RISK: Factions was originally released as a standalone, downloadable title for the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 games consoles in 2010. A Windows PC version followed in early 2011, published through Valve's Steam digital distribution network. The Facebook version is a fundamental re-imagining of the game for the social network, while maintaining many of the aspects which made the console version popular.
By Pete Davison From Inside Social Games
There are two main parts to RISK: Factions — base building and missions. Base building plays out similarly to established games in the same genre with an important distinction: many buildings have a practical game function beyond simply providing the player with an income stream. Specifically, many buildings train troops over time, which are the resource the player needs to complete the second part of the game: the missions. Without troops, a player won't be able to play until their base has produced more, so in some senses, they act similarly to an energy bar.
Missions play out similarly to the board game version of Risk. Taking place on one of several maps, players take it in turns to deploy troops to various territories and then use them to attack enemy-held areas. Combat is resolved through dice throws, so there's an element of random chance, though brute-forcing your way through with a large force gives a greater chance of success in the long term. Control of larger numbers of territories means the player has more troops to deploy at the start of their turn, and players can also collect cards to allow them to make use of special weapons.
Social features for RISK: Factions include the ability to add friends as allies, allowing you to visit their base and "boost" a building's production; compete against friends and random strangers in multiplayer matches; and send gifts to allies. Players also earn Skill Points by winning matches, which enables them to upgrade their faction's technologies — and further factions can be unlocked through leveling up.
RISK: Factions's monetization is handled through the hard currency of Stars. These are purchased using Facebook Credits and offer walls. Stars can be used to purchase the special weapons used in a match — though these weapons still require the collection of cards to use — as well as special buildings for bases. There are also a number of booster items on offer, including the facility to immediately purchase extra troops for the "supply" from which a player's forces are drawn during play. Production of troops from a base's buildings can also be "rushed" using Stars, enabling quick production of troops for the player's stockpile.
RISK: Factions is already a complete and satisfying game, offering some genuinely strategic gameplay alongside the more casual, light base building elements. Over time, RISK: Factions will offer more maps on which players can battle — at this time, only three of the five factions'worlds are represented, with only three out of what looks like a proposed five individual maps per world on offer for players to clash over. Further game modes, many of which are designed for quicker play, are also in the works. RISK: Factions will also offer more in the way of premium items and special weapons to purchase over time, as the offerings in the store are currently quite limited.
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