Friday, January 25, 2008

Risk Still Makes History

What happens to our old board games when we stop being kids? I always thought that board games are not played by anyone anymore, or at least that was my thought up until recently. Particularly regarding "Risk," which was my favorite board game during my childhood, I used to think that nobody was interested in playing it anymore as I have not heard anyone mention its name for some years now. But, to my surprise, when the new owner of a neighboring apartment called me a month ago to check if I wanted anything from the last tenant’s left-over belongings, I could not believe my eyes when I spotted under a pile of old books and clothes the older version of "Risk" I used to play myself.

"Risk" may have been invented in the early 1950s by a French movie director named Albert Lamorisse, but it came into my life when my younger brother was too old to keep playing with his plastic soldiers set. "Risk" soon conquered our routine game time after finishing up the traditional family meal that took place always on Sundays. My brother, my cousin, a couple of our fiends, and I, used to head to the upper floor of our house during those cold winter days or to the balcony during the hot summer ones in order to play what we used to refer to as "the game."

Since, in most cases, we were not able to finish an entire game round every Sunday afternoon-the game used to be interrupted by parents who wanted us to go to bed early since we had to go to school the next day-we used to leave the board, the pair of dice, the game’s units, the instruction cards and my brother’s "Napoleon’s hat" at the same place for a whole week up until the following Sunday.

"The game" or "Risk," as it is better known outside of family circles, is a strategy game governed by some very simple rules. First of all, it is a turn-based game for two to six players. Second, it is played on a board depicting a map of the Earth, which is divided into 42 territories, clustered into 6 continents. Third, each player, when his or her turn comes, places an army on a territory in order to claim it.

This process continues until one of the players claims all territories and becomes "the master of the world." It is usual for players all around the world to use the board and the central idea of the game, but to change its rules depending on their taste. But, the important thing remains that one feature of "Risk" cannot be altered; this game is all about strategy.

When I came across the game of "Risk" in my neighbor’s apartment last month, I immediately decided to take it and invite friends over so as to introduce them to one of my favorite games. But when I opened the box I could not find the game’s instructions inside.

"Lucky me" I instantly thought. Now, I could play the game as I used to years ago when I was still home. I decided to invite my friends over and we began playing under my own old game rules. Although it was a fun experience, it remotely resembled those old Sundays at my house. In fact, it was a different experience since I was playing "Risk" with people that were not as crazy about it as I was. Thus, I decided to explore its online versions and to my astonishment I found that many websites were devoted to the "Risk" game experience.

I found out that these were created by "Risk" funs and I am currently exploring most of the websites in quest of another "crazy" fun like myself. I keep my fingers crossed that perhaps one day this "special" someone, who will be going through the same online experience and will become my new "Risk" partner, is going to be my brother wearing the same "Napoleon’s hat," exactly like "those good old days."


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