Sunday 13 September 2009

A 'Risky' Business

I guess this could also fall under the heading of being a credit crunch wargaming idea as it has thus far cost the princely sum of £2. I am referring to my boot sale acquisition of a complete and unused copy of the Parker game Risk. As readers of the blog may know, Risk is an abstract game of world domination. Recent versions of this have been themed around, for example, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Transformers and others. The reason I was so pleased to get this particular version is because it contains nigh on 372 hard plastic 12/13mm generic 18th century figures. There is an infantryman advancing, a charging cavalryman and a cannon with a flag wielding gunner attached to the gun carriage. All are wearing a tricorn and the kit (knapsack etc) places the models as firmly in the third quarter of the 18th century - they look very much like British Infantry of the American Revolution. There are no command figures of any description.

There are six coloured armies in the game so in total there are over 240 infantry, 72 cavalry and 48 guns although I have based that on multiplying the contents of one army by six! An earlier version of the game had Napoleonic style figures although the infantryman was kneeling at the ready and so less useful than the advancing version.

What then does this mean? Well, to begin with, it is a very cheap source of figures and they are suitably generic enough to cover a variety of historical and 'imagi-nations'. The size is a little on the problematic side but I would probably look to Pendraken for their 10mm stuff for command groups and gunners etc as their newer models are slightly larger than 10mm and so would fit in with these without too much problem. The plastic models are also fairly crude in terms of detail so a simple paint job would be very much the order of the day. It is certainly something I would not rush into at the present but as a long term project it has a certain charm - a pair of mythical 18th century armies could be on the cards - perhaps even the Grand Duchy of Artois and the Electorate of Kronenbourg could see the light of day.

It was with this in mind I acquired (some time ago) a copy of the Lord of the Rings version of Risk - solely for the figures. This version cost me, IIRC, about a pound and there is some 400 figures in this variant. Again, not something I will be doing anything with anytime soon but it is nice to have them as a backstop.


Robert (Bob) Cordery said...


I have the version of RISK with the Napoleonic figures and have used them to do very quick and informal play-tests. As you say, the infantry figures are not too useful as they are kneeling but at that price ... beggars can't be choosers!

I also have the LOTR set ... and the expansion set (more figures of different types), which I hope to use someday. Mind you, the playing board is quite interesting and could form the basis of maps for imagi-nations ... now ... I wonder? (Slaps face to remind self not to take on yet another project at the moment!)

All the best,


David Crook said...

As you rightly say - the LOTR map is very useful and especially with the extended version (which I have yet to acquire although I have seen it). There is a lot of scope with the figures and they lend themselves nicely to a fantasy set up. The 18th century figures are much more useful compared to the Napoleonic - sadly I cant photograph them very well as my camera is not up to it - and there is much potential for an 'imagi-nation' type of set up.

CWT said...

I had the 'kneeling infantryman' version when I was young, and actually this probably represents one of my very earliest gaming experiences in the 18th C. I remember grouping them shoulder-to-shoulder into little regiments and getting them blasted by their opponents. I probably spent more time fiddling with the tiny figures than anything else, but I still remember it rather affectionately! Plus, at £2, how wrong can you go?

David Crook said...

My thoughts entirely! Whilst these figures will never win any prizes for detail they are ideal as gaming pieces and only need a minimal paint job to look quite acceptable. Artos and Kronenbourg may yet see the light of day!