How to Win at Risk Online (Veteran Strategy)

Veteran Risk StrategySo you’ve joined one or more Risk sites, you’ve gotten your feet wet in a few games, and you’re looking to take that next step. Well, today’s your lucky day. Some of the concepts below build off of those in this guide for beginners, some are brand-new, as befits your new status as an online Risk veteran.

Know Your Enemy

Whether you’re playing in a multi-player free for all, or head to head, it helps to know the skill levels and tendencies of the opposition. A quick look at each opponent’s profile is a good place to start, as many sites will list information such as number of games played, overall score, date joined, and win percentage. If possible, it’s also a good idea to look through the opponent’s history of games played that are similar to the game you’re playing. For instance, if you’re playing a six-player escalating cards game on the classic Risk map, then knowing that one of your opponents has only ever played three games with those settings can be an advantage.

Attack Intelligently

Risk is a game of luck, but as the saying goes, chance favors the prepared mind. Always try to have a plan that extends over the next several turns, with fallback plans in case the opposition does something that you were not expecting. Every attack you make should be in service of the larger plan, but you need to remain flexible and try and anticipate your opponent’s moves as well. Never attack just to attack; instead you should be attacking weak spots for cards, breaking bonuses, eliminating pockets, and hoarding troops for the final killshot. Also, in most cases, if your plans involve getting amazing dice, then it’s time for a new plan. A good rule of thumb is that if an attack cannot succeed with average dice (meaning a relatively even one-for-one), it’s not an attack worth pursuing, save in direst need.

Defend Stoutly

One of the great strategic divides in Risk is between attacking a single defender vs. attacking a defender that can use both defense dice. In the former case, an attacker with all 3 attacking dice will win roughly 65% of the time. In comparison, in a given attack, three attacking dice against two defending dice will kill the two defenders a third of the time, split 1-1 a third of the time, and lose two attackers a third of the time. This divide becomes more pronounced over more attacks. Furthermore, if you have to defend two territories with 4 armies, then you’re better off with a 2-2 than with a 3-1, as you require an attacker to roll against two defender dice at least twice instead of at least once.

Analyze the Cost of Success

Imagine you’re playing a six-player game on the classic Risk board with escalating card rules, where card sets become more and more valuable as each set is turned in. While some sites have exotic card cash-in rates, the basic Risk formula goes 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, 20, 25, etc. The upshot is that, after all six players have turned in a set of cards, the next set will be worth 20 armies. Now, consider the continent bonuses on the Risk map. The two main targets for players are Australia/Oceania and South America, each worth a two-army bonus, but these small bonuses pale in significance compared to the ever-higher cash-in value of cards. Often, two inexperienced players will engage in a bloody war for one of the small bonuses, forgetting that they might each sacrifice ten or more armies for a two-army-per-turn bonus, and by the time the player who “won” the conflict has held the bonus for enough turns to recoup their losses, other players might be cashing in cards for forty or fifty armies. In short, only take a bonus if you can do so quickly and easily, with a minimum of bloodshed. However, that might not always be to your benefit, especially in Australia/Oceania, as we’ll see in the advanced guide.

One Response to “How to Win at Risk Online (Veteran Strategy)”

  1. dneril says:

    haven’t you heard of dominate game? it is my preferred site for risk. it has a huge community, quick real-time games (with turns between 30 seconds and 1 minute long), and many variations (including flat rate vs. escalating rate, “blind” maps, multiple user-created maps, “capitals”, and even “team” games!). you should definitely check it out and review this awesome site.

Play Risk Online: Top 10


The largest community out there, this slumbering giant is fun to play but could use a little developer attention.

Relatively new, this site brings a fresh interface and some interesting features. Some more users and goods maps are needed.

Packed to the gills with features, can be entertaining if you can deal with the bloat and clumsy interface.

ATTACK! (Facebook)

Fast and easy, ATTACK! is great for a 20 minute game of Risk, and not much else.

Grand Strategy

Lots of potential and innovation, but the tumbleweeds make it a lonely place to game.

An attractive looking site but lacks features and a community.


Decent interface, but a bit too commercial and lacking in flavor.

A small community and some decent maps are weakened by a ton of ads and banners.

A failed mix of Risk and new age philosophy with a cult mindset.

A hideous site loaded with spam and ads. No features, no community.

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