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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

  • The asymmetry
  • New army recruitment rules
  • More strategic decision options

Might Not Like

  • It is still Risk and luck based.
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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+

So, you think you know Risk? Bored of the basic game? Well, how about you try the Legacy version? In a modern twist on the original game, Risk Legacy takes you on a journey. The game at its core is the same, but there are new additional mechanics and the game is designed for you to repeat wars over at least 15 games in a very distinct and tailor-made way.

The basics of the game

The basic premise it that there are multiple Earths. Humankind has expanded and colonised multiple planets and you play one of five different factions on one of these ‘Earths’. But as is the way with human nature, the factions involved aren’t willing to share and co-operate so war begins as factions compete to control the planet. You play the role of a distinct and asymmetrical faction and at the start of the first game you select one of two starting abilities. Each faction has this choice of two. They can be quite useful, but they don’t break the game. It is just part of the process to make this and any game a unique experience.

There are additional new rules and features. The game board is essentially the game; the world is divided into the same continents and owning all territories in one will grant you additional armies to deploy each turn.

There is a deck of territory cards. These cards have a coin symbol on them representing resources. There are bonus stickers to put on cards at the start to increase the value of the cards and therefore the territory. This will make the territory more appealing to conquer.

Each turn you get the opportunity to trade in four resource cards, if you have them, for a red star token. When you claim your fourth red star, you win the game immediately.

Otherwise, the turn is straightforward. If you have at least one territory, you may recruit. If not, you must re-join the war if there is a legal starting territory and if there isn’t you are eliminated. At the start of the game, players chose a starting territory and place a HQ there. Later in the game, players can re-join the war only in a territory that doesn’t have scars or cities, unless it’s a territory where you founded a major city in an earlier game.

So, you can already see that there are additional rules and features to create an asymmetry to the game and add levels on strategy beyond the basic elements of standard Risk.


It is a key feature and selling point of Risk Legacy that each game is a custom-built experience. During the game, rules can be changed, affecting this and future games. There are also additional components and rules hidden in pouches, only to be opened after a specified event. I don’t know what is in these as I’ve not reached the stage they can be and I’m being good by not peeking.

I do like this, although it feels like once you’ve started the process the game can never reset back to the beginning if you playing by the strict rules as written, which means adding stickers to cards, the board and even the rulebook and even throwing cards away.

That said, you are buying an experience. A chance to play a game that can change over the course of multiple wars until you have created an experience based on the decisions made; your legacy. You could argue that it’s really a gimmick, but equally, it does breathe new life into the Risk game, creating a gameplay experience that is different and improved upon compared to the original.

The player’s turn

On a player’s turn, a player has the option to recruit troops based on the number of territories you control plus the population (based on cities that are founded) and then divided by three. In addition, the old-style bonus from controlling an entire continent is added and any bonus troops gained from trading in territory cards. The card trade is similar in principle to the original idea, except in Risk Legacy the number of resources on the cards you trade in determines the reward as long as it is at least two resources and up to ten. In return, the player receives two to thirty extra armies based on a sliding scale printed on the board.

This is essentially the same mechanic of old, you can trade in early to get valuable extra armies or save the cards until a later turn until you have accumulated more cards and trade in for a higher return; if you can afford to wait that is. What is new, is that your reward is based on what you trade is rather than getting a fixed amount based on what has previously been traded and it encourages players to target territories with more resources on their card.


At the heart of the game, it is still risk. There are a few asymmetric rules for factions that help in attack or defence, but essentially it is the same old mechanic. It can be a little boring and certainly frustrating, but at least there is a little added depth and strategic choice. Targeting territories that can help control an entire continent is still a valid option, but with some territory cards having greater resource value and cities offering population, there is additional strategic choice.

If a player attacks and conquers at least one territory, held by an opponent, they are eligible to draw a card. There is a sideboard feature, a small board off the main one where the card deck sits. Cards are drawn and placed face up here and when drawing a card, a player can choose a territory card if it matches one that the player controls (encouraging players to target those featured on the cards) or a face up coin card (a card with just one resource on it). Once the coin cards run out for the first time, the player controlling the most territories wins a bonus red star. So, to win a resource card with a named territory featured, players must go after those territories, since the cards can then be converted into either more armies or red stars.

It’s still risk though

Whichever way you look at this game, Risk Legacy is still Risk. That said, it is better than the basic game. It is still heavily dependent on luck, but then it is an easy game to play, despite the additional rules. There is a learning curve, but those old, familiar mechanics are still there to help.

Risk has always been a simple game, which is good as a gateway to attract new players into playing board games. But its simplicity and the boredom factor tend to put players off playing in the longer term as players seek more involved board games, with more depth and strategic decision making.

At least with Risk Legacy, there is some attempt to bring a more rewarding board game experience. I do think it still has a place a gateway game and this modern take on Risk is interesting and more fun. I think in the end that is simply its selling point. It has good new features, although it is relative, it is better than the original Risk, but it is still Risk.

I do like the new features though, from the asymmetry to the way resource cards a gained and since games can be relatively quick, playing out a campaign over 15 wars can be fun and I can see the appeal.

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

  • The asymmetry
  • New army recruitment rules
  • More strategic decision options

Might not like

  • It is still Risk and luck based.