Giant RISK Board Game - Swiss Armed Forces Edition

This Instructable is about the build of a giant Risk board sized 8 times the original along with all the contents needed to play the game.

The language of this edition is Italian and the name is RISIKO, the same name as the standard Italian edition.

The setting of the game is mainly based on the Swiss Armed Forces during the cold war, where each player (commander of a tank brigade) must achieve his mission around the world before his comrades do.

Supplies:

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Step 1: Armies / Colors

Because I decided to customize the game as a "Swiss armed forces edition", I started choosing 6 among all different colors of the Swiss armed forces branches.

In the original Risk game, armies are represented on the board as tanks, so in this version each color represents a tank brigade (except black) as follows:

  • red: 1st Armored Brigade
  • purple: 2nd Armored Brigade
  • green: 3rd Armored Brigade
  • blue: 4th Armored Brigade
  • dark blue: 11th Armored Brigade
  • black: 22/222 Tank Recruit School

The idea is that each player is identified with the brigade commander (brigadier general) or the school commander (colonel).

In reality the only color referred to tank soldiers is black, but it would have been difficult to know which tank belongs to which commander if all tanks were blacks...

Step 2: Board

I started taking a picture of the original tabletop board that is basically an A2 size (29.7 x 42.0 cm or 23.4 x 16.5 in) folded in two parts.

Launching Adobe Photoshop, I created a new file with a resolution of 300 DPI, CMYK color palette and a size of a double A0 (168 x 119 cm or 66.2 x 46.8 in) or roughly 8 times the size of the original game board. Eventually I inserted and fitted the picture I had taken, being careful to keep correct map proportions.

The original game board was a gift my brother received for Christmas in the 80s. More than 30 years of gaming, despite rarely used during last years, ruined the map a little. So through Photoshop I repaired damaged parts, rebuilt the folding line, removed color content of each territory repainting it with one unique color and new name tag.

The content is more or less similar as the original besides three things I customized:

  • added territory of Switzerland, just for fun not employable for the game
  • replaced Italian flag with Swiss flag on the sailing ship
  • added the signature on the top right side

I cut the image in half (A0) and exported them as .jpg, using a web printing service (Printcarrier) I ordered two A0 PVC 5 mm thick printed boards. A0 is the maximum printing size for this producer.

The quality of the product is good, waterproof (or I shall say more generally "drinkproof") and sun resistant. It might be a bit too flexible and prone to scratches, but does his job.

At the beginning I though we would always play in the same location because of the low portability of the game components, but then I realized that changing location could have been a plus for the project. So I cut in half the two A0 boards producing four A1 boards. I bonded them in couples with adhesive duct tape permitting them to be folded in half and quickly deployed.

Step 3: Tanks

The board is roughly 8 times bigger than the original, so the tanks representing the armies also have to be bigger.

I searched on Aliexpress a good compromise among price, tank model (main battle tank used in the Swiss Army is the Leopard 2), quality and size. What I found was four 1:144 scale tanks with moving turret and a sliding body.

Seller shipped random model and color of the following:

  1. dark green Tiger
  2. sand Tiger
  3. sand Panther
  4. dark green Panther

Once received the tanks (60 for each player, 360 total) I followed this procedure:

  1. opened each single package
  2. inspected and fixed broken parts
  3. put tanks in the bathtub with warm water and dish soap
  4. rinsed
  5. dried with hairdryer
  6. covered crawlers with wallpaper tape
  7. divided in six groups of 60 tanks each with same quantity of different models
  8. sprayed a white layer of primer paint
  9. once dried I sprayed a second layer
  10. brushed painted acrylic (to go deep into all details)
  11. sprayed painted acrylic 1st layer
  12. sprayed painted acrylic 2nd layer
  13. removed wallpaper tape

Unfortunately black and dark blue color are very similar especially in a low light room. To distinguish them I decided to put a white dot on the center of the turret and then spray it again with a soft layer of black paint.

Step 4: Flags

Total flags are 42 (7 per color).

Flag base is made from a carpenter plug of spruce tree.

Flag pole is made from a beech tree rod.

Flag is made from an old cotton rag.

Everything drilled, cut and glued together with vinyl glue. then painted with paint brush and spray. I didn't use primer because of the light color of the wood.

Final dimensions are as follow:

  • diameter of the base: 4 cm (1.57 in)
  • total height: 11 cm (4.33 in)
  • flag size: 6x4 cm (2.36 x 1.57 in)

At the end I laser engraved each bottom of flag base with brigade/school number.

I also engraved one flag per color to easily identify it when playing with 120 instead of 130 total armies.

Step 5: Rakes

Because of the board size, it can be difficult to move remote tanks. Here is where rakes come in help.

Handle is made from beech tree rod.

Plow is made with beech tree wall skirting.

Rakes are painted with the same procedure used on flags.

Final dimensions are as follow:

  • handle length: 1 m (39 in) can be shortened if needed, the size i found on the internet for this kind of rake is about 60 cm (24 in).
  • handle diameter: 12 mm (0.472 in)
  • plow width: 12 cm (4.72 in)

At the end I laser engraved each handle with brigade/school number.

Step 6: Berets

As stated before, those are real Swiss Armed Forces berets (bought on Army-store) from different branches as follow:

  • red: artillery
  • purple: logistics troops
  • green: infantry, musicians
  • blue: medical personnel
  • dark blue: air force (including paratroopers)
  • black: armored and mechanized units; signals and headquarters troops; NBC specialists; intelligence, military justice and general staff personnel

There are also other berets that I could have chosen for better color contrast, in particular between dark blue and black, but unfortunately I couldn't find them:

  • grey: military police
  • light blue: troops on UN missions
  • tan (Sand) - Special Operation Force

Beret emblems are from 5 armored and mechanized brigade and one tank recruit school. Golden edged ones belong to higher NCO and officers, in this case should be five brigadier general and one colonel. I found the emblems on different online marketplaces.

Each player should wear his beret for the entire duration of the game or at least some turns to play, in order to learn which armies belong to whom.

Step 7: Order of Battle

This game is intended to be played standing.

With all the players wandering around the room it is difficult to remember the order of play, the "order of battle" helps keeping up with shifts.

It is made from a piece of balsa wood cut round where I inserted six neodymium magnets. Then I also inserted other six identical magnet (inverting the polarity) in the bottom of 6 drilled original Risk tanks and painted the tanks as defined earlier.

Tanks can be moved by hand, but they are magnetic attracted to 6 final positions in the wood panel.

Then I printed and laminated the graphic and added a spongy layer underneath it in order to not ruin the board where it is leaned on.

Step 8: Cards

Also cards are new and customized.

Every single card has been newly redesigned.

Territories cards have different pictures on each one. All pictures are real Swiss Armed Forces photos regarding cold war and divided into three categories:

  • infanteer (original Risk game name: infantry)
  • dragoon (original Risk game name: cavalry)
  • howitzer (original Risk game name: artillery)

Missions card are similar to the originals but instead of color armies, mission text refers to brigade/recruit school commander.

I included also challenge/prestige mission cards, the ones with the map.

I printed them online at Makeplayingcards and I added an engraved wooden box for each set of cards.

Step 9: Dices and Dice Trays

I ordered dices and dice trays on Aliexpress as follow:

  • 1 blue dice tray
  • 1 red dice tray
  • 10 blue dices
  • 10 red dices

In normal game mode the maximum number of throwable dices is 3 for each color, but there is an optional rule that increase that number in order to speed up the game.

Step 10: Spare Parts / Snow Blizzard

Just in the case... there are also some spare parts!

I actually ordered more than 360 (60x6) tanks, some are left factory made (4), others are painted with white primer (5).

Same for 3 flags that are left white for the eventuality of a broken/lost one.

There are also 4 bigger camouflaged tanks that can be used for snow blizzard game option.

Step 11: Rule Book

I took the original rule book, then I:

  • scanned it
  • OCRized it
  • corrected the spelling
  • replaced colors with incorporation names
  • replaced other words that are changed
  • added missions
  • added optional rules:
    • no more than 5 territories cards per player
    • only one card swap per shift
    • maximum amount of armies
    • snow blizzard
    • challenge/prestige missions
    • jolly card as jolly
    • connected territories armies displacement
    • at least 3 new armies per shift
    • more dices
    • retreat
    • aliens
    • aggressive play
    • time attack
    • incremental card value
    • "sdiced" (sdadata in italian)
    • challenge card
    • 50% rule
    • compulsory defense
  • customized cover and back
  • printed
  • folded in A5 size
  • stapled as a journal

Step 12: Containers

In order to keeps things neat and easily carry all the game pieces, I had to find some containers.

  • An A1 size handled folder of the type used by architects to carry drawings permits to securely transfers the four pieces game map. (bought on Amazon)
  • A vinyl envelope once used in the Swiss Army for storing important documents now holds mission and territory cards of the player. It is customized with troops color and number on one side, "TOP SECRET" on the other side. It also contains a comic postcard made by the Swiss Army about tanks. (bought on Army-store)
  • A purse made for carrying gas bottles in order to cool down a Wärmebildgerät WBG 90, (in english FORTIS: Forward Observing and Reconnaissance Thermal Imaging System), is now used to hold tanks, flags, beret and envelope. Gas bottle outline sewed on the top of the bag resemble a tank viewed from above, I painted them with respective color and tagged with commander brigade/school. (bought on Army-store)
  • Gewehrpatrone GP 90 ammunition case (5.6 mm caliber) holds any other remaining small Item: rule book, spare parts, cards, order of battle, dices, dices trays and a shoe sanitizing spray to use in berets at the end of the game.

Step 13: Table

Although the game is actually portable, I decided to assemble a simple, solid and cheap table, bigger enough to hold the board (and some drinks) for the main playing location.

I took 4 Tärendö table at Ikea and fastened them together with zip ties.

New big table size is:

  • length: 200 cm (78.74 in)
  • width: 134 cm (52.76 in)
  • height: 74 cm (29.14 in)

Step 14: Bundle

SI VIS PACEM, PARA BELLUM!

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    2 Discussions

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    seamster

    26 days ago

    Very impressive! This looks like a lot of fun : )

    1 reply