Risk: Black Ops

Risk: Black Ops

Review by Sonny Go
(Independent Game Reviewer)


Risk: Black Ops – We all love to play RISK online, but when it came out in 2008, Risk: Black Ops became unique a template for newer Risk variants that may have needed something more going for them. The classic Risk game came out during the late 1950s, so it can’t be denied by many that an overhaul or at least some sort of revision is necessary for the game to stay relevant. Besides the obvious answer of playing Risk online like you would here with the Major Command game version, the face-to-face board game answer is that Risk: Black Ops, which came out just in time in the franchise’s 50th year, provides well as a template for the newer Risk game versions that followed.

It should be noted that Risk: Black Ops is a Limited Edition game. Hasbro only produced 1,000 copies making it extremely pricey for collectors to get a hold of. Adding to the scarcity was that many of the games were distributing to bloggers, reviewers, and gaming sites.

After decades of being pretty much the best-known strategy board game out there, Risk needed a bit of a change in order to stay fresh in an Internet-dominated world and garner the attention of younger generations. Designers came up with some additions and changes that made games shorter and more engaging for more people in more occasions. What they came up with does work towards that end and is indeed interesting.




It may have been for a limited release, but Risk: Black Ops was quite the shake-up as far as being a departure from the classic Risk game goes. Its biggest change is the introduction of Objectives in place of the usual Global Domination gameplay.

While you can still play Global Domination like in classic Risk game if you wish to do so, you now have another victory condition to play for in place of taking over all the territories in order to win. This makes for faster games, which is a good thing since it’s not uncommon for classic Risk games to last a whole night and into the wee hours of the morning.

The addition of Objectives makes for more dynamic gameplay and greater strategic and tactical variation. Global Domination usually takes 4 hours or more, especially with a full table, while Objectives requires much less. This means that players won’t get worn out after just one game and they could play another one if they so wish.

This new game format also enables more comebacks to be possible, so players who have the advantage at the moment can’t just sit on their lead by turtling up their defenses. Everyone has to be somewhat aggressive in order to capture the objectives before opponents can or perhaps foil their plans to enact yours.

Rules and Features



Risk: Black Ops is for 3-5 players instead of the usual maximum of 6 players. It makes use of the same map as classic Risk, although with a more modern theme. That map accommodates 4 major objectives and 4 minor objectives that the players will fight over. The first to get 3 objectives wins the game.

There are 6 major objectives and 6 minor objectives included, from which you have to pick 4 of each at random during the start of a game. That makes for 8 total objectives on the map, and you need only take 3 of them to win. The difference between major and minor objectives is the corresponding rewards; major objectives have more significant rewards.

Each player gets a Capital, and they then draw 15 territory cards at random. These determine how reinforcements are distributed, as well as objectives. The 15 territories drawn are to be designated as Cities, after which the cards are shuffled back into the deck. Capturing a Capital gives extra reinforcements, and territories with a city count of 2 also give extra troops.

Once Capitals and Cities have been assigned, players get their troops by counting the values of the territories they picked to control at the start of the game. It’s a bit similar to how troops are drafted in classic Risk, but territories hold a lot more sway in how many each player gets. Once they get the troops, the first player to start the game is picked by whatever means deemed appropriate, and the game proceeds.

During the game, players may acquire objectives during their attack phases, at the end of which they get the reward as indicated. They can even get two or more at one time, in which case that player must choose between them. Since objectives can give rewards that can give an incredible advantage, only one can be taken per turn to keep things fair.




From how things went from there, it seems that what Risk: Black Ops started did take hold on more modern Risk games. Some fans may think that it’s dumbing the game down, but what it really did was make it a lot more accessible to more players in a lot more occasions.

At least with this updated format, you won’t look at that Risk game on your shelf with a pang of dread due to the prospect of going through up to 6 hours of intensity. That indeed makes Risk: Black Ops and its successors more welcome in just about any game library.



Some people ask about prices, so I looked for this Risk board game online
and saw one on Amazon for $1063! That is CRAZY!
I found another one that is a lot more “affordable” at $421.
So hurry up and grab it if you have the cash and are a collector.
I guess that’s what happens when a game is limited to only 1000 copies.
Remember to check for used ones when you look around. Things change.

Risk 2210 AD

Risk 2210 AD

Review by Sonny Go
(Independent Game Reviewer)

RISK 2210 ad Box cover

Imagine the classic Risk game being revised to fit a completely different theme, from the Napoleonic War to science fiction. While the classic Risk game is indeed a great game with solid gameplay, but there had always been yearning for something more. Since the core gameplay ruleset is quite flexible, there have actually been variations to the game that have taken off, letting players experience it in many other ways, and a sci-fi variant was certainly not far behind.

What is Risk 2210 AD?



From Avalon Hill, Risk 2210 AD was first published back in 2001 as a futuristic version of the classic Risk game. It was designed for play by 2 to 5 players from ages 10 and up, and each game can last up to 3 to 4 hours. For the most part, it’s similar to classic Risk board game in that most of the game is acquiring armies to attack and defend territories, but this variation does more by adding the Moon as another accessible map with conquerable territories, which also adds more to the strategy gameplay.

Having that other area to worry about while worrying about conquering and defending continents on Earth constitutes some strategic juggling that requires even longer term thinking than in the classic Risk game. The Moon is basically another map with restricted access; you need to gain access to the Moon first before you can take territories there. There are some great advantages to controlling the Moon, and it can greatly help you in winning the game. Because of that, playing Risk 2210 AD isn’t exactly like playing classic Risk.

Risk 2210 AD Game Pieces



Of course, the most notable addition to this game is the Moon itself. You can’t really ignore the Moon in this game and just play Risk 2210 AD like classic Risk due to the additional advantages that the Moon avails being incredibly powerful, especially during the late game. Also, you can also control the waters with your navy, which adds more balance to the game due to certain territories in classic Risk no longer being safe havens as they’re now made more accessible through the water. The same can be said about the Moon as once it becomes accessible, anyone can race up to it.

Territory Card sets are no more, so the late game won’t have floods of reinforcements making comebacks impossible, which can make the game more enjoyable longer. Players who are behind can now have a chance to come back from seemingly certain defeat, so long as they make the right decisions. This has become what makes Risk 2210 AD a hit for longtime Risk players as its changes and additions bring new ways to experience the game.

There are Nukes, which is definitely what shakes things up in Risk 2210 AD. It’s both a reward for those who have played well thus far and a comeback mechanic for those who’ve been losing for most of the time and yet somehow got a hold of Nukes to turn the tables. It’s not unlike the Major Command Game of NUKES Risk online in terms that it can definitely change the balance of power. It can also be a gambit for those in the lead to secure their victory as it trades safety for great reward with one shot.

Risk 2210 AD Game Map



As with the classic Risk board game, and also with the Risk online games, there’s fun and frustration in the chaos courtesy of the dice roll. Additional 8-sided dice are included with the usual 6-sided dice to determine attacks when players have acquired commanders, which is what helps break stalemates and facilitates more action in Risk 2210 AD. Winning players can gain more momentum by getting commanders while losing players can come back from adversity with them.

Perhaps there are things some players may find peculiar or weak in this game. For instance, there’s no way to aim Nukes, which is strange, and the Moon turns out to not be as big of a game-changer as it should be, only being extra space like the seas. It’s also quite hard to get there since there are only 3 lunar landing sites that can only be accessed from Space Stations, which are only applicable to players who possess a Space Commander. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through in order just to gain some extra territory.

Risk 2210 AD Game Play



It’s pretty much a standard Risk game with extra stuff added to it, so it retains much of the uncertainty in its gameplay. While you can indeed become very skilled in this game, you’re still dependent on the luck of the dice roll that may mess things up for you if you ever roll low. It’s all about stacking the advantages to your favor in order to account for bad luck that may come your way, and that also means players at a deficit have a chance to bounce back if they can salvage and regroup.

For the most part, experienced Risk players will find the additions in Risk 2210 AD to be quite welcome as they don’t fetter too much with the original Risk game. It’s pretty much a Risk game with some changes that make it more exciting overall as there are now more ways to win and to lose.


Some people ask about prices. This is the cheapest I’ve found.
I’ve added an Amazon link. I’ve seen some used ones for as low as $23.45.
If you click the link remember to check used ones too!

Risk: Star Wars Edition Original Trilogy

Risk: Star Wars Edition

Review by Sonny Go
(Independent Game Reviewer)


Risk: Star Wars – With renewed vigor, the Star Wars franchise has re-entered modern pop culture. Star Wars merchandise is now hotter than ever with greater mainstream appeal due to its legendary status in pop culture. Perhaps it’s because of that, it’s worth looking at Risk: Star Wars Edition, a variant of Risk that takes place in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.

If you’re in the mood for some Star Wars action after re-watching Star Wars: The Force Awakens for yet another time on Blu-ray and perhaps played a Star Wars video game or two, as well as having done some sweet moves with your lightsaber replica, then perhaps you’d like to give this Risk game a try. It gives a different perspective of Star Wars through the lens of strategy.



When Risk: Star Wars Edition came out in late 2006, the Star Wars franchise had gone through a shaky period courtesy of the prequel trilogy. However, it was still fresh enough in the minds of younger fans that a Star Wars board game wouldn’t really be amiss.

This is what happens when you combine two well-known names together, one being from science fiction and the other from strategy gaming. Both of them have since seen their own overhauls and introduced to a new generation of fans, so it seems that something with them together is a no-brainer.

Nine years later after this game came out, The Force Awakens premiered to an expectant public. That movie also rendered the extended universe no longer canon, so a good bit of the stuff you may see on this game may no longer be the “real thing.” But then again, if you’re a fan of what’s now known as the Star Wars Legends universe, then perhaps all is not lost with Risk: Star Wars Edition.

Rules and Features


Players can choose to control the Empire, the Rebel Alliance, or the Hutts. The first two are the main factions of the Galactic Civil War, while the latter is more of a neutral faction. Think of the Hutts as more of what stirs the pot and takes the leftovers in the grand conflict.

All the Empire wants is to take out the Rebel Alliance once and for all. All the Rebel Alliance wants is to assassinate the Emperor. Meanwhile, the Hutts want 10 out of the 13 resource planets on the map, which are also important to both the Empire and the Rebel Alliance. These are their respective objectives, which indeed puts them all at blows with each other.

Unlike in classic Risk, the units in each faction are unique, so you can differentiate between factions easily. The Rebel Alliance are in warm colors, the Empire is gray, and Hutts are green. There are also two Death Stars belonging to the Empire that protects planets controlled by that faction and can destroy other planets, which gives the Empire quite an advantage.

Cards also come into play. Faction-specific cards can make or break a game for players who are either trying to run with their advantage or hoping for a miracle. For instance, there are “Fire the Death Star” cards that Empire players would definitely want to draw and use, posing the greatest threat to the Rebel Alliance.


You can most likely figure out at this point that it’s not an even playing field. However, the objectives do serve to even things out–it does look harder to take out an entire faction than just a special target, and even easier to just take resources. This war is fought across planets, most of which should be familiar to Star Wars fans.

So the gist of it is the Empire is trying to destroy the whole Rebel Alliance, who are trying to survive while hoping against hope to kill the Emperor, all while the Hutts are just trying to get rich and be nuisances in the middle of the war. That does seem like a recipe for some good galactic fun.

Aside from having Death Stars and planets, Risk: Star Wars Edition is pretty much cast from the mold of classic Risk. For best results, make sure that you have five players to really get a galactic war going in all its strategic intricacy and diplomatic intrigue.



Risk: Star Wars is not a game you can play online. None of the online Risk game website will ever get the licence to carry the Star Wars name, which may be fine since the variants of playing Risk online can certainly compete the standard board game model. Maybe you’d even think that a Star Wars board game may be more of a novelty than anything else, but Risk: Star Wars Edition does indeed play well enough. If you’re into the more strategic aspects of the war between the Empire and the Rebel Alliance, then this game is a perfect fit for that fascination. Whether you’re a hardcore Star Wars fan or a Risk fan, you may find this game to be an interesting experience indeed.



Some people ask about price, so I’ve added an Amazon link.
I’ve seen some used ones as low as $80 on Amazon if you click on the link.
Though $80 seems like a lot, even for a used game!

Risk StarCraft Strategy Game

Risk StarCraft

Review by Sonny Go
(Independent Game Reviewer)


Risk StarCraft Strategy Game – Whether you’re an enthusiast of either board games, video games, or even addicted to playing Risk online against a different opponent everyday, the strategy game genre has pretty much been a constant throughout the years. However, it’s not often that we see a strategy game from one medium jump to another, and that’s pretty much what happened with Risk StarCraft—two world-famous franchises combined in one board game.

It’s nothing new for Risk as variations and adaptations for it are everywhere at this point. This one was released by USAopoly on October 10, 2012, to a good bit of publicity, putting together Blizzard Entertainment’s beloved StarCraft franchise with the tabletop strategy of Risk. Moreover, this combines the original game from 1998 with the newer StarCraft II of 2010, thus being a more consolidated experience fit for fans of the series.

StarCraft Transition From PC to Board Game


Taking a computer strategy game like StarCraft and putting it into a board game format can be rather challenging, and some may even think it’s ill-advised, but it was made possible here in Risk StarCraft strategy game. This game is designed for 2 to 6 players and with three distinct gameplay modes, making for a fairly diverse gaming experience that can be shared with friends. There aren’t a lot of board games out there that have different gameplay modes, so this is a good way to try it out.

Similar to the computer game, you have a choice of three races, namely the Terran, Protoss, and Zerg. They have their own strengths and weaknesses that are familiar to the fans of Risk StarCraft strategy game. Terrans are humans with guns, tanks, and flying buildings; the Protoss are aliens with super advanced technology; the Zerg are insect-like and can multiply in great numbers to swarm their foes.

Risk StarCraft Game Pieces



Upon the foundations of classic Risk are additions and changes meant to get as close to the complex and dynamic gameplay of Star Craft as possible. You have planets instead of countries and sectors instead of continents to illustrate both the lore and scale of the StarCraft universe. In some of them, you can get mineral fields for rewards to help you along.

There are two hero units for every race who are major characters in StarCraft II. For the Terrans, there’s the rebel leader Jim Raynor and the new emperor Valerian Mengsk; for the Protoss, there’s the hierarch Artanis and the old but still capable Zeratul; for the Zerg, the Queen of Blades Kerrigan and her underlying Zagara. They all have unique abilities that can help with supporting regular units and directly damaging enemy forces, furthering your struggle for dominance.

Risk StarCraft Maps



There is a lot more involved in this game compared to classic Risk, which is kind of similar to the real StarCraft. Having more things to juggle all at once adds more dynamism to the gameplay, making it a more interesting experience. The selling point of being a board game in a space setting of an existing franchise isn’t the only thing going for this game, but it doesn’t hurt that it has the visual design and in-game universe that Star Craft has. This board game having the same depth in strategy would be what takes it even further.

However, it may be more than just a handful for most beginners, especially those who are not familiar with either classic Risk or StarCraft (and even so if it’s both). There are some things that some may find less than desirable in this game, like the random placement of mineral fields that can’t be planned for prior to a game. There are also some problems with unit team colors, like how Protoss pieces have yellow and orange units that seem to look alike.


Other than that, it plays well enough as a Risk board game. While the settings are indeed different, much of the logic behind the board is fairly similar. The worlds in this game are distinct, with a different number of entry points between each and various other elements that offer more contrast. Some worlds are easier to take than others, and some have more risk in being controlled at certain times in the game.

You also have achievements and rewards to keep you busy in between world invasions and defensive actions against other players. With 6 players spread throughout the board, things can indeed get chaotic and wild, which is indeed what this game was designed for.

Risk StarCraft Real Map



Overall build quality of the unit pieces is quite alright, although the colors may not be the most ideal. The design of the board and cards are well-done, sizable, and fairly comprehensible, which should save players from confusion. While big enough to be substantial, the materials aren’t too big as to take up too much space on the table. As for the visuals, they’re mostly straight out of the Star Craft game, thus they give this game a distinct look and feel that sets it apart from other Risk games, making it a good addition to any Risk and/or tabletop game library.

If you like the idea of a Risk game in a space setting, then Risk StarCraft may just be what you’re looking for. It may be a familiar setting with a lot of gamers out there, making it an attractive addition to a beloved fandom. While it’s far from perfect, it still accomplishes what its designers set out to do by combining two popular strategy game franchises into one package that can be enjoyed by a group of gamers.


Some people asked about price, so I’ve added a link to Amazon.