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Risk is a strategic board game, produced by Parker Brothers (now a division of Hasbro - the parent company of Wizards of the Coast, the current publishers of Dungeons & Dragons). It was invented by French film director Albert Lamorisse and originally released in 1957, as La Conquête du Monde (The Conquest of the World), in France.

Risk is a turn-based game for two to six players. The standard version is played on a board depicting a stylized Napoleonic-era political map of the Earth, divided into forty-two territories, which are grouped into six continents. Players control armies with which they attempt to capture territories from other players. The primary object of the game is "world domination," or "to occupy every territory on the board and in so doing, eliminate all other players." Using area movement, Risk ignores limitations such as the vast size of the world and the logistics of long campaigns.


Each Risk game comes with a number of differently-colored tokens denoting armies. In the first editions, the playing pieces were wooden cubes representing one army each and a few rounded triangular prisms representing ten armies each, but in later versions of the game these pieces were molded of plastic to reduce costs. In the 1980s, these were changed to pieces shaped into the Roman numerals I, III, V, and X. The 1993 edition introduced plastic Infantry tokens (representing a single unit), cavalry (representing five units), and artillery (representing ten units). The 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition contained the same troop pieces but made of metal rather than plastic. In the 2005 "bookcase" edition, playing pieces are once again wooden cubes. These token types are purely a convention for ease of representing a specific army size. If a player runs out of army pieces during the game, another color may be used to substitute, or another symbolic token to help keep track of armies. Standard equipment also include five (originally six) dice in two colors: two dice for the defender and three for the attacker.

Also included is a total of seventy-two Risk cards. Forty-two of these depict territories, in addition to a symbol of an infantry, cavalry, or artillery piece. One of these cards is awarded to a player at the end of each turn, if the player has successfully conquered at least one territory during that turn. No more than one card may be awarded per turn. If a player collects either three cards with the same symbol, or one of each, these cards may be traded in for reinforcements at the beginning of a player's turn. These cards can also be used for game set-up (see below for details). Also included are two wild cards that depict an infantry, cavalry, and artillery piece, as opposed to one of the three and a territory. Because these cards have all three symbols, they can match with any two other cards to form a set. Twenty-eight Mission cards also come with the game to be used in the Secret Mission Risk rule variant.

In the 40th Anniversary Collector's Edition the movement route between the territories of East Africa and Middle East was removed; this was later confirmed to be a manufacturing error, an error repeated in Risk II. Subsequent editions restored the missing route. While the European versions of Risk had included the variation "Secret Mission Risk" for some time, the U.S. version did not have this added until 1993.

Setup Edit


Setting up the Risk board for play is more involved than in many other games.

  • Each player first counts out a number of playing pieces or "armies" for initial deployment. The number of armies that begins the game depends on the number of players: 40 armies for two players: 35 armies each if three players; 30 armies each if four players; 25 armies each if five players; and 20 armies each if six players.
  • Players then take turns claiming territories by placing an army on an unoccupied territory until all the territories are occupied.
  • Players then take turns placing their remaining armies on their territories. After all armies have been placed the actual game begins with another roll of a die used to determine the playing order.

Alternate setupEdit

An alternate and quicker method of setup from the original French rules is to deal out the entire deck of Risk cards (minus the wild cards), assigning each player to the territories on their cards.

Player turnEdit

There are five phases to a player's turn: placing reinforcements, turning in Risk cards, attacking, fortifying, and receiving Risk cards.

Drafting troopsEdit

At the beginning of their turn, a player drafts new armies (troops) and then distributes these pieces around the board to reinforce any territory occupied by that player. The number of armies drafted is determined by summing the following several rules (official versions have varied with various editions);

  • Territories and Cities formula; draft armies equal to [(the number of occupied territories plus the number of cities in those occupied territories) divided by three] and rounded down to the nearest integer. If this result is less than three, round up to three armies.
  • Continent Bonus; The player receives additional armies for occupying an entire continent, equal to the continent bonus shown on the game board.
Continent Bonus
Asia 7
North America 5
Europe 5
Africa 3
Australia 2
South America 2
  • One additional army for every capitol within their occupied territories.
  • Any armies gained from exchanging Risk Cards previously collected by conquering additional territories or eliminated players.

Turning in Risk cardsEdit

The player may also receive armies if he turns in a set of Risk cards. He then places the armies on any of his territories. If he has five cards, he must trade in a set. A set of Risk cards consists of one of the following:

  • three cards depicting the same unit (e.g. all three cards have cavalry pictures)
  • three cards showing one of each type of Risk unit (soldier, cavalry, artillery).

The first set to be turned is worth 4 reinforcements; the second is worth 6; third 8; fourth 10; fifth 12; sixth 15 and for every additional set thereafter 5 more armies than the previous set turned in. Also, if a player owns one or more of the territories depicted on their cards, they may choose one of those territories to be awarded two additional armies that must be placed in that territory.


Attacks can only be originated by the player currently having their turn, and must be launched from one of the attacker's territories, against an adjacent or sea-lane connected territory occupied by an opposing player. The outcomes of battles are decided by rolling dice. Each dice roll determines the outcome of an individual attack, however a player may repeat this process during their turn, attacking any number of territories any number of times before yielding the turn to the next player. Attacking is optional; a player may decline to attack at all during their turn.

The attacking player attacks with one, two, or three armies, rolling a corresponding one, two or three die. At least one army must remain behind in the attacking territory not involved in the attack, as a territory may never be left unoccupied. The defending player must resist the attack with one or two armies (using at most one less army than attacked by, further assuming the defender has that many armies currently occupying the defended territory) by rolling a corresponding one or two die.

  • The attacker's highest die number is compared against the defender's highest die. The highest number wins, with the defender winning ties.
  • The attacker's next highest die is compared against the defender's second-highest die (assuming the defender committed a second army).
  • Any extra dice (dice not matched against a defending army) are disregarded and do not affect the results.
  • With each dice comparison, the loser removes one army from his territory and from the game board.

If an attack successfully eliminates the final defending army within a territory, the attacking player then must occupy the newly conquered territory with an equal or greater number of armies as used in the attack. There is no limit to the total number of additional armies that may be sent in to occupy, providing at least one army remains behind in the original attacking territory.

If an attacking player occupies a defender's last territory, thus eliminating them from the game, the attacker acquires all of the defender's Risk cards. If the conquering player now has five or more cards, he must trade in sets until he has fewer than five. The gained armies are placed immediately.


When finished attacking and before passing the turn over to the next player, a player has the option to maneuver any number of armies from a single one of his occupied territories into an adjacent territory occupied by the same player. Under an alternate rule, the maneuvering armies may travel through as many territories to their final destination as desired, providing that all involved pass-through territories are contiguous and occupied by that same player. As always, at least one army must be left in the originating territory.

Risk cardsEdit

If a player has attacked and conquered at least one territory during their turn, they draw a single Risk card from the top of the deck and add it to their hand. Card's faces bear the name of a territory and are valued at either one or two stars. Cards may be exchanged to draft a number of armies depending on the sum of stars (limited from 2 to 10 stars) according to the table below. Cards may be accumulated as long as the player wishes providing the player waits at least until their next turn's start to exchange any cards. The new armies immediately deployed in any combination across the player's occupied territories.

If an Objective has been accomplished on their turn, that player is prohibited from also drawing a Risk card on that turn. The territory on the card is irrelevant when drafting troops.

Number of Stars exchanged Number of Troops received
2 2
3 4
4 6
5 8
6 10
7 12
8 15
9 20
10 25

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