Risk board game strategies: Africa
by Craig Reede
Risk board game strategies: Africa
So Australia and South America are taken – one continent many look towards is Africa. Three bordering points of entrance make it fairly easy to defend (when compared to Europe and Asia) and with three bonus armies, the extra work can be worth it.
With any of the continental Risk board game strategies, the first thing you should look to do is examine the territory layout.
The three border territories you need to deal with are North Africa, Egypt and East Africa. North Africa is critical, because that is the route the aggressive South American player is going to take to encroach on your continent.
North Africa paired with East Africa seals the remaining African territories to the south off (allowing you to leave one army in each of those), but Egypt is left exposed to the North.
Comparing Africa to North America, it is in many ways harder to defend. While North America has a lot more land to cover, its points of entrance are very narrow corridors. A player attacking Greenland must come through Iceland, for example.
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In Africa, it isn’t so easy. An attacker in the Middle East can attack either East Africa or Egypt. Southern Europe can hit Egypt, or it can “backdoor” into North Africa. Both Western Europe and what is sure to be a large stack in Brazil can attack North Africa as well.
Risk board game strategies: Africa on the defensive
What strategy you ultimately decide to use will depend on the number of players in the game. It’s a given that you want to fortify North Africa heavily to defend against the South American player.
South America must expand in order to win – and their only two options are north into Central America, or east into North Africa.
In the short term, you must make the Central America option more appealing. Do not attempt to enter South America unless you know you can take it or win it – it is far better to attempt to make some kind of truce with whoever is in South America and focus east than it is to take them on directly.
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If there are more than four players, there is a good chance there are active players looking to establish a foothold in either Europe or Asia. These players will be looking to penetrate into Africa.
If this is the case, it may be a good idea to maintain a ‘soft’ position in Egypt. With so many players attacking, you will deplete your forces too much if you attempt to hold Africa too soon.
Focusing your fortifications on North and East Africa may cost you the continent bonus, but it will prevent your opponents from focusing on you as a threat. Bide your time – defend your borders and trade territory with neighbors to gain cards, to get yourself in a position where you can make a sudden move to keep Egypt.
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If you can’t hold Egypt for a turn, don’t even bother to try – you only get three armies for the territory bonus, and odds are you will lose more than that attempting to hold it too soon.
If there are four or fewer players, you have a more aggressive option – take and hold Southern Europe and Middle East. These two territories, along with North Africa, put you in a more favorable defensive position in the long term. From this position, you can actually work to take Europe as well.
While Europe is tough to defend alone, in conjunction with Africa it is actually a decent option. With only four relatively secure points of entrance (North Africa, Iceland, Ukraine and Middle East), it is easy to defend and gives you a whopping eight bonus armies.
Risk board game strategies: Africa on the offensive
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If there are no players active in Europe or Asia, odds are you will be fighting the North American player for European scraps. This gives you common cause with a South American player for a possible alliance, allowing you to focus more on defending against the Australian player to the east.
Risk board game strategies in Africa are all about a successful combination of patience and intelligent diplomacy. North Africa is going to be the bedrock of your defenses; and if you can somehow find common cause with the South African player in the short term, this will make taking and holding the continent much easier.
Don’t be afraid to be aggressive if there aren’t players based in Asia or Europe – and don’t be afraid to play soft in Egypt and lose the continent in the short term if there are.
The key to Risk board game strategies in Africa is not looking like a threat for as long as possible, then striking quickly to take the continent as soon as you can hold it for a turn.