RISK Stories: Subliminal Game Play


My First RISK Night

One of my all-time favorite strategy board games is RISK.

The very first time I played RISK I didn’t know what I was doing.  The other players were all a little more experienced.  So needless to say I needed some help, and of course I wasn’t expecting to win.

Mentoring a Newbie at RISK

The most experienced player provided me with guidance throughout the game.

He helped me to understand some of the intricacies of the game.  These included strategic infantry set-up, infantry reinforcements, the “Box Rule”, and defense (well maybe not defense).

Attacking an opponent who is weak in one of their territories in order to take occupancy was important for me to understand.  This process allowed me to obtain a card which provides greater value as the game progressed.  My RISK mentor also explained how I could use these cards later in the game to earn more reinforcements.

Defense Misconceptions

Defending my territory was also explained as an important component of RISK.  He demonstrated this to me by moving one of my infantry canons and aiming it towards another players strongly defended territory.  He also moved this player’s canon and aimed it towards me. 

So there it was, right in the middle of the board, two large armies with canons pointing at each other.  This was a clear stand-off for everyone to see.

How Was I to Know?

At the time, this didn’t really matter to me.  Remember this was my very first time playing the game.  I was just happy to be receiving such “great” advice.

As the game continued my opponent and I maintained our defenses.  We continued to grow our armies with infantry reinforcements and neither of us attacked for fear of total demise.  It was clear that we were excellent students, quick studies, and surprisingly strong.  One of us was surely going to be the victor.

There Was A Lot More to Learn

However, as the game came to an end it was clear that this strategy was not good for either one of us.  My mentor was slowly taking over the board and our two armies were becoming more and more at risk (pun intended).

 The game ended and my RISK mentor won the game.  This really shouldn’t have been a big surprise because he was clearly the most experienced player.  Everyone ultimately had a great time and we were happy to learn the game and enjoy each other’s company.

After The Game

One of the most enjoyable parts of my favorite strategy board game is the reminiscing that happens the next few days.  You consider how the game was played and what you could have done differently. 

This is exactly what was happening with me and my friend as we were discussing the game over a dinner we were having with our families.  We talked big moves, bad moves, and the “RISK” that he eventually took to win the game. 

Almost every game comes down to a point where one player has to take a RISK in order to win, and if it doesn’t work, they will inevitably lose.

The Subliminal Play is Made Clear

It was during this conversation that it became clear that a big mistake of mine was building too large of an army on a singular territory.  It also became clear to me that the reason I did this was because of the visual of two cannons facing off in the middle of the board.

Clearly this was a purposeful act performed by my friend to gain an advantage.  This game playing psychology made me view one player as an enemy and took my attention away from all other players.  We laughed about this and he admitted that that was his intention.

Pro Tip: Keep Your Hands to Yourself

He also explained to me that this is breach of game playing etiquette that he was familiar with.  Strategy board game playing etiquette is that you should never touch another player’s game pieces.  Of course, there is an exception, and that is during battles where pieces need to be removed from the board.

However, I had my revenge a few months later.  The other player who built the large army and I were involved in a RISK game that forced us to fight together.  Our faithful diplomacy toward each other led to what I would consider to be one of the best RISK games I ever played – see Straight Outta Australia.

One thought on “RISK Stories: Subliminal Game Play

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Recent Content