In Risk (or Risk Legacy), is there an established way of playing the game by mail/email/..?

I'm considering setting up a game between friends, but am struggling to work out how the moves can be played out in a manner whereby the game doesn't take forever. Is there perhaps some kind of well-established rules that would allow players to send in their moves simultaneously, without being aware of the other's actions? (ie a bit like Diplomacy, whereby the moves could be sent to an independent arbitrator who could resolve the winners of those conflicts)

  • I play with friends on Xbox. Sorry not really an answer. Commented Aug 22, 2014 at 13:58
  • Check out roll20 as a resource to run games Commented Dec 24, 2014 at 6:28

3 Answers 3


Unfortunately, play-by-mail isn't really an appropriate medium to play Risk, for a number of reasons.

  • Gameplay is too long, even when just considering playing in person.
  • while only one player can "act" during a turn, defending players get to roll defending die on each attack
  • choices to invade where, and in what quantity, are made by evaluating the whole board--something that can't be done if played simultaneously.

Gameplay is too long

Risk can, depending on the players skill levels, take several hours. This is with immediate feedback from rolls and direct communication. To turn it into mail adds months to complete a single game. I'm not sure a single game of Risk can maintain engagement over that long a time. Even with email being much faster, it still suffers the other below issues.

Defending players

It is definitely possible that the defending players' rolls can be taken by the player staging his attacks, but this has a number of drawbacks.

The defending player doesn't get the enjoyment of defending his own territories with his own rolls, and thus all he/she gets in return is a summation "sorry, you lost the following territories; they are now occupied with my armies in these quantities".

It is a necessity that the attacking armies do the rolls for both the attacking die and the defending die (whether manually or assisted with a phone app or website). If the defending player is given the opportunity to make his own rolls, that actually means EACH attack requires a round-trip of correspondence: one to declare the attack, how large, and what the rolls were; the other to defend the attack and what the rolls were.

Only after it has resolved could the attacking army know whether to press the attack, to give up, etc.

Simultaneous play

Even two players couldn't decide to play simultaneously, much less more than two. Take for example, two armies incidentally and simultaneously attacking a third party's territory.

Whose resolves first? This is natural to playing on a board, where you might just go clockwise, but simultaneous play will have to 'emulate' what it means to go clockwise then--and if so, then it's no longer simultaneous: whoever falls lower on the priority of his turn--his actions are pretty much null and void.

Consider players A and B attacking player C with only 1 defending unit. If A and B both send 15 armies after C's 1 unit, and A is determined to resolve first, B's entire plan of taking a territory, then adjacent territories no longer is applicable.


In short, the nature of Risk is synchronous and to modify it to play via a medium--mail or email--is too much work for the reward. If none of these are compelling enough reasons, even just consider the setting up the board: do you really want to send an email after each ONE army is placed, and have dozens or hundreds of emails (with their delay) to get the board set up?


There are websites like http://www.conquerclub.com/ where you can make an account (you and your friend need both a account) and then you can play a round of risk. in a private game but also with other people that have an account there.

Here are a few more sites where you also can play risk online.


You also have an program that is called. Vassal (open-source boardgame) engine.

They also have an module for risk.


The easiest way would be to build yourself a graphical interface program of some sort to dump the data into a text file and send the file to the next player, who will load the data into the interface, apply some changes, dump it and send it again to the next.

now for the actual interface, you could make it dumb as a rock (you put a picture of the map with separators you could also put a reminder of the continent bonus soldiers in a corner and counters of the next card hands, each zone has a dropdown box selector to select the color of the owner of the land and a textbox to imput the number of the player's dudes still on the country) where the rules are -not- included in the program. you'd have to check for mistakes yourself...

or you could do the same thing but force the rules and verifications and stuff in the software... with a dice roller and cards included to prevent cheating...

or you could juste give yourself a writing convention like NAME_OF_COUNTRY#COLOR#NUMBER_OF_GUYS and list all the zones like assuming france was blue and red attacked it and got 10 guys surviving FRANCE#RED#10 and just highlight(you could even all have your color) the lines where there was a change so people can look and see rapidly what happenned. and use the info in like EXCEL or OpenOffice Spreadsheet

shouldnt be all that long either way

i don't think i'd recommend playing by mail since it'd take days and cost fortunes in stamps

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