Board games are making a big push into the digital and mobile world. There are digital versions of popular games such as Monopoly and Ticket to Ride that attract thousands of players daily . One of my favorite games as a child was the board game Risk, where you tried to take over the world using plastic troops and decide battles by rolling dice. Risk Urban Assault (PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, Xbox 360, Xbox One) developed by Zoe Mode improves on this concept and adds additional elements to provide you multiple ways to win.
Risk Urban Assault is set in a post-apocalyptic world with famous cities as the focal points rather than entire countries and continents. You start out only being able to battle among districts in London, but as you progress, you unlock additional cities including New York, Paris, and Shanghai. Each turn in game play consists of three phases: Draft, Attack, Fortify.
The Draft phase is used to place your troops on the map. One additional game play element added is the ability to trade in stars for more troops during this phase. Stars are earned through various methods including defeating an opponents district, controlling a borough, which is several contiguous districts, and owning Town Halls. Additionally, each of the factions has unique units and commander that provide unique strategic opportunities.
The Attack phase is exactly as it sounds. During this phase you select the districts you want to attack and use your forces in an attempt to claim a neighboring district. As with the standard Risk game, dice are rolled to determine the battle outcome. However, additional components make the battles more strategic. As mentioned, each faction has unique units and these can give you advantages such as attacking the opponent prior to rolling the dice. Additionally, if you have your commander on the district being attacked, you add +1 to the dice roll so your roll of a 5 now becomes a roll of 6. These new additions to the standard Risk game make battle selections more strategic and devastating if you don’t pay attention to the bonuses your opponent has when attacking. I’ve had several battles where I thought my tanks would take a district, only to have the bonus of adding +1 to the dice roll cause me to lose enough troops that I had to retreat.
The final phase is Fortify. Here you move troops to your districts to help you defend an oncoming attack or to prepare for your next assault. At the beginning of the game, you configure what type of fortification is allowed. Are you able to fortify any district you own or can you only fortify districts adjacent to the district containing the supporting troops? This is another area where you need to plan your strategy. When readying to attack a nearby district, you need to make sure you are not spread to thin and can be easily overtaken by your opponent on the next turn.
Risk Urban Assault includes a single user campaign, custom game and online multiplayer modes. The single user campaign starts you in London and provides multiple objectives such as Build or Capture 3 Town Halls to complete during the game. As each objective is met, you receive a medal. These medals are required to unlock subsequent maps such as Hamburg and Shanghai. The custom game selection provides the opportunity to select the number of players, map used, and fortify rules. One thing to note is that some games can be time intensive. My first campaign game lasted about 20 minutes, but the first multiplayer game I played took almost 2 hours to complete. Be prepared to have your controller fully charged before starting your game!
The online component of Risk Urban Assault consists of two options: Play Online Game or League. The Play Online Game option lets you search for a game or create your own customized game for up to an additional four players to join. You can search for games with certain criteria such as the number of Town Halls needed to win and the map used for the game. However, I did notice the number of players online appears to be low. There have been a few times when I attempted to play an online game with the default settings and no online games were found. Hopefully this is an anomaly and due only to the game’s recent release. Online League play invites you to play in 6 online games and receive points based on the results of each game. Receiving 60+ points at the end of 6 online games promotes you up to the next of 4 leagues in the game. However, should you receive less than 60 points, you stay in the same division.
Risk Urban Assault retails for $14.99 on all platforms (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4) and it a good addition for any fan of board games and especially for avid Risk players. If you are on the fence, I suggest taking the leap and purchasing the game, it’s worth the $15!