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Risk Legacy

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RISK LEGACY – YOUR WORLD. YOUR WAR. YOUR LEGACY.Risk Legacy is a game where the choices you make in one game end up affecting future games, where actions have consequences, where you shape the history of your world.No two games will be the same!Risk Legacy plays much like regular Risk with some core changes. Players control regions on a map of the world, and through dice rolli…
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  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • If it's your first Legacy Game.
  • Simple and easy to play.
  • You absolutely love Risk.

Might Not Like

  • The story is weak.
  • If you don't have consistent players.
  • Random combat.
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Risk Legacy is a game where the choices you make in one game end up affecting future games, where actions have consequences, where you shape the history of your world.
No two games will be the same!
Risk Legacy plays much like regular Risk with some core changes. Players control regions on a map of the world, and through dice rolling combat attempt to gain control of the world or a certain number of red stars.
Risk Legacy differs from the original as the game changes over time based on the outcome of each previous game and from the choices made by players. In each game, players choose one of five factions that operate on different rules. At the start of the first game, each of these factions can break one minor rule. When players pick their faction, they must choose one of two powers, put that power's sticker to their faction card, then destroy the card that has the other rule on it.
"If a card is DESTROYED, it is removed from the game permanently. Rip it up. Throw it in the trash."
The rule book itself is also changes as you play more games. The winner of each of the first 15 games receives a bonus.
Contents: gameboards, 5 dice, over 175 cards, army cards, over 275 military units, parts sheets, instructions.
Player Count: 3-5
Time: 30-90 minutes
Ages: 13+

This review for Risk Legacy is spoiler free, small details of gameplay are discussed, but not in a way that would detract from the experience. No hidden content or story developments are given away.

The creator of Risk Legacy and the Legacy mechanic, Rob Daviau, was working at Hasbro and started thinking about Cluedo. You open the box and over a couple of hours a colourful cast of dinner guests find out that one of their number is a murderer. The next time you play the exact same thing happens. Last week everyone found out Colonel Mustard shouldn’t be trusted around lead pipes but they’ve invited him to another party. And they haven’t even hidden the lead pipes! The characters, Rob realised, were amnesiacs, repeating the same events and learning nothing. But what if the characters had a memory? What if the game had a memory?

The Legacy concept, making permanent changes to the board as you play a series of games. As you play you rip up cards, attach stickers, and update the rule book. The game remembers what happened and will be different because of choices you made last week

Risk Legacy – The Game

Risk Legacy is played over 15 games with three to five people. Each individual game is won by gaining victory points, whoever wins the most games is the overall winner. It’s not necessary to play every game with the same players but my advice is to keep a consistent group.

Risk Legacy begins as the flawed dice rolling game that you’ll be familiar with. You have units that you move to take over territories and bonuses for owning a whole continent. If you need to fight then both players roll dice at each other until one player retreats or loses all their units.

If you’ve played Risk before this may be bringing back memories of deadlocked games. Risk Legacy deals with this “endless game” problem by changing how you win each game. Instead of total domination players are chasing victory points. The opening games were so quick we were able to play two in a row. We had one game where a player managed to win on their third turn.

The Campaign

My Risk Legacy campaign had five players, making the map overcrowded. As a result we had more aggressive games as two of us were always in a vulnerable position. I would make guess that four players would also work well but that three players wouldn’t be enough to have satisfying games.

We rolled our first dice in June 2015 and the final unit died in April 2016. This was the first Legacy game any of us had played. I have no idea how I would feel about this game were I coming to it after playing Pandemic Legacy, or Charterstone. I suspect that it would seem dated and less polished by their standards. but not enough to devalue this experience as long as you go in with the right expectations.

The story is bare bones and there to give a reason to open packages. Revealing the hidden sections and discovering the extra content is an absolute joy. Conversely, destroying the components of a game feels blasphemous at first, and cements what Legacy is. Even 14 games in it’s still exciting when events change the board. You’ll forget the story justification for it happening almost immediately.

Risk Legacy Review – Game Components (Credit: Hasbro)

Extra Information

I have seen complaints of the two biggest packages being swapped. It’s clear there was a manufacturing error at some point, luckily, our copy wasn’t affected. This is a fatal error in a Legacy game which ruins the two biggest revels in the game at the same time. The only way you can be sure this won’t happen to you is to have someone who won’t be playing with you open both packages. It’s not a perfect solution but I can only imagine how gutted I would have been had those reveals not happened how they were intended.

Promo cards were made for Risk Legacy and given out at Essen 2011 and have not been reprinted. Someone on BoardGameGeek has uploaded translated versions. They added a lot of enjoyment, so for the minimal effort of printing five cards I’d recommend adding them in about game four or five.

There is a hidden card under the plastic insert, there are variations of this card and we added ours after game seven. I have looked up all five versions and a couple of them would not be worth adding to the game. So, make sure you’re getting approval from all players before mixing this in.

Closing Thoughts on Risk Legacy

None of the reasons I like this game are from the Risk half of the title. The reason I agreed to play it and the enjoyment I took from it are due to the Legacy aspect. The dice rolling combat mechanic is as frustrating as it always has been. You have more options to try and mitigate the randomness but roll badly all game and you’ll have a terrible time.

I would recommend this game to anyone who isn’t put off by the idea of playing Risk – Especially if you can get a group of four or five people to commit to all 15 games. If you’ve played the more recently released legacy games  you may still enjoy Risk Legacy.

Be careful who you play with, the campaign is a lot of time to spend on a game that relies on luck. Not everyone will deal with their run of bad luck well. To make sure that everyone you play with has the same commitment split the cost of the game between the group. This may lead to arguments over who owns the game once the campaign is over. Technically you can still play on the board but our group never did and I don’t think you would want to very often.

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!

Zatu Score


  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • If it's your first Legacy Game.
  • Simple and easy to play.
  • You absolutely love Risk.

Might not like

  • The story is weak.
  • If you don't have consistent players.
  • Random combat.