Monday, February 8, 2010

Risky Business

Yesterday my son and I opened up one of my Christmas presents, the "new" version of the classic boardgame Risk. I consider myself to be somewhat of a Risk aficionado. Why? Because I have literally played hundreds and hundreds of games. I have played several computer versions, the "old old" version with the pink soldiers, the Risk 2210 version (ah, the nuclear commander rocks), and many others. My favorite is the 40th anniversary version that Jobina got me as a present one year - with it's little steel soldiers and felt pouches for all the colors it has a really nice "feel" to it.

Risk is part of my personal story. I bought my first mac computer based on the fact that there was a really nice computer version of Risk in the store. I procrastinated on scores of papers by playing several games of Risk a day on the computer whilst in college. When I got married, Jobina's Mom's family played super long (and very socially intense) games of Risk at their Christmas family gathering, going so far as to have a "Risk Champion" trophy as reward for the yearly big Christmas game. As a youth pastor I enjoyed playing many games with my students. To me Risk is not just a game, it a passion that I connect with the important people in my life.

So it was a special and tender moment to introduce the reinvented new version of the game ( to my 7 year old son. Amazingly, though it is for kids 12 and up he not only figured out how to play but ended up beating me (I was kind of going a bit easy on him when all of sudden he did a crazy kamikaze move and surprised both of us by being victorious). I really, really like the new version. It is much shorter so you can easily finish a game in 45 minutes to an hour. Not only is it faster, but the new rules meld easily with the old ones making it a quick transition from old to new. Because of the importance of objectives in this version you have to be much more on your toes, considering more variables and ways that not only can you win but how your opponents might. The game board and pieces themself have kind of a Cold War look and feel to them which I wasn't sure of at first but soon grew to like. Most importantly, the potential psychological warfare that goes on between players remains intact in this version - one of my favorite parts of the game. It was a lot of fun and I really want to play again. You need at least 3 players with a maximum of 5.

Boardgames are great because unlike TV, movies, or the internet they require several people and invite more social interaction. Although somewhat retro, I think they are much more healthy form of entertainment and I'd like to play more of them.


Aneta said...

My brothers love this game! The first time I brought my boyfriend home (now husband) to meet the family, he ended up playing Risk with them all afternoon!

Lindsey Dueck said...

I have look high and low for the 40th anniversary game for Eric! It is VERY hard to find!

I love board games too! I would much rather play games than watch a movie or tv. Especially getting when getting together with friends and family. I am very thankful to have friends that live close that love to play games as much as we do (Jay and Sarah).

I often buy my brother board games for birthday/chrismas presents rather than video games. He loves playing them too. It is a great bonding experience! I hope I can pass on my love of games to our future children!

Mark said...

The 40th Anniversary edition is very hard to find although if you look on eBay you'll find it there (if costly). I believe Jobina paid $100 US when she got it for me. It was released in 1998. Cool to hear your little brother likes boardgames - a good sign for him I'd say.

Jay Boaz said...

I was a little surprised to see you playing and liking the new version; I figured you'd be a Risk "purist", if you will. I have yet to try out the new version, we'll have to get in a game!