Blog Archives

In Defense of Monopoly

Look at that happy little shit. He's uplifting you, welcoming you into the moneyed class. And he has a cane and a hand of cards. And a top hat. The real protagonist of Mr. Robot.

Monopoly gets a bad rap. Recently, an amusing video by YouTube channel Actualol even featured a woman getting shot point-blank in the head for having the gall to recommend a pleasant evening of purchasing properties and driving someone bankrupt two hours before the actual conclusion of the game. A few short minutes at your friendly local game store will confirm the sentiment that Monopoly is this generation’s favorite target of oppression and bigotry.

But surely 275 million copies sold can’t be wrong. Fun fact: did you know Hasbro prints $30 billion in paper Monopoly money every year? That’s roughly what The Bezos earns every time you enable one-click purchases on Amazon, but less depressing. Which is why I’ve decided to stake my reputation on defending this wonderful game with seven reasons why it’s better than you remember.

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Approximately 3,720 to 1

Darth Mumbleopolis is only there for marketing reasons. Pay no attention to these droids behind the curtain.

Confession time: I don’t much care about Star Wars. It isn’t that I have any animosity towards the series, it’s just that lightsaber duels and brown hoodie-robes weren’t a particularly big part of my childhood, so I paid about as much attention to all this talk of the Force as I did to anything else where words like “Naboo” were thrown around.

Some might argue that my apathy towards all things Star Wars undermines my ability to review Star Wars Risk. My response is that I’m probably the one person capable of explaining the game to those who don’t know what Star Wars is all about. So let’s get started!

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Risk Legacy: Envelopes

I'm a little worried that this is too spoilery for a header image, but... eh, I'm not used to having to worry about spoilers in board games. Makes my head hurt.

Here’s the drill: as started in the previous installment, my gang of puckish rogues has been playing through Risk Legacy and surviving to tell the tale. However, we’re telling everything, and Risk Legacy is one of the few board games in existence that actually suffers when spoiled — so take heed, because today we’re looking at how the game changed when we triggered the opening of a pair of the envelopes taped to the inside of the box, and once you know what’s inside, there’s no going back.

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Risk Legacy: Earth #00016592

Alternate Title I'm Glad I Didn't Use: "Risk Megacy." Because it's a mega-series, see?

People who like Risk fall into one of three categories:

(A) Those who flavor their poison with a heaping dose of nostalgia. It’s okay, I’ve done it too.
(B) Those who are wrong and/or new to the world of board games.
(C) Those who like Risk Legacy.

Risk Legacy has been out for a while, and I’ve avoided talking about it because to talk about it is to, well, ruin it. Still, it’s been out for almost two years, and its creator, Rob Daviau, has recently announced SeaFall, a spiritual successor that will have the benefit of being born apart from the series-mishandling clutches of Hasbro. Which is to say, it now feels like time. Time to talk about Risk Legacy, about why it’s possibly the single most innovative board game to come along these last couple decades.

Though be warned: while this first installment won’t spoil anything important, future accounts will chart my group’s course through Risk Legacy’s fifteen successive battles, and may very well become more illuminating than someone looking to experience Risk Legacy for themselves might like. This is a game best experienced firsthand; this series is for everyone else, who knows they won’t get that chance. You’ve been warned.

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Board Games & Me: Risk

I wonder if 1980s politics informed the design of this box at all: Asia and South America are overrun by vicious Reds, Europe is barely hanging on, Africa is inconsequential... who can stand against the Crimson Tide? Thank heaven for the U.S. of A. and their huge cannons!

The family’s 1980s version of Risk.

Hi there, friendly reader. Today I’m inaugurating a short series about the games that instilled me with my current love of boardgaming, and about trying them again years later. Be warned that these aren’t necessarily the most interesting games, or even particularly good games — today’s article is about Risk, for instance, which is neither.

“So why talk about it then?” Good question! I have a good answer to go with it: Because Risk was the first game I ever longed to play. And when I finally did, it taught me something important about the power of board games.

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