War. Some might ask what it’s good for. If General William P. “Fatty” McGutterpants in “Risk: Factions” had his way, he’d claim that it was absolutely everything. (Ba-Bump Chhh!) While there are hundreds of free “Risk” clones on the market, I must admit that I’ve had my eye on this particular one, even though it retailed at ten bucks. The game’s free demo had me hooked, but I felt that ten bucks was a little too much when you take into consideration all of the competition out there offering up the game for free. Steam’s summer sale allowed me the chance to grab it for half that price and we’re here today to determine whether or not it’s truly worth our time.
The main menu allows the player to participate in the campaign, play with others in multiplayer (online and hot seat modes), set up a custom single player game, view leaderboards & achievements, and adjust game options. The options menu is pretty bare, but it will still allow you to adjust your basics like screen resolution, fullscreen/windowed mode, and audio volumes. Fans of the original board game will be pleased to know that you can opt to play the classic version in both single and multiplayer skirmishes, though the campaign forces you to use the updated rules that this game features.
The campaign is fairly straight-forward in that it will provide you with predetermined goals and opponents each level. I found it to be a good way to get me acclimated with the game’s new features, but after a few missions, I was able to handle skirmishes without any problems. Skirmish modes, whether they are online or offline, allow folks to customize their game a bit more. The “Objective-based” game option, for example, will reward victory to the player that manages to satisfy three of the five goals listed out for that map. “World Domination” mode plays similarly to the “Classic Risk” mode in that both task the player with being the last one standing, though it makes use of the new rule set. Players will have access to five different factions: Humans, Cats, Robots, Zombies, and Yeti. They don’t have their own unique abilities, but they do have their own special style and animations that are mainly for comic effect.
For those of you who have never played “RISK” in your life, this may all sound a bit confusing. To sum up the classic game, players will seed their armies on the playing board, which is broken up into territories. These territories form continents…keep this in the back of your mind for a moment. Once players seed their armies among the territories, they’ll take turns attacking one another. Die rolls determine the winner of these conflicts, with ties going to the defender. Players earn more armies at the start of their turn based on how many territories they own. Controlling an entire continent and trading in cards (which are earned every turn) reward the player with bonus armies. The last person standing, wins!
So then, what are the new rules and features, you ask? For one, some maps have particular modifiers that support the player who controls a particular set of territories. For example, there’s a missile silo that rewards the player with an extra die roll when they fight within that silo’s radius. To control this silo, players will need to control three bunkers scattered around the map. Another modifier includes the ability to flood enemies out of territories but again, you’ll need to control a specific set of territories in order to make use of this special weapon. Volcanos can erupt and kill units within its radius, and temples can convert a territory of a player’s choice over to their color. Overkills, which take effect when a player rolls two or three sixes, makes combat a bit more interesting. Two sixes will kill twice the number of enemy units, and three sixes will annihilate all of them.
Overall, “RISK: Factions” is a competent strategy game, backed up by humorous / cartoony dialogue and innovative features. I particularly like the ability to play the classic mode, should I be in the mood to rehash some fond memories. The AI is a fair challenge, but with no difficulty slider, some might find it a bit too easy. Being a casual gamer myself, I don’t mind this in the slightest. Being a “RISK” game at its core, the dice rolls can result in a string of good or bad luck, no matter how strategic you play. While “RISK” is primarily a strategy game, players will still need to account for unlucky rolls of the dice before they start attacking territories on a whim. The hot seat functionality makes the game particularly appealing, seeing as how the kids regularly enjoy helping me with my board game reviews. There were a few bugs here and there, but nothing that ruined my play experience. While there’s room for the game to do more, it’s a decent take on “RISK” and worth checking out.
Final Verdict: 7/10
You can learn more about and purchase the game here:
You can view video play sessions here: