Risking it all

Risk BoardWorld domination is a touchy subject, especially in today’s rough-and-tumble, highly volatile political world. We’ve got one nation trying to slowly take over the earth without letting anyone in on the secret. We’ve got highly unstable nations threatening nuclear holocaust. And we’ve got Canada, who sits to the North, ice fishing and watching hockey, blissfully unaware that anything, really, is going on*.

Take these struggles of world domination and condense them into a smaller package – say, a few square feet. Add friends. And lots of time.

It’s called Risk. I’ve recently re-discovered it. I’m in love.

Risk was always a foreign pastime for me. I preferred the big money capitalism of Monopoly or the luck/skill of poker. When I did venture onto the board, I would find myself longing for the game to be over, patiently waiting for my friends to finally count up their armies, finally get to rolling dice, and finally take over my miniscule holdings, forcing me onto the island of Madagascar, where they would mercilessly hold me for the rest of the game.

That’s a true story. They wouldn’t let me lose. They just let me sit there on Madagascar.

I thought the randomness of dice rolling was pointless – no way to run an army, really. I didn’t understand the strategy involved. I saw Risk as a novelty for role-playing geeks. You had to have a lot of time to play Risk. Or, you had to have very dedicated friends with similar schedules. I had neither.

Thanks to Deane at Gadgetopia, though, I’ve been reborn.

I’ve latched onto the slowly evolving Risk-like gameplay of Conquer Club, where you and up to five other warring brethren take turns stealing countries and amassing armies. You’re contacted via e-mail when your turn is up, and you’ve got 24 hours per turn. It means a turn a day – like those dedicated friends who play chess via e-mail for months at a time.

From here, I found a standalone computerized version of Risk – sorry, “Lux Deluxe – the Game of World Domination” – that I’ve been using to hone my strategies.

And hone them, I try. My strategies are rather basic right now. I capture a continent on the edge, fortify the front lines, and slowly plow forward. It’s the way to win, as long as you’re playing against people who don’t have the same strategy.

Now, all I need to do is find a group of friends who would be willing to start a game of Risk. It might take weeks to get through a game, what with the differing schedules and impending babies (including us, there are four couples pregnant right now in our group of friends), but I’m ready. I’m practicing. I’m confident I’ll have what it takes to kill, maim and control the people of an opposing country, crushing their spirit until they have no choice but to follow me – joining with the struggle I present, the fight I long to carry on, until the world is mine. MINE, I tell you!!

Hell, maybe I should run for office. I’m sure I could be elected leader somewhere.

(*Apologies to any Canadians out there – I touched upon a somewhat tired cliché/stereotype. But it’s a cliché/stereotype that I will milk for as long as I live. So I guess I’m not sorry at all.)

This was lovingly handwritten on March 8th, 2007