Cardboard Children: Risk Legacy

Hello youse,

It’s 2012. A new start. So I’ve decided that I’m going to change how I do things here. Instead of doing a FEATURED REVIEW each week like I have in the past, I think it might be more fun and more honest to have a more conversational column where I talk about what I’ve been playing. You see, the truth is that board games are different almost every time you play them. A three player game of something can disappoint, and then a four player game can totally fly. Your opinions change from session to session, a constant adjustment of your expectations and levels of satisfaction. I think it would be good for you to see those opinions change and develop, and I think it’s probably a more honest way to appraise these games.

There are a lot of people doing board game reviews on the internet now. When I did my first video review, there was maybe only Tom Vasel and Scott Nicholson out there doing their video thing, and Michael Barnes doing his written thing. Now it seems like there are conventional reviews everywhere, in video and text and audio form, so do we really need more? I don’t think so.

I’m going to fling my life open to you all a little bit, and show you exactly how I game and when I game and where I game. I’ll show you the dickheads I game with, too. I’ll detail, hopefully in a more organic manner, the way these board games drift in and out of favour as new games come along and tastes develop.

I’m also going to try to combat the “Cult of the New” thing that exists in gaming. I think this applies to video gaming as much as it applies to board gaming – everybody seems to get a bit obsessed with the latest releases, and few people seem to revisit stuff to see if that amazing game we were all raving about has a greatness of any real permanence.

While I work out how all this will be flowing from next week, let me tell you about something very special indeed.


Last week we played our first game of Risk: Legacy. In our group of five, only one of us is a fan of conventional Risk. I can’t stand Risk. It’s too long, too boring, and too frustrating when those dice turn against you.

Risk: Legacy is spectacular. We all loved it. No. We’re all in love with it.

In case you don’t know, Risk: Legacy is pretty much a campaign game of Risk. Each player controls a faction and plays through 15 Risk battles, expanding their power. The sweet part of it all is that Risk: Legacy is a game of creation. You will be altering the factions, the board and even the rules as you go along, until you produce a game of Risk that is yours and yours alone. You draw all over the board. You tear up cards. You choose the powers for your faction and you destroy the options that you didn’t select. At certain points in the campaign, you will open mysterious new packs of cards and trays of miniatures that will be added to your game.

You will name every continent and every city. My girlfriend Joanne established the major city of Joburg last week, while Richard established a small city called Rikland in California. If I win the next game I will name Rikland’s home continent “PRICKLAND” so that Richard lives in Rikland, Prickland. You do all this by scribbling all over the board in ink. When you win a game you sign the board and can even write some trash talk. It’s hilarious.

Even mid-game, changes are happening around you. You can choose to “scar” the terrain of a battle by sticking a sticker onto the board. That sticker might, for example, be an ammo shortage that reduces the effectiveness of defenders. But that scar could be there forever, in every game you play afterwards. It’s a spectacular idea.

I will say this – after just one play, I find it unlikely I will play a better game this year. It just feels like an important bit of game design. It feels like the start of something completely new. A board game with real choices. A board game less linear than modern video games. When you destroy a card for the first time it’s such a naughty thrill. It’s dizzying to see this kind of weird indie design sensibility inside a mainstream games release. Here’s a component from a fifty quid game, and you’re just about to tear it in half and bin it. That’s some serious punk shit, right there.

Over on there are people trying to work out how to get around destroying their game. They’re trying to work out if they could maybe photocopy the components or lay a plastic sheet on the board they write on, or-

Oh, it makes me sad. It drives me mad. Risk: Legacy is not about destroying a game, it is about creating one. Removal is an essential part of creation. What you take out is as important as what you put in. This board game is like a big chunk of rock. Ugly rock, too. Risk rock. And you hack at it and break parts off and end up with something that is beautiful. A game that your group made as you played. Why would you NOT want to do this? Because you’re a collector maybe? Collectors suck. Fuck those guys.

Risk: Legacy is a purely positive thing. As you play it you get the feeling that the design came from a very pure and honest place – “Let’s make Risk amazing.” An honourable quest. And my god, they did it. Last week my girlfriend (a Risk hater) said to me (a Risk hater) that at the end of the 15 games we should frame the board and hang it on the wall. I agreed that it was a cool idea. Can you get how big a deal that is? That we would hang a version of a game we once hated on the wall in our fucking house? Is there any stronger recommendation than that? And these idiots on boardgamegeek want to keep their copies intact? Crazy.

Just crazy.

Fuck collectors. Seriously. Games aren’t for collecting, they’re for playing. I understand where that way of thinking comes from though. When I started buying these premium games, big expensive Fantasy Flight productions, I would hate seeing people holding the cards with greasy hands and I would panic about people having drinks sitting beside the board. But then you realise that the games don’t actually matter. The people do. The good times and the people matter. Not the cardboard. And that’s when you chill out and have fun.

And Risk: Legacy GETS that. This is a game that tells you that YOU matter. All of you sitting round that table are the ones who make a game great. Every fucking time. It doesn’t matter which game you play, if you have shitty people sitting with you it’s going to be a bust. And here’s the game that lets you track all that good fun you had. Finally, a board game has that magic I thought you could only find in a pen and paper RPG.

As new as it feels, it feels nostalgic too. Board games used to be things that people house ruled and wrote all over and fucked around with. Back when families had fun together, remember? In a sense, Risk: Legacy is just handing you the power to do that kind of stuff all over again. It’s saying “Hey, see this thing? It’s yours. Do what you want with it.” These days gamers do a Google search for every single rules issue that arises during a game. We demand FAQs that will resolve any little bit of rules confusion. Back in the day we’d house-rule that shit. We’d change the name of any monster who seemed too strong or unbalanced to FUCKNUT. We’d probably rename the game “RUN AWAY FROM FUCKNUT” and write it on the box.

And think about it. If you were to find a board game up in the attic, one you had when you were a kid, what would you want it to look like? Pristine condition? So minty fresh you could sell it on ebay? Or covered in your childish scrawlings? Decorated with your naïve little drawings and maps you created and new items you made?

When you lift off that lid, what would you want to see? Condition VG++++ or memories?

Risk: Legacy GETS it. Every gamer needs to play this. Every game designer should be forced to play this.

A milestone.


  1. GT3000 says:

    You should talk about the game itself. Anecdotes are cool but..I just had to google how to play it. Just a bit of construct-o-criticism.

    • Chris D says:

      Discussing the rules of Risk:Legacy counts as a spoiler. No one knows what they are until they play.

    • Rab says:

      Yep. Be careful how you google for this game. Seriously.

    • Hematite says:

      Ah, that’s good to know. I didn’t quite pick up from the main article that there was a “Surprise! You didn’t even know this rule existed previously!” element, I assumed it was more of a standard branching tech tree thing.

    • Duke of Chutney says:

      i disagree with this view in general. If i want a rules explanation i can read the rules (most games have their rules posted online, for reasons already explained this game is an exception), also it has RIsk in the title, which already tells you what the main rules mechanics are, you move troops round the world and throw dice at each other.

      There are hundreds of waste of space reviews that detail the rules of a game with out actually telling you anything interesting about the game. IMO its more important to know how a game feels to play, whats the narrative (essense on narrative not theme not backstory, the narrative is the players experience of tension and emotions in the game, all video games have this too but some game devs decided our imaginations need to be crushed with cut scenes), what is it that draws you into the game and how does it feel, or what is it that dumps you back in your living room frastraited and bored?

      I approve of your new format Rab.

      I doubt i will get this game, purely because i think it will work best with a consistent gaming group, which i dont have, players change each week.

    • Lilliput King says:

      But the informo-review is already practically ubiquitous. What rab does is almost unique, and it’s great to have a column which gets across how much fun these things actually are.

    • Trillby says:

      Aye, a bit of NSJ never hurt anyone…

  2. westyfield says:

    Any chance you could post some photos of the board? It’s be interesting to see how it changes over the course of a campaign.

    • beefchief says:

      That’s a great idea.

    • Rab says:

      There are no photos and no details for a reason. Spoilers.

    • Cerzi says:

      Been playing this with my gaming group for the last couple of months, it really is fantastic. I loved watching the reactions on peoples faces when I told them to tear up a card.

      This is the review that convinced me to buy it the day it came out, and includes some pics of the board:
      link to

    • aerozol says:

      Just saying, spoilers or no, as a visual guy, a review without photos is worthless for me.
      That might sound stupid, but that’s the way it is.

  3. Chris D says:

    I’ve wanted to get my hands on Risk Legacy ever since they interviewed Rob Daviau, the designer on Three Moves Ahead.

    It sounds fantastic. At first I was horrified at the idea of tearing up cards (One of the first things the game asks you to do is choose between two abilities for each faction and tear up the other one) but the idea of breaking boardgame taboos is fascinating, as is the idea of decisions having permanent consequences.

    Risk:Legacy is going to have to wait though, as over Christmas I picked up Fortune and Glory and Cyclades on Mr Florence’s recommendation and they’re both excellent in entirely different ways. My 14 year old cousin played one game of Fortune and Glory with me and then immediately requested a copy for his birthday. I consider this a victory for geek-kind in general, and specifically over everyone who mocked me for liking boardgames as I was growing up.

  4. McDan says:

    Yay! I still love original normal risk and this sounds great! Though I will have to risk the wrath of Florence by saying that it does sounds strange on blasphemous to destroy game picies and write on the board etc. Hopefully I’ll understand once I’ve played it.

  5. v21 says:

    There’s no point changing your format away from reviewing a thing each week, if you still make me want to spend £50 on whatever it is your talking about.

  6. Drench says:

    [haha never mind should’ve not mentioned it]

    • Rab says:

      How cool a thing is that for someone to find without expecting it though? Which you’ve now RUINED.

    • MartinNr5 says:

      Yeah, seriously – can a mod please spoiler tag Drench’s comment?

  7. tossrStu says:

    Oh. My. God. I just found out about THAT envelope. I wish I could say more about it, but even mentioning its existence could be considered a spoiler. Possibly the most meta bit of design I’ve ever seen in a boardgame. I want this game SO BAD now.

    EDIT: Oh, Drench just mentioned it. But still. What an awesome, amazing thing to include.

  8. tossrStu says:

    Hey Rab, you know that “make new rules for Cluedo” compo you ran a little while ago? Which I don’t think was ever followed up on, presumably because nobody could find a way to make it worth playing? Two words: CLUEDO LEGACY. A single-playthrough variant, with sealed envelopes that you open during play, each one containing a plot twist (eg. On turn 5, Colonel Mustard opens an envelope which tells him he’s in cahoots with the murderer and must impede the investigation in some way). My mind’s fizzing with possibilities already.

    • Vinraith says:

      That idea is where this game started, actually. You should listen to the Three Moves Ahead episode about Risk Legacy.

    • bilharzia says:

      Yes the interview is worth listening to – another plug for the podcast Interview with the designer. It turns out the sealed envelope gimmick came out of play testing as a way of drip-feeding expanded rules and features; the core idea behind developing the game was to have a boardgame which builds a narrative through successive plays.

      Risk always seemed like a dreadful game but from what I’ve read on BGG this sounds great. Something that’s not obvious is that each game is short – an hour or less because the win is points based. I couldn’t spend £50 on the game but it’s a brilliant collection of ideas and ripe for a DIY version.

  9. Danny252 says:

    Maybe I’ve got the wrong end of the stick, but it sounds like once you’ve played through a few times (going by the 16 “winners” slots, that’s all you get), you’re permanently stuck with the same “customised” game, because you’ve ripped things up and written on the board? Do you have to go and buy it again to keep on playing? Sounds expensive, if you play it a lot.

    • Rab says:

      Think of it this way – after 15 games you will have your own game of Risk, that you created, exactly how you like it. You can play on that thing forever.

    • Clash says:

      Right, but what if you want a newly customized game to build with a new set of friends? It sounds like a fantastic concept except that once the game is set you have to buy an entirely new board to play with different rules.

    • Chris D says:

      If you’ve enjoyed Risk:Legacy so much that you absolutely have to play that game with all your friends and no other game will do, and you enjoyed the experience of creating the rules as you go so much that you don’t just want to play with the same board then I’d consider it money well spent.

      Alternatively, you could just not rip up the cards and use removeable labels, but personally I think you’d be missing out on the experience.

    • Hematite says:

      From another perspective, I hope to never, in my entire life, play 15 games of regular Risk.

      If this is good enough to actually get to ‘the end’ it would still be an amazing deal in terms of pounds per hour per player.

    • Myrth says:

      Hematite has it right. The game cost $60 for us, so split between five players that’s $12/person. We just finished our 6th game (we play about once a week, with games lasting about an hour to an hour and a half) and it’s already been worth the price and we’ve nine more games to go.

      Honestly, the only problem is having a large gaming group and trying to find an evening when we only have the five specific people to play. Technically you can have whoever jump in and play, but since it’s an ongoing narrative nobody wants their story co-opted by someone else.

  10. riadsala says:

    I’ve got this sitting on my shelf, waiting to play with a group of friends. Can’t wait!

  11. tossrStu says:

    And another thing. (Oh, I’m chatty today.) Have you played Ascension, Rab? I bought it for my iPad a few months ago and I’ve become hopelessly addicted to it, to the extent that I’m setting aside the cash for a physical copy of it (although I’m hanging on for the moment, as rumour has it they’re reprinting the base game with improved card quality, in line with the expansions). And I NEVER buy boardgames, because I don’t fancy dropping £30 or whatever on a game only to find that nobody fancies playing it. But I’ll make them play Ascension, dammit. I’ll MAKE them.

    But yeah, if you have a hankering for a nice fast-paced deckbuilding game then Ascension’s definitely worth a look. The Return of the Fallen expansion’s nice too, with some cool rule-breaking cards (eg. Some let you retrieve cards from the Void, when they’d otherwise be lost forever). Haven’t played the newest expansion yet but I’ll be snapping it up the moment they release it for iOS.

  12. pakoito says:

    So you have your modified board fifty times and you teared some cards and then you want a new game…so you have to buy it. 50 quid or whatever it is, again.


    • Rab says:


      No, after you’ve torn and scribbled and modified your game you have YOUR game. Unique to you. Forever.


    • riadsala says:

      I think you are completely missing the point here!

      And even if you’re not, £50 split between a group of 5 players, and assuming each game takes an hour, we’re talking 67p per player hour. (and probably less if your games go on for longer). Let along playing a 16th, 17th, game etc.

    • Chris D says:

      If I get fifteen plays out of any game I consider that to be pretty good going.

    • LintMan says:

      I had the same thoughts as Pakoito. It sounds to me that a large part of the fun/experience is in the creation/shaping of the game. Once that’s done, I’d probably want to do it again from scratch and carve out a new version with different rules that perhaps previously got torn up, rather than just contuing to play the completed one. I.e.: I imagine the Rikland/Prickland joke will seem kinda old after some time, or that someone’s unpopular/lame/quirky choice about some rule/gameplay decision (ie: to tear up a rule) will be annoying going forward on a permanent basis “forever”.

      As it is, it seems to be a consumable game, and if you want to recreate the start-up experience, perhaps with a different group of friends, you have to buy the game again. Perhaps it is worth that, but I suspect that people’s reluctance to preserve the original state of the game stems from this, rather than from some “collector” instinct.

      The question here is whether the final state of the game is something you’ll want to keep playing again and again over the following months/years. Would you break out the completed game to play with a new/different group of people who don’t have the enjoyable memories of its creation, and would they like that as much as creating their own new one? That seems unlikely to me, and it the crux of the issue of trying to preserve the starting state. (Again, the game seems interesting enough that maybe it is worth buying another copy, but I totally understand the desire for economy).

    • jrodman says:

      But that’s not how games are played!

      I don’t play the same game with the same people repeatedly. I play the game with a different audience each time, typically. Sometimes it’s my edition, sometimes my friend’s because I left mine at home, and so on.

      Permanently customizing the game for people who aren’t there doesn’t help anything. And having the game pre-customized (removing some options) for people who don’t know those custimizations only inhibits them getting into the experience. So I don’t get the experience of customizing again for the new group, and I don’t get the experience that would actually fit them. So it’s a lose-lose.

    • Chris D says:

      It’s true you’ll probably get more out of this if you have a regular gaming group than if you have a different group each time. That’s ok, not all games are equally good fits for all groups or all situations. If the thought of permanent change doesn’t appeal to you then don’t buy it, that’s fine.

      I don’t see this as a cyncical marketing ploy but rather a creative decision. It’s one I think is very exciting and I can’t wait to try it out.

    • jrodman says:

      I find this really hard to grasp. I don’t know *anyone* with a “regular gaming group”. I mean some have people they play with regularly, but the friends bring fiends, or don’t show up for a couple weeks. And they play games with other circles too. And they go to events. And so on.

      It just seems designed for a set of circumstances that in my experience is extremely rare.

    • Chris D says:


      Oh,Ok. It’s my situation, though. I invited all my mates over for a games night. Enough of them liked it and wanted to do it again that it’s now a regular thing. Maybe it’s a rarer situation than I think it is but I’m not sure why it should be.

      But yeah, if it’s not your situation maybe another game is a better fit for you. Although on the Three Moves Ahead show one of them talks about how he takes his game around and with each new place he has a story to tell about the history of the world they’re creating, he makes it work for that situation. Perhaps you might be able to also?

  13. St Hubbins says:

    Please tell me that Drench hasn’t just dropped a big spoiler. Sake!

    • Rab says:

      It’s not a big spoiler, but I’m sure we’d all prefer it was deleted somehow.

    • St Hubbins says:

      Phew thanks, still a bit annoying though (I think I’m super spoiler averse). Yeah we should hide that if possible.

    • bilharzia says:

      If only there was a way of editing our comments!

  14. Synesthesia says:

    man, this sounds great. Too bad shipping it to argentina would cost me about a new set entirely. I can understand why one would want to keep it in condition, not for any collecting bullshit, but to go through it all again. Its kinda part of the ritual of boardgaming, isnt it?

    Iit does sound great though, and if i get to earn much more than i do now, ill get it in a second.

    Also, Mr. rab, i wanted to thank you! ive gotten way into boardgaming thanks to this column, ive gotten last night on earth, and mansions of madness as my first stuff, and im really loving it. Im waiting for quarriors and king of tokyo to arrive via some friend that’s currently studying in edimburgh, it’ll be good.

    Anyway, thanks! it was a big beautiful door this column opened.

  15. DickSocrates says:

    Alternative to destroying the card: Just pretend to destroy the card.


    Do you have to use the destroyed pieces to build a makeshift canoe?

  16. Persus-9 says:

    Oh god! This is a game I should probably play and by play I mean be strapped to a chair and told I can’t leave until I’ve made my mark on the game.

    I think there is something wrong with me because my childhood games are nearly pristine. I had a game when I was little with a thick pad of pre-made character sheets for you to fill in and I always wrote in pencil and re-used each until it could be re-used no more. One of my earliest memories is getting upset over another child putting water the sandpit we were playing in because that destroyed the dry sand. I used to hate kaleidoscopes because I knew I couldn’t help but destroy the patterns.

    Even today about 20 years after the most recent of those memories I still feel the force of what is a strange and utterly irrational emotional block. I know it is stupid, I know creation and destruction go hand in hand and creation is awesome. I can definitely see the genius of this game, but my hands are starting to sweat just thinking about it. I think I need to play this game not just for the fun of it but as therapy.

  17. DK says:

    Just so you know, Robert Florence, you come off as a gigantic asshole in that writeup. Strangely enough, all the reviews of Legacy read as though written by huge assholes. Is it game that’s making you into an asshole?

    Especially the reviewers whining about “how dare you complain about the cost, you tightwad fucker” when they’re playing a review copy they got for free. Yeah, how dare we complain about the price of the game you’re destroying for FREE.

    • Nick says:

      I only see one person coming off as a gigantic asshole here and its you.

    • bilharzia says:

      It seems to have provoked some extreme reactions both ways. The cost in the UK is significantly higher than the US if you convert it (about £50 vs £30) It’s worth listening to the interview on Flash of Steel. I think for people used to doing a lot of their own ‘making’ it doesn’t seem sacrilegious to change the board but not everyone is like that. I can’t afford to buy it but I’m not in the least put out by the encouraging reviews and I’ll have a go at making my own scratch version.

    • Rab says:

      I bought Risk: Legacy. I buy pretty much everything I review.

      So fuck you.

    • welka says:

      I agree with the OP, though I wouldn’t really put it that simply. Rab has a shtick of being crass, I get that, but insulting people that would try to not destroy their board games is not only being an asshole, it’s actually breaking the rules that RPS has set out (for the forums. I can’t find the rules for the comments, but I imagine they are the same). This really didn’t bother me that much. As I said, I get that that’s Rab’s shtick. I’ve gotten used to it to some extent. While I still don’t enjoy that aspect of his write-ups, I’ve come to enjoy this column none-the-less.

      However, what I really don’t appreciate is his response here. “So fuck you.” Really? This is how writers for RPS respond to comments? I always thought of RPS as a fairly friendly community of gamers, but this comment makes me second guess even writing this response. What sort of verbal attack will this warrant from Robert?

      As for the original poster’s argument, I think there are a lot of reasons why people wouldn’t want to destroy their board games. Personally, I don’t appreciate waste, and buying a board game just to throw a chunk of it away seems wasteful to me. I agree with the sentiment that people need to lighten up about their board games being pristine, but that doesn’t mean that I should want to just throw away cards before even using them.

      There’s also the idea that maybe, just maybe, I’m poor, so maybe I might want to be able to maintain some resale value in case I hit a tight spot and can’t pay rent or a medical bill or my child’s medical bill .

      Also, as for the people that say that 15+ hours of play for a game of this price is a good value, you have to take into account what value you’re getting from your other games. There isn’t a board game in my “collection” that I’ve gotten fewer than 15 hours of play out of. Some of those games cost me $5. Comparatively, this game is a terrible value. That’s without even taking into account that if you don’t like the game after one play, you just ruined its resale value and got one measly hour of non-fun for $60.

      I think that’s why the OP said Rab came off as a gigantic asshole, because the article is completely unsympathetic and makes sweeping judgments. It really doesn’t take much imagination to think of a few valid reasons why people might not want to tear up cards or mark their game board. It takes even less consideration to not act like you know why people do what they do and insult them for it.

    • Rab says:

      I give up.

      I give up.

    • hoobajoo says:

      “Waah waah I can’t handle someone having an opinion. Stop telling me your opinion, it’s too meaaaan.”

      Anyone who thinks components are what board games are about are such hollow, cynical individuals. I own Mansions of Madness and Twilight Imperium, among others, and I love my bits and cards and plastic to death, and I’m telling you COMPONENTS ARE NOT BOARD GAMES. STOP ACTING LIKE IT.

      Have you people even played board games before?

    • RogB says:

      “However, what I really don’t appreciate is his response here. “So fuck you.” Really? This is how writers for RPS respond to comments? ”

      When the OP’s opening shot is to call him ‘a gigantic asshole’ and then go off on some rant about reviewers not paying for anything (which in this case is completely wrong), I wouldnt say it was entirely unjustified.

    • Lilliput King says:

      “However, what I really don’t appreciate is his response here. “So fuck you.” Really? This is how writers for RPS respond to comments? I always thought of RPS as a fairly friendly community of gamers, but this comment makes me second guess even writing this response. What sort of verbal attack will this warrant from Robert?”

      No-one is safe!

    • Chris D says:

      Let’s see: Calling the reviewer an arsehole, misrepresenting their words for effect, implying they don’t pay for their games and that their opinions are skewed as a result.

      That “fuck you!” looks pretty well deserved from where I’m sitting.

    • eldwl says:

      Oh god Rab, please don’t give up! Thanks to you, I managed to get my family playing King of Tokyo, Survive and Pandemic on Christmas day and we all loved it. I didn’t know I was going to enjoy board games as much as I do until Cardboard Children.

      Sometimes, however, I wish there was some sort of personality test to qualify for a comments account…

    • Jesse L says:

      This is so upsetting to me I don’t even want to comment, but I do want to support Rob. Please don’t quit, you have fans! If the commenters on RPS are as hostile as this, well, I guess I wouldn’t blame you for going, but I’d be glad to go with you. DK and Welka, you are blocked. DK, I reported you.

    • Raiyan 1.0 says:

      Anyone who thinks Rab is being ‘insulting’ is being… well, I’ll put it mildly – oversensitive.

      Seriously, go watch the Zero Punctuation episode where Yahtzee answers mails from Nintendo fans and harden the fuck up.

      @welka: You must be new here, considering RPS writers usually reply to idiotic commentators by recounting their moms’ sexual congress.

    • Nick says:

      I thought Rab was pretty restrained myself.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      welka, Lilliput King, if Rab was saying “fuck you” to someone who was being polite, it would be one thing. But he was saying it in the context of DK’s post. DK was already playing the “asshole” card. I don’t know if you are American or not, but in These Here United States “fuck you, because not n” is a perfectly appropriate response to “you’re an asshole because n“, where n is an arrogant (and untrue) presumption on the part of the first party.

      If you are British, please see the Pythons’ use of the word for the British context, in which case it also works, but the term “arsehole” is used in place of “asshole”.

      I hope that’s cleared things up.

    • Lilliput King says:

      Tinkerer: Yeah I clearly wasn’t being serious. Sorry if I contributed to this storm in a teacup thing.

  18. skinlo says:

    I like Risk =/

    Played a 6 hour game yesterday.

  19. St Hubbins says:

    How long does each Risk:Legacy game take to play?

  20. Lone Gunman says:

    After all this card ripping do you end up with a game you can not play any more due to lack of cards?

    • bilharzia says:

      It’s still playable after the 15th game. The “ripping up cards” part of the story can also be read as “put them away in an envelope and don’t use them again”. All this means is that these cards which are “lost” represent choices that *your group* chose not to make and therefore are not part of future plays. From what I’ve seen these cards represent a very small proportion of the contents of the game.

  21. the.celt says:

    I can understand a company making a game that requires you to rip it up and otherwise deface it to play. That’s genius, but it seems a lot more like marketing genius than game design genius.

    I can’t understand it from the consumer perspective at all. If it was a $5 pack of cards that I had to rip up during play I’d be hesitant, but I’d give it a go. If I heard I was going to love it, and that others regularly bought these $5 packs and were addicted to buying them and ripping them up on a regular basis, then I’d avoid the game. I wouldn’t *want* to love that game. I don’t want to experience the addictive pleasure of ripping up $5. Now factor in that it’s not a $5 game, but instead a $54 game (just checked Amazon) and I’m even more hesitant.

    I think the marketing genius here is ripe for parody. “Buy our very super fun game for only $19.99. The game is played while traveling in a car with a group of friends. At some point in the journey take the unopened game, show it to your friends, and toss it out the window! Boink! You’ll laugh and laugh! If there are 3 other friends in the car with you, you’ve only spent $5 each for a night of hilarity, which is quite a good entertainment value! Play every night of the week!”

    Still, after all that negativity, I’m intrigued. =)

    • Persus-9 says:

      That sounds strangely like smoking for awhile there except boardgames aren’t so bad for the health and typically aren’t played so often.

      Personally I don’t really see the destruction here. If the game is still playable at the end of the first 15 games then what we basically have is an experience where we buy a game for £50, then we spend for 15 hours each for five people so about 75 hours worth of time between us playing the game but at the same time customizing it according to our desires within a set of rules. By all accounts this is very good fun high quality entertainment at about 66p per minute so compared to going to the cinema or the pub it is already looking like money well spent. Then at the end of those fifteen games we’re left with a custom version of Risk Legacy which has altered mechanics and is unique to us. How much is that custom copy of Risk Legacy worth? Well a custom version of Monopoly that is unique to you can be bought for about £80. On the one hand that is a more polished professionally printed production but on the other hand your custom copy of risk is instilled with all sorts of great memories and both look exactly as it should so I don’t think it would be unreasonable to assign custom Risk Legacy at least the same value. It all seems like a pretty good deal to me.

    • Rab says:

      The game comes with more components than you can actually use. Before ANY game reaches your table, designers have thrown ideas away. Even cool stuff. Here you are being given that extra stuff so that you have the power to make the choice and throw away what you want rid of. This game comes with more, not less. It is vital you understand that.

  22. Soon says:

    ‘s like a sand mandala symbolising the transient nature of the corporeal world. The game.

  23. hoobajoo says:

    A board game, with spoilers. SO DELICIOUS.

    Why Rab, why. I still need Cyclades. I still need Mage Knight. I still need Ascending Empires. I still need Cosmic-fucking-Encounter. And I never would have looked twice at this game, never given it the time of day; “Risk?” I would say, “Pff, Risk is ass.” And then you tell me these things, and it sounds amazing. The price tag makes it even better; it’s the only way to feel the destruction at your core. The only way to know you care, like a 500 quid denim jasket.


  24. Theroux says:

    Jesus Christ I only just got Mage Knight, stop making me want things.

  25. Heimmrich says:

    I think the idea of modifying the game is terrific. You MAKE the game adapt to your (and your group) personal needs and it becomes a more satisfying experience to everybody involved. The only setback I have is this: I don’t USUALLY play board games nor I have a specific group of friends that I could mantain. So, it would be kind of a bummer to get one player on this, he destroy some cards and names a country as FUCKFACE: THE WORLD IS MINE and then he never has the time to or wants to play the game again. So we would have to invite someone else to play as fuckface and use the choices he didn’t make. See what I mean? But it’s a probable acquisiton on the future, when I can get a fixed group to play boardgames. Thanks to this column, next month I’ll be buying Mage Knight and if we all get excited about this boardgame-thingy I’ll definitely buy this. On that matter: anyone knows a site with low international shipping costs? To get a boardgame to Brazil is like buying two boardgames.

  26. malkav11 says:

    My issue with this game has always been that Risk is fucking terrible, so it’s really hard for me to take that plunge. But every time someone says something like “I hate Risk but I love Risk Legacy”, it does make it a bit easier.

  27. Rab says:


    I did it!

    link to

  28. MD says:

    Nice article, I reckon

    a more conversational column where I talk about what I’ve been playing.

    is definitely a good idea. I wouldn’t worry too much about the complaints! You can’t please everyone, but you’re keeping me entertained and I can only assume there are plenty of others in my position.

  29. Shadowcat says:

    Board games used to be things that people […] wrote all over

    I know of literally no one (aside from Robert, apparently) who ever wrote all over a board game.

    • jrodman says:

      Eh, we used to write on the rules a lot in the era when the rules were crap. Avalon Hill games were great, but the rules had odd gaps, and the originization was just absolute drek.

      We also had occaisions where we wrote on the actual cardstock, for example Cosmic Encounter had some unworkable imbalances as shipped, and writing on the power cards was a lot easier than trying to teach every house rule to a newcomer in advance.

      In modern games though? Never.

  30. Baines says:

    When I find my childhood board games, I’d like to find them in good condition. Not to sell them on ebay, but so that I could play them again. There are several old games that I liked as a kid that you can’t find in playable form for less than a pretty penny. And “playable form” itself often means “worse shape than when I owned it”, as I tried to take care of my toys. After all, I didn’t always get many to play with.

    The article does come off as a bit condescending of certain kinds of players, right before it goes into full blown insults directed to those players. The article writer is trying to defend the way to play the game, and what that means. I understand that. But he’s also insulting people. More than that, he’s insulting them for the wrong reasons. For example, lumping anyone who would try to preserve their copy of a game under the “Fuck collectors” statement.

    The replies to comments that say you still have a playable game after 15 matches also seems short-sighted. Yes, you have a playable game, but you don’t have the game you originally bought and had fun playing. When the article’s praise of Risk Legacy is for how the game continually changes, it seems almost stubbornly defensive to argue that the “completed” game that you have left after 15 matches is as playable as the original copy.

    To be fair, one might could also argue that you can’t really play Risk Legacy again. The best experience appears to be finding everything as you play the first time, and you simply will not be innocent even if you start from scratch on a new copy. It might have been interesting if the article writer had included his thoughts on that part.

    And then there is the debate, not given, that destroying something that you paid for is part of the experience. That it invests you more deeply in the experience.

    And all in all, it does somewhat remind me of other games that the players made as they played. Except those other games either were replayable in original form (games like Dominion where players build decks fall into that area), or tended to be concepts that you found online for free and had to make the materials yourself anyway. I’ve ran into a few of the latter over the years, of varying quality, where players would make up parts of the game as they played it. (Hrm, now I want to find the rules to a card game I ran into where all the players made new cards before you played, and you mixed them in to part of the deck from your last game.)

    Back to Risk: Legacy specifically, though, a posting at BoardGameGeek says the game may have been discontinued.

    • Shadowcat says:

      the game may have been discontinued

      Which is another glaring (and obvious) reason why physically destroying the game isn’t such a hot idea. In years to come, when you find yourself with a new group of gaming friends and think to yourself “It’s time for Risk Legacy”, you’ll find that no one sells it, and so despite actually owning the game, you’re literally unable to play it.

    • bilharzia says:

      The game has not been discontinued, the designer has confirmed on BGG
      link to

      The game is not about “destroying components” at all – it’s about constructing a customised game world and creating a story that continues from game to game instead of ‘resetting’ each time in the way that almost all other board games do.

  31. Bioluminescence says:

    Think of it like books.

    The ‘destroy the pieces and modify the board’ is like writing your name on the inside cover of a book – it signals that “Yes, this game is mine, it’s mine to keep, mine to do what I want with it.” It’s like writing comments in the margins, or highlighting the good bits, or folding the corners of pages to come back to. It’s like that, but with friends. It’s like that, so that when you read the book again, it’s a richer experience.

    It’s like reading a book to a child, and every reading the child changes it – the Little Mermaid’s name is Beth, not Ariel (and woe betide if you forget next time); the dragon burps fire instead of breathes fire (remember to do the voices!); the aliens always do *this* face when they talk…

    For some people, this modification will be a liberating, exciting and rich experience – but if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. Some dislike deck-building, some don’t like trading, and some will dislike board-modding games – because I assume it’ll be a genre soon. And that’s ok.

    • Vinraith says:

      The problem is, it’s more like reading a choose your own adventure book and tearing out all the pages that don’t pertain to the choices you made. Yes, the end result is uniquely “your” story, but if you want to read the book again with a different story you’re shit out of luck.

  32. Chris D says:

    Took me a while to find anywhere that is selling this in the UK. In case anyone else is having the same problem I was eventually able to order it from here:

    As it happens the front page also mentions that Kieron Gillen will be doing a signing in their store. Spooky.

  33. terry says:

    The “rip up and rename” aspect of the game sounds great- reminds me of when I was a child, I would spend hours on car journeys crossing out the names of towns and villages in the road atlas and renaming them. I didn’t travel well..

    I really like the new format and this was a great read, cheers Rab!

  34. shaydozer says:

    I have been reading RPS for quite a long time and though I absolutely love quite a lot of what I read here I have never really cared to comment on anything. That is until now. I laughed very hard at this write up and I am absolutely excited to buy and play Risk: Factions. Thank you VERY much!

    As for all the douchebaggery going on in the comments I say ignore them. If you have ever been to any convention all the nerds are very sociable and nice in person but as soon as they get on the internet they get real tough and real opinionated real fast. Fuck trolls. Haters gonna hate. Bitches always be trippin. (insert one more generic people suck so what comment). Keep doing what you do.

  35. Premium User Badge

    Bluerps says:

    Hm. Do you really have to rip up the cards? I mean, I get that you are personalizing your game, and that you can keep playing after you have finished the campaign, and I think it’s a great idea – but what if I want to have a new game? If I don’t want to conquer Bonerland anymore, or think that that ammunition shortage scar should be located elsewhere, or whatever else you can change about the board and the factions? I guess I don’t like throwing away options, because later I might want to go back and choose differently. Also, changing the board is fun and that stops after fifteen games, doesn’t it?

  36. Harlander says:

    Games that you build up as you play like this are rare and always great.

    Seems like a lot of the fun comes from the actual customisation process in-play, though – so in defence of the ‘collectors’, I can see why you might want to go through it more than once.

  37. MadTinkerer says:

    “I’m also going to try to combat the “Cult of the New” thing that exists in gaming. I think this applies to video gaming as much as it applies to board gaming – everybody seems to get a bit obsessed with the latest releases, and few people seem to revisit stuff to see if that amazing game we were all raving about has a greatness of any real permanence.”

    This is really bad when it comes to free Indie games, and almost as bad with commercial Indie games that don’t manage to grab the attention of news sites. (I am talking about electronically published tabletop games, RPG and otherwise, as well as the Video kind.) Mind you: RPS does a great job, and sites like IndieDB and Pixel Prospector and such are great for keeping up with the latest releases, but what about the concept of “Classic Indie” games that were released, say, more than 365 days ago and are still worth recommending that people check out if they haven’t already?

    There’s a very nice extreme example of what I mean called Ancient DOS Games, but I’m hoping for something more recent.

    Basically, I think Duck Doom, and games like it, still deserve recognition.

  38. Premium User Badge

    phuzz says:

    Recently we’ve just started a house campaign of Space Crusade, which is bloody great fun by the way.
    We’re playing on my flatmate’s old set, from when he was a kid, so everything is painted badly (although he did quite a good job on the gene stealers).
    At the same time, he’s trying to find a mint condition set on ebay (he does love to horde), when I found out they were only about £20-30 I said I might buy one. And then give it to my 6 year old nephew and get him to paint all the miniatures. Right in front of my ‘it must be mint and boxed’ mate. Just to see his expression :)

  39. jmtd says:

    I skipped the entire article and searched in-page for “Catan” on both comments pages. No matches, so here it is:


    You’re welcome.

  40. deinol says:

    I know it’s weeks later, but I just found this review. I’ve played 5 games of Risk Legacy so far. People keep asking “Do you have to destroy cards to play?” Certainly there are ways you could play this without doing it. But most of the “Destroy this card” cards are actually just vehicles for stickers. You are given a choice of where a feature is going on the map. The game by design will only have a limited number of those features. Once the sticker is placed, the card it was once on is rather useless.

    Sure, you could decide to draw your own Risk Board, and sharpie the decisions instead of placing a sticker. But I can tell you, it is really fun to mark up the map. I can’t wait to play again.

  41. Nixitur says:

    The creation of your very own “version” of Risk Legacy seems like an incredibly fun process and that is exactly where the problem lies with this.
    If I have one gaming group and we repeatedly play Risk Legacy, we’ll create our very own game (in itself an enjoyable experience) which we can continue playing and continue having fun with.
    However, what if I want to play it with a different group? They won’t have that experience of creating a version of Risk Legacy and are stuck with playing a version which is not theirs. Unless, of course, you buy the game again. I’m fairly certain that’s what the creators intended. It’s a marketing ploy and a very effective one at that.
    Not to mention that I might want to keep the game in pristine quality, so that I could sell it if I’m ever in a tight spot and desperately need money.

    There are plenty of reasons why one would not want to destroy the game components. Being a collector is only one of them and probably the worst one. I find it a bit irritating that you only mentioned that one reason.