Parker Brothers unveiled Risk in 1959. From the point of Argentina in South America to the tip of Kamchatka in northeast Asia, the world was yours for the taking.
Rules varied from year to year and even from country to country, but the basics remained the same: Countries were either divvied up with one-by-one choosing or by dealing out the country cards that came with the set. Once the world was owned, players built up their armies, adding defences in some regions and preparing for an attack in others.
Turn by turn, the face of the map changed. Player army cubes (later replaced by plastic icons, roman numeral figures or actual moulded figurines) were pitted against their colour-coded rivals, determining the outcome by the roll of the dice.
At the end of a turn, country cards were awarded to any player capturing a territory, and once a matched set was collected – three infantry, cavalry or artillery, or one of each – they could be traded in for bonus armies.
On the game went until the map showed a unified globe under one conquering army.
Certain versions of the game allowed shorter play by assigning each player game-winning missions (knock out a certain colour, capture certain continents, hold a set number of territories, etc.), but these were only the beginning of the Risk variations that would spring up across the globe.
House rules added new twists to the format – everything from nuclear combat to multiple-earth play on several boards at once, in one marathon multi-dimensional game.
Parker Brothers added its own new offerings – the Castle Risk board game, CD-ROM updates, etc. – but die-hard players have stayed loyal to the original.