I am really sorry to start the review like this, but I am not going to be covering the rules, or the ‘how to play’ aspect of Risk. If you do not know how to play Risk and want to learn then please visit here. This review will be covering the ‘new’ things Metal Gear Solid Risk (MGS Risk) brings to the table, and what I thought of it overall.
Over 290 custom game pieces:
5 PMC Armies
Outer Haven Battleship
Drebin’s Shop Cards
Custom Outer Haven Game Board
Custom Earth Game Board
There have been many versions of Risk over the years, and I’ve played all of them except Risk: Legacy, which pretty much means i cannot say that MGS Risk is the best Risk ever, but i can say it’s the best one I have played. It takes the new revised rule system which was first introduced in Risk: Black Ops and then tailors it to the MGS lore, while adding some nice goodies. You do not need to be a fan of the MGS universe to enjoy this game. The objectives really speed the play time of this Risk quite substantially (2 hours), however, you can still play the game global domination style (4-5 hours depending on the group you play with).
What really sets MGS Risk apart are the bosses, the shop cards and the 3 territory zone called ‘Outer Haven’ which can move around the board and attack certain locations.
This was actually a nice nice strategic addition to the game, but does require some luck at first. At the beginning of the game (before it is player controlled) Outer Haven moves randomly(dice roll) around the board landing on continent specific docking zones around the board. Once it is player controlled, they can choose where on the board it moves. It’s great for tactical strikes, and definitely keeps players on their toes.
The Drebin’s Shop Cards:
Drebin cards are a lot like the miracle cards in Risk Godstorm, or Command Cards in Risk 2210AD. Unlike those versions there is only one stack of cards here, which you can buy for the cost of 3,000 Drebin points. It does not matter which boss you have, or if you even have one at all. This adds a nice variability to the game where you do not know what your opponent is planning on doing. They are split into action (offensive) or Tactical (defensive/strategic), but like I said previously, they are in one deck so you do know what is going to be drawn, or what type of card your opponent has.
Bosses are by far my favorite part of the game, and there are 8 of them. Unlike the Gods in Godstorm or the Commanders in 2210AD, no two people can have the same boss. Which adds a double layer to the game, where you have to kill certain bosses to hire them, or change your strategy based on what boss (or in the rare case bosses) you or your opponents have. Each boss adds a 8 sided die, which replaces one 6 sided die, this obviously makes attacking and defending with them attractive options. (but can also throw off your opponents by making them believe you are going to attack in a certain direction and then use other forces to hit them). Not all the bosses do the same thing, if they did, I most likely would have been writing a negative sounding review, instead of the positive one you are currently reading. Depending on your current situation, each boss can help with different things from maneuvering, attacking, defending or gaining drebin points. Each boss will run you 3,000 Drebin points to hire them, and cost 1000 more each turn you have them on your team.
Another unique addition to the game (same as Black-ops) was the reinforcement system. As long as you take over one opponent occupied territory during your turn you get a territory card with either one or two stars on it. During your following turns you can trade in your stars for the reinforcement amount listed to the right of Madagascar. This adds a nice strategy to the game because you need to decide when a good time to cash your cards in is; and you never know when your opponent will do it either. Do you wait a few more turns to get more guys? or do you go full force now?
As you can tell from the image above the map is a little bit different. Right off the bat it mostly black, and isn’t very colorful. Bleak future? Luckily the PMC units are very colorful, yellow, blue, orange, purple and green. The map looks almost digitalized in its appearance. Continent lines are bold and distinct, and there is no confusion of boarders and attack lines. It is by far the most stand-outish Risk game board I have ever seen, it is clearly making a statement of being in your face. One last thing I must mention about the game board is that when you look at it you will notice that it looks sorta weird. the continent of Asia is split off from Europe. It looks unnatural, but it makes it a lot easier to look at the map and realize who is about to conquer Asia. This is important as it can be one of the objectives in the game.
UKRAINE APPARENTLY WAS WEAK! because now it’s gone!
The developers definitely put a lot of work into MGS Risk, trying to fine tune multiple elements from different Risk versions all into one game. Overall, they did well with this game. Cheers USAopoly. Personally I prefer this Risk game over any other Risk, including my past favorite Risk 2210AD. This new MGS wrapped version adds greater challenge and shorter playing time then it’s predecessors. I believe that this game will pave the way for more Risk games using the new ‘Black Ops’ system, and I actually eagerly await the possibility of other variants of this system. If you enjoy Risk: Godstorm, Risk 2210AD, Risk Black Ops or Risk: Halo and are a fan of MGS then you should pick this one up, it’s a GOOD game. If you are not a fan of MGS then this game will still provide you with the mechanics and features of a great war driven, territorial conquering, opponent flustering game.