“Everybody wants to rule the world” – Tears for Fears, 1985.
For those with nostalgic memories sitting around engrossed in a game of Risk – you know, that classic “world domination” board game played with cunning tactics (and a bit of luck) — a brand new “casual” version from iWin is a new and faithful reproduction worth downloading.
The game begins with you giving your General a name, and then choosing at least two other computer-controlled generals (or human players on he same computer), each with varying levels of A.I. aggression. If you’re new to the game you’ll opt for, say, General Freire, a one-star (easy) rival, while seasoned players might pick warmongers like General Wellington, a 5-star (hard) opponent – or somewhere in between.
Then players can then choose from one of two game types: Territory Claim, where you can claim your own territory (like the classic board game) or Random Deal where you can let the computer assign territories to each player.
Confused? OK, let’s step back and explain how the actual game plays out. In the main game rules (Territory Claim), players are presented with a map of the world, with all major countries divided into 42 territories, such as East United States and West United States as two examples. Players first distribute their limited armies to a bunch of territories as you wish, which is where some of the strategy comes in (should you spread out your troops or cluster them all over one or two main continents?). After the other Generals do the same thing, you can then distribute more than 20 reinforcements, so now you’ve got three or four sets of armies in some territories.
The game is all about taking over the world and the way it’s done is that you choose which country you want to attack. The caveat is that you need at least two groups of armies and the defending territory must be adjoined to the attacking one. The game is played by rolling the dice against the opponent and whoever has the highest number (say, 6 instead of 3), wins. You can increase the number of rolls by having many groups of armies there, so you’d get four dice to roll for four groups instead of only two dice for two groups. If you win, you take over their territory. You get extra reinforcements to disperse if you take over an entire continent and can also receive bonus cards to play out when you need them (such as territory cards divided into cavalry, infantry and artillery).
This turn-based strategy game is also brought to life with some music, sound effects, speech and animated sequences, but there’s no cinematics or anything – which is fine by me for this type of game. What is missing, however, is the ability to play against friends in cyberspace. It would be a blast to play against a buddy in another city and chat at the same time via text or voice.
Another issue is that you can buy the amazing Risk II CD-ROM from Hasbro for less than $10 and it comes with three game modes (including an interesting real-time spin on the game), enhanced 3-D graphics and head-to-head play over the Net.
But for strategy buffs, hardcore grognards or sentimental Risk fanatics, this attractive, accessible and polished version is a great pick.