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How To Play Risk Legacy

risk legacy

Risk Legacy is the first Legacy style game, introduced in 2011 by designer Rob Daviau. As with all Legacy games it is designed to be played as a series of games – in this case 15 – where each game will result in changes being made to the board, rules and/or player factions for the following games. These alterations are contained in sealed packages to be opened when pre-set conditions are met. Depending how your game goes some of these may not be used. This piece can only describe the set up and How to Play of the first game as the subsequent changes will depend on what happened in your experience.

Series Setup

These steps are done before the game of Risk Legacy is first played and will stay in force throughout the 15 games.

The game will be played with between 3 to 5 competing factions. Each faction has a different special ability selected from a choice of two and made permanent by sticking the appropriate sticker on the faction card. These abilities grant favourable minor changes to the rules. The other choice is discarded and will never be used. This is the only distinguishing flavour to each of the Factions for whilst they have different artwork all the pieces function the same with an Infantry piece being worth 1 troop and a Vehicle piece being worth 3 troops.

Similarly Coin stickers will be affixed to the Territory cards in the Resource deck. There are 12 of these Coin stickers to be allocated across 42 Territory cards each of which start with 1 Coin pre-printed and could have a further 2 added. This allocation can be used to make some Territories very valuable or could be spread out or even allocated randomly. These will stay in place throughout though further coins can be added later up to a maximum of 6 and a too powerful Territory card can be destroyed via one of the winner’s end of game options.

Game Setup

Each player in Risk Legacy is given a Scar card with a sticker. In the first instance these stickers can be played prior to an attack on a territory to give any defender there a +1 or -1 to their die roll. Further Scar cards will come into the game as some of the sealed components are opened. There are 6 Scar cards to begin with and when one is used it is permanently removed/destroyed.

Note that if there are not enough Scar cards at the start of a game for everyone to get one, no-one gets one. Keep a check on how many are used in your current game and if there will not be enough for the next game you may as well use your Scar card up this time.

Each player also gets allocated 1 Red Star token. You do not get this if you have won a previous game but get a Missile token instead for each game you’ve previously won. The game is immediately won when you collect 4 Red Star tokens. Given that you get another Red Star token for controlling your HQ you only need 2 more in the first game to win. You get further Red Stars by capturing other player’s HQs or by trading in 4 resource cards (there are additional ways to get them that will come into play later). This means that victory will come much quicker than in the original game where all other players had to be eliminated.

There is a 52-card Risk Legacy deck of Resource cards consisting of 42 Territory cards and 10 coin cards. Some of these Territories will have increased coin value from the series setup step. Deal the top 4 Territories face up on the sideboard provided and put the pile of coin cards face up on their space. Note this is done before players choose their factions and the starting locations for their HQs. The cards revealed could significantly affect their choices because only a player who controls a territory can claim the corresponding card.

Players then roll dice and the highest gets to chose their Faction from the 5 available. Each faction gets 8 troops and their HQ. These are placed, together, on an empty starting Territory of their chosing. The player writes their name and HQ starting location on the back of their Faction card. In subsequent games you may choose a different Faction and/or Starting location. You may may have your own cities on the board in later games after gaining victories. These provide Starting locations that only that player can use. Note they are linked to a specific Player not a Faction. Then the others follow suit clockwise around the table.

The Game Turn

Play proper commences. Each turn in Risk Legacy has a number of steps:-

  1. Start of turn. Here you can trade in 4 Resource cards for a Red Star. This might immediately win you the game. There are also some Scar cards later in the game that can be played at Start of Turn.
  2. Join the War or Recruit Troops. If you have previously lost all your territories you may restart, with 4 Troops and no HQ, if there is a legal starting territory available. If not you are eliminated. If you still control at least 1 Territory you Recruit new troops. You get 1 Troop for every 3 Territories, rounding down, but you always get at least 3. There is a table on the board showing how many Troops each total of Territories provides. Additionally if you control every territory within a continent you receive bonus Troops as printed alongside the continent. You can also trade in Resource cards for Troops. You receive a number of Troops relative to the total coin value of the cards traded. The details are on a separate table on the Game Board. All these Troops are now placed in your Territories split however you wish.
  3. Expand and Attack. You may now move your Troops into unoccupied Territories – Expand or into enemy controlled Territories – Attack. This is the classic Risk Gameplay. You can Attack with up to 3 troops as long as you can leave 1 behind in the Territory you are starting from. The defender can Defend with 1 or 2 Troops if they have them. You roll the appropriate number of dice for the Troops involved. The top Attack die is compared to the top Defence die. If it is greater the Defence loses a Troop otherwise the Attacker does. Then the 2nd highest dice, if there were 2 defenders, are compared with similar results. If all the defenders are eliminated the Attacker must move as many Troops as were in that attack into the Territory and can move additional troops, if available, as long as at least 1 is left in the Territory vacated. You can Expand and Attack as many times as you want whilst you still have Troops to do so. If you take control of an HQ you gain a Red Star and may trigger an immediate victory. Scars on Territories, Faction abilities and in later games Missiles may alter the defender’s dice rolls. If you defeat a Player’s last Troop they are knocked out and you take any Resource cards they have (but not Missiles or Red Stars). They may be able to rejoin next turn.
  4. Manoeuvre Troops At the end of Expand and Attacks you may make 1 Manoeuvre move. Move any number of your Troops from one of your Territories to any other connected Territory as long as at least 1 Troop is left behind.
  5. End of Turn. Some later Scars are played at this point. Then if you have captured at least 1 Territory from another player you take a Resource Card. If you control one of the face up Territory cards you must take that, close up the row from the left and fill it from the deck. Otherwise take the top coin card put the rightmost Territory card in the Discard pile and move the other cards to the right and fill from the deck. Note when the deck of Coin cards runs out for the first time the Player with the most Territories gains a Red Star. This can trigger immediate victory. This can happen quite early on in a game when many of the Territories on offer are not controlled so the Coin card pile of 10 cards gets depleted quickly.

Player turns continue clockwise until someone controls 4 Red Stars and immediately wins the game. In subsequent games Event and Mission Cards may modify the turn sequence offering different opportunities and hazards.

End Of Game

After a win the victor gets to write their name in the next space on the Winner’s roster on the Game Board. They also mark on their Faction card they’ve won. They then can chose 1 of 5 rewards:-

  1. Name a continent. This gives you 1 more Troop when recruiting if you control that continent
  2. Name and Found a Major City. Placed on a Territory only you will be able to use that as a valid Starting Location in future games.
  3. Cancel a Scar. You can cover up a Scar on the Board.
  4. Change a Continent Bonus. There are 2 continent marks in the game -a +1 and a -1 which will permanently modfiy the Continent Bonus.
  5. Place a Fortification on a City. This modifies the defender’s dice by +1
  6. Destroy a Territory card. If you feel a Territory has got too powerful unbalancing the game you can permanently destroy it.

The losers, too, get an award as long as they were not eliminated. In any Territory they controlled at the end of the game they can either name and found a Minor City there or add a further Coin on the corresponding Territory card up to a maximum of 6.

They Think It's All Over

Then you all go again! Up to 15 times. At the end of the 15th game the Player with the most wins recorded on the board wins overall and gets to name the whole world in their honour. Given that different Factions are chosen each time I feel you could play with some players swapped and even different player counts. You would, of course, have to agree to this as it changes the chances of the overall winner but then it is quite a task to get the same players to commit to a continuous set of 15 games of Risk.

As you play through the series keep a track of the conditions to be met to open more packets and get more cards, scars, rules etc. Oh, and there is one secret packet to be found though it is marked :

“Do Not Open.



That concludes our How To Play on Risk Legacy. Did this help? Let us know your thoughts and tag us on social media @zatugames. To buy Risk Legacy today click here!