Risk Shadow Forces is the spiritual successor to the first legacy game

In 2011 Risk inheritance has changed the board game forever. The brilliant adaptation of the classic strategy title created a new genre – the legacy genre – seemingly overnight. Today, a decade after its release, publisher Hasbro is developing Shadow forces of risk, a spiritual successor created with the help of famous designer Craig Van Ness. Polygon has the first details on what fans should expect when the finished game launches in fall 2022.

Risk inheritance was created and designed by Rob Daviau, who asked a simple question: Why do board games throw away what happened the previous time you played, only to start over from the beginning as groundhog day? Thereby, Risk inheritance was the first board game with some kind of memory, an experience that evolved over time by adding additional game mechanics in response to in-game events. Players were asked to write on the board; to apply stickers to change maps, characters and locations on the map; and completely destroy the elements of the game.

The end result was an action-packed campaign in a box and the reimagining of a classic first released in 1957. It would inspire games like Gloomhaven, Legacy of the pandemic, and even Oath: Chronicles of the Empire and the Exile.

Building a legacy

Image: Amazon

But the script of the original Risk inheritance? Well … it was kind of there. AvatarStyle mechs clashed with barbarian berserkers as futuristic armored soldiers formed ranks to mow down mutants and alien invaders. By the end of 14 linked games, the world the players had created together was unique, but it was also largely unintelligible.

Chris Nadeau, senior director and head of product development for Hasbro’s Avalon Hill team, told Gameserver that his goal this time around was to keep what worked from the original. Risk inheritance, then lean hard towards a more cohesive storytelling.

“One of these key objectives of Dark forces“said Nadeau,” was to make sure that players didn’t just get the technical game – the emotional connection to the gameplay itself – but also the feeling that they were telling their own story as they went along. measure. “

Risk is an interesting game in the sense that it never really had a story, ”Nadeau continued. “The original game is basically that kind of Napoleonic oil painting that belongs to your great-uncle’s lair. […] We could put an IP on Risk in a way we’ve never done before, or we might invent it. It can be new, original and different.

Nadeau’s team chose the second option, forgoing Hasbro’s many existing universes in favor of something new.

“We needed a sufficient timeline to play out, essentially, all of our real world fears right now,” Nadeau said. “Climate change. The kind of slow decadence of society and government. These private companies and the uber-rich are doing things like flying in space. What if we just keep this pace and acceleration? for the next 29 years? ”

The world map

Shadow forces of risk takes place in 2050. Humanity has come together to harness a new source of clean energy to colonize Mars. But, before the expedition can truly begin, tragedy strikes. The military and businesses around the world are turning on each other. With the traditional superpowers sidelined, powerful warlords take advantage and rush to fill the void.

The players will start Shadow forces of risk by choosing one of these warlords, then keep playing that same warlord in 15 connected games. Each Warlord will have their own story, which will help define their unique set of thematic and evolving powers. Perhaps they are very maneuverable, moving armies easily and quickly around the map. Or maybe they’re very defensive, with bonuses for holding territory and fighting off aggressors. These abilities will be represented by a small stack of cards, which can be used on a player’s turn to impact the outcome of a given battle on the world map.

A computer rendering of the final product, showing a dark world map with several sideboards also on the table.

The world map, where most of the action in Shadow forces of risk will take place.
Image: Avalon Hill / Hasbro

Then come the factions which, unlike a traditional game of Risk, will each have their own unique abilities. Before each game, players draft a faction, much like drafting cards in a game of Magic: The Gathering, so that when they go into each game, they never know what combination they are going to get. This synergy between a given player’s chosen Warlord and their semi-randomly assigned faction will require the development of new strategies on the fly.

The skirmish game

Nadeau and his team did not stop there. Shadow forces of risk includes the traditional game of World Domination, as well as a side game. To make the action even more personal, between battles on the world map individual warlords will take up arms and conduct tactical skirmishes. Shadow forces of risk will come with two double-sided fight boards where players will play these shootouts, and that’s where Craig Van Ness comes in.

Van Ness is an industry veteran with decades of experience. His biggest claim to fame is as a co-designer of Heroic landscape, a lavish skirmish game first released in 2004. In this game, players take on the roles of characters from multiple disparate timelines battling each other with unique powers on a modular terrain. He also co-designed Star Wars: Epic Duels. This is the title that inspired the successful board game Incomparable, a collaboration between Mondo and Restoration Games that also uses skirmish mechanics. Suffice it to say, when it comes to small unit board game combat, Van Ness has the experience to make this style of play sing.

A close-up of the renderings of the five warlord miniatures.

Five tactical skirmishes will be played between each of the 10 matches played on the world map.
Image: Avalon Hill / Hasbro

“He’s sitting there with that notebook open and not only is he noting the flaws in the things he wants to look at, he’s also writing down the possible solutions,” Nadeau said. “He’s playing the meta in his head from the moment he’s introduced to the mechanic. In a way, Craig kind of propels his process right after alpha testing. He’s past that moment of exploring discovery and he’s already debugging the moment he starts playing.

Corn Heroic landscape isn’t Van Ness’ only claim to fame. He is also known as the co-designer – alongside Daviau and the late Alan Roach – of Star Wars: The Queen’s Gambit. It’s an obscure and exhausted board game based on the decisive final battle of Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. The Queen’s Gambit is not a single game, but three connected games taking place at the same time. There, players lead the space battle above the surface of Naboo, as well as the assault on the Queen’s Throne Room – with a Padme Amidala decoy. At the same time, they fight as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn against Darth Maul. The result is an incredibly tense interconnected strategy game, like never before or since.

It’s just the kind of experience that will be needed to achieve something like Shadow forces of risk, and Van Ness is very excited about his prospects.

“You start from that kind of a global world map and then you go right into this skirmish game,” Van Ness told ServerPlay. “Each skirmish match has a different objective. He plays differently. Likewise, the world games are played differently. There are real twists and turns that ensue. Either the setup is different, or the goals are different, or we’re introducing new things that you didn’t expect, or new ways to play.

Due to the secrecy surrounding the legacy games, neither Van Ness nor Nadeau can say for sure what will be inside the box when it is finalized next fall. They can say that in addition to 5 unique warlords and over 200 additional miniatures, there will also be four sealed envelopes and a sealed container. What is inside these sealed packages is anyone’s guess. The final product will have a suggested retail price of $ 68.99. Pre-orders are starting soon, and those who put in the money for a copy will be included in the ongoing design process – much in the same vein as a modern crowdfunded board game.

For more information on Shadow forces of risk, visit the Hasbro Pulse community website.

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