Risk Board Game Rules

How to Play Risk Board Game Rules

How to Play Risk Board Game rules – easy reference guide to get your game started quickly.


Find out about Risk

Players: 2 to 6 | Game duration from: 120 mins | Game Complexity:

Preview Product Rating Price
Hasbro Risk Game Hasbro Risk Game 8,945 Reviews $33.99 $25.49

What is the goal?

Risk is a board game of military strategy where you are battling to conquer the world. As you conquer continents, your military strength grows. To win, you must deploy careful strategies to attack others, defend yourself on all fronts, and control vast continents. However, overextend your armies across the globe and there is a risk that your enemies might attack and take control!


Setting Up Risk Board Game

Risk Game Board

  • The game board is a map of 6 continents divided into 42 territories.
  • The numbers along the board’s bottom edge indicate the number of armies you receive for a set of cards traded

Armies in Risk

There are 6 sets of armies, containing 3 categories of army pieces:

  • Infantry (worth l)
  • Cavalry (worth 5 Infantry), and
  • Artillery (worth 10 Infantry, or 2 Cavalry)

Game starts with Infantry pieces; later in the game, players can trade in 5 Infantry for 1 Cavalry, or 2 Cavalry (or 1 Cavalry and 5 Infantry) for 1 Artillery.

Risk Cards

The 56 RISK@ Cards: 42 marked with a territory and a picture of Infantry, Cavalry, or Artillery. l 2 “wild” cards marked with all three pictures, but no territory. 12 Secret Mission cards.
Secret Mission cards are used only in the Secret Mission RISK variation. Remove them for all other games.

Starting Armies for 2 player Risk Game

Players each select a complete set of armies. Select a third set to be “neutral.” Take 40 infantry pieces from each set.

Claim Territories

Remove the Secret Mission cards and the 2 “wild” cards from the RISK card deck.

  • Shuffle and deal the cards, face down, into 3 equal piles. Both you and your opponent choose a different pile. The remaining pile is “neutral.”
  • Players place one of their Infantry on each of the 14 territories shown on their RISK cards.
  • Place one “neutral” Infantry on each of the remaining 14 “neutral” territories.
  • After every territory is claimed, players take turns placing remaining armies:
  • Place 2 Infantry onto any 1 or 2 of the territories you occupy.

Then place 1 “neutral” army onto any “neutral” territory you want

After all the armies have been placed on the board, return the two “wild” cards to the RISK card deck, shuffle the deck and start to play.

Starting armies for 3 to 6 player Risk game

  • 3 player game – each player starts with 35 Infantry
  • 4 player game – each player starts with 30 Infantry
  • 5 player game – each player starts with 25 Infantry
  • 6 player game –  each player starts with 20 Infantry
Claim Territories
  • Roll one die to decide who places 1st infantry pieces.
  • Highest number player takes one of their infantry pieces and places it onto any territory to claim it.
  • Next left player does the same to claim unoccupied territory and so forth.
  • Continue until all 42 territories have been claimed
  • Each player, in turn, places one additional army on any of their occupied territories and this continues until everyone has run out of armies
  • There is no limit to the number of armies on a single territory

Risk Card Draw Pile

Shuffle the RISK cards (remove the Mission cards) and place it, face down, next to the board.

Whoever placed the first army takes the first turn


Step by Step Risk Board Game Rules

Risk is a board game of military strategy where you are battling to conquer the world. Your strength grows with every successful conquest. Players deploy strategies to attack others, defend their territories, and control vast continents.

Total Time: 2 hours

Risk Gameplay Steps

Each player’s turn consists of three steps: Getting and placing new armies; Attack a territory (if you choose to) and Fortifying your position.

Getting and placing new armies

At start of turn, calculate armies to add to your territories based on
1. Number of territories controlled (total divided by 3 rounded-down)
2. Value of continents controlled
3. Value of matched set of Traded-in Risk cards
4. Specific territory picture on a traded-in card

Get and add armies based on controlled territories

At start of your turn, receive the total number of new armies based on your total occupied territories divided by 3 and rounded down. Place them on any of your occupied territories.

Get and add armies based on value of controlled continents

Value of Risk Controlled Continent

Receive armies based on continents under your control. You must occupy all territories of a continent to control it. Game board indicates the number of armies you receive for each continent controlled.

Trading in Risk Cards for Armies

Get armies for trading in Risk Card sets

Trade in set of cards to receive armies. There are 3 types of sets: 3 cards of same design, 1 each of 3 designs, any 2 plus a “wild card”. Get armies based on the total number of sets anyone has traded in so far. Track trades by keeping traded-in card sets face down under the bottom edge of the game board.

Armies awarded based on Traded-in Card Sets

The first set traded in – 4 armies
The second set traded in – 6 armies
The third set traded in – 8 armies
The fourth set traded in – 10 armies
The fifth set traded in – 12 armies
The sixth set traded in – 15 armies
After sixth, each set traded in is worth additional 5.

2 Bonus Armies for specific territory picture on a traded-in card

Receive 2 bonus armies for traded-in cards showing pictures of your occupied territories. Bonus armies must be placed onto that specific territory.

Choosing to Attack a territory

After army placement, you can choose to attack and capture a territory.
If not attacking, fortify your position if you wish and then, pass the dice to the left player. If attacking:
1. Attack a territory adjacent to yours or connected by a dashed line
2. You must always have at least two armies in the territory you’re attacking from
3. You can continue attacking one territory until all defending armies are eliminated, or shift attack from one territory to another
You can attack as often and as many territories as you like during one turn

How to attack in Risk?

Announce territory you’re attacking and the one you’re attacking from
Roll the dice against the defender of attacked territory
Both you and defender must announce the number of dice you wish to roll
You and defender must roll at the same time.
You, the attacker, will roll 1,2 or 3 red dice. You must have at least one more army in your territory than the number of dice you roll.
The defender will roll either 1 or 2 white dice: To roll 2 dice, he or she must have at least 2 armies on the territory under attack.

How to attack in 2 player Risk game?

On your turn, you may attack any territory adjacent to yours. When attacking “neutral” territory, your opponent rolls to defend it. “Neutral” armies cannot attack and never receive reinforcements during the game.

Deciding a battle in Risk

Deciding a battle in Risk

Compare Attacker and Defender’s highest die. If attacker is higher, the defender loses one army from the territory under attack. If defender is higher, attacker loses 1 army from attacking territory; If both rolled more than 1 die, compare the two next-highest dice and repeat process. Defender always wins in a tie. The attacker can never lose more than 2 armies on a single roll,

Capturing a territory

When a territory’s defending army is defeated, you control that territory.
Move at least as many armies as the number of dice you rolled in your last battle.
You must leave at least one army behind on the territory you attacked from.
During the game, every territory must always be occupied by at least one army.

Ending attack(s) in Risk

End your attack(s) at any time. If you have captured at least one territory, first take the top RISK card from the draw pile.

Eliminating an opponent

If you eliminate an opponent by defeating their last army on the game board, you win their RISK cards. If you end up with 6 or more cards, immediately trade-in enough sets to reduce your hand to 4 or fewer cards. Once your hand is reduced to 4,3, or 2 cards, you must stop trading. If you end up with fewer than 6, wait until the beginning of your next turn to trade in a set. Note: When you draw a card from the deck at the end of your turn (for having won a battle), and it brings your total to 6, wait until your next turn to trade-in.

Fortifying your position

You may, if you wish, end your turn by fortifying your position. Move as many armies from one (and only one) of your territories into one (and only one) of your adjacent territories. In moving your armies from one territory to another, you must leave at least one army behind.

Winning a Risk Game

The winner is the first player to eliminate every opponent by capturing all 42 territories on the board.

Winning a 2 player Risk Game

Eliminate your opponent’s armies and control their territories. You do not need to eliminate and capture “neutral” armies and territories.


Risk Board Game FAQs

How do cards work in Risk?

At the start of a turn, you can trade in Risk card sets for extra armies.

How many armies do you start with in Risk?

2 player game – 40 Infantry, 3 player game – 35 Infantry, 4 player game – 30 Infantry, 5 player game – 25 Infantry, 6 player game –  20 Infantry

Can you keep attacking in Risk?

Players can attack as often and as many territories as you like during one turn.

How do you play risk the board game with 2 people?

A third set of armies will be used and placed on territories on the game board and treated as “neutral”. Opposing player will roll for “Neutral” armies and territories when attacked upon. Win by eliminating your opponent’s armies. You do not need to eliminate “neutral” armies.


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