Peace is a sprinkled doughnut on a bed of flapjacks laid on a table set by our enemies!
Xbox Arcade is currently offering a range of â€˜Family Game Nightâ€™ classic board games including Connect 4, Jenga and a version of the often-lengthy strategy game Risk. For those who have played the board game version, youâ€™ll know you have to be willing to live off multi-packs of biscuits and Redbull for hours, nay days on end repeatedly rolling dice, chasing your dreams of world domination before someone actually wins.
Happily, Stainless Games and EA have tinkered slightly with the rules and have brilliantly made a quicker yet undiluted version of the classic calculated combat contest.
With fabulous cartoon animated cut scenes (think PowerPuff girls etc), there are five chapters to the single player campaign during which you can play as different factions including cats, robots, zombies, yetis and of course humans, led by the brilliantly named General William P. â€œFattyâ€ McGutterpants (who Iâ€™m sure must be a distant relative of mine)!
For all you die-hards out there, you can still play the original Risk game with the real world map but Iâ€™d recommend delving into the updated fictional map game where all you have to do to win is be the first to complete 3 objectives! Easy peasy! Well not quite as lots of surprises and twists await your eager army and you do still have to have your tactical wits about you. There are temperamental, erupting volcanoes and flooding dams to take into account as you try progress over the map â€“ gain territory in these areas and you might find your troops are swept away. Gaining objectives leads to rewards, which can help you in gaining control of certain areas of land, but this can all change on the roll of a dice.
The dice element is still the most important element of the game. If youâ€™re lucky, you can earn bonus dice to help you in either attacking or defending but as itâ€™s all left to chance, it often doesnâ€™t matter anyway. I had an army of 17 robots cut down to size by 3 cats just because the furry dice went their way â€“ but thatâ€™s the nature of Risk. The design of the dice depends on which faction you represent which is a nice touch in a game full of nice touches. Though itâ€™s frustrating to loose ground so quickly and to have no control whatsoever over is happening, the animated fight scenes make the loss a little easier to bear â€“ seeing a cat cough up a gooey furball over a zombie is very funny.
Each turn forces you to think carefully about your next move. You get to draft new troops at the start of every turn and this number is determined by how much territory, cities and continents you hold onto plus any other bonuses youâ€™ve picked up on the way. You can then deploy your troops before planning your attack. You can keep on attacking if youâ€™ve got the numbers and luck to do so then you wrap up your turn with one final manoeuvre and tweaking of troops.
If youâ€™re a savvy strategy single player, you can complete the campaign in around 2-3 hours. Each chapter finished unlocks more maps in the custom map mode but itâ€™s the multiplayer is where this game shines (a one player board game is always, well, boring). You can play local or online multiplayer. Local is easier as you can always study your opponents face to get a hint of what their tactics might be and online is great fun as it lengthens the game.
Overall, this is a classic board game brought to life for the console market. Good to look at and even better to play. Cheeky humour, with some excellent additions to the original game that should appeal to everyone!