My Favourite Board Games

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Risk, The Board Game, The Name

Greetings once again!

Last week I started talking about RISK, the board game. I finished my last post promising to discuss the origins of the name of this fantastic game.

Well, as you may recall (or read my last post if you don't), the game had a French name that was quite accurate in terms of description: "Conquer the World".

But remember that at the time when the game came to Parker Brothers' attention, the world... or the USA for that matter, was sick of war.

So, apart from refining the flow of the game by improving its rules, they assigned the task of finding a new name to one of their Salesmen: Elwood Reeves.

Ok... you may think that RISK came about because world warfare and strategy involves RISK. Yes it does, but no. That was not how the name came about. It actually was something less glamorous...

Reeves proposed RISK and everyone was happy with the name. He explained that he came about the name by combining the letters of his four grandchildren.

Unfortunately, Phil Orbanes does not say what such names were. Any guess out there?

Personally, I reckon the names were Rickie, Ivan (I doubt this one!), Samantha and Keith... but that's just pure speculation with no basis whatsoever.


After having improved the gameflow and chosen an appropriate (and marketable) name for the game, they proceeded to market it and sell it. It came out for sale in 1959, and was sold for $7.50 USD.

The inflated price was due to the fact that the original pieces were made in Czechoslavakia, and they were quite expensive at the time. Nobody could copy the Czech technique.

But price did not matter for keen gamers. RISK became an instant hit, making Parker Brothers 1 million dollars in the first year of production and marketing.

Now, I will discuss the rules of the RISK board game in my next posting.

I hope you don't have to wait another week for this. This week was a bit different because I had a very important case in Court, and I could not spare any time for my hobby due to my case preparation.

Next week I will still be busy, but I'm sure I'll find the time to make a few entries for your information.

Before I say good bye for now, I want to ask you something: Would you like me to write about any one game in particular? Do let me know if you have something in mind.

Till then, ciao!


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