RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition


RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition

Review by Sonny Go


Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - Box Cover

J.R.R. Tolkien’s masterwork was turned into a film trilogy that is now the standard in the high fantasy genre cinema, and it spawned plenty of crossovers and adaptations. The classic strategy board game RISK was no less different, and that is how RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition came to be.

At last, fans of either franchises can now partake in the epic battles between good and evil depicted in the books and the films. Whether you read the books or watched the movies, you should be able to envision yourself commanding either the combined armies of the free peoples of Middle-earth or the dark forces of Sauron through this game.

What is RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition?


Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - Box And Board


RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition is the enhanced version of the first RISK: Lord of the Rings game that was released during the prime of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings film trilogy’s popularity back in 2003. It was designed for two to four players, with each game potentially lasting from two to four hours.

Set during the War of the Ring, RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition puts players in either the forces of good or the evil armies of Sauron to battle for Middle-earth as the One Ring is sought.

Rules and Gameplay Features


Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - The One Ring And Army Pieces

The Classic RISK ruleset is augmented here by adding in Adventure cards, which are basically like objectives to add more dynamic elements to the strategic gameplay; and the Leader pieces, which are represented by three shield pieces for each team.

The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is the basis for all the included materials in the game, which are Territory cards, Battalions, Adventure cards, and rules for better team-based play. Nicely molded pieces, the game manual, and a pewter version of the One Ring top them off.

As Lord of the Rings fans are aware of, wearing the One Ring, even if it is just a replica, is ill-advised.

Leader pieces, which look like shields, give bonuses by adding +1 to the highest die roll for attacking or defending. This is a powerful effect, which is why only one Leader piece is allowed in each territory. In addition, a Leader piece can earn Adventure cards by having them enter Sites of Power. Due to this, Leader pieces are a focal point in the gameplay.

Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - Assorted Cards

Each Adventure card contains either a mission that can be completed with a Leader piece, a special bonus for your troops, or special events that can be triggered by certain conditions. Much of the game is juggling between the taking and defending of Territories while completing Adventures.

Certain features of the map give players various targets that are desirable for control. For instance, to the west of the map, five Ports litter the coastline. They let you move your troops across the map quickly, letting you cover more area and easily outmaneuver opposing armies. For instance, if a territory is being taken that is far away from your troops, you can get them there easily through a nearby port to reach a port near the disputed territory.

The Gold Emblems on the map represent Strongholds. They provide an extra army for reinforcements and a +1 defensive bonus. Holding down Strongholds can prove decisive in this game, as they are much harder to conquer than territories without them. If you have both Ports and Strongholds, you will be nigh impossible to stop.

Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - Evil Attacks Good In Mordor.

Players get 1 point from Territories, 2 points from Strongholds, and anywhere from 2 to 7 points from Regions. Whoever gets the most points is the winner, simple as that.

The aforementioned rules are mostly for games played between 2 to 3 players. However, when there are 4 players, you may choose to play either Alliance RISK or Team RISK. Both of them have two players for each team, but Alliance RISK is merely a team melee wherein players are still mostly out for themselves and don’t win as a tea.

In Team RISK, players do win as a team, and it is also where the One Ring comes into play. Trouble follows the Ring as it makes a journey towards Mount Doom. It is pretty much the timer of the game as the Ring either reaching Mount Doom or being found by an army of Mordor signals the end of the game.

Obviously, the forces of good want it to reach Mount Doom in order for it to be thrown into the fiery lava, while the forces of evil would want it returned to Sauron. This is the main gameplay feature that makes this game different from Classic RISK as it is like a timer of sorts in addition of being an objective, which adds more tension to the gameplay.

When the Ring crosses an evil Territory on its way to Mount Doom, that is when it can be found. The owner of that Territory rolls 2 dice, plus 1 more if there’s a Leader piece there. If the total of the dice roll, including bonuses, adds up to 12 or more, then the Ring is “found” and the evil team wins.

Gameplay Experience


Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - The One Ring Is Cast Into Mount Doom

RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition pretty much plays like the first release of RISK: The Lord of the Rings. However, that first version had only Middle-earth in its map, excluding the realms of Gondor, Mordor, and Haradwaith, which Lord of the Rings fans criticized. The Trilogy Edition then came to be, fixing most of the problems and adding some improvements to make it a better experience overall.

A thing worth noting is that while the idea for the One Ring reaching Mount Doom to end the game is indeed good on paper, it’s also reported that the mechanic makes for plenty of early endings, which may sometimes be undesirable when a game is starting to get good. While some may just do away with it, that is like taking away the essence of a Lord of the Rings game in the first place as the One Ring is a major narrative device in Tolkien’s works.

Nevertheless, that is actually what makes this RISK game good for more casual fans of the game. Since RISK is infamous for games dragging on for too long, this Ring mechanic in RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition makes for faster and more dynamic games that are meant to be more fun for those who are not deep into the Classic RISK game.



Risk The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy Edition - Game Piece

If you are indeed a fan of either RISK or The Lord of the Rings, then you will enjoy this game. If you are a fan of both, then that’s even better as you can experience RISK through the lens of Lord of the Rings, being able to imagine yourself commanding the forces of either good or evil in Tolkien’s magnum opus.

RISK: The Lord of the Rings Trilogy Edition can certainly look good in any RISK or board game collection, and can also look good when placed alongside the Tolkien books. Whether you are a collector, an avid board game player, or merely a fan of Tolkien’s works, then you should find this game to be a welcome acquisition.

RISK Game of Thrones

Review: RISK Game of Thrones

Review by By Chris Yeoh

RISK Game of Thrones Box Front

RISK Game of Thrones represents one of the newer acquisitions for the long-standing RISK board game franchise, and a near perfect symbiosis of a classic game with one of the most popular TV shows ever. If you are desperate to dominate the 7 Kingdoms, keen to become King of Westeros, or just looking to put your friends to the sword in your merciless quest for domination, then you’ve found the perfect RISK Game.

Working in tandem with HBO to develop the product, RISK Game of Thrones takes the best elements of the TV show, including all the characters you know and love (and some you love to hate), and puts them neatly in your hands. Combined with gorgeously rendered miniatures, a faithful representation of the world map, and the minute attention to detail as to what makes Game of Thrones so popular, this version of RISK has true universal appeal.

‘I Drink And I Know Things’: RISK Game of Thrones Overview


RISK Game of Thrones Cards


Spanning two continents, Essos and Westeros, RISK Game of Thrones allows games between everything from 2 to 7 players battle it out for supremacy. All the major houses from the show, you’ll be pleased to know, are represented: Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, Baratheon, Tyrell, and Martell, but curious also is the inclusion of a mystery, game-specific 7th. The Ghiscari are the representation of Daenerys’ mortal enemies, the masters of Slaver’s Bay, and provide an adequate foil for her in Essos as part of a 2-player mode.

The standard edition, skirmish, will be familiar to even the most casual fans who play RISK, as players build armies, roll dice, and take over one another’s territories for victory points. But in including extra cards and rules, RISK Game of Thrones also has a fascinating “Dominion” mode which will satiate the hunger of any player looking to get more into the political intrigue aspect of the show. “World At War” takes this further, including both continents and upping the number of players to 7.

‘You Win Or You Die’: Rules and Gameplay


RISK Game of Thrones Character Cards

As mentioned before, Skirmish is the most basic form of gameplay. It’s everything you love about the vanilla version of playing RISK, dressed up in Game of Thrones cosplay. Charmingly, there are some very Song Of Ice and Fire-style variations to this though – instead of just capturing territories, one must also capture ports and castles.

At the beginning of the game, every player gets the same number of territory cards (from The Wall all the way down to Dorne), and must place armies in each territory. Then follows the standard phases, namely: Reinforcement (and trading in territory cards for various bonus armies), Invading (and rolling the dice), Movement, and Drawing a Territory Card (if you have successfully captured a territory that turn).

In a somewhat unique twist, you can also invade across the sea. If you hold a port, you can attack any other port on that same coastline (and be attacked!) meaning you can never be too cautious in leaving yourself exposed.


RISK Game of Thrones Board Set Up


The most notable difference is the end game phase. Somewhere within the reshuffled deck of territory cards lies the card ‘Valar Morghulis’ (aka ‘All Men Must Die’). When this comes into play, every family dies apart from the player who holds the most aforementioned territories, castles and ports, who then becomes in the winner. The addition of the random element means you can never truly know who will be on top when the smoke clears.

Undoubtedly the most interesting aspect of playing RISK Game of Thrones is the addition of the Dominion mode, which requires around 6-7 people to play properly (and if you want to play across the entire world). In order to make the game represent the plot-driven nature of the show, there are a lot of additional features. For instance, territory cards can be traded in for armies but also for gameplay assets like favourable dice rolls. Also new are further Objective Cards, and the Seats Of Power, which function as sort of capital, and must be retained (or re-captured) to win.


RISK Game of Thrones Territory Character Objective Cards


Gold represents a driving resource. With this gold (which you can get from holding ports among other things), you can buy special cards and abilities. One of these cards is the Maester card, which are powerful ‘special’ abilities that can snarl up an attack from even the largest army, providing a player with any number of temporary special abilities.

Paying gold also activate the Character Cards, welcoming familiar faces of the show (divided along house lines, of course) into play, and providing everything from an additional defence die (provided by Stannis Baratheon), to the ability to look at the top two cards of the deck and discard one (Tyrion Lannister).

Small quirks like this, while paying homage to the spirit of the show, also mean that a player must work more tactically than in the vanilla skirmish version of the game, as having the biggest army no longer guarantees an easy win. Indeed, the correct cards, played at the right time can really turn the tables.

‘Power Is A Trick’: Pros and Cons of playing RISK Game Of Thrones

Perhaps the most wonderful and most notable aspect are the miniatures that come with the game. Stunning rendered, each one is as true to the major houses as possible, doing a fine job of representing each sigil.

RISK Game of Thrones Game Board and Army Pieces

Some complaints have been made, including given the size of the board, you do not receive enough playing pieces to amass a significant enough army across the whole world if needs be. Colour schemes are also a little similar in certain areas, and given the intricacy of the map (which holds a lot of amazing detail), it can be sometimes hard to see where some territories begin and others end. Perhaps they could have stretched the map to fill right to the edges of the board, and defined a few armies a little better (maybe with some more stand out colours).

Any Game Of Thrones fan worth his or her salt is going to want to play the most accurate representation of the TV show they love, and the Dominion feature allows them to do that. The nature of Dominion, as well as the special cards and characters demands that you not just aim towards having the biggest army, but rather world tactically. But because of its relative complexity, and the fact it needs upwards of 6-7 players to run, be ready for the game to span a whole evening – though you might be having so much fun you won’t notice or care.

RISK Game of Thrones: Conclusion


RISK Game of Thrones Set Cards

RISK Game of Thrones is a very fine adaptation of a TV show. In starting with the basic mechanics of how to play RISK, they have added a lot of unique strategy to maintain the flavour of the show, while being easy to learn all the same.

As a strategy game, it has all the makings of a classic RISK game. With the licenses from HBO and the inclusion of favourites like Tyrion, Brienne, and more, this version of RISK is sure to be a hit amongst the most avid Game of Thrones watchers and RISK board game fans alike.




Just in case you were interested, I’ve added some links.