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Tim Stone

Jun 11, 2011

RISK: Factions

Would chess be a better game if bishops were replaced with randomly moving Inquisitors? Would Cluedo be improved by the addition of a demon-spewing Hellmouth? After spending a few days with Risk: Factions, I'm tempted to say 'Yes'.

Although RF does include the classic game, its meat is a twisted re-interpretation in which moggies, zombs, robots, men and yetis battle for continental control. The new factions actually add little beyond some pleasing combat animations – what refreshes is the introduction of a range of new maps dotted with enticing buff structures.

Now you aren't just invading in order to boost your 'draft' (reinforcements received at the beginning of a turn). Snatching and holding a dam gives you the ability to flood downstream lands. Taking a temple lets you convert territories without bloodshed. Securing barracks provides missile support during nearby combats.

Are homicidal buddhist yetis the next zombies? No.

Behind the extra tactics, Risk's dice-driven unpredictability remains. It's still possible for a hefty eight-strong army to be repelled by a lone garrison, and freak occurrences like this do, sometimes, cause MP opponents to disconnect in disgust. That's a shame because otherwise the pacey, not-too-cerebral RF is a near-perfect lunch-hour distraction.

As a singleplayer game, the slim six-mission campaign means you get precious few of the amusing cartoon cutscenes. Sub-par threat assessment and less-than-optimal use of structures by the AI, means you're likely to be the trouncer more often than the trouncee in custom skirmish games.

RISK: Factions

Builds on the classic rules while keeping their timeless charm.

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