'Castle Risk' Variants

Michael O. Varhola

Following are some variant rules I developed for the Castle Risk version of the Risk game sometime in the early '90s (as evidenced by the perforated-edged paper that I used to run through my word processor back in those days). They are just as useful today as they were then, of course, and can also spark ideas amongst readers for their own variant rules for this or other games. I have posted here rules covering Fortifications and the special characteristics for five of the six nations that appear in the game — it is all a lot to key in, so I will  incrementally add the last nation and the rules for  "Autonomous Independents" and "Mercenaries."  As usual, I have made tweaks and edits throughout for clarity. 

There are three custom Fortification counters that can be brought into play during the game and allow a player to build a fortress on any territory he or she occupies, accomplished by returning four Marshall cards to the discard pile. A Fortification will remain where it is placed until such time as it might be destroyed. As with a Castle, attacks against a Fortification are never made with more than two dice; possession of a Fortification, however, does not grant more spoils. Furthermore, if the Fortification is captured then the new owner can either use it themselves or opt to destroy it at the end of any of their turns. If a Fortification is destroyed, the counter is removed and can then be used again. [ Initially I had specified that there were three custom Fortification cards that should be inserted into the deck and might be drawn from it. This proved to be somewhat unsatisfactory, however, as the homemade cards for Fortification and other things stood out from the official manufactured ones and everyone present thus knew that one of these was being drawn.

Empire Unique Characteristics
Each of the six empires in Castle Risk has unique characteristics that can be reflected in the game. This is accomplished by having a pair of custom tiles or large cards for each empire that are given to the player whose castle is in the respective area at the beginning of the game. These can add color to the game and help give the various empires individual flavor. 

The tiles may be played up to once per game each when appropriate, in conjunction with another card or specified condition, and may remain in effect under certain conditions are met. When one of these empire-specific tiles is played in conjunction with another card the effects described on the tile prevail over those listed on the regular card. For example, when the Russian Winter card is played in conjunction with a Marshall card both are discarded, but the regular Marshall effects are not applied. In no case is a player constrained to use one of these custom tiles and does so solely at their discretion. 

Initially I allowed some of the custom tile effects to function once per game and others to function two or more times each but eventually decided