During a recent conversation with gaming friends, the topic of “what games most influenced us over the years?” came up. It was so interesting to hear how games we played as kids, in school, and later in life influenced our gaming interests today and led to some of us working in the game industry. This Monday series will take a personal look into my history as a gamer with my #Top10InfluentialGames. This week, we take a glimpse at my time in Junior High School attempting to take over the world, while playing Risk, that is.

While growing up, I played lots of board games like Monopoly, Trouble, Aggravation, Clue, Payday, The Game of Life, and more. I enjoyed playing these and learned a lot from each of them. Then one day I was introduced to Risk, and my mind was blown. This was not just roll and move. This was not a game you could play in an hour or two.

  • Games can be epic in length. Yes, there were occasional shorter games of a couple hours, but I fondly remember Risk games taking days to complete. We would leave the board set up and return to it the next day to continue.
  • Diplomacy adds a unique element to a game outside the rules. I learned a little about bartering with Monopoly, but that did not prepare me for the diplomacy of Risk. Much of the time spent playing Risk was discussing treaties, agreeing to work with one player to defeat another, leaving a country unprotected with a promise you would not be attacked so you could focus on other areas of the map. Then, seeing all that diplomacy fall apart when someone breaks a treaty or agreement and betrays your trust.
  • House rules can extend the life of a game. My friends and I enjoyed Risk so much, we created our own house rules to expand the game play. So many variants of the base game and one of our favorites was Dimensional Risk. After watching the Flash Gordon movie, we created Dimensional Risk by using two boards where Asia on one board connected to Asia on the other board and North America connected to North America. Armies could move between the dimensions.

The game play and emotional ride of Risk was unlike any game I had played before and enthralled me as a game well beyond college. It would be a few years before I would be introduced to a board game that fascinated me as much as Risk. I still have fond memories of the game and will occasionally play a game or two with friends using the iPad app.

What about you? What game have you played the most over the years that had a huge impact on you? I would be very interested in others writing about their #Top10InfluentialGames. Next week, we discuss why rolling doubles made me fall in love with classic games.

My #Top10InfluentialGames – Risk

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