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How Long Does The Risk Board Game Take To Play? (Average Game Length)


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The Risk board game is a classic game all about war and world domination. It has been a favorite among board game enthusiasts for generations. Since it was first released in 1957, board game players have taken to this challenging, strategy filled game. 

Its popularity has even given birth to the creation of other games, such as Axis & Allies and even Settlers of Catan.

One of the mainstays of Risk Global Domination is the depth of play. 

Although the general rules are fairly simple, the actual execution of the game is surprisingly complex. The game is a constant back and forth fight for power, and the winner is the player who controls the entire board.

With experienced players, you will see strategies implemented early on that could affect the game later. Novice players don’t realize some of the intricacies of the beginning of the game, and this often causes them to lose to more veteran players.

So, if you are considering playing Risk at your next board game night… how long should you expect it to take?

The average game of Risk is going to be between an hour and a half to two hours. However it is possible for it to be even longer than that as the longest game recorded lasted over 12 hours!

How long playing Risk will take depends on how well versed everyone is with the game as well. If you have to learn all of the rules or need to refer to the rule book over and over it will extend your game of Risk to 3+ hours.

Although playing Risk isn’t hard it does take some time to figure out the rules and the best strategies so if many people who are playing are new to the game you should expect it to take significantly longer.

Another thing that affects how long Risk will take to play is the number of players. If you only have 2 or 3 people playing Risk it will go considerably faster since everyone will be spread out across the board more. That also means once you eliminate a person (assuming you are playing with 3 people) the game will speed up even further.

However, if you have a couple players that are skilled, strategic, and determined and you are playing with 6 players, a game could even take many hours to complete. In Risk, there is so much to do on a turn that a player could spend over 5-10 minutes just working on what they are doing on their one turn.

But, don’t let this scare you away. 

Although Risk might be more of a commitment than you are used to when you open up a game, playing Risk offers a lot of fun. 

It might take a couple hours to complete a game, but the mental exercise is well worth it. Risk is a fun game to play and is worth the time whether it takes you a couple of hours or a couple of days to complete.

The strategy needed to win a game of Risk will help you understand planning and execution. It will also help you realize that resources are important, and having a strong base of support is critical.

How Long Does The Risk Board Game Take To Play? (Average Game Length)

Best Strategies To Help Win The Game Of Risk

If you have ever tried to learn how to play Risk with someone who would be considered a veteran of the game, then you understand that it is a hard one to win. Although the dice rolling leaves a lot of randomness to the gameplay, the math and strategy needed to win is fairly complex outside of pure luck.

When you roll the die the highest number wins that attack and the defender or attacker loses a certain number of troops. 

When considering what it takes to win a game of Risk, you have to keep one thing in mind, domination. 

This isn’t just about the end goal of controlling the whole board, but dominating the different important territories and continents also. 

You have to constantly plan ahead and be ready to adjust.

Some specific things to consider when playing Risk trying to win are: 

1. Be Willing To Change Your Strategy

A strategy is not a fixed plan, learn to control the activities of others, make unexpected plays, and conquer Asia, South America, etc.… eventually. 

With your strategy, you need to be flexible. 

If your plan is to take over North America and an opponent has a strong hold on Central America or Alaska, you might consider looking elsewhere. If your fellow players are fighting over Europe and Africa, looking to take over Asia earlier than planned might be a viable option. 

When playing Risk you have to be willing to adapt and overcome. Maybe you prefer to control South America during the initial game setup but another player places many of their armies there as well. 

In that case you might be better off working on controlling North Africa or Central America to ensure that they can’t control that continent either. 

Maybe you are being constantly pressured through a specific path from one player while the other players are currently playing more passively and fortifying their position. In that case it might be wise to go all in on attacking that person causing them to be spread so thin that the other players can easily take them out before they get another turn. 

Playing Risk is all about adapting and overcoming in real time… which is why the game is so much fun to play. 

2. Force Your Opponents To Work On One Location

Once you understand what your opponents are trying to accomplish, force them to focus on that. 

If you know your opponent is trying to take over an entire continent, and you have the ability to continually take a number of territories away to prevent them from scoring the extra troops, do so. 

When a player holds an entire continent they get a continent bonus at the start of every turn. So if you can keep them from getting that bonus it will help you win the classic Risk game. 

Another tricky way to ensure that a player has to continually work on a single continent or territory is to always place your troops there on your turn. 

Say for example one of your opponents holds all of North America. On your turn you place all of your troops on Iceland and attack Greenland. If they are unable to hold Greenland then they will miss out on their continent bonus on their turn since you took Greenland. 

If you are able to continually do something like this to prevent people from controlling a continent then you will be better poised to win the game. Plus you will get a Risk card every time that you take over that territory on your turn which will allow you to amass more armies when you turn those cards in. 

3. Do The Unexpected

Every once in a while it is a good idea to do something unexpected but you will want to make sure that you do it at the right time. 

Doing something unexpected in Risk can be difficult since the other players can easily see your troops and where you are weakest and strongest. So you have to make sure that the timing is right. 

Ideally you will want to make this unexpected move when you are going to get some additional armies. So it might be worthwhile to save up your Risk cards and turn in multiple sets in a single turn so as to catch your opponents by surprise. 

If you are able to push into a new continent or to establish a strong foothold in your own continent that you will be able to hold for multiple turns then it would be well worth it. 

This could also be dropping all your army on an ignored territory and marching through the weaker parts of your opponent’s game board just after they took away a territory in your main continent. 

4. Be Willing To Use Diplomacy

This strategy isn’t used very often in Risk as it opens you up to being a target for many people. But if you and another player are both struggling it might be a good idea to create an alliance (think the Axis powers or Allied powers in World War 2). 

Although you cannot share a continent and get the continent bonus you could certainly work together to control multiple continents and try and push out the opposing player’s forces. 

Working together if you can each hold onto a continent that you normally wouldn’t have been able to if you were fighting you can each get extra new armies on each turn and become stronger together. 

Again, this can be an extremely risky venture as this will often make other players join forces but there is nothing in the Risk rules about working together with other players using strategic warfare… just that you want to rule the world!

5. Use The Single Paths To Your Advantage

If you hold South America you will gain an additional two armies on each of your turns. And while that might not seem like much it can certainly add up quickly with time. 

Since the only way to attack South America is through North Africa or Central America you can amass troops on those two locations and keep the troops on the other territories of South America at a minimum. 

By doing this not only can you establish a foothold that is hard to break, you can also work your way out in North America and Africa keeping other players from controlling those continents. 

You can do the same thing by controlling the Australian continent however, it only has a single point in and out. While that makes it easier to defend Australia it also means you can only get out of the country through Siam (Asian continent). 

Personally I prefer to go after the South American continent first if at all possible. I only have to defend two territories and can easily attack either Africa or North America depending on which player has weaker armies.  

6. Use The Wild Cards Wisely

In a standard Risk game there are only two wild cards. These cards allow you to make a set of Risk cards much more easily so if you happen to be dealt or draw a wild card you will want to use it at the best possible time. 

Since you can only hold a maximum of five or six Risk cards in your hand at once before being forced to trade them in, ideally you will want to save that wild card for when it provides you the most value. 

For example, you would not want to use a wildcard to trade in the first set as that would only give you four armies. However if you are later in the game and using that wild card would allow you to amass 100 different armies by trading in two sets of Risk cards then it would be well worth it. 

Save your wild Risk card to use at the most opportune time where it will allow you to either take over an entire continent or entirely wipe a player out. 

7. Take Over Asia

Eventually you are going to want to take over the continent of Asia. 

It is the key to winning any game of Risk. It doesn’t need to be accomplished right away, and you have to remember that once you start trying to take Asia, you have to be able to defend Asia as well. 

There are so many intricacies to the game of Risk that no one strategy is a fool-proof plan to win the game. 

Dice rolls play a huge part in the game. Since you can attack in Risk over and over again on your turn the number of dice rolls you choose to take is crucial as it means either taking your opponent’s troops or losing your own.

If a defender rolls a higher number repeatedly, you could lose out on capturing a territory even with a 10-1 advantage in troops. So be ready to adjust and understand that pushing too far could end up costing you more than you gained.

Finally, try to learn something every time you play. If you win, take away something that worked this time that you hadn’t tried before. If you lose, try to figure out what the turning point of the game was. 

If you can understand the reason for a win or a loss, you can strengthen your game play in the future.

What Is The Risk Secret Mission Variation? 

Did you know that Risk has secret missions in the game? Although Risk is played quite often, very few people play this variation of the popular Parker Brothers game. 

To play the Risk secret mission variation at the start of the game each player is given a Risk secret mission card. The goal of this variation of the game is to simply complete your secret mission instead of taking over the entire map. 

Some of these secret mission Risk cards include: 

  • Destroy all gray troops
  • Conquer the continents of North America and Africa
  • Occupy 24 territories of your choice
  • Etc. 

The thing about this variation is that although you don’t have to rule the entire world, you actually have to either rule a certain part of it or you have to destroy a certain color entirely. 

Good luck trying to destroy every player’s troop if they are holed up in Australia! 

How Many Risk Pieces Do You Start with?

In Risk, the initial set-up of the game is very critical. You have to place your armies, one by one, player by player. 

Each game is going to be slightly different in this initial set-up. This is different depending on how many players are playing the game as the number of armies will vary. 

If you are playing a 2 player Risk game, you start with 40 infantry pieces for each player. As you add players, you remove 5 armies from that total, so a game of 3 players would have 35 infantries, 4 players would have 30 each, 5 players would go down to 25, and six players would start with just 20.

When initially placing your army, players will place one Infantry piece on a territory. Once all the territories have been claimed, players may begin placing additional Infantry pawns onto territories they already occupy. 

This is only done after all 42 territories have been claimed.

Conclusion

Risk is a great game that will take a lot of time to complete. It is a game that is designed for you to use strategy to conquer the world through war games. Although the dice add a lot of variety to the game, strategy is the key to winning in this classic board game.

If you have the ability, try to set the game up so you don’t have to put it away at the end of the night. 

Not every game is going to be finished before your guests feel it is time to go. If you are lucky enough to have a dedicated area of your home to set-up a game like Risk, do so. 

This could easily lead to a second night of board games with your friends.

Matthew R

Hi, My name is Matt and I am all about toys! When trying to find accurate information online about toys I was finding it difficult so I decided to make this site.

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