This year, we are hell-bent on completing some old Achievements that have been hanging around the list for several years. We first got a taste for this completionist glory in the fall of 2018, when we ate 3 meals at Primanti’s AND watched Young Guns while dressed as cowboys in the very same weekend. But this winter, while the temperatures were low and our motivation to leave the house after dark was also low, we decided to tackle a safely-at-home-and-warm Achievement that goes back many years: Play an Epic, Multi-day Game of Risk.
It’s not just any game of Risk. We have this vintage, flawless, 1970s copy that my parents passed down to us. It moved to Los Angeles and back with us, although there’s really only one time that I recall that we actually played it. It was shortly after we binge-watched some Eddie Izzard specials and felt inspired to take our shots at world domination. The game ended before a winner was called, although the details of why were foggy and lost in time to us.
Because it had been so long since our first (and only) foray into the world of Risk, we diligently dug into the rule manual. This, in and of itself, was nearly an Epic, Multi-day adventure. There are a LOT of rules. In fact, there’s an entirely separate set of rules for games like ours, with only two players.
In most games of Risk, with 3 or more players, each player plays their own turn, and their own turn only. However, when you only have 2 players, each of you takes a turn controlling the Allied Army, a neutral force that can benefit or destroy you, depending on how the turn goes. So, when it was Husband’s turn, after his attack, I could attack him using the Allied Army. And then I could attack with my forces, and he could attack me with the Allied Army, before beginning his next turn.
The first step to playing Risk is to set up your armies all over the board. You go in turn choosing which countries you would like to distribute your armies in. Let it be known: there was one country I was NOT gonna give up.
By the end of the setup, we had a pretty solid distribution of armies between us and Layla’s Allied Army. And then, we were ready to play! How exciting this was going to be, we thought. What places we could travel with just one roll of the dice, how many countries could change hands in just a single turn!
Except that two hours later, the only thing that had happened was, Husband had taken the Congo from me, and then, on a thrilling upset, I came back from defeat and RETOOK the Congo. I BET YOU DIDN’T SEE THAT COMING!!!!!
(Safety warning: if you find soccer to be a boring game, we do not recommend that you play the game of Risk. Please stick to safer, faster-paced alternatives, like Sorry and Monopoly.)
As I’m sure you can imagine, we needed a rest after that exciting night. So a few days later, we picked the game back up, and you’ll see what drastic changes occurred across this map. (I am like 85% sure I didn’t just re-post the first night’s photo, but apologies if I’m wrong here.)
Basically, by the end of night #3, we were both overcome with a realization of why we never finished that first game of Risk way back in 2007. We HATE each other during this game. One game of Risk for the two of us was like the relationship equivalent of seven trips to IKEA and building 14 bookshelves together after.
Me: dude WHY ARE YOUR TURNS SO LONG. WHY ARE YOU FIGHTING THREE WORLD WARS DURING THIS SINGLE TURN.
Husband: babe WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM WHY ARE YOU RUSHING ME AND FIDGETING SO MUCH.
Me: dude READ THE RULES YOUR TURN CAN’T BE THIS LONG.
Husband: babe I READ THE RULES, I AM THE ONLY ONE WHO READ THE RULES BECAUSE YOU COULDN’T FOCUS LONG ENOUGH TO EVEN LOOK AT THEM.
And on and on and on and on.
Things were at a stalemate. Things were tense, we didn’t even want to eat pizza together anymore, and it was looking like our marriage was going to end before this single fucking game of Risk did. But while our defenses were down and we were brawling in the Congo for a FIFTH TIME….
Mostly I was just sitting there in shock, holding on dearly to my few remaining troops in the Ukraine. But then… oh, she didn’t even care. Layla Grace and her Allied Army just moved in and viciously stripped me of my home country.
In the end, however, we have to be grateful to Layla Grace and the Allied Army. She’s seen us build two sets of dressers and deal with negligent contractors and devote an entire Friday night to cleaning the attic once, and she had to know what was at stake here. So, as she stomped her unruly paw down on Australia and took our final troops, The Allied Army of Layla Grace won the game of Risk and saved her parents’ marriage. And that, dear readers, is how World Domination was always meant to happen.