How Risk Works

How to Play Risk

Risk includes the following simple game pieces:

The board is a world map. Six continents are divided into 42 territories (between four and 12 per continent). The board has numbers along its bottom edge, which indicate the number of armies that a player receives when he takes it over and trades in his cards.


The number of armies a player controls is denoted by different pieces. An infantry piece is worth a single army, while cavalry is worth five armies, and artillery symbolizes 10 armies.

Of the 56 Risk cards, 43 are marked with a territory and a picture of infantry, cavalry or artillery. Another two are wild cards, with all three Army pieces on them but no territory. The remaining 12 are secret mission cards, which are used only in a variation of the game called Secret Mission Risk. (We'll discuss Secret Mission later.)

The basic objective is to conquer as many territories and continents as possible, amass as many armies, and gradually eliminate all your opponents. The players start by rolling a die, after which the person with the highest number places an army on a territory of his or her choosing. The other player or players then claims a territory in similar fashion, and they go back and forth until all the territories are occupied and the armies are in place.

At the beginning of each player's turn, he or she is allotted additional armies, based upon the number of territories and continents under the player's control, as well as the sets of Risk cards that he or she cashes in. To get a card, you have to attack and successfully capture a territory.

On each turn, you have the option of either attacking a territory or passing and allowing the other person to take his or her turn. You can only attack territories that are adjacent to one of your own, or connected to it by a dotted line. (For example, North Africa may attack Egypt, and Greenland may attack Quebec or Iceland.) Also, you must have at least two armies on a territory to launch an attack from it. In attack, an army confronts a defending army, and the outcome of the confrontation is determined by which of the players gets the highest number from rolling the dice. The more armies you attack with, the more dice you get to roll, which increases your chances of victory [source: Hasbro].