A new version of an old favorite will be coming to stores summer 2008. Fans of the original popular board game RISK, originally released in 1957, are getting yet another upgrade, RISK Black Ops. RBO adds a new twist to conquering the world. This version allows players to complete games quickly while keeping the good old RISK feel we know and love.
While RISK was once based on the sole goal of world domination, RBO introduces ?objectives? which, depending on how you like to play, can speed up the game considerably and give a new challenge to veterans and newcomers alike. Objectives are chosen randomly from the selection of objective cards you are presented at the beginning of each game. The player?s role is to complete 3 of these before his opponents. If a player achieves an objective, he gains that objective card, and it is removed from the game. A player can only achieve one objective a turn, however, so the race for objectives is never ending. As in the original game, taking over ?territories? still plays a big part in RBO, as some objectives may have you take a certain number of territories in one turn, or even a whole continent.
In addition to completing an objective you will also receive a rewards card. Reward cards can give the holder a strategically bonus if correctly. Rewards range from gaining troops each turn to having an extra die throw. This can be extremely helpful depending on weather you?re attacking or defending.
Unlike the original, RISK Black Ops is for 3-5 players only. This speeds up the game considerably from the original 1-8 hour timeframe to a mere 1-2 hour game, thus allowing numerous games able to be played in the amount of time it would take to play the original.
Although RISK?s age appropriateness was rated 10+, RBO ups this rating by two years. This is most likely because the added feature of gaining objectives takes more strategy and patience than the original RISK objective of conquering the world. Nevertheless, my 11 year-old sister beat me and my Dad three times in a row.
The new Rule Book, designed as a field guide, is a nice added feature to the game. The rules are easily understood even if you are new to the RISK series. The Field guide consists of large 5x8 cards, which are durable and easily navigable.
I really wonder if they named the game RISK Black Ops for the sole reason that the board is so dark. It?s so hard to distinguish continents from one another because their all the same color with a slight boarder variation. Countries? names need to have larger print so they can be read easily and clearly even if you?re playing with the board facing upside down. The default text also needs to be larger and a lot brighter as we played the game 5 times before realizing it was even there. There is also a slight error between the basic set-up instructions and the board. While the board has the country in Eastern Europe named Russia, the basic set-up manual has it named as Ukraine.
Objectives have pointless categories that they are separated into: Major and Minor. They have no differences from one another and neither one earns you more or less than the other. They are also roughly the same difficulty to achieve and some minor objectives are even more so then the major objectives. There also needs to be a greater quantity and variation of objectives as you normally get a lot of the same set with maybe one or two that you had not played the last game, and there isn?t much difference between objectives such as ?take over 1 continent? and ?take over 2 continents?. Objective cards are also too dark as they blend with the game board too well.
Unlike the original Risk, game unit pieces have gone from model infantry, cavalry, and artillery to blocks. Yes, that?s right; plain square blocks. The only excitement found here is the ability to stack them. There is also the fact that they have removed 10 and 5 pieces from the game completely and left us with 1?s, (the square blocks) and 3?s, (an oblong mutation of a square block).
In conclusion, RISK Black Ops was quite fun. Probably the most fun I will ever have with square blocks and a board. With the fact that all ages can play, shortened game length allowing many games in a few hours, and the addition of objectives add not only more excitement but an aspect of strategy that could not have been gained otherwise. In addition to this, there is also no objectionable content whatsoever, as all the fighting is done in your imagination. I highly recommend getting RISK Black Ops to add to your board game collection this summer 2008.
» By Ben Mack, Plain Games. Published 5/4/2008 9:01:50 PM.