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Journal of No. 118


December 18th, 2012

Risk Legacy Strategery @ 01:34 pm

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Now that much of the board is set, it's maybe time to think about how things go from here on. Even if some of my fellow warlords may see this...

The major strategic features are...

4 major cities, which can be starting positions for only the player who founded the city:
Ken can start in Northern Europe
Graydon can start in Central America
Aaron can start in Western Australia
I can start in the Northwest Territories

3 biohazard areas, which kill a soldier per turn. Unless you are the Mutants, in which case you gain a soldier each turn:
Iceland
Scandinavia
Eastern Australia

The Fallout Zone, which is virtually impassable for humans, and even if taken causes 1 soldier to die per turn. Comfortable to Mutants, who gain a soldier per turn. Located in North Africa, atop the smoking ruins of Casablanca.

Furthermore, if the Mutants control the Fallout Zone, and all the biohazard territories on the map(*), they gain a victory point.

[(*) a biohazard can be removed by a game winner. If the biohazard in Australia were removed, the two remaining ones would be ridiculously close to the Fallout Zone, making it very easy for the Mutants to accomplish this.]

The Mutants are not super-powered, but they do have some distinct advantages, so the various cases for future games basically boil down to.... Who plays the Mutants? For a first stab at analysis, we assume the four of us all choose our major city to start, apart from Smaug, who starts somewhere or another.

Case I - Ken is the Mutants. This is probably the scariest possibility. On the first move, Ken could easily control the Fallout Zone, and the two European biohazards, giving him an extra 3 armies per turn. There is not much incentive for me to cross through Greenland, because the first thing I'd have to take is Iceland, where my armies would start dying. Graydon is not likely to push through the Fallout Zone in North Africa to do anything to Ken, for the same (even worse) reason. Aaron is far from Ken at the start. Kevin is the only person who could conceivably have much effect to stop Ken. It seems likely Ken could manage to get all of Europe, giving him 8 extra armies a turn. It wouldn't take long at that pace. The only plus side? This is the only case that threatens Aaron much in his little Australian redoubt. If Ken shoved his way down into Australia, he'd get a victory point for Aaron's HQ and another one for getting all the biohazards. One more VP from any source and he'd win.

Case II - Aaron is the Mutants. Instead of the biohazard in Australia sapping away half his continent bonus, now he gets 3 armies for owning Australia. Depending on where Kevin is, Aaron likely has plenty of room to expand, and ultimately crush us all. Not much fun. Only plus side? Aaron will likely be more interested in attacking Ken than me, so he can pick up the fallout zone and other two biohazards.

Case III - Graydon is the Mutants. Graydon can easily sew up South America, and take the Fallout Zone. If Graydon uses North Africa as his locked back door, he could focus entirely on me at the start and I'd be in a bad position. If Graydon were to also branch out into Africa, that would take some pressure off me. But who are we kidding, with Graydon dice, I'm in the clear. Nothing to worry about.

Case IV - I am the Mutants. I'll want to sprint to the biohazards in Europe, threatening Ken. Although there's the possibility of detente, I think I'll be so close to his HQ that this will have to come down to an all out deathmatch. In the meanwhile, Graydon will have taken South America. So it were best if I finished Ken off quickly, and then turn on Graydon, or at least defend myself adequately.

Case V - Kevin is the Mutants (or someone else chooses the Mutants, but decides to start somewhere other than their major city). If Kevin is not only the Mutants, but also places early, he can block people from using their cities. So he could basically choose one of the previous 4 cases. Most likely would be to try to emulate Ken, by starting in Southern Europe. Although Kevin has shown some favoritism toward Australia, and could pick Indonesia. The alternative is to choose a starting point not blocking another person's major city. The likely choice would appear to be somewhere in Africa. Then you get the Fallout Zone, and can probably soon take all of Africa, getting the continent bonus for that. Probably at least try to keep Graydon from getting all of South America, and then focus on Ken and the two European biohazards.

For myself, it seems I'd least want Ken to be the Mutants, followed by Graydon, and then Aaron. The Kevin-in-Africa situation could actually be pretty fun. He would threaten Graydon and Ken the most, who are the players that threaten me the most. I don't think helping the Mutants is a good idea, but I'd have a lot of options and bargaining power with Graydon and Ken.


This analysis has been funded in part by the RAND Corporation.
 
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Journal of No. 118