Risk Godstorm Board Game

Risk Godstorm Board Game

From: Board Game
Reviewed by: Ron McClung

Risk Godstorm is a new Board Game from Avalon Hill.

Over the past several years since Hasbro has taken over Avalon Hill, they have tried to move several of the more traditional war-based board games over into the Avalon Hill name and then explore different themes with those games.  Risk has now been released in two incarnations under the Avalon Hill name (although Hasbro also released Lord of the Rings Risk under a different group).

From the box cover: “ The game of Earthly Domination and Beyond”

Contents: This version of Risk is played out on a mythological rendition of Eastern Europe, North Africa, and some parts of eastern Russia.  Also included is the mythological continent of Atlantis.  The first I learned about the game is … Yes, there is a chance that Atlantis will sink and if it does, everything on it is lost.  Also included is a separate piece reminiscent of the Moon in Risk 2210, but it represents the Underworld. 

Each player is one of five ancient civilizations: Egypt, Babylon, Norse, Greek, and Celtic.  Each are represented in their own color; however, I felt the Egypt and the Norse were too close in color to tell apart.  Each player has a set of gods which are based on the gods of the civilization.  However, the corresponding gods in each civilization basically do the same thing.  The armies are represented in 1s (single trooper with spear and shield) or 5s (war-elephant).  There are Faith coins, temples, the standard territory cards and four sets of Miracle cards corresponding to each of the god types.

The map is on par with Avalon Hill standards, well laid out and clear.  There are waterways and mountains just like in regular risk that complicate strategy.  The armies and god figures are well made, constructed of a rubbery plastic that is less breakable.  Also included are ten 6-sided dice, plague markers, and the Epoch Reference Card that tracks the five turns the game is supposed to take and acts as a reference card for turn order and Army/Faith coin count for each turn.

From the rule book cover: “ It is an ancient world, awash in ancient faiths and ancient fears…”

The Game:  Much of the game plays like Risk 2210.  To access the Miracle cards, you must have the corresponding god in play (like the leaders in 2210).  Each card type is different.  One interesting mechanic it adds is the concept of Labors for cards. Each type of card has a labor that will allow you to obtain the top card for free.  An example is the Labor for the Goddess of Magic – Roll three of the same number in any dice roll.

The Faith coins are like your economic coins in Risk 2210 – they allow you to buy gods, cards and temples.  Not only do the gods give you access to the cards, but they each have their own power that effects the game in different ways.  However, no pantheon is different in powers. All the Gods of Death do the same thing, for example. I would have liked to have different powers based on the Pantheons, but I suppose that’s too much to ask.

The temples help in retrieving armies from the Underworld.  The Underworld is the new thing added on.  All armies that die in the battlefield (except those killed by the God of Death) go to the Underworld.  There, they can continue to fight and find a way out to fight on Earth again. This is the one part of the game I had a problem with.  I simply didn’t like it.  You gain very little when fighting in the Underworld.  The times I have played, I rarely was able to take advantage of the ‘resurrection’ effect it had.  It just felt like a distraction to the overall game.

Also in the game is the plague lands.  They are like the nuked lands in Risk 2210 except that they can be occupied and must be in order to get the regional bonus for armies.  Half your armies entering in the plague-lands are destroyed, rounded down.  So one army can occupy the plague lands.  There are four plague lands at the start of the game and through cards, there can be another.

Another interesting mechanic is the aspect of Atlantis.  Atlantis is a continent like any other at the start of the game.  As we all know from the legend, however, Atlantis sinks at some point in time.  There is a Miracle card that makes this happen, and if that card is played all armies are lost on Atlantis.  This can be devastating to a player.  However, that player can simply summon (buy) the god necessary for that particular Miracle and spend faith to make sure he gets that card.  That may sound like a waste of resource, but it did not take a lot in one game I was in, though I suppose the player could have gotten lucky.  An equally ‘passionate’ opponent could have done the same thing seeking to destroy him, so I suppose the pendulum swings both ways.

One of the major changes is during combat.  It is called the Godwar. When armies with gods accompanying them meet on the battle field, the gods must fight first until all gods on one side are banished.  No other combat happens until that happens  So the Godwar adds another layer of fighting and strategy as well as risk to fighting.

As mentioned above, the game has a limited time.  In Hasbro’s continuing effort to make these games more attractive to the masses by making them shorter, they placed a five turn limit on the game.  I simply wish they could add optional rules for a non-limited game or more than five turn game.  Turn flow is straight forward and like the other Risk versions.  Turn order is bid on with Faith tokens similar to Risk 2210.  The strategy of Godstorm is basically like Risk 2210: marshalling armies and gods to advance on territory, careful expenditure of resources or Faith tokens, good-timing with the Miracle cards, and of course, luck with the dice.  

In conclusion, to be honest, I was not overwhelmed by this game.  It simply came across as a rehash of Risk 2210 with a few neat things thrown in and one thing I simply did not like (the Underworld). It flows good except for the Underworld portion which happens at the end of the turn.  It just feels like an afterthought and those that I played with tended to forget about it.

For more details on Board Game and their new Board Game “Risk Godstorm Board Game” check them out at their website http://www.avalonhill.com, and at all of your local game stores.

(Product Summary)

Risk Godstorm Board Game
From: Board Game
Type of Game: Board Game
Game Design by: Mike Selinker
Developed by: Richard Baker, Micheal  Donais, Bill McQuillan
Cover Art by: Greg Staples
Additional Art by: Arnie Swekel, Lars Grant-West, Abigail Fein
Number of Pages: Rulebook – 15 Pages
Game Components Included: Main board, Underworld board, 10 6-sided dice, 5 sets of army pieces, Sunken Atlantis piece, 5 plague markers, Reference card, several 60 Fatih Coins, 4 sets of God cards 66 total cards), one set of territory cards, 5 turn order markers, and 12 temples
Retail Price: $ 39.95
Number of Players: 2-5
Player Ages: 10+
Play Time: 3+ hours
ISBN: 0-7869-3439-5
Website: www.avalonhill.com

Reviewed by: Ron McClung