Risk









1959
8+
2-6
2-4 Hours
 
In ancient Greece (pre-classic period), some vessel paintings indicate the presence, back then, of an early game of conquest, played by rolling dice. Nothing is known as to which regions where depicted in that primitive game board. By the same token. no scholar reports the rules of that far pass time.

The first historian to describe, though indirectly, one of the first Risk games, is Livy who, in his History of Early Rome, describes the first encounter with the barbaric (that is, unknown) Celts.a These barbarians, descended from the Alpes to the Padana flatland, forced the inhabitants of that region (mostly Etruscans)to quicly move somwhere else. The Etruscans, having already lost their battle, turned to their neighbor Romans for help. These, instead of responding to violence with violence, chose to send messengers to the Celts's leader, Brennus. The Celts's Leader, having appreciated the peace gesture of the Romans, sent other messengers to Rome. This way, the first reported Risk game was set up (around 400 AD). Brennus and Rome reprentatives (among whom was Consul Quinto Fabio) met at southern shore of Po river and started playing. The winner, needless to say, would have won the territories which had been forcefully occupied by the Celts. Brennus, barbarian leader but not a Risk novice, won the game. The Romans though argued that Brennus had made use of outruled moves and demanded that the game be played over. Livy reports the barbarian Brennus was very offended by this, and that ragefully stated: "Vae Victis!" (lating for: Voe to the defeated!). The peace making attemp failed and a long and bloody war followed. The Romans lost again and Brennus the barabarian kept his newly conquered land.

Yet another Roman Hisotrian, Plutarch, writes about a Risk game. Less interested in describing game details, Plutarch, in his famous Caesar's biography, briefly describes a Risk game which took place between Caesar and some Senate messengers.  During this game, the great roman leader (Caesar, that is), argued with a Proconsul over a dice roll. The Proconsul, having rolled   a low number, claimed the dice had slipped off his hand and that he had to roll again. Caesar though refused to let the Proconsul toss the dice again, and yelling "Alea iacta est" (the dice have been cast) gave the Senate messenger an historical beating. Plutarch does not indulge on the game details (such as who was the winner, etc.), but he states that a long-lasting hate was the outcome of that game. This rage between Senate and Caesar ended up in a war (by which Caesar overthrew the senate) and then in Caesar's murder (years later), by the hand of that very Proconsul.

During the Middle-Age, the night falls upon Risk once again. The Barbarian rallies destroy much of the libraries in which knowledge was preserved. Nothing is known of Medieval Risk.

The Italian reinassance marks the end of those obscure times. Risk paintings and inlays clearly indicate that it was played by nobles and less noble. The ever changing game board suggests a period of uncertainty. It's too time consuming to spend time writing about the numerous sources and variants; Risk is know a widely diffused game, played by hunderds of people.

However, it is only after WWII that the masses ask, for the first time, to play a game that would really embrace the whole world. This is the dawn of Risk. According to french sources (confirmed by others), the father of Risk, as we know it, is Albert Lamorisse, a frenchman. Unfortunately, very little is known of the father of Risk. This game first edition was a classic: you simply had to conquer the whole world and kick every one else's butt. After this first edition, many followed. National publishers changed the standard set of rules and started distributing variants of Risk (in Italy alone, there are 3 official variants (aside the national one): Plus Risk, Tournament Edition Risk and FutuRisk. Risk has evolved into its present state; this is not necessarily a bad thing, variants add a new twist to playing this extraordinary game

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