Monday, January 5, 2009

Domination (a.k.a. Risk)

If you've ever enjoyed strategy board games, you might enjoy an excellent computer simulation of the classic "Risk" game, called "Domination". It's freely downloadable at


If you want to play the game solo, I recommend deleting all of the players except the human (you, hopefully) and adding opponents using the Easy AI setting. Once you get the hang of it, try playing several Hard AI opponents.

You'll probably want to start with the traditional, six-continent Risk map that is the default setting. Later, you can experiment with a variety of game maps and their associated territory cards. Though not a Tolkien fan, I like the "lotr" (Lord of the Rings) map for its intricacy. The "europass" map makes for a good continental game. Additional maps are downloadable; some of the novelty maps like "tube" (London subway map) and "solar" (planets map) are fun, while some like "cow" (beef cuts diagram) are just silly and don't play as well.

It's open source, so you can examine the A.I. strategy engines and tweak them to your heart's content. There's also a map designer, which I haven't tried; just playing the game has kept me up late into the night.

Recommended. You too can realize your Napoleonic fantasies!

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