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Risk meets Dots & Boxes

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Unnecessary Alt
Joined: 11/30/2014

Can someone let me know if this is a new board game concept?

At its simplest, the game is one where you want to control a majority of the game board (world). The goal of all races in the game (like giants, wizards, birdmen, mermaids, ogres, etc.) is to conquer a majority of the world but the goal for the players of the game is to be the person to make the winning move. On your turn, you can chose which race you want to control. If the next player wants to control the same race you did, they can or they can chose to control another race. It is a little like a mix between Risk and Dots & Boxes.

The board would have different regions such as sea, grassy plain, mountain, forest, tundra, desert, jungle, volcano, and scorched earth or sky.

To enhance the game, each race would have a unique ability. Here are a few quick thoughts:
• mermaids could gain an additional region adjacent to a water region after taking a water region
• birdmen could take an additional region adjacent to sky after taking sky
• wizards could take scorched earth without consequence but others would suffer in some way

Also, randomly throughout the game, a single race will become more powerful by having an additional ability. This would force players to shift their focus to different races throughout the game or at least consider using them. In addition, there would be cards that you could play like “Take 1 extra move.”

Regarding the number of actions per turn that is really unclear to me. I am not sure if you would make as many moves as you chose or if there would be a limit such as 3 actions per turn.
When I heard of the board game Smallworld, I thought that Smallworld would be set up like this. There are races fighting to gain control of a portion of the world because it is too small to support all of them.

Have you ever heard of something like this? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks.

Joined: 01/17/2011
Two stories in one game

Unnecessary Alt wrote:
At its simplest, the game is one where you want to control a majority of the game board (world). The goal of all races in the game (like giants, wizards, birdmen, mermaids, ogres, etc.) is to conquer a majority of the world but the goal for the players of the game is to be the person to make the winning move.

First up, starting from the winning condition and working backwards is a good way to design a game.

Dots and Boxes works because it is simple, quick, and 2-player. Even then it has limited replayability because it is solvable.

From the sounds of it, you want a moderate complexity, longer, multi-player game. So there are a few issues to consider to make it fun.

I like the idea of the "last move wins" mechanic, however you would likely want to find a way to build this in throughout the game, rather than just once at the end. Otherwise you would end up with an hour of rather boring and ultimately pointless maneuvering followed by a single "Haha! I win!" moment. That game would be fun for at most 1 person, and possibly less than that.

For example, you could have special locations (cities, ley lines, shrines, whatever) which the races are all trying to claim, but only the player who claimed it on their turn gets the points for it. This way there are multiple "Haha! I win!" moments throughout the game. You'd probably want to make sure that the locations cannot be "unclaimed", in order to ensure that the game moves towards a conclusion rather than stalemating.

Another issue to consider is selecting which faction to control each turn. If everyone chooses Ogres every turn (because, for example, Ogres have the largest army and thus the greatest potential for expansion) then that would end up pretty boring once all the other races get wiped out. You'd need to consider this as part of your design.

For example, say there is a deck of cards/tokens with 3 from each faction. Players draw 1 token for their current turn to determine which faction they must control, and 1 for their next turn. Your "next turn" token is hidden from the other players. So on your current turn you could try to set things up to benefit the faction you're going to be using next, but that might also benefit somebody else who has the same token.

For example, a different way of addressing the same design problem might be through the use of special ability cards. So each player has a hand of cards which give bonuses if you use a particular faction (Merfolk get +2 actions, Ogres get +2 armies, etc), so the player can try to use the cards to maximise their own advantage.

Overall, I think the concept is rather interesting, in that the game is telling two different stories: the story of the factions battling for territory, and the story of the players trying to claim points. So in one game the Ogres might dominate, while in the next game the Merfolk take over the world, but you can still win regardless. Risk, in comparison, tells only 1 story because the player's progress towards winning the game is linked to the fate of one of the factions on the map.

I wish you all the best with your design.


lewpuls's picture
Joined: 04/04/2009
Try it

Virtually every game can remind someone of some games that went before. It doesn't matter whether anyone has used this combination before, what matters is what you do with it.

I'd be afraid it will be a one-trick pony, but only playtesting can reveal that. That is, nothing really matters until the very end of the game, and then it may be more random than anything else.

I could foresee a perpetual stalemate, as well.

You might actually try it with Risk and see what happens. The victory criterion changes things so much . . .

Con't be disappointed if no one tells you "that's brilliant." Nothing's going to sound brilliant from this amount of description, to very experienced gamers.

Unnecessary Alt
Joined: 11/30/2014
Thank you both for your

Thank you both for your responses. You have respectfully kept me humble and given me some things to think about. I will continue to work on the idea. Thanks.

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