Risk is one of my all-time favorite board games that I have absolutely no one to play it with. So, can it be played alone?
A few simple rules modifications make this game easy to play alone. Assign territories like you normally would and randomly place reinforcements for the other “players” using the Risk cards. Use Secret Mission cards (or create your own) to assign each “player” an objective for winning and play the game!
Here is one method for setting up a solo game that is completely random during set up so it takes any biases you might have out of the game. First remove all wildcards and mission cards from the deck and deal the remaining cards into 6 piles if you are playing a “6 player” game, 5 piles for a “5-player” game, etc. Use the game rules to determine how many armies each player should have, like getting 20 armies apiece if there are 6 “players.”
To decide when you get to place your armies roll one dice, whatever number turns up is your place in the turn order of the game. Place one army on each territory until all the territories have at least one army. Just like in a multiplayer game, some “players” will get more territory cards than others. Take each individual pile that each “player” has and shuffle it. For the non-human “players” turn up the top card and place an army on that territory. Here’s a hint, if you have trouble remembering the turn order (I do), line up a token from each color in a row, in their turn order, as a reminder. You could use a token to mark which pile of Risk cards belongs to each color the same way.
After placing all the initial armies it’s time to start placing reinforcements. After shuffling turn over the top card on each player’s deck and place an army there. Following the exact turn order for the other players is not important for placing reinforcements but yours is. If you’re the fifth player then the other 4 non-human players should place their reinforcements first, then you, then the sixth player. After placing the reinforcement put the card back into the player’s individual deck and shuffle.
Place your reinforcements the same as you would in a normal game, with the exception being that you can’t have two armies more than opposing armies in adjacent territories. This prevents you from gaining an unfair advantage over your “opponents” at the start of the game. For instance, if you have Argentina and Gray has 3 armies in Brazil and Green has 2 armies in Peru, the most armies you can place there is 5 (2 more than Gray has in Brazil).
For your reinforcements you could also let the cards randomly determine where your armies go instead, or if you want to add a little strategy and randomness to your placement you can follow this process. When it is your turn you place your reinforcements like you normally would on the first round, but the second one is randomly placed by drawing a card from your territory deck. Randomly place an army every-other turn using the card deck.
Once all the armies are placed turn in all the territory cards and shuffle them together. Deal 1 Secret Mission card to each player. If your game doesn’t have any create the ones that are included in the other games or create some of your own. The Secret Missions are listed at the end of this article.
Unlike the regular game each Secret Mission card is exposed. Each non-human player pursues the Secret Mission to the exclusion of all else. Once a player accomplishes a Secret Mission the game is over. Your goal is to prevent another “player” from achieving theirs while completing your own.
Solo Risk Without Secret Mission Cards
One tried and true method is just to play as each player using your best strategies. A good option if you want practice or want to try out a new strategy you have in mind.
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Solo Capital Risk
This game is similar to the Capital Risk game in the official rules. The game is set up the same as the solo version above except:
After all the reinforcements have been added, and before turning in the territory cards, a Headquarters is randomly selected for each color from each color’s territory cards. Draw a territory card from each color’s territory deck and place it face up. Keep all the Capital territory cards out of the deck and place them face up. The goal for each color is to capture all of them (or whatever number you decide on). Just like in the official rules you’re not eliminated if your capital gets captured, you keep playing until you recapture it and capture the enemy Capitals, or until another color meets the victory requirements. If you want to shorten the length of the game you can reduce the number of capitals that must be captured to 2 or 3.
A variation to this is that once a headquarters is captured that player’s armies become neutral armies and he is removed from the game. The neutral armies cannot attack but must still be removed by attacking and defeating them with armies of another color.
Another variation of the solo game is that you get one headquarters reinforcement move before the game starts. You can move any 5 armies (or whatever number you decide on before the game starts) to your headquarters for defensive purposes. You must leave at least 1 army in each territory.
Whenever two dice rolled are ones (snake eyes) during combat Khan and his followers appear (yes, think Star Trek). This is regardless of how many dice are rolled during the turn and it includes both player’s dice. Since this is a solo game draw a territory card from the deck at the end of combat and place three armies there (you either need to save a color for Khan or have some type of game pieces from another game to represent Khan) and remove the existing armies in that territory. If Kahn appears too frequently in your games, or if you just want to deal with him less often, you could change the rule to rolling three ones instead of two.
Khan is maniacal and has delusions of grandeur. He will attack any other territories he is able to for as long as his army will support it. He gets reinforced the same as other factions in Risk and could conceivably win the game if left unchecked.
Khan does not collect any territory cards but due to the fanaticism of his followers he gets to roll three dice when attacking and defending, and since his followers have super human strength he only loses a maximum of 1 army when fighting. If Khan is attacking normal rules apply, the defender can only lose a maximum of 2 armies if Kahn is attacking with three or more armies. If Khan attacks with only two armies then the defender only loses one army even though Khan has rolled three dice. In this instance only one army can be lost during combat, either one of Khan’s or one of the defending player’s.
Rolling snake eyes again means Khan has gotten more followers and additional armies are placed in a new territory by drawing an unused territory card and putting three armies there.
Khan never reinforces territories, he continues attacking as long as he has armies to attack with. Defense is not an option for him.
The game cannot be won as long as he is in the game since he will never surrender and never make peace.
Minor Risk Rule Variations
You can use dice bonuses. If you roll two sixes when attacking you wipe out twice as many enemy troops as usual, three sixes wipes out all defenders in the territory.
Reduce the value of card sets, taking some of the luck out of the game. Increase the value of a card set by only 1 each time a card set is turned in.
Add objectives that provide bonuses (these are adapted from the Risk Factions PC game). These work in both multiplayer games and solo games.
- Controlling Asia gives you an additional troop maneuver at the end of your turn.
- If you control North America you always get a territory card at the end of your turn, regardless of whether you conquer a territory or not.
- Gain air support if you control 20 territories or gain 10 territories in one turn. Assign one territory to contain your airfield. Placement is permanent and if the territory containing the airfield is captured your airfield is destroyed. Having an airfield in a territory means you add 1 to the highest dice roll during a battle in that territory or in any territory next to it. Your airfield is not lost if you lose control of your 20 territories but you only get this bonus once per game. You get the 10 territory bonus every time you meet the requirements for that bonus.
Secret Risk Missions
Destroy all Blue troops. If your troops are blue then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Destroy all Green troops. If your troops are green then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Destroy all Black troops. If your troops are black then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Destroy all Red troops. If your troops are red then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Destroy all Gray troops. If your troops are gray then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Destroy all Yellow troops. If your troops are yellow then occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Conquer the continents of North America and Australia.
Conquer the continents of North America and Africa.
Conquer the continents of Asia and South America.
Conquer 18 territories of your choice and occupy each with at least two armies.
Conquer the continents of Asia and Africa.
Occupy 24 territories of your choice.
Of course, there is always a PC version of Risk if you don’t like the solo board game versions.
Here’s a few Risk games that I really like, just follow the link to Amazon to read reviews.