Friday, October 07, 2011

Risk: A Variant Rule Proposal


No, I haven't play-tested this -- these days if I play Risk it is online at Pogo, which means I don't get to create weirdass rules and try them out. But if you try it, I'd love to hear how it works out in terms of game balance, game play, etc. Here it is:

Insurgency/Antiwar Movement

At a troop cost of 5:1 (that is, the player uses up five of his beginning-of-turn or set turn-in troop allocation in order to place one army), the player may create an "insurgency" or "antiwar movement" in any territory controlled by any opponent.

The insurgency/antiwar movement is created by placing the troop unit(s) in the opponent's territory, next to the opponent's own troops.

A player who has an insurgency/antiwar movement in one of his territories cannot attack from, or move troops from, that territory until the turn after he removes the insurgency/antiwar movement (by attacking it per ordinary Risk combat rules).

The afflicted territory is also not counted toward the total territories controlled by the player for beginning-of-turn troop allocation (e.g. if you control 12 territories, but one of them has an insurgency/antiwar movement, you only have 11 territories for troop allocation purposes, and receive only three, rather than four, armies), or for continent control purposes (e.g. if you control all of South America, but Venezuela has an insurgency/antiwar movement, you don't get the two bonus armies for controlling the continent), nor does it receive the two bonus armies when a set of cards including that territory is turned in.

The insurgency/antiwar movement never attacks on its own. However, if the territory containing the insurgency/antiwar movement is attacked from another territory by the player who placed that insurgency/antiwar movement, the insurgency/antiwar movement units count among the attacking units -- and are the first units to be removed if the attacker loses units.

Feel free to tweak costs or effects to suit (the effects on troop allocation may be too much -- perhaps ignore the continent/card effects?), or to limit the number of insurgencies/antiwar movements, etc. (e.g. any one player can only have one insurgency/antiwar movement going at a time).

The basic idea of the rule variant is to allow a player to -- expensively -- immobilize an opponent temporarily.

This should be especially helpful at "choke points" when a player is outnumbered and on his last legs. He has five armies coming, but at that choke point he only has three armies and the opponent has a gazillion ready to attack. Five armies would be a speed bump. Even one insurgent/antiwar movement unit in that gazillion-army territory, on the other hand, would buy the weaker player an entire turn (perhaps to win another attack elsewhere, draw a card, and put a set of cards together to equalize things).

Anyway, if you try it, tell me about it! And, advance admission -- while I haven't seen a rule variant proposal like this anywhere, I'm betting it's already been done.

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