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Stainless Games



E +10 (Everyone)



June 23, 2010



‑ Provides the hard-core strategic elements of the board game

‑ Can choose to play the “classic” old-school RISK, without all the cartoons and wacky characters

‑ Online play ups the challenge ante tremendously



‑ Using cartoons and wacky, out-of-place characters reduces the gameplay to a somewhat-sophomoric, almost-kiddie-like experience that may turn off the older gamer demographic

‑ Some of the early AI-versus-gamer gaming sessions can become an easy-to-win, not-very-challenging bored (instead of a invigorating, warmongering board) game

‑ Keeping track of the particular objectives can get a bit confusing at first



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RISK: Factions

Score: 7.0 / 10


risk factions          risk factions


Many classic board games – from Monopoly to Sorry! to Battleship to Life ‑ have transitioned from the board onto consoles and/or PCs. One of the newest to make the leap is RISK, the over-50-years-old ultimate strategy game of world domination




- Xbox 360 Game Reviews

- Strategy Game Reviews

- Games Published by Electronic Arts

in RISK: Factions on Xbox Live Arcade.


RISK was always one of the “hard-core” board games, requiring more thinking and strategizing than say, a game of Sorry! With rolls of dice and cards, RISK is a global domination contest, where players use their armies to vanquish their foes and take over the world. RISK: Factions does a very able job capturing


the total domination aspect of the board game for XBLA gamers. Although it does unintentionally “dumb” it down with the inclusion of cartoons to move the game’s “story” forward with wacky, out-of-place characters from five army “factions” (including cats, robots and what game doesn’t have zombies in some fashion included these days?) that reduces the gameplay to a somewhat-sophomoric, almost-kiddie-like experience that may turn off the older gamer demographic.


Fortunately, RISK: Factions allows the option to play some old-school RISK sans the cartoon inclusion (this comes with the “risk” of longer single-player game sessions becoming a “bored” game instead of a virtual board game). However, for serious fans of RISK and it’s thinking-man’s strategy, at the heart of RISK: Factions is unadulterated warmongering, global superiority gameplay that requires intelligent thinking through placement of “armies” to capture the territories needed to become a master Napoleonic RISK ruler.


It’s really simple: RISK’s main objective is to secure territory for your particular “army” while both defending what you have and strategizing to overtake by force of invasion from your foes. However, there are highly complex rules of engagement that require plenty of thinking, much like a game of chess.


risk factions          risk factions


Just like the board game, RISK: Factions players take turns, with the roll of the dice and the game’s cards being the two elements that are left to chance. The other aspects of gameplay – placing reinforcements, fortifying territories so they can withstand attack and attacking opponents’ territories with the intention of taking over ‑ require thinking sometimes two moves ahead. All this strategy is part of RISK: Factions decision-making. For those who haven’t ever played or haven’t played in a very long time, the rules at first can be somewhat confusing, especially in the first few games played. But just like chess, RISK, its rules and the understanding of what it takes to be a successful territorial RISK taker will be understood.


Once gamers rumble through the single-player landscape, online Xbox Live gameplay gives them the chance to prove that their RISK conquest skills are the match for human opponents instead of RISK: Factions’ easy-to-eventually-outlast-and-overtake artificial intelligence.


Despite the quirky, really-unnecessary cartoony factions attempting to infuse some humor in a game that’s never been based on humor and being made part of what should be a hard-core strategy game, the opportunity to play with the classic RISK rules and gameplay really saves RISK: Factions from its own Waterloo disaster.


‑ Lee Cieniawa


(August 27, 2010)


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