I like to think of myself as a seasoned Risk player. I can hold my own pretty darn well, and actually most games of Risk involving my husband and I are decided purely by who can manipulate other players the most efficiently. So a couple of years ago we entered a “Win the Board” event at Gen Con for a copy of Risk 2210, with hopes that we could add it to our collection.
The game consisted of myself, my husband, our good friend Sho, and the DM who also played the game. It was disastrous. Not only did we not win, which wasn’t that big of a deal, but we didn’t even have a good time. The DM that we played with was extremely unfriendly and played for blood, he taught the game poorly (pulling out new rules that he forgot as they were convenient), and just generally made the game not much fun. So when a guy from my local gaming group wanted to pull out 2210 for the evening, I hated to tell him no, but I was expecting the same terrible experience.
First off, he explained the rules much much clearer, and from the get go! This alone made for a much more enjoyable game, but was also good natured when the board didn’t turn in his favor. You know, he was a good sport, like game players should be.
I found myself intrigued by many of the mechanics that I simply hadn’t understood the first time I played. Like the delicate dance of using your energy tokens effectively. Energy tokens are gained in much the same way that troops are and are required to play and buy cards and get commanders. I don’t recall what was done differently between my two plays of this game, but the first time around it seemed like I never had any of these, or only had one or two at a time. My playing wasn’t *that* bad, so I think we must have been playing it slightly incorrectly, although my DM didn’t seem to have trouble getting any… odd…
The cards are what made Risk 2210 for me. These really spiced it up with special powers and abilities, it also made the game a bit more random. During the game you can buy cards from one of five different categories. These categories correspond to the different commanders, and you must have that commander on the board to buy one of their cards. These can be anything from “No one can attack you this turn” to “Armageddon”. They are fun, even if slightly random.
By the end of my second game, I decided that this game wasn’t so bad. Sure it still had all the rolling that can make regular risk tedious, but it also had some nifty cards and special abilities to keep it much more interesting. And now that I fully understood the rules, and wasn’t playing with someone who was a total grump, it was a lot more fun too.
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