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Risk (SEGA)

Risk: Parker Brothers World Conquest Game
Genre: Strategy / tactics
Gameplay: Board game
Published by: Parker Brothers
Developed by: Sculptured Software
Released: 1994
Platform: SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive

Board games are by no means a rarity today, although they have given way to computer games. And the fact is that each board game with its required components (dice, cards, chips, etc., etc.) safely moved to these same computers, providing the players with almost everything the same, but in a certain simulating form. The randomness algorithm is now responsible for the lunge of combinations of dice, the computer monitors the rules, and it plays opponents, if necessary. On the one hand, this is good: no need to fiddle with a bunch of game attributes; on the other hand, it is bad: there is no physical contact. One thing remains unchanged - any board game has a powerful gameplay basis, which can be simple or complex, but it is always reckless. And that's why such games will always be of interest to many players. Parker Brothers' Risk is the epitome of great physical-to-virtual transfer. This is where it should be noted that Risk has joined well in computer games, taking an honorable place there among turn-based strategies. It came out on various platforms, underwent many innovations not from the classic editions, but from game developers who strive to introduce into each new interpretation some atypical functions and gameplay options. They suggest that you play an arcade shooter instead of simply comparing the dice thrown; then they replace the map of the world with some kind of unreal map of a fictional universe; then they transfer the actions of the game into the future, etc. Now we will talk about the version that was released in the mid-90s on the SEGA Genesis / Mega Drive console. It also has significant differences from the original tabletop version of the game.

Firstly, I would like to note that the action of the game takes place in a "hussar" environment: 19th century, cavalry, infantrymen, cannons. But even this does not implore the fact that the world map is divided into territories that do not stand up to any justification from the point of view of political geography: Ukraine occupies a large European part of Russia, China seems to be cut off, Iceland seems to be swollen, etc. This, as is clear, is a big disadvantage to the entire system of the game, tk. the map does not correspond to reality and looks like the one that some politicians dream about ...

Secondly, this version of the game has two modes: Classic and Arcade - these modes affect the conduct of the battle. In classic mode, collisions will be resolved automatically, using a random algorithm for dice. And in arcade mode, victory does not depend on chance, but on how the players will shoot back, getting into the enemy's army and dodging their own army. Here is such an uncomplicated additional mode, which the game acquired thanks to its computer form. By the way, for some reason I absolutely didn’t like the arcade mode; moreover, I turned off the option of showing close battles during the game without leaving the global map. watching melee, in my opinion, is time consuming and quite tedious.

Thirdly, in this version of the game you are offered only one version of the game, one scenario for the development of events - "Conquest of the world". At that time, as I know a few more options for the game in the tabletop version: "Mission Risk", "Neutrals", etc. Perhaps, other options can somehow be artificially played on the basis of the "Conquest of the world" mode, playing exclusively with people and playing this plot as agreed. But it will not be possible to persuade a computer adversary to do so. I did not succeed. Because the "World Conquest" mode is provided here and works great, I will take a closer look at it, talking about the basics of the gameplay.

World Conquest gameplay

Initially, you choose how many players will be present on the world map (from 2 to 6) and who will play for each of the selected parties (human or computer). Next, you go into the mode of alternate placement of troops on the territory. If you do it manually, then you will have to spend about 3 minutes or more on this action, depending on the promptness of the choice. I use automatic placement and distribution of troops, which, in my opinion, gives the game a more random character, which increases the interest. Then one of the players starts the first move (chosen randomly). And here you already need to know the rules of the board system of the game "Risk", which are quite simple and understandable to old people and children, women and men. But if you do not know them, you will have to understand what is happening on the screen for a long time. there are no rules in the SMD version (perhaps they were supplied in a special booklet along with the cartridge).

I immediately say to fans of the desktop version of the game - some of the subtleties of the desktop version are not respected here due to the computerization of these rules and conditions, so I will talk specifically about the rules that this computer interpretation imposes.

At the beginning of each of his turns, the player receives reinforcements in the form of 3 new armies. The player distributes the received reinforcements over his territories and at his will.

Further, the player conducts attacks on opponents from any territory where he has units, but with one condition - at least one unit must remain in the attacking area. Based on this rule, it follows that you can attack from a territory where there are at least two units, one of which does not participate in the attack. The battle in the classic mode is carried out according to a random algorithm, which is not visually shown in any way (in a board game, dice are thrown, whoever has more - he won; if they are equal, the defender wins).

The player must strive to completely capture one or several continents in order to get additional armies for them. Some continents are made up of a small number of territories (which makes them easier to capture and hold), and some are made up of more territories. Also, the difficulty of capturing continents is determined by their location. For example, only one path leads to Australia, blocking which you lock the "door", and South America has 2 entrances: from North America and from Africa.

Points for continents are distributed as follows:
  • North America and Europe - 5 each
  • South America and Australia - 2
  • Africa - 3
  • Asia - 7
After all the attacks have been made, it is worthwhile to start strengthening your front-line positions. To do this, you can pull up several of your rear units in the zone of the intended attack of other players, or you can strengthen your armies in the direction of the planned attack on the next turn. At the same time, it should be borne in mind that movement is possible only to the neighboring territory, therefore it is not reasonable to leave many units deep in the rear. You can only move one group, after which the turn automatically passes to the next player, which is why it is recommended to perform this action at the end of the turn.

If a player captures at least one territory on his turn, then he receives one territory card by the next turn. If you have not captured any territory, the card is not given. One card is always given, even if there is more than one captured territory. After three turns in which the player conquered territories, he should have 3 cards. If these cards are a combination, then the player can activate them at will. A combination is considered either three cards depicting one type of unit (for example, three infantry), or three cards with three different units (one infantry, cavalry, artillery card). Carte blanche can be used like any card. If a player has 5 cards in his hand, then the combination must match 100%, and the player must use it. For activating cards, the player is additionally credited with the number of armies, which is determined by the order in which the cards are activated. If you activate cards first, then you get a certain amount, if with the second, you get several armies more than the first. The player distributes the received reinforcements over his territories at will. It should also be noted that the player who destroyed another player receives cards of the destroyed one to his cards.

After all these actions have been performed, the turn goes to the next player. The game continues until there is only one player left on the field.

The graphics of the game are disgusting. The main menu and splash screen are poorly rendered even for SMD. The map also has a lot of jaggedness and extra pixels, which speaks of the artists' sloppy work.

The music is no different. A couple of simple tunes and a few primitive sound effects are all that is needed for such a game, the developers considered. Music, of course, gets boring after a few parties, but this is for the best: you can turn off the sound altogether and turn on the player with your favorite music.

The disadvantages of the proposed version of the game can be attributed to the fact that you need to gather a company, there is almost no tactical moment, and the first one who dropped out will have to wait a long time for the start of the next game. This is, of course, relative to other variations that can be played in the tabletop version of Risk.

In general, the game is very attractive for its gameplay, if you turn off the arcade component in the options menu and play exclusively in global conquest. It is even more attractive if played by several people at once. A board game cannot get bored quickly. I recommend to all fans of desktop and global strategies in general.