Risk: Black Ops is one of the most beautiful board games you'll never play. In anticipation of the newly updated release of Risk, Hasbro produced only 1,000 copies of this special edition game, distributing them to bloggers, journos, and gaming hobby sites for perusal and easy publicity.
The response was unanimously positive. The updates to the rules -- handled by Risk 2010 designer Rob Daviau -- lower the game's initial barrier to entry, and make it possible to play through in under two hours (which is significant for Risk). Most media attention, however, was lavished on the slick, modern redesign, devised under the command of art director Lindsay Braun and visual designer Jason Taylor.
Risk has always wanted to be taken seriously, but Black Ops is the first version of the game to look deadly serious. A matte black finish on the box is accented by imagery of barbed wire, dog tags, and the faintest hint of blood spatter, all rendered in a subtle gray. "History is written by the victors," the box declares in a modest sans-serif font. The game board itself is designed to look like something out of our modern war-rooms, with a visual style not unlike Introversion's apocalyptic strategy game Defcon. This is not the Risk you remember.