of Risk, Risk Legacy makes a refreshing change with a lot of compelling gameplay mechanisms. It makes a great light wargame with some surprising twists, and the ability to permanently change the board keeps players gripped. If you have a regular group to play with, Risk Legacy comes highly recommended.