My office frequently raises money for charities holding lotteries or raffles. A coworker and I were considering more creative & entertaining ways to raise money, and we hit on the idea of playing Risk! Participants would be randomly assigned territories (most likely one territory per participant given the # of participants in my office) and could raise armies by donating money (say $1 per army token). Players would be free to form alliances & conquer neighboring territories as per the rules. Not sure if the Risk cards would be used in order to keep our rules as simple as possible. The winner of the game wins a prize, with runners up winning secondary prizes.

Questions: How can the rules of Risk be adapted to a fundraiser in order to maximize the amount of money raised? Once a player is knocked out of the game, how can she continue donating money in a meaningful way? How do we link # territories owned with # of armies you can raise without placing undue restrictions on donation amounts?

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    Have you looked at mobile games for inspiration? It sounds like you want to implement a microtransaction system for a board game!
    – corsiKa
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 20:40
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    I voted to close this question as primarily opinion based. A good subjective question invites actual experience. Does anyone here have actual experience playing Risk with 15+ players? How about playing Risk for charity? Randomly assigned territories? How about all three of these things?
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 21:42
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    Wouldn't this end in pay-to-win?
    – Mast
    Commented Apr 13, 2015 at 23:32
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    @Mast - I am worried that games could devolve into stable pay-to-win situations if one coworker dumps a lot of money (like $50+) into his army and swiftly conquers a lot of territory, leaving little incentive for other participants who can't contribute that kind of cash, when more $ would have been raised if the game had remained competitive. Wealthier coworkers can certainly buy bigger armies. One solution is to randomly group people into teams (making sure each team has an equal share of high salary employees).
    – RobertF
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 1:37
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    @msouth Agreed, but it would run the game and every incentive to play (again). If the game-play would've been irrelevant he could've just asked for the money instead of putting a lot of effort into organizing a game. So although you want to maximize the gain, you'll have to be very careful about the balance of the game.
    – Mast
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 6:31

3 Answers 3


I would veer away from having to paying money to raise armies, which, depending on implementation, might be perceived badly (as either being able to pay money to buy huge armies, or requiring money to even make it to the end by having to pay ever-increasing amounts of money just to play.)

Instead, I would suggest allowing players to pay money to re-roll the dice used for determining battle outcomes. This way, you get a little bit of an advantage from paying money, but you may still roll badly and not win. (plus, it can incentive the other player in the battle to pay money to re-roll his dice, etc.) I might also try a staggered cost - so that for each player, the first 10 re-rolls cost $1, but the next 10 cost $2, etc.

As for players that have already been defeated, you could allow them to pay for re-rolls on one side in future battles. Depending on how competitive your office is, this may break friendships as people contribute money to their favorite faction, etc.

Also, note that the physical Risk game comes with a limited number of colors, so you might need to find some sort of work-around (have several independent "pods" where the winner of each goes on to play in a final game) or digital version.

  • Why are you saying that this is going to be perceived badly when the whole point is to raise money for charity?
    – msouth
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 1:06
  • I had concerns about pay-to-win such as brought up by Mast in comments to your question.
    – Hao Ye
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 2:19

Meta suggestion: Playtest: I strongly suggest that you do a dry run with whatever combination of rule modifications you come up with. Maybe give a few Risk-loving friends allocations (different allocations, since different people will have different amounts of money they are willing to spend) of poker chips, and try some of the rule ideas that get suggested here.

Split into groups Define "factions" and have them pool their money and vote or take turns taking turns in the actual play. Advantage here is that you don't have to change the rules as much (that's likely a good idea to optimize your modifications toward).

Money considerations You might set a target amount of money you want to raise, and have individuals recruit pledges from other coworkers to sponsor them--maybe have a minimum amount you have to have pledged to get in at all, say--and whoever organizes those pledges is a leader of a faction (=one color). You could have a sign-up sheet with faction leader slots, or you could have it be that whoever gets in their pledge sheet first (with the minimum pledge) gets the slot. Consider setting a maximum amount of money to prevent it devolving into pay-to-win.

One more idea--there have been many iterations of Risk, so if you end up wanting or needing more factions that you have colors, obtain pieces from differing versions (i.e. of different colors or shapes) to differentiate more than six factions.

Time may be your enemy (given that this is in a workplace). Consider that a game of Risk will often go for three hours. If you use the faction strategy (multiple contributors playing one color), perhaps people can rotate in and out during the day as "the player" for their color. Or, if you have room where you can securely leave it out, play on lunch break over multiple days. Consider using time reducing rule variations (like Capitol Risk) to mitigate this issue.

  • Want to note here that the maximum amount of money thought is from @Mast bringing that up in a comment on the original question. I wasn't sure if it was acceptable/normal to call out credits like that inside answers. Adding this comment to make sure to acknowledge where that idea came from.
    – msouth
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 14:56
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    The second suggestion could lead to diffusion of responsibility, and therefore less donations. The third suggestion violates a soft rule laid down by the OP: no restrictions on donation amounts. Using bold to emphasize words like this is tacky. If you want to emphasize, try moving towards an active voice ("Set a maximum [...]") instead of passive voice ("Consider setting a maximum [...]"). Other than that, this answer looks good. Hope this wasn't too harsh.
    – Rainbolt
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 14:57
  • @Rainbolt I think discussion is worthwhile. I agree that bolding like this is ugly, not taking offense. It's just to help people quickly find the actual actionable suggestions amid the discussion, not for emphasis. Maybe I should rewrite as bullet points. Re 'violates a soft rule laid down by OP', the OP actually said "no undue restrictions", not "no restrictions" on donation amounts--if you need to restrict to keep it fun (and thus encourage people to participate), I would consider it a due restriction.
    – msouth
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 15:24

You could allow players to buy Risk cards (they eventually turn into armies when you get a set) - $5 per card, only can buy one card per turn.

This would allow 'eliminated' players to buy back in - as if they collect a set while 'eliminated' (by buying a card each round) they could get some armies and attack back in (say, allowing them to attack back in at their starting country).

  • If they are eliminated then there would be no free countries for them to place their new armies in.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:00
  • Under normal rules, yes. I am suggesting a modification.
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:09
  • You missed my point, with your suggestion you make no reference at all to how a country would be set aside for them to place armies when they buy back in. Since starting countries are random in risk and chosen when the game is started it would have to be very specific to where they could place the armies as it could quickly unbalance the game if they could be placed in the middle of someones territory where they don't have many defenders left.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:12
  • @JoeW Read it again. I suggested they attack their 'original' country. They can attack from nowhere (think Castle Risk boat-attacks).
    – Joe
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:16
  • Which version of risk has an original country? In every version of risk that I have played the starting countries are determined by players in turn placing a army in a country on the map. Unless you are meaning the very first country they pick, but as I said before that would have some vast balance changes as it would require people to keep defenses around that spot at all times.
    – Joe W
    Commented Apr 14, 2015 at 0:19

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