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Risk May 8, 2009

Posted by crarence in Games, Miniatures.
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Risk is a board game that I used to play to death with my cousins when I was younger. We busted it out the other day to give it another go. 3 hours later, I remember why we had stopped playing it. Now don’t get me wrong, overall,  I had a good time. However, this is mostly due to the company I keep and the funny antics they pull. With people I am less comfortable with, I’m sure Risk would be a disaster.

  • Unless you’re playing “Capital” Risk and “Mission” Risk, the game is too damn long. Especially if you play “Domination” Risk IE: take over the whole map. Even one of the shorter variants takes too much time.
  • The map is poorly designed. 3 of the 6 continents are relative safe havens (North America, South America, and Australia) due to the limited number of entry points. Europe is tough to defend as Ukraine is surrounded by three hostile countries, and Southern/Western Europe can each be teamed-up on from two or more  fronts. Don’t even try conquering Asia – I have never seen anyone take over Asia and hold it for a turn.
  • The bonus guys from cashing in cards gets way out of hand. After a while, cashing in become way more important than taking and holding continents. It’s so unbalanced that we’ve made a house rule to drastically lower the increment you get bonus models.

It was nice to stroll down memory lane, but near the end I didn’t care who won or lost anymore. Thankfully, another company made an update version of Risk (titled Risk 2210AD) which dramatically improves upon the original and eliminates most of the flaws. Keep your eyes peeled for a blog on that!


Arena Montreal May 7, 2009

Posted by crarence in Games, Games Workshop, Miniatures.
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I attended Arena Montreal last month, which is a Warhammer/Warhammer 40k tournament. For the uninitiated, Warhammer/Warhammer 40k is a table top war game that combines elements of Risk and Chess. Essentially, players build, paint, and play with model soldiers in a strategy game. This year, Arena was a doubles tournament, meaning players went in teams of two. This is an interesting format as it allows for neat combinations you don’t normally encounter. I had a great time this year because:

  • It’s really clear that the organizers really care about the quality of the event based on the work and effort that goes into the tournament. This is especially evident in the tables they custom built. Each fantastic table is is made from scratch and themed around one of the major armies in the game.
  • My partner had some bad experiences versus french opponents in the past but this year all three french teams we played were top notch. That is, they were courteous, easy going, and very sportsman-like.
  • I felt the organizers made various improvement over last year. For example,  they dropped the annoying special table-specific rules from last year. They also made the tournament more interesting by banning  special characters. Many special characters are a little un-balanced and make for boring matches as many players take them.

Right now the Warhammer tournament scene in Canada is a little shaky so I hope the Arena organizers are able to continue running their event bi-annually. They have one planned tentatively for this August, and I would definitely be there had it not been a bad time for my long time teammate. Nevertheless, I would highly encourage any other Warhammer enthusiast to attend.