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Doctor Who Risk: The Dalek Invasion Of Earth Board Game Review

Doctor Who Risk

“Doctor Who Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth” is a perfectly themed board game.

While it may be hard to believe, I’ve never played “Risk” before. It wasn’t due to a lack of interest; it’s just that I grew up playing other games like “Scrabble” and “Scattegories.” Now, with a new “Doctor Who” themed Risk titled “Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth,” it seemed like an opportune time to dig into this classic board game. So, how does this thematic version fare and how does it play? Read on to find out!

The 2-5 player game begins with each player choosing one Dalek army before being dealt Earth territory cards. The amount you are given entirely depends on how many players there are. After the cards are revealed, the players then place 3 Daleks in each of the territories presented on their cards onto the board which is comprised of 42 territories in all. This process can be done using 3 small Daleks or 1 large Dalek that represents 3 Daleks. After this step, players are given mission cards (which can give you bonuses) and power cards (which essentially bail you out of bad situations). Once all of the Dalek armies are placed on the board, every single territory card is reshuffled and placed to the side of the board.

After the set-up phase is complete, the game begins! Player 1 starts by placing the Clara token on the First Doctor’s face on the Regeneration Strip and then proceeds to flip over one territory card. Whichever location appears on said card is where the TARDIS game piece will go. Once the TARDIS lands on this spot, no attacking, defending, or traveling can take place on this spot for that turn. In addition, if the flipped over card contains a picture of Clara, the Clara token moves down one spot. This means the Doctor regenerates. Whenever the Doctor completes his regeneration cycle (ie when he reaches the 11th Doctor), the game ends. This gaming element is meant to ensure that the game has a timer of sorts. Of course, if you wish to play a regular “Risk” game that could last for hours on end, you can ignore this element completely for a more difficult and competitive gaming experience.

After a player deals with the Clara token and the TARDIS game piece, the player gets 3 new Daleks (or more depending on how many territories they can control) each turn. With these Daleks in hand, you can place them on whichever territory you control.

The next step is the attack phase where you can use your Dalek forces to attack an enemy territory connected by border or sea line. You can attack a neighboring territory with as many forces as you want, but you must have at least 1 Dalek in your own territory that you moved your forces from. The attack system is implemented by dice. The amount of dice rolled depends on how many forces are used, but usually, there are 3 dice for attackers and 2 for defense. If the dice rolls your way (see the manual for further instructions), you can conquer an enemy territory and claim it for yourself. If this does occur, you also get a territory card. With these cards, you can trade them in for more Daleks. The more you collect, the more Daleks you can gain in future turns.

Once the attack phase is complete, you can move Daleks from one territory to another. They must, however, be connected territories you control.

After all steps are completed, the current player’s turn ends and the next player’s turn begins. The turns continue until the game eventually ends. The game can end in a few ways. As I stated earlier, if the Doctor completes his 11th regeneration, the game ends. If that’s the case, whoever has the most controlled territories wins. Another way to win is to defeat another player’s last remaining territory. If that occurs, you gain their territory, power, and mission cards. Finally, you can also win by conquering all 42 territories. This can really only occur on the difficult setting.

While I can’t fully compare or contrast this version of “Risk” to past versions, I can say that there are new elements that have been added to fit the theme. From a Whovian standpoint, the game plays like a dream as the Dalek theme is absolutely perfect for this iconic war game. While strategic games may not be everyone’s cup of tea, I love being able to devise deployment tactics and create battle strategies all while trying to out-think my opponent(s). Using Dalek pieces to do so only adds to the fun.

Speaking of the components, this game is truly a Dalek lover’s dream game. The game comes with 5 Dalek armies (both modern and classic versions) in orange, yellow, black, grey, and green colors. Each army contains 15 big Daleks and 36 small Daleks. The only real downside here is that the yellow and green colors are way too similar and aren’t exactly the best shades of each color. Why not have a Gold and bright green color instead? At any rate, the Dalek game pieces (and the blue plastic TARDIS) are still “Fantastic!” as the Ninth Doctor would say.

Overall Thoughts: If you’re a “Doctor Who,” this is a must buy board game. While the game could have maybe used more mission and power cards, “Risk: The Dalek Invasion of Earth” has so much replay value that it really doesn’t matter all that much. If for some reason you aren’t a “Doctor Who” fan (if you’re not, shame on you), there are other themed versions of “Risk” from USAopoly (such as ‘The Walking Dead” and “Halo”) that may appeal to you.

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June 23, 2014 - Posted by | Game Review | , , , , , ,

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