Risk 2210 A.D.

posted in Games on Apr 2, 2007

If you thought that board games were designed to make you have fun, think again. By the end of a game of Risk 2210 A.D., you will find yourself cursing the very idea of rolling dice and placing units. All previous board games pale in comparison to the amount of stress and mental exhaustion you will come across when playing this game, but somehow you simultaneously have a good time. It’s an emotional paradox. Schrödinger could not have come up with a better scenario for two opposite events occuring at the same time (it sure is a shame about his dead cat though…).

The basic gameplay of Risk 2210 A.D. follows the general guidelines of the Risk universe. You roll dice and whoever has the highest number wins. With that said, the differences are many. Firstly, the map has changed big time. No longer does Australia have a bottleneck where some lucky jerk can amass a giant stronghold throughout the game. Now, there are undersea territories that connect every land mass to each other. For Australia, this means that there are three ways to get into the territory. There’s a land bridge between Africa and South America now too, which comes into play with the new Commanders (I’ll get to that in a second). In addition to the water territories, they incorporate the Moon. THE FREAKING MOON, FOLKS! You have spaceports on certain territories you own, and from there you can travel to the moon and wreak havok. The creators of the game have added somewhere in the neighborhood of 26 new territories to the game. Additionally, four random land territories will be automatically unplayable at the outset because of nuclear tokens. This shakes up the game from the very beginning by creating random bottlenecks and blockages. No one can own or pass through the devastated territories. Very interesting indeed.

The next big difference is the inclusion of Commanders. Commanders allow you special bonuses, but also are necessary to attack in certain areas. You start out with a Land and Diplomatic Commander, but you can buy a Sea Commander, Nuke Commander, and Space Commander on top of those; each serving their special purpose. For example, you can only attack on land if you have the Land Commander, and you can only go into the ocean with the Sea Commander; the same applies to the Space dude. If you lose a Commander, then you cannot attack in the area they specialize in. If you lose your Land Commander, then you cannot attack on land; the same goes for the Sea and Space Commanders. There are cards associated with each type of Commander, and they give special bonuses like more troops. The cards come into play best with the Nuke and Diplomacy Commanders. Their cards have the greatest advantage, ranging from cease fires to dropping nukes on entire continents. They can change the tides very quickly.

There are only five turns in the game. You get to play five times. Five. Normally, you’d probably wonder if that were enough time to play a game of this magnitude. I’ll go ahead and say that, yes, you can. It’s not uncommon for someone to own a majority of the board at the end of the fifth turn. Winning is not based on domination, but on points. Since there are so many things to think about for your turn (armies, Commanders, cards, money in the form of “energy”), each one of your turns can take quite a while. There are hardly any of the “I’ll just wait this one out and build armies” crap you find in regular Risk. It’s because of these five turns that I say this game stresses me out. You’re constantly on edge to see how things go, and losing a territory generally hurts a little more because you don’t really have time to sit around and build them back up. The majority of your score comes from the amount of territories you own at the end of the game, so pro-active conquering is a must.

The last major thing that is different about the game is simply the dice. With the added Commanders, you have the option to use 8-sided, dorko D&D dice. You can only use the new dice in certain spots though. The Sea guy can use them in water or territories linked to water, the Land Commander can only use them on land, etc. This makes the placement of your Commanders key, but it also makes losing to a regular die that much more aggravating.

You’ll probably not be able to find this game in most regular stores. We found it only at Nerd Central (read: www.gameheadquarters.com). I really can’t say anything bad about this place. I may joke that there were nerds about, but for the entirety of my stay in the establishment, I was constantly saying, “THIS IS AWESOME!” over and over again. There’s something about having a building full of sweet board games and also being the COOLEST GUY in the store that just makes you happy. There was a guy wearing a trifold pirate hat. I’m not kidding. Again, I really can’t hate, though, because had we not been tapped for time, I probably could have had some sweet nerd-versations about Zork, Picard vs. Kirk, or why FFVII is the most popular Final Fantasy but not the best in the series.

If you’re reading this and you were invovled in the past weekend’s games, sorry for making you read an synopsis of what you already know. If you weren’t in these parties, I’d say check the game out. Open it up and have a good time while your blood pressure steadily climbs and you lose your voice from all of the cussing.