Risk Management: The Math Behind the Board Game

If you’ve ever hunkered down for a good 5-to-12 hour endeavor of global domination that is a game of Risk, you’ve probably tried to do the math in your head. What are my odds of beating this army? Is it really worth holding this continent? How long will I last if I only leave two soldiers and a horse on Mexico?

(And your early-stage analysis feels nice enough until you’re suddenly on defense and you realize you better give up on that continent and focus on the next one because at least there you can think about thinking about a plan and — oh damn, is that treaty still in place? And then…oh, it is slow and it is painful.)

Ahem. Anyway, there’s no need to strain the brain any longer. Walter Hickey at Business Insider has done it for you.

We won’t spoil his whole article for you, but let’s highlight a few key points:

1. You have a statistical advantage while attacking — even if the defender has an equal number of defenders — as long as you have more than five soldiers. So just get on with it already.

2. Neither South America nor Africa are really worth the reward that comes with the trouble of defending their borders, at least not until you’ve decided to go full-on conquerer on the board. Europe isn’t much better.

3. In terms of balancing risk and reward, North America is probably the ideal place to conquer, control, and then grow. But if you really want minimize risk, then it’s Australia (of course).

Much more to be learned by clicking through to Hickey’s article.

Business Insider: “How To Use Math To Crush Your Friends At ‘Risk’ Like You’ve Never Done Before”