Love To Play Risk? These 5 Strategy Games Are The Best Updates To Your Next Game Night

Risk will always be a classic strategy game go-to, but there’re all kinds of awesome board games like Risk to add to your game-play arsenal. Below, I’ve selected a variety that all have the classic's same “world conquest” qualities with unique approaches. Whether you feel like playing for two hours or 10, and with kids, adults, or both, there’s a game below for you and your crew.

To find games that compare to Risk, I looked for board games that demand strategic thinking and territory building — ones that require players to build up territories and resources, and in some cases, conquer those of other players. Some are also war games, though a couple focus more on resource management or negotiation than actual conquering.

Also similar to Risk, most of the games below require players to be at least 10 years old; though I did include one pick that kids as young as 8 years old can enjoy and one that suggests players be at least 14 years old, since it has such a high complexity rating.

Complexity and pacing will also help you decide when shopping for board games like Risk. Some of my picks take less than two hours to play and can be mastered by younger players, while others require thoroughly studying directions and setting aside a full day. For reference, I’ve listed each game's estimated play times, along with complexity ratings, according to Board Game Geek, which gives Risk a complexity rating of 2.09.

Check out these highly rated board games like Risk, all available on Amazon.

The Best WWII Board Game Like Risk

For those who love the worldwide scope of Risk, you’ll enjoy this game’s far-reaching board. Axis & Allies Anniversary Edition combines the war game qualities of Risk with team-focused game play. The board portrays World War II on a global scale and players have to work together with their teammates to coordinate troops, attacks, and resources in order to advance in the game and ultimately win. Players can also decide if they want to work toward developing a super technology that could win the war for their team.

  • The Basics: 2 to 6 players, ages 12; up to 6 hours of game play
  • Board Game Geek Complexity Rating: 3.13 out of 5

What fans are saying: “Similar to Risk, but with more realistic options and play. Looks complicated but isn't. Well worth it if you like strategy games.”

A Fantasy Civilization Board Game Like Risk

Set in a fantasy world that’s too small to comfortably fit all of its humans, giants, dwarves, wizards, orcs, and other fantasy groups, Small World combines conquering and territory building with a whole lot of creativity. Akin to Risk’s ultimate goal of worldwide conquest, this game pushes players to pick a combination of species — all of which have their own special powers — to occupy territories with the goal of weakening enemy players as the game progresses. Points are won at the end of each turn when players occupy enemy territories.

  • The Basics: 2 to 5 players, ages 8 and up; 40 minutes to 1.5 hours of game play
  • Board Game Geek Complexity Rating: 2.36 out of 5

What fans are saying: “Do you like Risk? [...] Can't be bothered to spend the better part of a day or even two days playing one game? Small World is for you! I love this game. […] Game is competitive, strategic, and all the things that make those other games good, but it's on a turn limit that makes the game end after a set amount of turns (this may or may not be a positive to you). […] Rules are simple and easy to learn on the go for new players. Races and special powers are all pretty unique (some are a bit stronger than others).”

The Best Resource Management Board Game Like Risk

Formerly called Settlers of Catan, Catan is more about negotiation, territory-building, and resource management than conquering. A lot of how players fare depends on the roll of the dice, but like Risk, a player’s success also depends on building up their settlements and cities and expanding their army as well as collecting resources, having the longest road, and gathering victory cards.

  • The Basics: 3 to 4 players, ages 10 and up; an hour of game play
  • Board Game Geek Complexity Rating: 2.33 out of 5

What fans are saying: “We love to play Risk and this is always under the, "people who buy this also buy this" section. Since learning this game (which is fairly easy to learn btw), I have no desire to play Risk anymore. We are obsessed! We already want to buy expansions but are going to make ourselves wait a few months so we don't burn out.”

A Territory Control Board Game Set In An Alternate 1920s Timeline

Set in a post-war alternate history of “Europa,” Scythe is a complex territory building game with a science fiction spin: It’s a time of farming, yet players have to contend with activating monstrous machines called “Mechs,” which were used to fuel the Great War. Players represent one of five Eastern European factions who are working to claim land and fortune for their people — whether by expanding their borders, building structures, enlisting recruits, or activating monstrous “Mechs” to deter potential enemy invaders.

The game takes place in lands around the “Factory” — a mysterious capitalist city-state — and each player begins the game with different resources, starting locations, and a hidden goal. While players have plenty of chances for conflict and combat, none are ever eliminated. Like Risk, this competitive pick is all about expansion and territory building. Unlike Risk, dice aren’t used, and it's a bit more complex than Risk, so it's meant more for teens and adults.

  • The Basics: 1 to 5 players, ages 14 and up; around 2 hours of game play
  • Board Game Geek Complexity Rating: 3.37 out of 5

What fans are saying: “Here is a flat out honest review. Damn is this game complicated. Takes a lot of time to learn the rules and figure out what the hell you are doing. Once you get the hang of it, its like risk on steroids. I do not recommend this to anyone looking for a fast 30 minute game (took us 2 1/2 hours to play one game). You end up reading the rules frequently and going "duh" a lot, but it’s well worth it. The more you play, the better it is.”

The Best Strategy Board Game Like Risk With Long Game Play

Perhaps the most time-consuming game on this list, Diplomacy is all about negotiation, with a little bit of bluffing thrown in. This war game takes place in 1901, so about 13 years before the First World War. Players represent the “Great Powers of Europe,” so you can choose from Great Britain, France, Austria-Hungary, Germany, Italy, Russia, or Turkey. There are no dice; instead, players instruct their military units by writing a set of “orders” for them. At every turn, your units — that is, armies or fleets — can move to an adjoining territory, support an allied unit, or simply hold their position.

  • The Basics: 2 to 7 players, ages 12 and up; up to 6 hours of game play
  • Board Game Geek Complexity Rating: 3.36 out of 5

What fans are saying: “Game is fun, but takes a long time. Played a 10 hour game with friends yesterday. Tons of fun. No random chance in dice rolls like in risk. All strategy.”

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