Several computerized versions of the classic world-domination game have appeared over the years. Many have been fun - the ancient Macintosh version immediately springs to mind - but most have convoluted the simple strategy of the original, ostensibly to make the game more "sophisticated." Hasbro's newest computerized Risk succeeds where many others have failed, with a picture-perfect translation of the board game featuring complex AI, a simple interface, and numerous user-controlled options that make the game as simple, or as complex, as you wish.
The reason this nuevo-Risk has an edge on its predecessors is that the basic game follows the exact structure of the original. You begin with an allotted number of troops, choose your territories, and get to warrin'. During battle sequences, as you try to conquer adjacent territories, the die rolls are shown - so there's no more taking the computer's word for the outcome. This seemingly minuscule addition makes battles much more exciting, with massive forces often being cut down within a few rolls.
As for the options, well, there's plenty of 'em. With the classic game, you can set any number of parameters, such as the rewards for turning in cards you receive when you successfully conquer a territory and the number and difficulty of the computer opponents. You can also play something dubbed "Blind Risk," in which you can't see the activities or troops in any territories but those immediately adjacent to your own. For those looking for something a little beyond the basic board game, Hasbro has created "Ultimate Risk," adding some tactical elements to the basic game. During a bout of Ultimate Risk, you must choose formations for your troops, deal with weather conditions, form alliances and hope to overcome the enemy not only through luck and sheer force, but also through strategy.
The game also features excellent multiplayer options, including modem, local-area network, and Internet play, so you can act out your Napoleonic fantasies at will. This is, quite simply, the best computerized version of Risk yet.