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The standard continents in Risk

The key to winning in Risk is often to occupy complete continents. The choice of your initial continent is important. Without a good starting position, you will make it yourself very difficult to compete with other players who have a better strategic position.

The initial continent depends on many factors such as the number of players in the game and the playing order.

Priority for taking continents (1 means first to conquer)
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3 playersNorth AmericaAustraliaSouth AmericaAfricaEurope
4 playersAustraliaNorth AmericaSouth AmericaAfricaEurope
5 playersAustraliaSouth AmericaAfricaNorth AmericaEurope or Asia
5 playersAustraliaSouth AmericaAfricaNorth AmericaEurope

Notice that the preferred options are only suggestions. It's always possible to win the game no matter where you start from.

Let's also look deeper into the details of each continent.

Australia

Australia is a good secure base away from the other players. This continent is quick to conquer and easy to defend. But it will also be one of the continents competed hard for.

When there are 5 or 6 players, you can be sure that two or three others players will go for Australia and this could result in quick defeat and annihilation.

A few (un)lucky dice rolls can make the difference as to who will win and who will lose at the beginning.

This doesn't mean that you have to ignore Australia to be your target continent. In fact, it's always a quiet good location to place your first country pick. This way when armies are being placed, you might find that you can place enough armies here to guarantee its conquest.

South America

This continent has also four countries and this makes it easier to capture. It's a little bit more difficult to hold as it's south of North America and west of Africa. Even so, it's still easy to protect because it has just two entrances.

Once a player is able to hold South America, it's a good idea to launch assaults on North America. On the other hand, when another player holds North America, then it's very difficult to defend because of the 8 to 5 imbalance of armies every turn.

Africa is not such a worry for South America because it earns only one extra army while that continent has even to protect more borders so the African player has too many other worries to arbitrarily invade South America

Africa

While the continent is quiet easy to conquer, it's difficult to hold because North Africa forms part of a natural invasion route that runs from Middle East, through Southern Europe and North Africa and ends up in Brazil.

As African player, you have to defend three fronts to defend against three different continents.

Once conquered, Africa expand slowly by first conquering the Middle East, then Southern Europe, etc.

But still because of the central location, Africa keeps always subject to big threats. That's why Africa has to turtle and build up big defensive forces and launch only assaults when other players don't expect it.

North America

North America is a very powerful continent. Once you own it, you get 5 extra bonus armies per turn while it has only tree border territories.

It's really hard to dislodge a player from North America once he establish a strong defense. Thus, if the continent gets broken, it's a couple turn ordeal final moving and raising armies to retake the continent.

The North American player should expand through South America where he can overwhelm his opponent easy because of the 8 to 5 imbalance of armies.

However, the player should also invade Europe or Asia to prevent the players there to maintain full control of their continent.

Still, the North American player has early on to fear mostly South America because this player has no other option then to attack North America to survive.

Europe

Europe is relatively easy to take but because of its central location, and many borders, it's so hard to hold. The player conquering Europe is must be an opportunist.

If you go for Europe, you have to conquer it quickly and use the bonus armies to secure it because permantely securing will be very hard as it can be attacked by 7 surrounding territories.

Souther and eastern Europe receive usually mutal support.

As European player, you have constantly to maintain the balance of power because all continents (except Australia is not more than two conquered countries away.

Asia

To go for Asia early on is almost always suicidal. The big bonus of 7 extra armies per turn is too big for other players to allow you to hold Asia.

While Australia is a small continent, Asia has to fear Australia a lot because it has only one outlet through Siam. On the west side, Africa can easily take the Middle East and hold it attacks. On the North East, North America is a really threat. And last but not least, Europe will also prevent Asia to become to powerful.

Asia is often a card harvesting continent. It has often few armies occupying countries and it's the perfect play to take a territory when ony a card is wanted.