“The Games of War”

This paper review 2 board games: “Risk” and “Diplomacy”. It explains the aims, methods and strategies of both games

On the Games of War war (wor) —

n. 1. a major armed conflict between nations or between organized parties within a state.

2. the science, art, or profession of military operations. game (gam) —

n. 1. an amusement or pastime

2. a competitive activity involving skill, chance and/or endurance on the part of two or more persons . . . usually for their own enjoyment.

For many centuries people have used games to entertain themselves. Over the years many popular formats have evolved.

One of the most popular frameworks involves the taking over of something. Be it an economy (as in Monopoly) or the world, taking control is the major goal of many games produced today. Two of these games are Risk from Parker Brothers and Diplomacy from Avolon Hill. Both Risk and Diplomacy are concerned with building an empire of the territories on the game board. In Risk one is attempting to conquer the entire world, while in Diplomacy one wants to control Europe. The play of the former entails strategy and dice rolls to simulate battles. A player begins his turn with a certain number of armies which he places in the territories he already controls. How many he receives is decided by the number of territories he controls. He then proceeds to attack neighboring countries and move his armies into those countries if his attack is successful. A battle is simulated by the attacker rolling up to three dice (depending on how large his army is) and the defender rolling up to two. The dice are paired up (attackers highest with defenders highest, etc.) and the higher die of each pair wins; ties are counted as a defending victory. The loser(s) then removes one unit for each loss from his army.

At the end of a turn, the player may choose to make a strategic move in which he takes units from one army and transports them to an adjoining territory that he controls. Plays are taken in turn. Although not covered in the rules of play, alliances and enemies are usually made and broken frequently throughout the game. The action of Diplomacy, however, revolves around the forming and breaking of alliances and adversaries. All players take their turns at the same time instead of in a sequence. Between turns, the players are allotted ten to fifteen minutes to converse privately with other players to make deals concerning the movement and plays, and to notate their moves. After the allotted time is up, the players meet back in the game room and pass the sheet of paper with the moves of their armies to the person to the right and that player reads the moves aloud and moves the pieces to their destinations. After all the moves have been made, conflicts are resolved. Conflicts are resolved by counting the armies in the square, counting how many armies are supporting each army and then adjusting the pieces.

Although Risk and Diplomacy both have the same premise, the play of each results in two very different games. Risk becomes a game of luck with a little bit of strategy, and Diplomacy becomes a game of cooperation and backstabbing. Both games can be fun and entertaining, depending on your mood and the people playing.

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