Monday, 28 September 2009

Mathematical rating of Risk board variants

It seems to be common knowledge among Risk board game afficionados that certain versions have better boards than others. The original is about the best one, while the Lord of the Rings version is roundly criticised. The main point of contention seems to be "choke points" connecting a few large continents. I wonder if that can be expressed mathematically and used to evaluate potential Risk boards or even build new ones that will be recognised as "good". If so, it would be very easy to avoid publishing a terrible version.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - The quality of the board probably depends on specific rules, too.
PPS - So a board with variant rules might fare better under those rules.


Kammorremae said...

There is a particular rule that is ommitted from certain variants, regarding how many times per turn, and when each turn, one can redeem cards for more armies (in the original, it was once per turn, at the begining).

Since one can claim the cards of a defeated player, not controlling card exchanges for armies can lead to someone steamrolling the whole map in one turn, simply by making concentrated pushes on players with few remaining armies (example: I focus all my armies on wiping out Red, use the cards from Red to earn additional armies, use the extra armies to wipe out Yellow, redeem those, etc).

Most variants I've seen fail in the actually mechanics department, in addition to continent values.

John said...

You'd think a simple simulation with computer players could sort out any weird loopholes or interpretations of the rules like that. Then again, they might be easy to overlook even in simulation. There are plenty of computer games on the market with AI weaknesses that apparently didn't come out in testing.