Do you like the feeling of ruling the world? Maybe you’ve flexed your tyranny in every game of Risk you’ve ever played but yet the dominance is growing a little old. Or are you ready to overthrow the current tyrannical board game dictatorship? You may need another game that leads to global supremacy.
Risk has been a board game mainstay since 1957 when French film director Albert Lamorisse released the game under the name La Conquête du Monde, translated as The Conquest of the World; then two years later, Parker Brothers released the game in 1959 as Risk: The Continental Game. Risk and other early strategy games have inspired hundreds of titles, and the number grows even now. Of those, there are seven that stand out as games of note and arguably alternatives to Risk itself.
Kemet: Blood and Sand immerses you in the mythological world of warring Egyptian gods. Choose your god, raise your armies, build your pyramids, erect your obelisk and conquer the lands of Egypt.
In this game, your progress is determined by the way you follow your strategy and the multiple moves you are considering ahead of time.
The beauty of Kemet: Blood and Sand is the chance factor is incorporated into how you and your opponent play against each other. Battle card structure promotes a lot of risk and reward or absolute failure depending on how you approach your turn.
The artwork and development of this game are truly spectacular. Characters of Egyptian lore are brought to life opening a fascinating world of strategy, cut-throat gameplay, and a battle structure that makes the war aspect worth the play.
From the box opening moment to the rich hours of gameplay, Twighlight Imperium immerses you into this entirely unique universe of characters that span from the Hacan, space lion merchant traders to the Hylar, a technologically advanced race of aquatic species to the Xxcha, a gun-wielding kingdom of turtle-like humanoids.
This game is epic, massive, and even pushes you to be petty at times, but also has a certain level of fearful war-mongering that makes you think twice before you actually attack another player.
In comparison to the other games on this list, Twighlight Imperium is rather expensive, although the price has come down quite a bit over the past few years since.
The gameplay is very immersive and rather complex but provides constant momentum. What is unique is the strategic military movements of this game are more predicated on diplomacy and petty backstabbing than all-out troops versus troops.
Twilight Imperium is less about conquering the entire board and more about navigating the community of all the players while aligning yourself with others, developing tension with others, and ultimately gaining 10 or 14 points to win the game.
Whether bordering new lands and developing a vicious future conflict or navigating the galactic council, Twilight Imperium has great potential for those who invest time, effort, and mental energy.
The theater of war is set, the Axis Powers Germany and Japan face off against the Allied Powers of the Soviet Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Ideally, your five best gaming friends come together to take on the roles of leaders of the Axis and Allies.
Thematically, this game drops you into the fiercest conflict of world history giving you and the role of the dice the ability to rewrite the storyline. The economic and militaristic maneuvering creates a strategic preparation to attack or build defenses.
Axis and Allies have a rich lineage of games that have spanned the past 41 years. This game is a more complex jump from Risk; it builds onto the knowledge foundation of the Risk gameplay and is a reasonable addition to any Risk fan’s board game library.
Axis & Allies: Second Edition
Set in the theater year of 1942 during World War 2, compete as the Axis powers with Germany and Japan or the Allies, the United States, the United Kingdom or the Soviet Union.
Let the war of the forest commence!
In Root, five factions of woodland creatures have five separate roles that play out in this theatrical gameplay ecosystem. You can easily be drawn in by the cutesy artistic style, but it could be the war element that will hook you.
Despite Root’s magnificent design and adorable art, it is not merely a game of looks. It offers a great deal of depth and complexity. The five factions all move in this woodland world in individualized concentric circles and have five very different roles.
The Marquise de Cat is the militaristic faction with its economic machine running the engine, the Eyrie Dynasties (birds) compete to retake their power in this woodland world, and the Woodland Alliance (rabbits) is the rebel fighters battling against their oppressors and the Vagabonds (raccoons) who sow conflict and dissent by aiding or harming the other factions.
Dive into the woodland world of Root and take on the vicious persona of a cute kitten, cuddly raccoon, adorable mice or delightful birdies.
A game of good vs evil, where evil starts so heavily stacked against the armies of good that the size of the armies of bad is terrifyingly massive. War of the Ring, based on the J.R. Tolkien Lord of the Ring series, is rich in its time investment. As you play and honestly work through the process of understanding, learning, and even grasping the complexity of War of the Ring, you might find a game that hooks deep in your mind and draws you back for more, not unlike Golam and his precious.
War of the Rings develops an apparent tension between the respawn ability of Sauron’s army and the once-dead stay-dead forces of the Fellowship of the Ring and their allies. As the bad guys, you fight to kill, destroy and control. However, as the good guys, you fight to survive. You push back against the darkness and distract as Frodo and the Fellowship of the Ring carry this ring to the fires of Mordor. This game pulls faithfully from the source material and orchestrates an epic adventure or calamitous failure.
This game is an epic adventure but the word epic can’t be overstated, this is not a game for the occasional board gamer. You need a dedicated crew that is willing to learn all the intricacies of this game, and there are many. The War of the Rings is the epitome of the idiom you get what you put in, don’t expect more until you do more.
War of the Ring: Second Edition
Set in middle earth, join the Fellowship of the Ring to defeat Sauron or flip the scripts and command the vast army of the Orcs against the allies of the ring.
Dominion is a departure from the other map-based board games on this list. In fact, Dominion has no map; this is a card-based game that plays out in the strategic trade, movement, holding, and attacking steps you take to ultimately grow your kingdom.
Your kingdom is victorious when it expands to ten victory points. But, to get there takes purchasing and managing the finances of the gameplay. Each turn is simple: act, buy, and clean it up to prepare for the next turn.
You play until the province pile of cards is empty, or any three other piles have been depleted, at this point the player with the most victory points now has dominion. The structure of this game can sometimes feel a little individualized where a player may be singularly focused on their own hand. Still, if you do not watch as the other players build up victory points, you will miss out on the ability to grow your kingdom in response.
A card game of strategic trade, choices of movement, holding when necessary and attacking at the right times.
The sequel to the original Brass game, Brass Birmingham is an economic warring game that utilizes networking and commerce manipulation.
In order to play this game effectively, you will need to invest time learning the rules and learning how to coordinate your gameplay. However, where other games on this list demand hours of single gameplay, Brass Birmingham can be played in an hour or so.
Brass Birmingham provides a quicker play time compared to others on this list and this leans towards more chances to grow your grasp of the structure in the strategy of economic manipulation. Working through the industrial revolution during Britain’s canal and railroad era, you’ll be building factories, forging new routes between cities, selling off your goods, and pilfering your neighbor’s beer.
In a 100-year process, you’ll be working through the undertaking of becoming the top tycoon. Knowing costs and connections are highly important, such as, if you’re taking someone else’s beer, you need to build a route connection, but your beer has instant teleportation abilities, no connection is needed.
Dominate the economic war of the canal and railroad industry of Britain.