RISK-y business: What is Hasbro thinking?

Gaming, RPGs

The new RISK

What the hell is going on at Hasbro?

The board game company has released a new version of the classic world domination game RISK “with an updated map and all-new playing pieces, increased rewards for bold moves, and easy to learn rules.”

It also apparently is forsaking the fairer sex and going instead solely for the shoot-em-up FPS crowd of macho male gamers. “Yeah! I took Kamchatka! (Chest bump!)”

At first I thought it was an out-of-date April Fool’s Day prank, such as Hasbro’s RPG arm Wizards of the Coast does each year with their Web site. (My favorite is the one they did a few years back with the My Little Pony Roleplaying Game.)

April Fools

Ooh, ponies …

But back to RISK. Hasbro’s own marketing department has splashed slogans like “Man up!” and “Are you man enough” all over the game’s official Web site. And the gaming blog Purple Pawn’s article on the subject has more observations of the chauvinism:

Hasbro’s online marketing includes a game called Risk Factor, which carries the warning, “Grab your shoes and pull up your panties, your manliness is about to be tested!” The game won’t accept a feminine name, only a masculine one. And if you don’t enter your own name, the game will assign you a proto-insulting one such as “Cupcake”, or “Bubbles”.

It also includes an on-screen “Wife button” which brings up a picture of a fake jewelery store, so you can hide your game-play from your wife.

Hide my game-play from my wife? It’s RISK, with little toy soldiers and fake strategy — not porn! Pretty lame, Hasbro. Pretty lame. And if I’m playing their stupid online game and switch to the fake jewelery store, I might end up spending thousands on jewelery rather than pretend-conquering the world!

I hope the suits at Hasbro know what they’re getting into by messing with such a valued property in such a cavalier way. (New Coke, anyone?) Granted, Wizards of the Coast has given us two editions of Dungeons & Dragons in one decade — but this is different. This is a game my grandparents played … probably. But I know it’s one they owned. It has a history in my household of epic family game nights.

But not so fast! No women allowed. I guess the limited time I have to engage in family activities will have to get even more limited as the womenfolk get exiled to the kitchen like in days of yore. Sorry, honey. You can’t play. Says so on the Web site.

Here’s the only negative customer review of the new RISK I found out of nine reviews on Amazon, but it speaks volumes — and it’s convinced me to avoid this new version of RISK like the Red Menace:

I’m not sure when they decided to update Risk, but this is NOT the Risk you remember. The pieces don’t just look different, they also stand for completely different things. There are no longer rules for 2-player!!! If you enjoyed playing Risk with a friend and wanted to try it again now as a two player game, don’t get this. It’s for 3-5 players, not 2-5 like the original.

This version of Risk has Cities (which are a nice addition), Capitols (a nice idea, but not that great to play with for less than 4 people), major challenges, minor challenges, etc. Now on each turn you count up the number of armies you have, add the number of cities, add the number of capitols, DIVIDE BY 3, then add any continent bonuses. Like I said, FAR different from the Risk you think you know.

More reading on the subject:

Other Hasbro news of late:

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