Risk board game rules

by The Beast!

(Boardgame Beast HQ)

The Risk board game rules are very straightforward, once you’ve got them down pat. Newcomers do sometimes struggle, though, so we’ve put together this written and video guide to all the rules.

Click the arrow to watch the rules. Still confused? Read the written rules below.

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Risk is a fairly simple game to learn. There are complex elements in the Risk board game rules, so I’m going to talk you through the gameplay.


All choose a color. The number of players determines how many armies you get at the start. Remove the jokers from the pack. Shuffle and deal them all out, face down.

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Players place one army on each of their territories. Once everybody has placed one piece on each space, the banker collects the cards, replaces the jokers and shuffles.

Each player rolls all five dice. Highest score goes first and places one army on of their spaces. Play moves clockwise; each player places one piece, until everybody’s armies are on the board. The Risk board game rules about the deployment of armies keeps the game as fair as possible.

Pass the red attacking dice to the first player.


The first player should have the red dice. Before they begin their turn, they receive re-inforcements. This part of the Risk board game rules is often misinterpreted, so we’ll spell it out clearly.

Risk board game rules: how to calculate re-inforcements.At the start of the game, nobody is likely to own a continent and nobody has cards. Count the player’s territories and divide by three, rounded down. This is the number of armies the player gets before their turn. You always receive a minimum of three armies, no matter how bad things have got! All re-inforcements must be placed before the player begins to attack.

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The active player must choose whether to make an attack. It is NOT compulsory; you may re-inforce and pass the dice. Most players will make at least one attack per turn. It’s important to keep moving, otherwise you will not claim Risk cards and will miss out on cashing in sets later.

The attacker names a country to attack and where the attack comes from. Ex. “Alaska to Kamchatka.” The attacker may use all three red dice as long as there are four or more armies on the territory that attacks. The attacker may only use one dice less than the total. So if there are two armies on the attacking territory, they may only throw one die.

The defender has the option to throw two dice or one die. They must say BEFORE the attacker throws, to avoid cheating. This option is limited to when there are three or more defending armies. With two or one defenders, the defending player may ONLY throw one die.

Resolving combat is very simple. You always select the best two attacking dice and defenders win on a tie. A red six beats a blue five, while a blue four ties with a red four. Defenders win on a tie, so remove one army from each side.

After each throw, the attacker chooses whether to continue, or break off. The defender must continue to defend until the attacker stops. The attacker may resume stop and restart the same fight many times.

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The attacker can fight until there is nowhere left to attack, but most players limit themselves to a few well-chosen attacks per turn.

As long as the attacker captures one new country on their turn, they get a Risk card when they pass the dice. Risk cards are kept to build sets of three.

Risk board game rules: how to make a consolidation at the end of your turn.After their final attack of the turn, the player may make one consolidation move. This means moving pieces from ONE territory to another only. The consolidation must occur across a boundary of neighouring territories. Players may not use a “supply line” to move armies through more than one territory.

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There are Risk board game rules covering special events, which we’ll run through now.

Continent bonuses:The Risk boardgame rules are worth learning properly. It's a great game.Capturing a continent means owning every territory within it. Should a player capture a continent on their turn and defend its borders until the next turn, then they receive a re-inforcement bonus at the beginning of their next turn, depending on the size of the continent. Australia and South America: +2 armies; Africa: +3 armies; North America and Europe: +5 armies; Asia: +7 armies.

Risk card sets: A set of Risk cards is formed when a player either has three of a kind, or one of each kind, of the symbols. The value of the set is dependent upon the symbols.

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Joker cards may count as any of the symbols and help to form any of the above sets.

The Risk boardgame rules are worth learning properly. It's a great game.The rule for handing in sets is simple. You must hand a set in at the beginning of your turn, not in the middle. Any time a player has accumulated five or more Risk cards by the start of their turn, they MUST hand in a set, no matter how feeble it is!

Another of the important Risk board game rules about cards is honest disclosure. A player may ask another player how many Risk cards they have. The player must respond honestly.

The final special Risk board game rules cover when a player is eliminated from the game. Any Risk cards the “dead” player is holding must be handed to the attacker who wiped them out. The attacker still has to wait until their next turn before handing in any sets, but this is one time when it’s legal to hold more than five cards.

An attacker who eliminates another player from the game still receives a Risk card at the end of their turn. On their next turn, they must use enough Risk cards to bring them below five cards in their hand.

The end…

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When a player eliminates the other players, or players agree that a player is certain to win, the game ends. There is nothing in the Risk board game rules to prevent players insisting on the bitter end, but it’s usually more fun to concede and get on with the next game!

If you have any questions about Risk board game rules, click the Comments link below.

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Jul 31, 2012

Cashing in mulitple sets


by: The Beast!

You actually MUST cash in more than one set if you still have five or more cards after cashing in the first.

You cannot cash in a set during a turn. So, if you eliminate an opponent and scoop their cards, you must wait until your next turn to use them. You would still claim your card from the deck as usual at the end of your turn.

Jul 27, 2012



by: Anonymous

Can you cash in more than one set in a turn?

Jul 26, 2012

Defenders CANNOT roll two dice with two armies


by: The Beast!

This is a long-held misconception.

Re-read the rules.

You can opt to throw one die or two dice until you drop to 2 defenders. Then you may ONLY roll one.

Jul 24, 2012

Defenders can roll 2 dice:


by: Martin Charette

Defenders can roll 2 dice when they have 2 armies on a Territory contrary to the written rules and audio-video indicated here!

Nov 07, 2011

When the Risk cards run out…

by: The Beast!

You simply hand in your Risk cards in sets and place them face-down on the bottom of the deck each time.

Optionally you could return them face-up and reshuffle once the deck is exhausted. It doesn’t make a lot of difference.

Nov 06, 2011

running out of cards

by: Anonymous

There is a fixed amount of risk cards in the deck. what is the rule for when their are no more cards to be drawn? do you reshuffle turned in sets? or are their simply no more cards to be drawn?

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