The Price Of Tea In China: 'Lord of the Rings' Risk makes world easy to conquer

As the semester draws to a close, I welcome any opportunity for distraction in hopes that it will prove to my skeptical mind that life is not a game of hopscotch in which I am the rock.

Last Friday whilst being merrily pounced upon by the happy schoolchildren of approaching deadlines, I was invited to participate in a rousing game of Lord of the Rings Risk.

I jumped at the chance, not because I had played Risk before or because I knew how, for that matter, but because I was under the assumption that an evening among friends would relieve stress and lift my spirits.

Pfffft.

If you have never been exposed to Risk, let it be known that when a group of people plays together, assuming that they like one another, they will be bitter enemies after the first round of turns.

Risk ranks third on the top causes for divorce in America, behind infidelity and finding out that you are related to your spouse by blood.

Clueless and naive, I sat around a table with my opponents, Justin "The Host" Pose, Bill "The Madly Skilled Dominator" White, and Alex "The One Who Had Also Never Played Risk Before But Has Uncanny Beginner's Luck" Snyder with our various battalions of archers/hobgoblins stationed in the various countries that none of us could pronounce correctly.

Justin and I chose the archer armies, which were yellow and green respectively while Alex and Bill chose the hobgoblin armies that were red and black. This means that, if you are familiar with Lord of the Rings, Justin and I were the good guys while Alex and Bill were evil and silly-looking in a grotesque way.

Their armies were pretty bad too.

Bill instigated the feuding by first forging an alliance with his dastardly, red counterpart and then proceeding to take over my countries using only cards and dice.

George W. Bush is obviously unaware of this tactic.

Justin and Alex continued the depletion of my forces. I bit my nails. I wrung my hands. I mourned the loss of my soldiers who were being attacked from all sides by good and evil. My attackers were very apologetic, but I didn't really notice from within my callous shell of fury. The "I'm sorry" remarks wouldn't cut it this time.

Oh, revenge was mine.

Unfortunately, Risk requires a considerable amount of luck in the dice-rolling department to determine how many of each army's battalions get killed. Given my current disheveled relationship with gravity, my attempts to lay the smack down were brutally thwarted.

Bill and Alex's infernal alliance proved to be an unaccommodating success and Justin, who had not attacked my people since his first turn, and I decided that rather than fight, our armies should sit down, discuss the situation, and reach a compromise.

I would've suggested that our armies also feast upon fudge-covered mint Oreos, but I had eaten them all in the midst of losing two of my prominently-placed countries to six hobgoblin battalions.

The game ended at 4 a.m. at which point I returned to my dorm room. There was no sweating of palms, wringing of hands or biting of nails. I sighed contentedly as a thought of reassurance passed through what consciousness I had left:

"You know," I thought to myself, "Maybe being a rock isn't so bad."

Write to Aleshia at bari_girl@hotmail.com


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