On Risk, Part 5: The Tuna Match

Ohai! I bet you thought I’d forgotten about Risk and all of its glory. Nope! I just… set it aside. For… the opportune time. Which is now.

[Gently coughs into palm] Right.

The last time we met, we discussed the tactic of play favored by douchebags across all varieties of gaming media: Rage quitting. Any time your host has dropped a match on X-Box Live, it’s probably because of rage quitting. Any time that dick Dungeon Master freaks and cancels D&D meetings because you’ve seemingly created an invincible, all-powerful character to blow through his carefully-planned campaign, it’s probably because of rage quitting.

But now, I’d like to turn our attention to a happier time. Specifically, I’d like to talk about one of the funnest games of Risk I’d ever played, one that took place in early summer in Canterbury, just before dissertations had to be handed in, soon after shooting ended on The Attack of The Weretimberwolf-Hybrid and right before half of Woolf College started going on benders.

It was one of the nights I’d decided to cook up a batch of jambalaya and subject my friends to klezmer and the sort of spice that only three habanero and six chili peppers can provide. The players were:

  • Myself
  • Flynn –  aka Emperor Palpatine
  • Claire – Impressionable and essentially putty in the hands of Flynn
  • Kyle – An American who spent much of the game with a look that said, “What the Hell am I doing playing this game?”
  • Tuna – Who, I believe I’ve mentioned is The Most Interesting Man In The World
  • Giannis – Who grew quite bored early on and left to go to The Venue.

The game was momentous, as this was the first time Kyle and Tuna had played Risk. I found this shocking, since Tuna is one of those people who seemed destined to either rule the world or die trying–and since he had a history of playing Dungeons and Dragons (see Deeandee), nerdery was nowhere near out of the question.

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On Risk, Part 4: Rage Quitting

Last time, I talked about the group with whom I played Risk. By the way, if you’re reading this, then it’s evidence that I haven’t edited the blog before publishing it. As it stands, my brain is still wondering why it’s not asleep, and why someone with a Southern accent just asked me for cheese. Life is confusing, and I don’t understand it half of the time.

Anyway, I hit you with such an onslaught of exposition that I’m sure your heads collectively exploded. I apologize for that, and I sincerely hope that your medical insurance covers it. What would that go under? Emergency Room? Do ERs have the capacity to put an exploded head back together again? UK people, what’s the NHS like for exploding heads?

What? Oh, Risk, yeah.

So I mentioned Gilles before, and what I hadn’t mentioned – I don’t think – once again, rusty mind right now – is that he was in one of my courses at the University. The course was Post-Colonial Literature, and I took it because Rudyard Kipling was listed as one of the course’s main authors; I’d been reading an anthology of his horror stories, and I was desperately hoping one of them would pop up in discussion so I could seem smart and well-read.

None of them did, so I just spat out random thoughts that went through my head. Oh, Risk, yeah.

So I knew Gilles as a really smart guy. He knew three languages, and despite the fact that English was not his first language, he was much, much better than I was at literary discussion. (To wit: One of my ideas was to write a paper on how Rudyard Kipling kicked ass. I viewed this as a legitimate topic for anything other than Cracked.com.) But what I didn’t know is that we were equals on one very important level:

We’d both read a disgusting amount of the Star Wars Expanded Universe novels. For the uninitiated, the EU novels are a series of noncanonical (or canonical, depending on what sort of mood Lucas was in at the time of publication) plotlines about characters from the original trilogy and their offspring. The only thing you really need to know about the EU is that the Skywalkers continue to be The Most Important Family Ever and it takes

SPOILER An entire moon to kill Chewbacca

END SPOILER

This was a recurring conversation between the two of us, and when I first found out that the guy occasionally ran Star Wars Risk sessions, I had to get in on them.

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On Risk, Pt. 1

aaronlewis.wordpress.comMy infatuation with this game started several years ago, when I was nought but a nerdling, convinced that the world only extended to the expansions of WarCraft 2 and Diablo 2. Every year, Brad’s family would rent out a couple of camp sites in a state park and a whole bunch of us would retreat into the woods for a weekend full of bacon, doughnuts, awkward moments, and thanking God we weren’t actually camping.

See, the camping we engaged in was camping in Easy mode. There were tents, there were sleeping bags and, from time to time, there were camp fires. But there were also showers with hot water, electrical outlets, trash pick-up by park rangers, and a playground on a hill just across from the sites. The usual things that go down in camping trips didn’t go down here, since we were all civilized people and appreciated the outdoors just enough to be slightly uncomfortable for a couple nights a year.

During the days, we’d all do whatever we could think to keep us from missing things like TV and the Internet. For the kids, we’d mess with the dogs or heave rocks into the lake and cheer like Neanderthals. The adults… I don’t know what they did. Something boring. Like reading or some shit.

But at night, we’d all come together for one, massive Hate Fest. There’s nothing like these things, and, chances are, you’ve experienced them yourselves. What corn-fed American family hasn’t played Monopoly, thinking it would be a great way to rip the kids away from the TV for a few hours and actually talk to their parents, only to find, after Rick Jr. keeps buying up all the fucking orange properties and not fucking trading them even though someone’s offering the goddamn green properties and Susie, for whatever reason, doesn’t grasp that it’s in her best interests to just buy her fucking way out of jail instead of rolling, and Dad, that shit head, keeps double-dipping in the bank like some investment banker, and Mom guilts you into not buying Park Place.

[clears throat] Sorry. Monopoly, as you’ve probably grasped by the above, is the perfect entry into American Hate. A baptism of resentment that won’t fully blossom until higher-level board games like Balderdash are played. But there’s one game that rules them all, and in the darkness binds them: Risk.

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