Hey, It’s Only a Game

“Hey, It’s Only a Game”… or is it?

by Redstorm
(Major Command Risk Game Player and Blog Contributor)

family playing only a game

Only a game… Many of us fondly remember those long hours spent playing those wonderful board games as a child. Sure, there were moments when we went savage about who gets what color or marker and most assuredly someone always probably cheated somehow. But we learned things as we played like cooperation, sharing, and sportsmanship. We also felt the thrill of winning and the crush of defeat. Most likely it was then that we first heard someone, probably Dad, say “hey, it’s only a game“.

Who doesn’t remember those young adult years spent chasing wine, women and song while really anticipating the next 27-hour board game marathon where the levels of testosterone were matched only by the mountainous pile of empty beer cans? All the while we were learning about comradery, establishing friendships, often for a lifetime, as we mostly stumbled our way to responsible adulthood. Meh, pass me a cold one since ‘hey, it’s only a game“.

As jobs became careers, girlfriends became wives and children followed seemingly too soon, we often lacked any spare time and struggled to keep the boat steady and on the course. Somehow we and the kids managed to play a few games even as the board games morphed into an ever-changing digital mystery to us. Did we give enough of ourselves? Sadly, after too many excuses, we all heard “it’s ok, Daddy”, “hey, it’s only a game”.

computer game

Comes to the worldwide networks gushing an explosion of connected and online goodness. For the aging gamer, it appears as manna from heaven. Once again discovering the games of our youth while meeting people from all over the Earth on sites like the awesome MAJORCOMMAND.COM all while sitting in our most comfy chair. Total bliss? hmmm. My adorable grandson asked me just the other day, “Papa, why you yelling at your ‘puter?”. Slightly embarrassed, I realized that after all these years I could still learn about myself and my dealings with those around me. Laughing in the way young children do, I can just imagine him saying “Papa”, “hey, it’s only a game“.

Risk: Star Wars 2015 Edition

Risk: Star Wars 2015 Edition

Review by Nikola Brankovic
(Independent Game Reviewer)

RISK Star Wars 2015 - Box-K150

Star Wars Risk 2015 – I sure hope you’re in the mood for something fun, because we’ve discovered Hasbro has released a board game to complement their release of the latest Star Wars movie. In the hype for the movie itself I missed the board game, but a friend pointed it out to me, so it’s time to have a look at it and see if it’s any good.

First of all, there are two editions of Risk Star Wars on the market. Well, actually three if you consider the Star Wars Original Trilogy Edition which we reviewed a couple months ago. But right now we’re strictly speaking about the Star Wars 2015 edition in this article, and there are two variants. There is the regular pack, and the Black Edition. The difference between the two is the box art, as well as some of the miniatures – capital ships, death star and Millennium Falcon, are cardboard cutouts in the regular version, while they are detailed miniatures in Black Edition. The game rules are a bit more detailed and refined in Black Edition as well, avoiding some potential confusion (although you can find the rules online).

RISK Star Wars 2015 - Full Set-K150

Let’s start with the box art. The main box boasts Kylo Ren in the corner, but that’s a marketing ploy that obscures the fact that the game is actually set in Return of the Jedi, you’re re-creating the Battle of Endor and the dogfight that finalizes with the destruction of Death Star. The game map itself is divided into neat sub-sections that represent each part of the fight for the Death Star. Its X-Wing shape represents the parts of the battle, with wings being their separate fights and center part being the space fight around the Death Star.

The game is designed for two players, although it can be played in two teams. The Rebellion and the Empire clash off around the Death Star, with Empire trying to wipe out the attacking fleet and the rebels trying to bring down the Death Star shields before blowing it up. The winning condition seems simple enough.

Center – Death Star

RISK Star Wars 2015 - Center Death Star

Center part of the map is probably why the game carries “Risk” name at all, as the mechanics and the overall style of the game, have very little to do with your classic Risk. The space around Death Star is divided into sectors that you can navigate through, moving your squadrons out of the fire’s way and attacking the opponent ships. Dogfight is very simple, you use the number of dice equal to the number of the number of ships on the field you are attacking from and compare against the difficulty to destroy the defending ships – Rebels have more ships but they’re easier to destroy, while the Empire has fewer ships per squadron but are harder to defeat. The rebels must hold a space next to the Death Star when the shields go down and then roll a 6 on the attack to blow it up, while the Star itself can fire back once its shields are down and wipe out everything in the field it fires on.

Left Wing – Battle of Endor

RISK Star Wars 2015 - Left Wing

How do the shields go down? Well, that’s what the left side of the map is for. It represents the Battle of Endor, with rebels slowly climbing the progress tracker and Empire trying to slow down their progress by throwing stormtroopers in their way. The progress becomes more difficult higher the progress tracker is, but the fight is generally in favor of the Rebels (unless they roll their dice really poorly).

Right Wing – Skywalker vs Vader


RISK Star Wars 2015 - Right Wing

The right side of the map is fully optional, with objectives that can bring advantage to one side or another. It represents the fight between the Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, with them exchanging lightsaber swings and powers until one of them keels over, with an additional option of redeeming the Vader instead of flat-out killing him that brings even greater benefits.

The players take turns drawing cards which represent “orders”, each card letting you select from one of the several listed orders. For each turn, you select three of the card and select orders from them to be executed. Winning optional objectives allows for bigger card pool to select from or more orders to be executed.



risk star wars 2015 pieces

The games last for about 40 minutes to an hour, which may sound like a short time but remember, this is a 2 player game only. There’s plenty of decision making and strategizing to go around to keep you occupied for the most of the time, there were no complaints of the game growing boring. That being said, I wouldn’t call this a Risk game, and I’m really stumped as to why would they brand it as such when it could have been a pretty fun game to play on its own. It’s far from a Risk re-skin I expected when I first laid my eyes on the box, but with the different shape of the map, different goals and overall turn mechanic, only the center of the map makes this a risk game, and that’s only nominally. It’s a good game, for sure, but not a good Risk game, so if you feel like going out of your comfort zone and you’re a fan of Star Wars franchise, this is a good game to try. Otherwise, playing Risk online at Major Command is always a solid choice!



Some people ask about prices, so I’ve added a link to Amazon.
Remember to look for used versions. Some as low a $16.

Risk Junior: Narnia

Risk Junior: Narnia by Hasbro

Review by Albert Bassili
(Independent Game Reviewer)


Risk Junior: Narnia, is an interesting entry into the Risk franchise, focusing more on introducing the game Risk to children more than anything else. Released in 2006 by Hasbro, this entry gives parents and family members to introduce Risk to them in an easy a simple manner, without devolving into the complex strategy of classic Risk. Overall it’s an interesting concept, and there is the added benefit of knowing your kids won’t be exposed to the unpredictable behavior of adults who sometimes take their online Risk games too seriously.

Unfortunately, Risk Junior: Narnia, didn’t see a big release in the US, but it was big in the UK and Europe, so if you’re ever on holiday over there, keep your eyes open!

The Introduction



Now, you might not be expecting this, but Risk Junior: Narnia actually has more complex rules than classic Risk, ostensibly to remove the deep strategy and make it easier to play. For example, attacks are decided by drawing turns, and how many armies you have doesn’t matter, every player rolls either two or three dice. Winning is also based on rolling a 5 and 6, rather than having a higher number.

The game also adds a bit of a good vs evil interplay, with the forces of evil (The White Witch) which are controlled by one player, fighting against the forces of good (Aslan) which is controlled by many. Ultimately, this makes the game a 1 vs team affair, without any chance for alliances or free-for-alls, instead, you know who your enemy is and that’s that. To add to this, the map is rather small, probably one of the smallest, with several bottle necks that make the game a bit more fluid and dynamic.

Of course, this all might sound a bit strange and out there for a Risk game, but it’s an interesting concept for introducing the series to kids. Without the complex strategy, and the standardization of attacks and the map, it’s much easier for a child to grasp. Don’t worry, though, it’s still fun for adults!

Playing Narnia Risk



While there are two different sides, the troops are pretty much the same, with the main difference being that The White Witch’s forces can turn troops into stone, and Aslan’s forces can cure them. Turns are started by drawing an event card, each that has a variety of effects that aren’t too powerful, yet can alter the game slightly to the advantage of one side.

Within those event cards are three special ones: “Always Winter & Never Christmas”, “Father Christmas” and “The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe”. If one of these is drawn, the game is paused and points are awarded based on territories and camps up to that point in the game, after which the game continues as normal. “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” is even more special than the other two, as after the points are calculated the game actually ends and whichever side has the most points wins.


Once an event card is drawn, the player must then draw a territory card which tells them where they must attack. If the territory is friendly, then the player can choose to attack any adjacent territory, otherwise, the battle ensues. The battles themselves are pretty straight forward and are proceeded by a troop placement phase.

After the territory to be attacked has been selected, and troops have been placed, the actual fighting begins. The defender rolls 2 dice and the attacker rolls 3 unless they’ve used a bridge to reach the territory, its hard work crossing a river after all! As mentioned earlier, the roll relies on either a 5 or a 6, with a 5 removing a weak minion, and a 6 removing either a strong or a weak minion.


Of course, all the numbers between 1 and 4 aren’t irrelevant, because that’s where the characters of Narnia Risk come into play. Each of these characters has a special ability that kicks in if a specific number is rolled. For example, The White Witch can freeze minions on a roll of 2, and Lucy can revive them on a 4, 5 or a 6. Doubles kick characters back to the pool, so watch out for those!

Winning Risk Junior: Narnia is either a matter of domination or being the leader in points. Given the fact that there’s a high chance to draw “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”, it usually means that the game is going to end on seeing who has the most points. It’s a bit of a letdown in comparison to classic Risk, but hey, if you’re strong and smart enough, maybe you can get a domination win yet.

Narnia Risk – The Conclusion



The biggest problem with Risk Junior: Narnia, is that it’s quite a ways away from what seasoned Risk players might be used to. The hamstringing that the rules apply to the gameplay might be a bit frustrating for some, and yet, it will make it easier for younger gamers to play. Of course, the complexity of the rules is a bit strange, but having an experience Risk player around will help to get kids into it and understanding the ruleset.

Of course, another main point is that the game is much shorter, which if you know how kids are, is actually a good thing. The smaller map and the way the game dictates where player’s attack means you won’t be spending a lot of empty time thinking, a time where kids might get restless or lose interest. So while it may be strange overall, it’s well adapted for kids.

Overall, if you have kids and you want to introduce them to Risk without overtaxing them with the traditional game, this is a great game to pick up, and a solid entry into the franchise. Though it might not quite prepare them for the world of Risk online, it will give you and them some solid family time. 🙂

500 Games at Major Command Risk

“500 Games”

by Redstorm
(Major Command Risk Game Player and Blog Contributor)

500 games risk online

Approaching my 500th game on MAJORCOMMAND.COM there are a few things I would like to share. First would be “WOW, what a great site to play live or at least semi-live risk like games with new friends from the world over who, as a whole, enjoy the games and site as much as I do. I find myself hopelessly addicted and actually will check for my turns throughout the day. I’m quite sure I’m not the only one. The maps are the first rate, game options are plentiful and varied, several different options exist for the number of game players, etc.

As a newer player, I find the most difficult thing for me is to learn, mostly the hard way, the myriad of strategies to be successful in these games. No one strategy will work across the board with all the different options and maps. I’ve found the best way to get the knowledge is through team games such as doubles and to simply ask the more experienced players. I’ve yet to encounter one who didn’t eagerly pass along their experiences and opinions. Even more difficult than learning the strategies is to internalize them and remember to use them in the heat of battle. I still am guilty of attacking too aggressively only to find myself eliminated because I didn’t secure my gains properly.

dice rolling risk online games

Oh, those damn dice! I’ve read all the discussions and wiki notes but like a lot of players, I think there is something imbalanced about the random dice. Maybe it’s just human nature but too many times I have been doing quite well rolling once in assault mode then try to finish it with the blitz mode only to lose heavily. Meh, the bottom line is that we all have to deal with the dice so it evens out I suppose in the long run.

Real-time (RT) versus casual games. RT games are a whole different environment and too often I think newer players start there and get discouraged then leave the site. I’ve heard it referred to as “the wild west” but I think it is more like a shark pit. This is where you can find some of the less honorable players preying on the unsuspecting player. A favorite tactic is to open a 4 player game with one or two players then when the unsuspecting ‘victim’ joins the game another shark will enter to close the game. Usually one goes AWOL and the other two attack the newer player. It’s never a fair game from the beginning. My best advice to newer players is to always check the profiles of all the players in any game you want to join. The honor and diplomatic rating is a dead giveaway with very few exceptions. Thankfully the fair and honorable players far outnumber these few brigands. The good news is that you will never hardly see that happening in casual games so I would recommend those for the newer player.

by Redstorm

Risk: Metal Gear Solid

Risk: Metal Gear Solid

Review by Sonny Go
(Independent Game Reviewer)


Through everything that the Metal Gear Solid series went through, from its pre-Solid days, its breakout in the PlayStation, all the sequels, and finally its drama-filled conclusion due to Konami’s schizophrenia. But before things did go completely south, something other than the last two Metal Gear Solid did come out of it. This is Risk: Metal Gear Solid, a crossover between the world-famous video game and the strategy board game.



This mashup is based on Metal Gear Solid IV, although you don’t get to play as Solid Snake. This game is more about the lore behind the video game, including all the international mudslinging that goes about. If you’re a Metal Gear Solid fan and want to dive deeper into that in-game world, this game can be a surprisingly good way to do just that.

The contents of the game itself are fairly numerous. The board itself is split into six zones with 42 territories between them which are to be occupied by 275 custom pieces split between five PMC armies, as well as neutral armies and cities. Along with them are 8 Boss cards, 40 Drebin’s Shop cards, 42 Territory cards, and 8 Rewards—all of which give more ways for players to gain an advantage in the game, which adds to the strategic gameplay.


The most prominent of the game pieces has got to be the Outer Haven battleship. Seven dice are used to determine combat actions. The whole game comes at a total of 3.4 pounds, all contained in a well-designed box that features Yoji Shinkawa’s signature brush artwork that should look good in any game shelf.

This Risk game makes use of the revamped ruleset that was first introduced in Risk: Black Ops. It seems that it’s just what fits the Metal Gear Solid look and feel needed for this game, although it did need some tweaking in order to really work for this crossover. But once they did get it just right, it worked quite well.

Each game can last up to two hours when played with objectives and four to five hours when played like classic Risk, similar to the intended design for Risk: Black Ops. It plays closely enough to most other Risk games while having enough of its own flavor for it to be unique.



The main objective is to gain control of every territory on the world map by commanding your chosen Outer Haven private military company. Each color represents a different Outer Haven PMC from a certain part of this world, although that’s their only real difference.

Aside from soldiers, there’s the Outer Haven battleship that can give anyone who musters it a massive advantage. It used to be Liquid Ocelot’s battleship, and it’s like its own continent in a way. You can risk it all to get the ship, but it’s not certain that you’ll be able to conquer everything else with it as well.

The ship’s movement is made random via dice roll, moving between six waypoints on the map. When a player takes over the ship, he/she can move it to whatever docking station of choice, thus letting that player unload reinforcements onto wherever he/she wants. This makes the Outer Haven battleship a great boon for anyone who controls it.


The Drebin’s Shop cards give players more offensive and defensive options to get them out of adverse situations. There are also the boss cards that give players boost in attack power and a unique ability. A boss costs 3,000 points to acquire and 1,000 points for upkeep per turn. Suffice to say, these are mercenary bosses who need to keep getting paid, thus adding another element of resource management to the game.

Reinforcements are gained by taking over enemy territory to obtain territory cards, which have either one or two stars. Stars can then be traded in for more reinforcements, which then lets you run wild as you gain more territory and put pressure on the enemy forces.



This is a crossover that does what it can to make both franchises look good in their own way. In the case of Metal Gear Solid, the world being the focus makes for a rather different feel even for MGS fans, but one that does the fandom well. Even though you won’t be able to play this version of Risk online, the board game itself, Risk: Metal Gear Solid has a fair bit of quality to it, as well as exciting gameplay, making it a good addition to most game shelves.



Some people asked about price, so I’ve added a link to Amazon…
There are a variety of choices, but always remember to check
for used one.