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My son got Risk Europe for Christmas. Neither of us are familiar with any version of Risk.

The “Basic Game” section of the rule book says it’s for four players (implying exactly four, not two to four). There is a variation of the rules for two to three players where the spare armies are mercenary armies, but we played through a game of the basic rules with just the two of us and we didn’t seem to hit any hurdles. Can you play the basic game with just two players?

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Playing with fewer than four players and without mercenaries is not intended by the rules and will upset game balance

The main problem is the victory condition which likely is achieved too easily. As the goal for each player is to capture seven Crowns (primarily by taking cities), fewer players means more Crowns per player without any territorial struggle which upsets the game balance. With each player being closer to victory by default, a single city changing hands might end the game, quickly and without much of a build-up to that point. Maybe with two players it can even be won without ever facing your enemy.

Another concern is resource distribution. The balance here might be upset by fewer players as well. I don't remember that part of the game well enough though.

The mercenaries are introduced to balance the lack of player-controlled powers. It is not marked as an optional variant, but is the intended way to play with fewer than four players.

If you really want to play with two players and without mercenaries, my first advice would be to adjust the number of Crowns required for victory and maybe remove some of the Crown Cards, as well. This will probably require some experimentation and a different target number for two and three players, respectively, but it will help with some of the issues. Keep track of how other elements of the game like income or cities' special abilities pan out as well, and if you feel like something is consistently off, try adjusting it accordingly.

  • Thanks. We only had a brief game that was cut short so we will experiment further tomorrow. – Darren Dec 30 '17 at 20:12
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    Update: We played with the merc armies and it made a big difference. The mercs ended up with London and Paris initially which tied up the western half of the map making it harder to expand in that direction. Thanks. – Darren Jan 2 '18 at 16:51

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