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"Risk - the battle for medieval England" Topic

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Warspite121 Jan 2020 5:37 p.m. PST

I live near to Castle Acre Priory and popped into their shop on Saturday. This is an English Heritage site and I was rather tickled to see that EH is now marketing its own version of the venerable board game Risk.


The game itself seems playable enough (from just browsing it) but what I noted was the rather useful map… That map of England would be very useful for anyone staging a Dark Ages, medieval, Wars of the Roses or even ECW campaign. I also suspect there is a territory card for each territory on the map but I have been unable to confirm it without buying a copy.

Previously I have used versions of the 'Kingmaker' map for WOTR campaigns but that map was rather complicated and, in the original English version, also rather difficult to read. The Kingmaker board improved when Avalon Hill took it over.

I also note there is a medieval Europe version of Risk available online as well.

The English Heritage 'English' version is £40.00 GBP so a bit steep, but could you use it?


sillypoint21 Jan 2020 6:04 p.m. PST

Saw this at Stonehenge souvenir shop. Probably the thing I would have bought on my six week trip round the UK. Most other wargame needs are fulfilled with online shopping.
Had a family meal (4) that was £140.00 GBP, so £40.00 GBP is not too steep, the question is can you rope players into our hobby?

Borderguy19021 Jan 2020 9:10 p.m. PST

They ship world wide. Gonna have to pick that up.

Erzherzog Johann21 Jan 2020 11:23 p.m. PST

I believe there is a time honoured tradition of using the 'Kingmaker' map for WOTR campaigns.


KeepYourPowderDry21 Jan 2020 11:49 p.m. PST

Thanks for posting Warspite.

For those of you looking for an ECW specific campaign driver, NUTS! have a new ECW campaign game up on Kickstarter at the moment "This War Without Enemy". No idea if it is any good, but might be of use.

Warspite122 Jan 2020 5:44 a.m. PST

@sillypoint: cost/benefit analysis is very personal and mostly depends on income. I regard £40.00 GBP as steep. [and I'm cheap]

@John Edmundson: the Kingmaker map is very useful. We used the board and the cards as the basis for a WOTR campaign in the 1980s. Basically we played the board game and then converted card points to play points on-table.

@KYPD38: You are most welcome!

22ndFoot22 Jan 2020 7:21 a.m. PST

If you're doing the ECW as a campaign, you can't go far wrong with Unhappy King Charles from GMT.


Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP22 Jan 2020 9:16 a.m. PST

Looks like any interesting version of Risk. That would be nice to have for our Thursday "Old Retired Guys" gaming, but not at $85 USD including postage.


Personal logo Der Alte Fritz Sponsoring Member of TMP22 Jan 2020 9:46 a.m. PST

I'm interested. Thanks for the tip.

Warspite123 Jan 2020 2:48 a.m. PST

@22nd Foot:
I would imagine that the Unhappy King Charles map could also be used for WOTR given that Britain had changed very little in 200 years and the same key towns still existed.

@ Der Alte Fritz:
You are welcome.


22ndFoot23 Jan 2020 8:41 a.m. PST


You might have to play with the relative significance of some of the towns for the WotR. For example, and this is off the top of my head, Bristol might not be as important and East Anglia might be more so as well as some cities and towns being fortified in the intervening period. I probably wouldn't use it for the WotR but YMMV.

Richard III from Columbia games is another option for WotR. It too has a very nice map – a bit simpler than Kingmake but clearly along the same lines. link I personally don't like wooden block games but you could easily convert to counters.

Mithmee23 Jan 2020 12:12 p.m. PST

You will want to start in Cornwall since it is the area that can be defended.

But I stop playing Risk over 40 years ago.

Personal logo Parzival Supporting Member of TMP23 Jan 2020 2:46 p.m. PST

There's a very nice British Isles "Risk" map on Conquer Club which includes Scotland and Ireland. I don't know if it can be download for printing or not, but it's a pretty effective layout. (And yes, Cornwall is the Australia of the game, but It's no guarantee path to victory.)

Warspite125 Jan 2020 3:03 a.m. PST

I would agree with regard to the lack of importance of Bristol but that assumes that towns would have any great significance on a WOTR wargame campaign. I would argue they did not.

I have just been reading The Wars of the Roses by Anthony Goodman (a V.G. book BTW) and he makes the point that WOTR armies tended to shy away from attacking towns and cities if they were defended. He cites several reasons but one was to avoid alienating the population. Another was the time factor, WOTR campaigns were short, often very short. No time for long sieges.

Unlike the English Civil War or American Civil War true civil wars the WOTR were dynastic wars, a falling out among the nobility and their retainers but not really involving the general population.

The ECW involved the general population on the grounds of religion and the curtailing of the powers of the king by a democratically elected parliament.
The ACW was about states rights versus federal authority and the issue of slavery. Again the general population took sides on these issues.

As the WOTR was a falling out among the nobility, the average man in the street was not really affected in fact most of the population still lived isolated and subsistance lives in the countryside so you should talk about 'the average man in a field' or 'the average man at his plough'. The politics of the nobility were of little use to him (or her).

The Paston Letters, more than a thousand letters from this period and the very first English language correspondence to survive, show us that the deeds of the great and the mighty get a very passing mention. After Barnet the Pastons were more interested in the fact that one of the family had an arrow injury at the battle and less about the impact of the battle on English politics.

Any map which shows the geography of England could be of use in a Roman, Norman or WOTR campaign. But I would argue that until at least the ECW, towns and cities were of little value except to raise a few troops or raise some money.


ROUWetPatchBehindTheSofa25 Jan 2020 8:56 a.m. PST

Interesting, shame the figures look a bit ropey, compared even to normal risk.

The cynic in me thinks that the choice locations on the map may be more to do with English Heritage sites than a balanced scholarly assessment of their actual historic importance…

Not sure about Bristol – certainly one of the UKs major ports during the medieval period, though starting to decline by the 15thC – mainly down to falling wool trade and increasing dominance of London. Almost certainly was still of economic importance, but may be not strategically as far as WOTR went.

Warspite125 Jan 2020 11:44 a.m. PST

@Rou etc:
My perception is that Bristol was (in the 15th century) yet to move into its greatest period, trade with the Caribbean meaning the profits from rum, sugar and of course slavery. Bristol was one corner of the triangle route of:
Africa (loaded with slaves) to the Caribbean,
Caribbean (loaded with rum and sugar) to Bristol,
then Bristol (loaded with trade guns, cheap muskets and trinkets) to Africa.
Not so much a vicious circle as a vicious triangle.

Bristol's Golden Age was probably 1690 until about 1870 which is when bigger ships needed the deeper water harbours of Liverpool or Southampton to load or land. Bristol really fades after that date.

I agree with you about the choice of EH sites on the cards! :)


Warspite125 Jan 2020 3:01 p.m. PST

See also:


and later sections below for the rise of Bristol.


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