Thursday, August 25, 2011

Risk Legacy

Hasbro is going to be publishing a very interesting variant on the board game Risk. It's called Risk Legacy.

One of the fundamental axioms of board games is that each game starts fresh, resetting back to an original starting point. Chess goes back to the original layout, as does checkers, Axis & Allies, Scrabble, Monopoly and pretty much every other board game out there.

Risk Legacy does not.

Instead, playing Risk Legacy causes the game board to permanently change so that the next game will be slightly different than the last game. The board itself evolves as games are played.

The designers accomplish this by using stickers that you attach to the map. Each sticker added essentially changes the map for all games from that point on.

Here's a very interesting thread with information from Rob Daviau, one of the designers of Risk Legacy. He outlines a lot of the reasons behind and aims of this attempt:

This led us to wondering why games always have to reset. Why are they a medium that always goes back to start? Movies and books are static forms of entertainment meant to be viewed but not altered. Games, by nature, demand that the user create the experience. We wanted to push that boundary to have lasting effects. Now you really create the experience. This game is not art to be hung on a wall but a leather jacket to be worn around until it has its own unique story.

I'm not sure how I feel about this board game. It is definitely an example of truly bold and ground-breaking game design. Will it be a success? Will it be a failure? I have no idea, but it is a glorious experiment.

9 comments:

Azuriel said...

Great, now even our board games have "RPG elements."

Games reset because the desire is for them to be unbiased and fair, especially given their "PvP" focus. Assuming this board game is not a single-player game, I am not sure how it is supposed to work out unless you game with the same people all the time.

Stabs said...

Risk already had a legacy effect in that you're likely to gang up on the person who won the last game.

I agree it's bold and innovative. I'm not sure that advantaging the person who won the last game is a good direction though.

Azuriel said...

Risk already had a legacy effect in that you're likely to gang up on the person who won the last game.

Or just the bastard that camped Australia the entire match while you fight for your life on three fronts, before he swept everyone away in a sudden, but inevitable blitzkrieg.

Straw Fellow said...

"Or just the bastard that camped Australia the entire match while you fight for your life on three fronts, before he swept everyone away in a sudden, but inevitable blitzkrieg."

I am unashamed to say I am that guy. Come at me, bro.

Pardon for being single minded though, but I think this would make an excellent online game. Works better in a computer than with stickers, anyhow. My old roommate's parents play Settlers of Catan online with their son all the time, I don't see how this would be much different. Just give them an ID code or tie the changes into their logins and you're set.

Redbeard said...

Rob does have a decent track record with "Betrayal at House on the Hill" and "Axis and Allies Pacific". The board is an interesting mechanic, but I'd rather Hasbro not be so cheap as to use stickers instead of something else to change the board.

Rohan said...

What else would you use instead of stickers?

The very point of the game is the permanence of changes. Stickers do that superbly.

Thinking of ways to make the changes non-permanent would be easy enough, but dilutes the impact of the idea.

Redbeard said...

I know of at least two kids who would decide to lift the stickers off to replace them "properly" if they weren't applied "just so", and so yeah, I could think of issues with the stickers.

Something like using cutout areas where you can pop out and replace the data instead of placing stickers over the top might work better. I'm thinking of something you'd use akin to collecting coins.

Bronte said...

I hope the stickers are peeable because otherwise we will have some messy, indistinguishable territories on those boards...

wilson said...

Someone has already mentioned Settlers of Catan, but there are even more games that don't have a true reset.

Puerto Rico changes subtly with every playing. Last Night on Earth: The Zombie Game, changes every time, as well as other Flying Frog Productions games. RoboRally, does as well. And there are more.

There are a lot of interesting board games beyond the classic Milton Bradley or Parker Brother board games. Particularly the German or European-styled board games.