I have drooled over Risk: Legacy since I first saw that it was coming out. So, when I moved to Philadelphia and was offered a spot with a group just starting a campaign of it, I jumped at the chance to join them! Now, let me tell you that we have played 5 of the 15 games so far - so, I have a good feel for how the game is played, but have not opened every pack. However, I am also intending to write this review without spoilers: so if you're looking for spoilers, this may not be for you, but if you're looking for a good feel on how the game is played, you don't have to worry about me ruining anything - everything I tell you should be found in the rulebook or was at least known to us before we started playing our first game. (Note: I had a pretty picture of the board that we're using, but I realized that if you looked too closely, you might see a spoiler, so I removed it - I have checked all of the other pictures, and they are safe. The Enclave of the Bear pictures shows only a starting power - which you select before your first game.) With that said, let's dig into Risk: Legacy!
|Select your faction - with a starting power|
Ok, that was one of my longer introductions, but now it's time to get to the pros and cons. The first pro is that Risk: Legacy is the most innovative game that I believe I have ever played. I was incredibly hesitant when I first heard that you write on the board, destroy cards, and generally make your game vastly different than when you bought it. However, this part of the game works incredibly well. You truly feel like you are in a campaign throughout the game, and in later games, you will remember what happened in the earlier ones. This will also affect how you play - for example, we had one time when a player had named Australia. He refused to play any negative scars in Australia, because he knew that it would negatively affect him if he controlled Australia in future games. This ever-changing game is an amazing concept, and I am really hoping that more games do something similar. And, when I think about it from a financial perspective, if I pay $60 for a copy of Risk: Legacy, and I play it and enjoy it for the 15 games of the campaign, then I'm paying $4 per play - I have paid a lot more than that per play for many of my games!
|I'm ready to open this!|
Now, those are really my only two pros to Risk: Legacy. But they are huge pros! So, instead of me trying to make something else up, let's just acknowledge that they are gigantic pros and count them both twice. So, now we're at four pros, and I can move on to the cons. Oh, I just remembered another one - the game goes much faster since you only have to get four stars instead of eliminating everyone. There you go, five pros.
The first con is that there is really very little change in the gameplay. Whereas all of Risk 2210's changes are to the gameplay itself, in Risk: Legacy I found myself playing through the game in order to get to the post-game. I was ready to customize the board, open packs, etc., and the game itself was all secondary to this. If you enjoy Risk, you will have no problem here at all! However, I do not enjoy the standard Risk, so I would often find myself bored while waiting for the game to end.
The second con is really more of the same. I don't like how easily strategy is derailed by poor dice rolling. There are some scar cards that can modify dice (make them plus one or minus one), but most of the game will be spent seeing who is better at rolling six-sided dice. I am not good at this. So, this part is incredibly frustrating.
Next, Australia is still overpowered. Whoever controls Australia will probably win the game. Fortunately, this one has a caveat - you can fix this. Since the winner of a game can make a continent bonus plus one or minus one, you can make Australia only worth one extra army instead of two. Plus, one of the scar cards (ammo shortage) makes it harder to defend a country. In addition, players cannot start on "scarred" territories, so this also can prevent players from being allowed to even start in certain territories in Australia. However, in your first few games, this might be a problem.
|What's in the box|
Overall, I give Risk: Legacy an 8.0/10. I absolutely love the ever-changing game. However, the ever-changing game is all centered around Risk. I wish that they had started with Risk 2210 and had then added the changing board to it - having a combination of new gameplay and new outside the game effects. Either way, I love that Risk: Legacy has introduced an entirely new idea into board games - one that I am very excited to see if people will incorporate into future games!
If you like war games, you might also check out Summoner Wars, Test of Fire: Bull Run 1861, and Axis and Allies: Pacific. Or, if you want another opinion, check out this Risk Legacy Review on Play Board Games.
NOTE: I have been informed since writing this review that the only packet with variance is the "Do Not Open. Ever." packet.