Yesterday a copy of Castle Risk turned up in the post. I had been looking for a copy of this game at a sensible price for a long time and although they seem to be plentiful over the pond, over here in Blighty you just don't see them.
I am a massive Risk fan and used to play all the time in my school years when a group of us used to huddle around the game board when we fancied a change from Dungeons and Dragons or Atari. I have a copy of the 80's white box version and it is still one of my favourite games. I've owned a copy of a couple of the newer versions of the base game but I just didn't get on with the little infantry and cavalry pieces which always fell over or the flappy crappy board which would never lie flat.
These days I own a few versions of this classic game with my current favourite being the Game of Thrones version with beautiful playing pieces depicting the different houses and an absolutely huge game board if you play the full 7 player version. Add in maester cards, secret missions and different character abilities and you have a gem of a game. The Lord of the Rings trilogy edition is also pretty cool although not as cut throat as you work as good vs evil as opposed to GoT's more machiavellian nature. Narnia is ok too and is fun to get out with kids so you can fight over Father Christmas and turn people to stone.
Anyhoo I unboxed Castle Risk this morning and played through a 6 player dummy game and had a hoot. The rule changes from trad Risk work really well and the map has been really well thought out with no bottle-necks or areas where armies will just sit dormant having no effect on the game. The cards which bring into play various characters such as generals, diplomats and spies work really well and I called it a day after Britain had won 3 banners (beating France and Germany) over Russia which had 2 (beating the Ottoman Empire) and Austria's 1. The little castle pieces are really nice the boat is so cool. The only thing I changed was that the army pieces are a bit fiddly so I used the trusty pieces from the eighties again. They just can't be beat.