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I've had arguments on the interpretation of 2 different missions in the last week. To me the interpretation is pretty obvious but I do want to verify. I'm hoping you guys can help :)

Mission: Conquer one territory on 5 different continents. Play at the end of your turn.

Now to me I interpret this as, in one turn, you need to attack and win in 5 different continents. My opponent argued that he already owned Africa so he only needed to do so in 4 different continents. His argument was that if he owned 3 different continents, would that stop him from completing the mission? I said yes. Who's right?

Mission: Control 3 different continents. Play at the end of your turn.

I interpret this as owning 3 different continents at the end of your turn. So at the beginning of my turn if I don't own any of them, and at the end of my turn I own 3, I've fulfilled my mission. My opponent was arguing that control means you have to hold it for a turn (which is usually true) but since specifically said to play at the end of your turn, I think doing this all in one turn is fine. I also think in a game of mission risk holding on to three different continents for a whole turn is almost impossible.

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Rule book: http://www.hasbro.com/common/instruct/Risk_2003.pdf

The 5 Territories Mission

There are three possible interpretations:

  1. The player needs to have conquered all of the territories this turn. This has the problem that a player who controls two or more continents cannot fulfill this mission. I believe the rules do not support this interpretation.

  2. The player can have conquered the territories at any point in the past and that's it. This has the problem that a player who has fulfilled this condition at any point can claim this mission at any later point. This has tenuous rules support.

  3. The player can have conquered the territories at any point, but must still control them to claim the mission. I believe this is the correct reading, but my argument for this over option 2 is weak.

This mission does not specify that the conquering all needs to be done in a turn. It simply means you have to have conquered a territory on each of five continents at some point already. It does seems like a bit much bookkeeping to me, but that's how the rules and cards read.

Here are the relevant rules:

Page 12: You win the invasion when you defeat the last defending unit from a territory. You have now conquered this territory. Take the units used to win the battle and move them from the battleground into the territory you have invaded.

Page 17: You may claim a mission once you have achieved what it says on the card. But you cannot claim more than one mission a turn.

At the very minimum, we can conclude that you can claim a mission even if didn't take all of the actions required to complete it this turn. This must be true, or else the mission "Control Europe - play at the start of your turn" would be impossible (as this is a mission where you need to have taken the actions to bring you to the state where you controlled Europe on a previous turn).

Given this mission does not specify whether the conquering needs to have happened this turn, then the conquering certainly could have happened in the past. This rules out interpretation 1.

The question then is whether your status of having conquered a territory is an indelible event in history (interpretation 2), or if it's tied to the current game state (interpretation 3).

I prefer interpretation 3, so I'm going to try to create a rules justification for it, but I admit that this is a bit of a stretch. The justification for this is a nuanced reading of the term conquer. The rules for conquer require you to move units into the territory, so I argue that if you no longer have units in the territory, you lose your status as its conqueror. If this is true, this mission says "conquer" and not "control" to prevent players from being credited with territories they claimed during initial setup (which are "claimed" and not "conquered").


The Continents Mission

Page 8: If you control every territory within a continent, you control that continent.

and

Page 7: territories you control [are] the territories with your units in them

Note that this is a deviation from classic risk which has the following:

To control a continent, you must occupy all of its territories at the start of your turn

In the rules supplied with mission risk, you may conquer the continents that turn and still have that count towards the mission. In fact, it should be obvious from the fact that you claim that mission at the end of your turn that you can have conquered the third continent on the same turn.

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    5 Territories: I apologize, I mistyped it. I've fixed that now. You're actually supposed to play at the end of the turn. So I think you need to attack and win against territories in 5 different continents, all within this turn, and turn the card in at the end of the turn. I also think if I already own 2 continents, then this cannot be done. Correct? – BigDan Nov 25 '14 at 18:35
  • I looked for those definitions, I cant find them in the manual you linked. And I especially dont see them under the Mission Risk section. If they're higher up in the manual somewhere would they not apply to Classic Risk, not Mission Risk? – BigDan Nov 25 '14 at 18:42
  • @BigDan I have edited the answer to include page references and to take into account the updated wording. – Zags Nov 25 '14 at 19:34
  • @BigDan the mission risk rules says on page 17: "Follow the rules for Global Domination RISK with these changes". This means that all the rules earlier in the rulebook apply unless superseded by one of the Mission Risk Rules. This is also necessarily the case since Mission Risk relies on the normal Risk rules for things like reinforcements and combat – Zags Nov 25 '14 at 19:38
  • Thanks man for all your help. For the 5 Territories mission you're saying that its cumalative, not needed to be done on one turn. That doesnt make sense to me. As you said that would require a lot of bookkeeping. Are you sure about your interpretation? Because to me its quite clear that it would have to be done in one turn. Else I dont see the challenge in it. – BigDan Nov 26 '14 at 15:59
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The rules require you to use a bit of common sense. You can argue bizarre interpretations along the lines of "the rules don't explicitly state that such-and-such isn't the case", but the intent is obvious to the vast majority of people. In both of your situations I agree with your interpretation, and think your friend is completely wrong.

Let's look at what the rules specifically state. I'll be using the 2003 rulebook (pdf link), which I think is the only version which has the specific missions that your quote. Relevant extracts are:

Completing a mission

You may claim a completed mission once you have achieved what it says on the card, but you cannot claim more than one mission on a turn. To claim a completed mission, show the Mission card (at the time it indicates) to all players, confirming that you have completed what it asks for.

For the "Conquer one territory on 5 different continents" there's nothing in there which says everything has to be done on one turn. But let's look at the expected difficulty level. It's a General level mission, the hardest level. Doing it one turn is difficult, but by no means impossible (as long as you haven't backed yourself into a corner by controlling two continents already). If you do it on your first turn it's actually not too hard. Doing it across multiple turns would be incredibly easy.

The fact that your friend already owns one continent, and therefore can't conquer a territory on it, is his own problem due to poor planning. There's nothing on the card or in the rules to support that controlling a continent changes the mission.

For the "Control 3 different continents" mission we can again look at the difficulty level: General. Owning every territory in 3 continents at the end of your go is hard, but not impossible. Owning every territory in 3 continents at the start of your go is extremely difficult, far harder than any of the other General missions, and if you've managed to keep 3 continents through to the start of your turn you're about to win by world domination anyway (and the whole point of Mission is that it's faster than Domination). Oh, and if you hold them at the start of your turn, then you'd be guaranteed to hold them at the end of your turn, so the card may as well say "Start of your turn". The only reason to say "end of your turn" is because you don't need to hold them at the start of your turn.

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    This is a perfectly reasonable case for rules as intended. For lack of an official answer from Hasbro, it's a matter of rules as intended vs rules as written. – Zags Feb 7 at 20:59

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