The Classic Board Game RISK! – Two Player Rules

RISK! has always been a favourite and is one of the best selling board games of all time. The thrill of planning out your strategy, making alliances and and backstabbing them later on is what makes it the fun, and often rage inducing, game we know it as.

If you only have one other person to play with it can be easy to dismiss RISK! and think you don’t have enough players to really enjoy the game. You aren’t exactly going to make an alliance with your only opponent or the game wouldn’t go anywhere. That’s where the addition of neutral armies comes in. The rule changes are very simple and only affect the initial setup.

RISK Game Board
The RISK! game board. Vibrant and easy on the eye.

The two player rules are easy to learn and are shown below.

  • At the start of the game each player chooses there army. Then together pick a third army to be the neutral set.
  • Remove the secret mission cards and two wild cards from the RISK card deck.
  • shuffle and deal into three face down piles. You and your opponent take a pile each. The third pile is the neutral deck.
  • Place your infantry as normal.
  • Place one neutral infantry unit onto each of the remaining neutral territories.
  • Now that all territories have been claimed take it in turns to placing your remaining armies as follows:
    • Place two infantry onto any one or two of your territories.
    • Place one neutral army piece onto any of the neutral controlled territories. Ideally you will be looking to place these to strategically block off your opponent.
  • When all armies have been placed on the board then you can put the two wild cards back in the in RISK deck, shuffle it and begin the game!
An old Waddington’s edition of RISK! from the 1960’s.

When attacking a territory owned by the neutral army your opponent rolls for them in there place. The neutral army doesn’t attack and wont receive reinforcements throughout the game. Granted this doesn’t really solve the issue of not being able to form alliances but it does add and extra layer of depth and strategy to what would be a mediocre two player experience. These additional rules definitely make the game playable and very enjoyable when restricted to only two players.

I would definitely recommend you check it out along with the many other variants that can be found here!

Thanks for reading and happy gaming!


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