So, I read through the Risk strategy guide at Total Diplomacy, and I’m really glad I did. For one, I feel validated for play strategy I developed intuitively through play, and for another, I learned a few things I was dimly aware of before, but had yet to attempt. Knowing the basics will help me learn them faster.

For instance, there’s the idea of a “trading” country. You purposefully leave an area weak so as to give an opponent incentive to attack. They get a card for conquering the territory, and if they’re familiar with the strategy, they leave the territory weak so you can retake it for a card. It’s also referred to as “card farming.”

It’s important to know what you’re doing, though. If you leave an area looking too vulnerable, you may wind up with an opponent focusing their war effort on that area alone, and you’ve created a front where before you had a “nice thing” going. I’ve devised a couple ways to implement this idea, now I just need to try it.

The strategy guide focuses a lot on the concepts of negotiation and misdirection. It repeatedly states that war is a “last resort.” Obviously, in Risk you’re pretty much just trying to conquer the world, but all you need for that is one country. Another maneuver mentioned was “nailing” which I haven’t really seen before this guide.

When you “nail” an opponent, you fortify a small area within a continent to prevent them from securing the continent bonus. Whenever I’ve employed the strategy myself, it’s almost exclusively been on a border, where I could easily reinforce my armies. This maneuver easily makes an enemy of the opponent unless you play it really well.

Now, I don’t consider Risk to be a better game than Chess, but I do prefer it. The important difference between considering one superior and simply preferring one, is I’m not judging either game. Maybe one is better, maybe not, but I know which one I like more than the other. Preferences can change according opinion.

Judgments… not so much.

Anyway, thinking about Risk has me thinking about the card game system I devised, and how I might make the player powers I came up with more cool, useful, and/or interdependent. Ideally, I wind up with a card game that’s easy to learn, but takes years to master. You know, like all the best games.