15 Fun and Interesting Facts About Risk (the Board Game)

Risk board game - With cards, dice, and tokens
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Risk (the game) was a firm favorite in my family home when I was growing up. My dad used to pride himself on being able to outsmart us all, every time. Over the years, watching his strategic victories seemed to help me improve my game (thanks, Dad!). While Risk was a game that got a lot of our attention as a family, I must admit that we did not know too much of it in terms of fun facts and its history or background. All these years later, I find myself wanting to know more. 

After searching for a while and finding at least 15 facts about Risk, I had to admit that the history of the game is quite interesting. Actually, I did not know most of them. I feel that these facts can serve as fairly good conversation starters or even pieces of discussion while playing a game of Risk!

I think it is safe to say that most people do not know very much about Risk, even the most avid players – and now is the time to change that. Whether you are a Risk appreciator or not, you are sure to find the following 15 facts about Risk quite interesting. Check them out for yourself.

These are 15 things you probably did not know about Risk (the game)

1. Risk was invented in the 1950s. 

When and where does Risk come from? That one is simple to answer! Risk is a board game that hails from France. Its inventor was a French professional who released it as a strategy board game that is focused on conflict, conquest, and strategy in 1950s. It was very well received. It is said that the release of Risk was so popular that it inspired the creation of other games such as The Settlers of Catan and Axis & Allies.

Stylized map of France
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2. Risk is designed for 2 to 6 players.

How many people can play Risk? Risk is a game that is designed for 2 or more players. No more than 6 players can play the game because of the available game pieces and how the game is designed (and available territories). 

3. A French film director is the inventor of the game.

A French filmmaker called Albert Lamorisse invented the game of Risk in the 1950s. He was not just an inventor of the ever-popular game of Risk, but the producer of various award-winning short films such as White Mane and The Red Balloon.

4. The very first version of the game was called “La Conquête du Monde”.

Although most of us have called the game “Risk” for most of our lives, it was not initially called Risk at all. Coming from France, it is only to be expected that it had a French name…and it did! Its first name was La Conquête du Monde, which in English means “Conquest of the World”. It kept this name until 1959 when Parker Brothers bought the game. 

5. In 1959, Parker Brothers buy the game and rename it “Risk”.

It was in 1959 that Parker Brothers bought the game and released it under the name of “Risk” and with a few changes to the gameplay. This was the only version of Risk that was available until 20 years later. 

6. The game can take days to complete.

Calendar - days passing
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Some games of Risk can take several days to complete, especially when not in a competitive environment. In my family home, it once took us a week to finish a game. Granted, we did not play all day every day.

7. When Risk first came out, the playing pieces were wooden cubes.

The first playing pieces to ever feature in Risk were wooden cubes. There were green, blue, black, pink, yellow, and red cubes that represented troops. Rounded triangular prisms represented 10 troops.

A number of years after the game was released, the cubes were made from plastic but still looked the same. It was only in the 1980s that the cubes changed shape and now looked like Roman numerals. Plastic infantry tokens, cavalry, and artillery pieces were introduced in 1993.

8. Each territory in the game represents real geographical and political regions on earth. 

The fact that the territory borders resemble earth’s geography is said to add complexity and realism to the game. Each territory represents a real territory on earth’s real-life map. This provides a place to put each army unit.

9. Risk has been published by two game companies. 

Risk was first published by Parker Brothers in 1957. Hasbro then bought Parker Brothers in 1991 and so took over ownership of Risk. Risk was also published by Winning Moves Games in 1959. 

10. Risk has been inducted into 2 Halls of Fame. 

In 1984, Risk was inducted into the Hall of Fame of Games MagazineIt was also later inducted into the Academy of Adventure Gaming Arts and Design Hall of Fame in 1994.

11. The first “new version” of Risk was released in 1986.

Risk was released only in its original version from 1957 until 1986. In 1986 the very first variant of Risk was seen on the market. It was called Castle Riskwhich did away with the world map and instead featured European castles from the 18th Century. 

12. The first video game version of Risk began in 1988.

Commodore 64 early personal computer introduced in 1982
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Of course, with the advent of the digital age, it was only to be expected that Risk would become a video game. And so it happened in 1988 when Risk was released for the Commodore 64. The following year, an edition for the Macintosh was released. Years later, Risk became available on PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, Game Boy Advance, and several other video gaming platforms.

13. The inventor of Risk died in a helicopter crash, the remnants of which are now a memorial.

The inventor of Risk, Albert Lamorisse, was filming a documentary called “The Lover’s Wind” (in French: Le Vent des Amoureux) in 1970. During filming, the helicopter he was in crashed, killing him and the crew. The helicopter was left at the crash site to serve as a memorial to the filmmaker. 

14. Most people learn to play risk at around age 10.

While younger children can learn to play Risk under supervision and guidance, most children learn to play the game around 10 years of age. This is because a child can start thinking more strategically at this stage. 

15. In its first year, more than 100,000 copies were sold. 

In 1959, the year the game was renamed to Risk, more than 100,000 copies were sold. 

All in all

Who knew that there were so many interesting facts surrounding the game of Risk? I certainly did not, and I must admit that I am pleasantly surprised. If you thought that these facts are interesting, perhaps you should learn a bit more about the game. Perhaps even play a round or 2. You never know…perhaps Risk is just the board game for you.