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Risk Legacy, The Finale: The Unstable Orbit

This post explicitly talks about every secret aspect of Risk Legacy that some people may wish to keep unspoiled.

I sat at Sterling Place, beginning to worry that Risk Legacy was actually Jumanji.

We had opened the “Do Not Open. Ever.” packet. Since then Justin had been afflicted with any number of ailments. His car needed a series of repairs. Then the night of the event: snow, lots of snow, which magically seemed to stop as soon as a number of people decided they shouldn’t brave the roads. Felicia got into a fender bender on her way in.

Had the unstable orbit cards actually affected our world?

No. Well, we can never be sure, but I can be reasonably confident five people in Buffalo (and one in Madison) have not been responsible for widespread climate change and natural disasters. Probably.

After nine months and fourteen games, we were at the end. Tonight we would play the finale. We already knew the winner: last time Justin won his sixth game, ensuring a math victory. He would get to name the world, but we still had one more game to play. One more packet that needed opening.

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The beer: The Bringer of Nuclear Fire

Goblet: a suitable vessel for a drink such as this

Goblet: a suitable vessel for a drink such as this

There was only one beer that night. Well, we had a few others (including Schlafly Pumpkin Ale, courtesy of Buffalo Beer League‘s Scott) but tonight was about the BNF. We had brewed it together. Now it was ready and we’d all get to drink it.

I know I have to say this, being an owner and all, but I think it turned out damn well. Not too much heat, but enough so that you know it’s a chili beer. Some smokiness, some sweetness, and a fairly hidden 9.6% abv.

Matt said he would order a second. Alex pointed out how unusual that was: it’s not often you get a second chili beer, or a second imperial stout, or a second milk stout, and yet here we were.

Well, whatever. The beer was great! We were incredibly biased. Time to roll some dice.

The game (15/15)

Starting factions and HQs

Felicia won a rolloff against Alex. She briefly considered the Mutants, as part of a secret master plan, but eventually decided upon the lead faction.

  • Felicia: Khan Industries, Fro-ia (Brazil)
  • Dan: Mutants, Urals
  • Alex: Saharan Republic, Eastern United States
  • Matt: Die Mechaniker, Eastern Australia
  • Justin: Imperial Balkania (The Bringer of Nuclear Fire), India

As the first mission Felicia chose Reign of Terror: conquer (not expand into) 9+ territories in one turn.

It’s been our tradition to rearrange seats, with the player that drafts “first turn” remaining where they are. This time we were actually all in the proper seats beforehand, which we found noteworthy.

The Mutants rush to an early lead

Matt took over all of Australia, while Felicia eschewed all of South America and instead headed north to meet Alex.

I was unafraid of the Fallout event this game and started in a more central position to my goal. I headed east into Siberia, the fallout zone, and then rushed west to Southern Europe. Controlling both the only biohazard and the fallout zone, I earned a red star and was halfway to victory. The easy half.

Justin went into Niketown (Southeast Asia), pinning Matt in. “I have no qualms with you,” Matt assured him. Justin replied, “I got nothing against no VietKahn”; Alex was surprised he hadn’t thought of that. Justin’s Imperial Balkania would earn a coin each turn he expanded into a city, not just when he bested someone in combat, so he got a coin.

Alex moved into Central America, preparing for a fight with Felicia. Matt reinforced Indonesia.

Then the peace ended.

First blood

I mean, SERIOUSLY Felicia.

I mean, SERIOUSLY Felicia.

Felicia had never been one to run from a fight. She rolled against Alex: triple sixes. Matt asked “So, who wins this one?” Alex would lose two but Justin missiled. He had plenty: six for his victories, plus two more for being the Bringer of Nuclear Fire in a game where the Mutants were also playing.

She rolled again: another trio of sixes. She was on fire! As he removed his troops from Central America I used my newly purchased collage app to upload a picture to Instagram. (I have become an unabashed fan of Instagram and selfies and will hear no ill words spoken about them)

We got our first event: Agent of Chaos, which would give the Mutants a red star if no human faction had a continent bonus. Matt, in Australia, was the only person stopping me from the goal. Damn you, Matt.

I reinforced Southern Europe, preparing to drag Felicia into a two front war. Justin went into iPadlandia (China) for a coin.

Another event: Endless Storms, allowing for a maximum of two troops being sent across sea lines.

Alex pondered, then declared, “Okay. I’m gonna do it.” He took up arms against Felicia. They each lost one, and again. Alex lost two. He continued on, saying he’s going for broke. He pulled out the missiles to back it up, eventually winning the fight. Justin called it “a Central American standoff” (see, because Central America is where Mexico is, and-). Justin was Alex that night! I then threw Alex off his game by talking trash about season 7 of Buffy. I mean, c’mon. Every girl is a slayer? Psh. Psh.

Ready your crap

Matt attacked Justin. After a double loss he announced that it wasn’t as fun as he thought it’d be and stopped.

Felicia picked up the dice and looked at Alex. “Ready your crap,” she told him. He had to use his third and final missile to take one off Felicia, then rolled a six to win on his own. He won a third time, stopping Felicia for the turn. His crap had been ready, apparently.

My Mutants had been building their ranks in the biohazard scarred Southern Europe, and they struck: their target, Felicia in Burg (North Africa). Justin was handing her advice as freely as I usually do. On his turn he entered Conley’s Shame (Mongolia) and ended, taking a card.

Alex was on the warpath, taking Felicia out of Venezuela.

You have enough missiles there, Justin?

You have enough missiles there, Justin?

An event: Agent of Chaos, again with me denied.

Matt once again attacked Justin. After all, what else could he do? Justin had him boxed in. He missiled to take one off each. He then rolled a six, and again, which caused Justin to missile. Matt called it quits.

Felicia retaliated, taking back Venezuela.

Little love notes

“Heyyy, Felicia!” I called out. I handed her the dice as I rolled to take Fro-ia. We went through an entire combat round, including Justin launching a missile in her defense, before he pointed out we had been doing it wrong: the Endless Storm event meant that I could only send two troops total across sea lines: if Felicia took one troop from me I was done. We reset the troops, gave Justin his missile back and tried again. This time I won easily and he neglected to missile. I headed into the world capital, my excitement quietly building.

Justin went into Creepytown (Kamchatka) for yet one more card. I had tried this in game 13 to little success, but it was working for him.

This triggered an event: Control the People, giving the player with the highest population five troops in a city. Since I controlled the world capital that was me, and they went into Fro-ia to ensure it stayed that way.

Alex looked at Felicia. “This is really fun, so let’s do it again!” If a bard were to pen a song about this game it would be of the epic struggle between those two. He took her out of the game! She could reenter on her next turn, but he got her coins. Her rather large pile of coins. On his next turn he could get 30 troops, but he had no missiles: yet again.

An event: Resistance. All minor cities with one or two troops lost one troop. Persephone (Koskilde, controlled by me), Conley’s Shame and iPadlandia (both controlled by Justin) were emptied.

Matt reinforced Indonesia and called it quits. Felicia reentered the game in Peru and attacked Alex in Venezuela, taking him out.

Another event, again Control the People. I got five more troops in Fro-ia.

In which I see victory within my grasp, finally, finally

I cashed in my cards for an additional 10 troops and headed into Venezuela. Matt used three — three! — missiles to try and stop me. Felicia then beat me on her own twice. Eventually my sheer numbers won out and I entered Venezuela.

My eyes turned towards Central America. The world was against me because I only needed one more HQ to win, and Alex’s was within sight. What about the last packet, they asked. I shook my head. Yes, I wanted to know what was in it, and no we would never know if I won now. But I saw victory. Victory! I had only won twice and it had been oh so long. I tasted drops of it on my tongue and it was sweet: I couldn’t put it off, not even for one more turn. I was blinded by desire. Reason and responsibility and everything that wasn’t this, this moment, fell to the wayside, discarded as meaningless drivel in the face of the high of a win.

Sadly, my rolls were what could politely be described as “utter shit.” I managed to roll a triple six but Alex rolled two fives: Central America’s bunker gave him +1 to his highest roll and Justin added a missile to make me lose two. (In hindsight I realize that the Mutants should have won ties on offense thanks to their evolution, but it wouldn’t be a game of Risk if we didn’t forget at least one rule)

We traded more losses and I came out of my bloodlust enough to look rationally on the situation. I could have won, certainly, but I could have also lost. A loss would end my chances for the entire game. Or I could call it quits that turn and try again next time. I decided that discretion was the better part of valor, but I had a problem. That problem was sitting in Peru, right next to the world capital that was my sugar daddy.

I attacked Felicia. I won, taking her out of the game. Again. I got the coin she earned for beating Alex. She did not seem happy with me.

There was another event, yet again Agent of Chaos.

Justin entered North America and went into Wenchport (Alberta) for his card.

An event: Join the Cause, a final love note to me, giving me three troops in Fro-ia.

I knew I was forgetting something

Alex had cards. Lots of cards. I hadn’t taken him out, and so he placed 30 troops on the board.

You can practically hear the cackle

You can practically hear the cackle

“Are we sure the board can support the weight?” he asked with a smirk. He entered East Haverbrook (Western United States), Ontario and Eastern Canada. He attacked Justin in Wenchport: it took some time, but he was successful. He then took him out of Alaska, entered Greenland and thus controlled all of North America.

Event: Resistance, causing Alex to lose Wenchport and me Burg.

Matt reinforced. Felicia reentered in Central Africa. I took over the rest of South America and bided my time.

Yet one more event, again Join the Cause. I put three in Fro-ia.

Alex retook Wenchport, getting his continent bonus back. Matt reinforced again. Felicia crept into Burg. I attacked her, trying to reestablish my reinforcement chain from Southern Europe to the North American front. She stopped me, perhaps using some of that karma I had built up during the game.

Then everything changed.

The final packet

Justin cashed in enough cards to put 30 troops on the board. He had a missile. We were opening the final packet.

I had downloaded the Vine app again on my phone that night, first to pay Julia a tribute and, now, to record our reactions.

Aliens. Aliens!



“They have been living among us,” the packet said. Imperial Balkania was now not only the Bringer of Nuclear Fire but also the Alien Collaborator, gaining more when turning in cards but losing when entering cities. They were to place the troops they were cashing in onto Alien Island and-



Wait. Alien Island?

Yes, a new landmass, to be placed in an ocean and connected to two continents. Alien Island rose out of the Atlantic, connecting North America and Europe.

In future games we could choose to play as the Aliens, best suited for attacking cities. We got a little somber. There wouldn’t be future games. We could still play, even though it wouldn’t count in the campaign. We most likely will. Risk isn’t over, can’t be over, not yet. I mean, the Alien troops are this cool blue color and they have spaceships.

The end.

Armed with his new payload, and a new way to move around, Justin mobilized from Alien Island into Western Europe. He headed into South America as well, crushing everything in his path until he captured Fro-ia. The world capital under his control, he took me out of Southern Europe as well. He rolled three ones. I rolled a one. He missiled, because he could.

Justin prepares for his assault

Justin prepares for his assault

What a great final battle: aliens vs mutants for the fate of a planet.

He headed into the Urals. Taking the Mutant headquarters would give him his fourth victory point and the game. He did, and he won.

Yet again.

A seventh time.

It didn’t matter, and he won anyway.

He then declared the name of this world. He dubbed it… Frotopia.


It was over, and it had been one hell of a ride. I cannot properly express my gratitude to Alex, Felicia, Julia, Justin and Matt: for indulging me, for giving me nine months of their lives, for becoming my good friends.

But it was over, and Justin had won. To the victor goes the spoils, and so he received gifts to curry his favor.

First: a bottle of Westmalle Dubbel, his favorite beer.

The joke here is that he's smiling. He's the grumpy cat of BoardGameGeek.

The joke here is that he’s smiling. He’s the grumpy cat of BoardGameGeek.

Then: a trophy, inscribed “All hail Justin Frost, Glorious dictator-for-life, Risk Legacy 2013.” Niagara Awards (which printed it in time even though I ordered it at 12:30 that day, because I am a master planner) had asked me on the phone what I wanted it to say. “Um,” I responded, “I’ll email it to you.”

We spent the rest of the night finishing our beers, talking of the games, of sleeping patterns of children, of everything, of nothing. Eventually we bid our goodnights, knowing it was not the end, but merely the beginning.

More dice will roll.

More games will be played.

But for now, dear readers, we rest.

Here's to a great run, Risk Crew

Here’s to a great run, Risk Crew