Avalon Hill, since being taken over by Hasbro, has produced a series of top-notch original games, including Battle Cry, Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit, along with some reissues of out-of-print classics, such as Acquire and Cosmic Encounter.
The company also updated the classic Stratego, incorporating some modern gaming mechanics to form Stratego Legends.
Recently, Avalon Hill updated another classic, releasing a brand new version of Risk in July 2001 -- Risk 2210 AD.
According to designer Rob Daviau, Risk 2210 AD -- set 400 years after the original Risk -- features some elements of the original game (the basic combat system remains the same), but adds many new elements as well, including moon territories, underwater cities and Commanders.
"The theming is the world at war in 2210 AD," Daviau said in a recent post on the About.com Board Games discussion forum. "Mechanical armies fight for control of the earth, its underwater cities, and the near-side of the moon."
Following are more of Daviau's comments regarding Risk 2210 AD.
What's the same as Risk?
You can play the standard game of Risk on the board. The land territories, although renamed, are the same. We have also included the rules to standard Risk in the game. You use the same combat system (basically), where the attack rolls up to three dice and the defender rolls up to two. Compare, with the defender winning ties. Continent bonuses and how you get armies works largely the same.
What's different than Risk?
There are 13 or so underwater territories in the game. These start out empty. The territories are divided into five zones that function the same as continents in terms of bonuses. If you control a whole zone, you get bonus armies at the start of your turn.There are also 14 moon territories. These also start out empty. They are divided into three zones that give bonuses like continents. The moon has three landing site (one in each zone). You can attack the moon from any space station you control to any landing site on the moon. The moon is easy to take but hard to hold. Energy works like money in the game. At the start of your turn you get energy equal to the number of armies you get. So if you get 5 armies, you also get 5 energy; 7 armies and 7 energy, etc. Energy is used to hire commanders, build space stations, buy command cards, play command cards, bid for turn order, and as the tie-breaker at the end of the game. Managing your energy is vital.
There are five commanders (per player) in the game: Land Commander, Naval Commander, Space Commander, Diplomat Commander, and Nuclear Commander. Commanders are the only human units in your army and have many different functions (I'll summarize). You need to have a Commander on the board to buy and play command cards of that type. So if you want to buy a nuclear command card (or play one in your hand), you need to have your Nuclear Commander in play. If one of your Commanders is killed, you can hire his replacement (i.e. bring him back).
Commanders also allow your armies to move into the sea or the moon. You need a Space Commander to move your armies to or on the moon. You need a Naval Commander to move your armies into or under the ocean. Commanders also use 8-sided dice at key times. All Commanders defend with an 8-sider. The Nuclear Commander always attacks with one. The Diplomat Commander never does. The other three attack with one if they are attacking from or into their specialty (if you are attacking from or into an underwater city, then your Naval Commander uses an 8-sider). Those are their big specialties.
There are five command card decks -- one for each Commander. You can use energy to buy cards. Some also require energy to play them. These cards offer defensive and offensive advantages, extra free moves, extra energy, cease fire situations and, yes, nukes. Each deck has its strengths. There are also cards in the deck that give extra points at the end of the game.
Space stations (each player starts with one) allow you to go to the moon. Also, all defensive units in space station territories roll 8-siders.
Turn order each turn is determined by an energy bid. Turn order is another tricky thing to do well.
Win condition: the game is five-turns long and takes about 2 hours to play. At the end of five turns, the player who controls the most territories (plus continent bonuses and points found on command cards), wins. In the 100+ games I've seen played, there have only been three games where one person was eliminated before turn 5. This is not an elimination game.
The game was designed by Craig Van Ness and Rob Daviau (me). Craig is the designer on a lot of games, including Star Wars: The Queen's Gambit, Stratego Legends, all the Powerpuff Girls games, Clash of the Lightsabers, NASCAR Champions, and Goosebumps games (back a few years). I've worked on Axis & Allies: Europe, Axis & Allies: Pacific, Stratego Legends, Cosmic Encounter, and (the upcoming) History of the World remake.
This article was originally published in February 2001.