Playing Time: 1-3 Hours
One of the first things I look at with any game I play is the quality of the packaging and how well the game gets stored. I will often point out poor quality boxes and the lack of planning when a game doesn’t store well. Overall I am pleased with the quality of the box and the storage of all the pieces. The box resembles a briefcase, in that it has a handle that the cover slips over and is kept closed with, and the other side of the of the lid is attached to the rest of the box. Like most RISK boxes there are compartments for all the army pieces to go, sorted by color. Keep in mind, if you don’t keep the armies in individual bags (either the ones they come in, or bags of your own) the armies will be all jumbled in the box, especially if you carry the box by the handle. The rest of the box is filled with sealed components, four envelopes and two pockets. These are to remain sealed until you and your friends have satisfied the requirements to open them. The rules say, and I agree, that you should open them only at the stated times. Now, once the envelopes are opened there could be some damage to the surrounding area, this could bother some people who like all their things to be neat and tidy, but I have to say I think that this gives the box some character.
It took me about 3 reads through the rule book (16 pages with many useful images) to get a good handle on the game. The first time I just had to get through it, after the second and third reads it all began to make sense. Hasbro kindly publishes the rules online as a PDF, so I was able to send the link to my gaming group so they could get a heads up on what to expect (although only one of them actually looked at it). At its core, this is RISK, plain and simple, combat works the same, you still count territories you control when calculating your reinforcements (with one small change), and you still have card turn-ins for extra armies. Beyond that the game is quite unique. I’m not going to go over all the rules, after all anyone can read the rules at the link I mentioned above. It resembles, in the most basic sense, Mission RISK, in that the game ends when a certain goal is accomplished and that goal is not necessarily world domination, although that could still be the outcome.
We have (as of this review) played 5 games, and already have seen some significant changes take place. Stickers were getting stuck all over the board, we were writing on the board, cards were getting torn up and tossed out, it was complete madness, and we loved every second of it! We managed to get two games played in our first sitting, the next gathering saw one game completed and the the last time we got together we knocked out one game really fast (mostly because someone was a complete knucklehead, yeah it was me) and immediately followed that up with a second. We opened our first envelope after game 4 and our second after game 5. The changes that are made definitely make for some exciting game play. It’s been really fun seeing what comes next, and I want more.
As noted above, at its core this is RISK, and it plays like it. There are all kinds of differences that make it so different from original RISK, but the game mechanics are still the same. Are you defending and want to make it take longer for you opponent to make any progress? Use one die. Did you attack with three dice? You had better move three armies into that territory.
But there are clear and interesting differences. At the beginning of the game not all territories are going to be occupied, in fact the game might end without all the territories being so. You know that sticker you placed last game to help/hinder? Yeah, it’s still there and its effect still applies. One of the most exciting aspects to the game are the changes to the rules that are revealed as you open compartments. This is a spoiler free review, so I will simply say don’t get too comfortable with the rules you see in the gray brackets.
The Bottom Line
I first played RISK about 20 years ago, and have been a fan ever since. Other than the original game the only version I have ever played is the Lord of the Rings. Although I am interested in the other versions, I was never able to make the commitment with the time or money to play them all. When I first read about RISK:Legacy I was totally on-board, and waited for its release with great anticipation.
I know that the original RISK and Castle RISK are the only versions of the game that are 6 player games, nonetheless I was a little frustrated that Legacy is only a 5 player game. The regular group of friends that I game with are my wife and two other couples. Conveniently, I have an awesome wife who, along with being unfamiliar with the game, was happy watching and helping the other player of our group who was not as familiar with RISK. Other than that I have no complaints. The game is outstanding, all the things that I love about RISK plus a whole bunch of new awesomeness.
All in all, I love this game. It has taken RISK and brought it to a whole different level and the amount of work they put into its development shows. I would recommend this game to any fan of RISK, to any board game fan in fact. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.
People are usually surprised to discover my love for RISK. Some of my beloved childhood memories involve dumping out those little wooden pieces and carefully placing them on the map, trying different strategies to work my way to world dominion. My husband also shares my love for this game and our special 40th Anniversary edition is well loved and well used. We love the Mission version of the game, were excited when Ben mentioned the thought process behind RISK: Legacy, and were on board immediately!
I was not the one who actually read the rules before we arrived to play the first time. I prefer letting Ben read them and then learning them in a more hands on fashion. There was a very short learning curve as we discovered the differences in card turn ins, chose factions, and placed armies. The fact that there were empty spots on the board threw me off a bit at first. There's no neighbor to battle, what now? All my tried and true strategies were out the window. And that's what makes this such an epic game. It's the beloved RISK made completely new. We were all on pretty much an equal playing field and my biggest fear was that we'd finish our fifteen games and I'd never have my name on the board (No worries, I won the second game). Yeah, that's right. You sign the board when you win a game. And you choose from things like naming continents or cities or removing effects from previous games. Even if you don't win, but you managed to stay alive through the game, you have the opportunity to make changes to the board or the game, creating a very personalized version. I have a Crappytown (where I'm a hero) and an Unemployed (in Greenland). The creative potential is one of the many things I absolutely adore about this game. With all of the personalization, no two sets of this game will be the same. I'm saving up to buy another one to play with my family. It's that good.
The secret envelope in the bottom is torture though. I can't be trusted alone in a room with the box. Don't know what I'm talking about? Get the game, lift up the inside where everything is stored, and join me in the conundrum. To open or not to open? That, my friends, is the question.
Kudos to the creators of this game. If you haven't played it yet, it comes highly recommended. Go, gather three or four friends, and get your game on.