The Object of Risk is to occupy every territory on the board,
eliminating all other players, thus conquering the world. A complete
game with twoplayers usually takes 2-4 hours.
Six sets of pieces, one set for each player, consist of a large
numberof three pointed shaped pieces (each
representing one army) plus several star or asterisk
shaped pieces (equivalent to ten armies each).
The playing board is a map of six continents, each subdivided
into several territories. The total number of territories is 42;
each continent is aunique base color and contains from 4 to 12
territories. The map is designed to facilitate play rather than
to be geographically accurate.
The deck has 44 cards (plus a trademark card that is not used
in the game). Of these, 42 have a single territory on them in
addition to a figure of either a foot soldier, a horseman or a
cannon. The remaining two cards are "wild cards" having
all three figures but no territory. The deck is shuffled and placed
face down in preparation for the game.
There are six dice, three white and three colored.
Summary of play
Risk is patterned after military campaign strategies. First,
players in turn occupy all territories.
Then players take turns initiating battles. Each battle
can have three parts: (1) deploying armies; (2) attacking
the opposition;(3) fortifying the territories held.
The detailed instructions following explain the rules of the
Details of play
Each player counts out a number of his armies for initial deployment,according
to the number of players in the game.
If there are:
Each player counts out:
Players roll the dice to determine who goes first. That player
placesone of his armies on any of the 42 territories, claiming
it as his own.The second player (clockwise) place one of his armies
on any remainingunoccupied territory. Each player takes his turn
until all 42 territoriesare occupied. Players then continue in
turn placing their armies, one ata time, on territories the already
occupy. (See question
After all armies have been placed, the board is ready for the
campaigns.From this point on, each territory must be occupied
by at least one armyfor the rest of the game.
Now the players in turn initiate battles. As already mentioned,
thebattles include up to three stages: (1) deploying armies;
(2) attacking the opposition; (3) fortifying territories.
During any turna player may decide to omit either (2) or (3)
or both. The following sectionexplains in detail each of the stages.
At the beginning of each turn a player is entitled to additional
armies.The number of armies a player may deploy at the start of
a turn is thesum of the armies earned for each of the following:
(1) the number of territoriesthe player occupies; (2) the number
of complete continents a player occupies;(3) the number of matched
Risk card sets he can exchange for armies.
The Number of Armies Earned Due to Territories a Player
The player counts his territories, divides the number by 3,
discardingany remaining fraction. The answer is the number of
armies credited tohim for occupied territories.
14 territories=4 armies
17 territories=5 armies
11 territorie=3 armies
On each turn a player is entitled to a minimum of 3 armies
even if heoccupies fewer than 9 territories.
The Number of Armies Earned Due to Complete Continents a
If a player occupies one or more continents, he earns additional
armiesas indicated in the legend at the lower left of the board;
for example, if he occupies all the territories in Asia
(12 territories),he earns 7 additional armies.
The Number of Armies Earned Due to a Player's Matched Risk
As explained further in the following sections on attack, a
player earns a maximum of one Risk card for every turn in which
he successfully occupies a new territory.
To exchange the Risk cards for armies, a player needs one of
three combinations:(1) three of the same design (horseman, cannon,
foot soldier); (2) oneof each design; (3) any two cards plus a
Also, if any of the three cards in the match depicts a territory
the player occupies, he earns another two armies, which must be
placed immediately on that particular territory.
If a player is lucky the first three Risk cards he earns may
permit him a match as explained above. He may also gain a match
after picking four cards.
By the time a player has five cards, however, he can always
completea match. (Try it!)
As soon as a player accumulates FIVE cards he must exchange
his three-card match for armies at the beginning of his next turn.
In a typical military campaign, the risks and rewards increase
overtime; thus the Risk cards will earn increasing numbers of
armies as follows:
The first set of cards turned in = 4 extra armies
The second set of cards turned in = 6 extra armies
The third set of cards turned in = 8 extra armies
The fourth set of cards turned in = 10 extra armies
The fifth set of cards turned in = 12 extra armies
The sixth set of cards turned in = 15 extra armies
After that, each additional set exchanged for armies is worth
5 additional armies; the seventh set, for example, gains a player
20 armies; the eighth,25 armies.
"First" and "second" set, etc., refer to
sets turned in by anyone during a game. The player turning in
the third set in the game would get 8 armies even if it were his
The armies can be placed in any territory or territories a
player already occupies. Usually armies should be deployed on
a player's front lines to mass for attack or prepare for defense.
Attacking the opposition
A player may attack any opponent's territory adjacent with
his own, from his own territory, so long as he has a minimum
of two armies on it, regardless of the number of armies his
Territories connected by dashed lines are considered adjacent
territories, and battles can occur between them. For example,
a player occupying North America can attack not only his immediate
neighbors but also Brazil, Western Europe or Southern Europe.
Alaska and Kamchatka are considered adjacent; Greenland can be
attacked from Iceland, Quebec, Ontario or Northwest Territory,
and so forth.
In a battle, the attacker announces (1) the territory being
attacked and (2) his adjacent territory from which the attack
originates. The victor of the battle is determined by the roll
of the dice, detailed in the following paragraphs.
The attacker can roll up to three dice but must always have
at least one more army in the attacking territory that the
number of dice he rolls.
The defender also rolls, to defend his territory. He can roll
up to two dice, provided he has at least two armies on
the territory; if he has only one army, he can roll only one
Before each throw, each player, beginning with the attacker,must
announce the number of dice he is using. The dice are then all
To determine whether an attack is successful, players compare
the highest dice each has thrown. If the attacker's die is higher,
the defender loses one of his armies. In the case of a tie,
the defender always wins.
If both attacker and defender have thrown at least two dice,
the above procedure is repeated for the second ranking dice. (See
examples 2 &3.)
If either player has thrown only one die, only one of that
player'sarmies can be lost. Under no circumstances can a player
lose more armies on a given turn than the number of dice he has
The following examples illustrate battle results:
The attacker has complete flexibility within his turn to attack
whatever adjacent territories he wishes with the number of dice
he chooses, subject to the limitations already outlined. He may
attack one or more times from one territory, shift to another
area, and return again to attack, so long as he has sufficient
armies. He may continue to attack even after he loses an army
on any roll of the dice.
A territory is considered captured when the defender's last
army has been eliminated.
When a territory is captured, the attacker must occupy it immediately
by moving some of his armies from his attacking territory into
the captured territory. He must move at least as many armies as
the number of dice he has just rolled. He must leave at least
one army behind since no territory can be unoccupied at any time.
When a player eliminates an opponent, taking his last
piece off the board, the former opponent's Risk cards become the
property of the attacker. If the total number of cards held by
the attacker now equals six or more, he must turn in matched sets,
claiming additional armies, placing them in his territories on
the board, until he has four or fewer Risk cards remaining. This
must be done immediately.
If he can make two or three sets, he may turn them in, receiving
the regular increase in the number of armies for each set.
When a player has finished attacking he can take the top
Risk card from the pile, provided he has conquered one or more
new territories. He can then use this card as part of a match
in one of his subsequent turns. If he has not captured a territory,
even though he has attacked, he does not take a Risk card.
Just before completing his turn, the player may want to fortify
his defensive position to avoid imminent capture on the opponent's
turn. After he has finished attacking, the player may fortify
his frontlines by moving one or more of his armies from one and
only one territory which he occupies to any one adjacent territory
which he also occupies. He may not divide these armies by putting
some into one territory, some into another, and must always leave
at least one army in his old territory.
To signal the end of his turn, the player gives the dice to
the next player in rotation.
Winning the Game
The player who occupies every territory on the board by having
eliminated his last opponent wins the game.
Strategy Questions and Answers
Q. In the beginning of the game,
when I firstoccupy territories, what strategy should I use?
A. It is clearly to your advantage to occupy a complete continent
sincethis automatically gives you additional armies at the beginning
of each of your turns. However, unless your opponents are foolish
they will certainly prevent this just as you would prevent their
occupying a complete continent and gaining an early advantage.
A more realistic strategy is to occupy several adjacent territories
in one or two continents. Then, after all 42 territories have
been covered, you can place your additional armies in your border
territories to defend your holdings and attack opponents.
Of course you should also place armies in the continents your
opponents are trying to occupy to prevent their acquiring a complete
Q. At the beginning of each of my turns, I receive additional
armies; where should I place them?
A. Usually you will be attacking and therefore some or all
of the armies should be placed on the territory or territories
from which you plan to attack.
The remainder of your territories should also be defended from
future attacks and armies could be placed on border territories
for this purpose, particularly if you do not plan to attack during
your present turn.
An alternate defensive strategy is to place armies right behind
your border territories as a second line of defense.
Q. If I do not have five Risk cards at the beginning of
my turn, but do have a match with the three or four I hold, should
I always play them?
A. No. There are several reasons you might choose to play the
cards at a later time:
1. By waiting for additional matched sets to be turned in before
yours, your set will be worth more armies, as the number of armies
received increases each time another set is played.
2. You may be totally on the defensive and thus not need the additional
armies. Saving them for later strategic moves is clearly an advantage.
3. When you turn in a card depicting one of your own territories,
you gain an additional 2 armies to be placed on that territory.
Thus if you are planning to capture a territory for which you
have the card, it is to your advantage to wait until that territory
is yours before turning in the card.
Q. What is the advantage of not attacking during my turn?
A. A series of attacks usually eliminates armies from both
sides, so not attacking is often necessary when you have to build
up your defenses.
If you avoid attacking but place armies in defensive positions
only, you may create considerably stronger attacking forces for
your next turn. Of course you yourself may be attacked in the
meantime and lose some of the advantage.
Also, if your opponents, in attacking each other, are eliminating
each other's armies, you usually gain the advantage by waiting
before attacking either one, since their defenses will be depleted.
Q. Since I can attack several times in any turn, when should
I stop the attacks?
A. The key disadvantage to attacking is that you usually lose
armies as you gain territories; and even if you are lucky enough
to not lose any armies in your battles, in a sense you become
weaker with each territory you win since your armies are now dispersed
over a larger number of territories.This gives the opponent more
territories to attack with a greater chanceof success.
It is a clear advantage to capture at least one territory per
turn. This gives you a Risk card, usable in the future to gain
In general, the attack should stop when in your opinion your front
line armies are still strong enough to repel attacks. Remember
that your opponent will often mass his new armies on the border
of your weakest territory.
Q. During a battle, I usually have the option of throwing
several dice instead of just one. What are the advantages and
A. You know that a greater number of dice gives a greater chance
of winning. Throwing fewer dice, however, will limit your losses
since the number of armies you can lose is never greater than
the number of dice you throw. For example, if you are attacking
from a territory with only three armies, and do not want to lose
more than one army, you would choose one die instead of the two
you are entitled to use. This limits your loss but unfortunately
lessens your chance of winning.
On defense, the same logic holds. The attacker is the first to
declare the number of dice he will use; thus the defender can
consider whether to use one die, limiting his loss to one army,
or to use two dice, gaining a better chance of winning.
Q. When I take over an opponent's territory, how many armies
should I move from my attacking territory into the newly acquired
A. Usually you would move all but the one army you must leave
behind; typically this gives you the strongest front lines.
There are situations, however, when you will have a large number
of armies left in the attacking territory and choose to move only
part of your armies into the new territory, saving the remainder
to move into a defensively weaker adjacent border territory.
Q. At the end of my turn I can move armies into an adjacent
territory.What strategy should I use?
A. Armies that are far from your front lines are not particularly
useful for attack or defense. You should therefore try to move
them towards your border territories, where they can enter into
Q. How will I recognize a situation in which I can take
a risk and try to eliminate every other player on the board?
A. This is the element that gives Risk its name. If you decide
to takeover the world in one turn, and fail, you will usually
be so scattered that it would be easy for the next player to eliminate
If, however, you see a weak player holding few territories but
owning several Risk cards you might easily eliminate him and receive
all his Risk cards.Then if your Risk cards and his total six or
more, you can immediately put more armies on the board anywhere
you wish by turning in your matched sets. This renews your strength
to continue attacking.
Usually, if you eliminate a player in this fashion, you have a
chance to win in a single turn.
Two Player Risk
Preparation This version is played according to
the traditional rules of RISK.
Each player takes 40 armies and alternately places 1 army on
an unoccupied territory until each has occupied 14 territories.
The remaining armies are alternately distributed on the occupied
territories. The remaining14 territories will be occupied by a
force called the Allied Army. These armies are composed of playing
pieces different in color from those used by the two players.
Two Allied Armies will be placed on each unoccupied territory
for a total of 28 armies.
Accumulation of Armies
The Players: Each player accumulates armies in the traditional
The Allied Army: When a player begins his turn and determines
the number of armies he is entitled to, the Allied Army is entitled
to one half of that number. Fractions do not count, so, if a player
obtains a total of 9 armies, the Allied Army is entitled to 4.
Placing of Armies
The Players: Each player places his armies on the board according
to the traditional rules.
The Allied Army: After a player has accumulated his
armies, placed them on the board and completed his attacks
(but prior to his free move) the opposing player places
the number of Allied Armies (determined above) in Allied
The Players: Each player attacks according to the traditional
rules. He may attack the other player or the Allied Army.
When a player attacks the Allied Army, the other player rolls
the dice for the Army.
The Allied Army: Immediately after the Allied Armies
are placed, the player who placed them may act as the Allied Army
and attack the other player's armies. He need not use them at
this time, but may allow them to accumulate in a territory. However,
if they are not used, the other player may use them to his advantage
when he gets the use of the Allied forces. When a player
is commanding Allied forces he may not attack his own territories.
Allied forces do not pick up RISK cards and they accumulate armies
only in the manner described above.
The Free Move
The Players: After the second player has decided to stop attacking
with the Allied Army, the first player takes his free move.
The Allied Army is not entitled to a free move.
End of Game: The game ends when one player loses all
his territories.Once the Allied Army loses all its territories
it may no longer obtain additional armies and the game is played
according to the traditional rules.
Summary of Procedure
1. Players place their armies. The Allied Army is placed on
the remaining territories.
2. Player 1 obtains his armies, places them and attacks. Player
2, acting as the Allied Army, places the accumulated Allied forces
and may attack player 1 with Allied Armies only. Player 1
then has a free move.
3. Player 2 accumulates his armies, places them on the board
and attacks. Player 1 then accumulates the Allied Armies, places
them in Allied occupied territories and may attack territories
occupied by player2. Player 2 takes his free move.
The rules for this 2 player game were developed
by Michael I. Levinof Philadelphia, Pa. We will be glad to
answer inquiries concerning these rules. Address: Parker Brothers,
Salem, Massachusetts 01970
© 1997-2013 Rules Of RISK The Board Game