In the attack phase the winner is decided by dice rolls, with the number of dice and dice throws determined by the number of armies involved. In general the numerically superior force will win, but that's not always the case. The advantage of the digital version of the game is that these attacks, and the resulting adjustments, can be carried out nearly instantaneously, which significantly speeds up game play. Whereas the board game can take several hours, playing on your smartphone can take as little as 10 minutes.
The other advantage of digital play is the ease of finding opponents. The Xbox Live includes a single player mode, where you face off against AI controlled players, with adjustable levels of difficulty. The AI in the game is decent, especially on the harder levels, though experienced RISK players should be able to overcome it in most circumstances.
There's no real substitute for a human opponent though. Fortunately the game includes two multi-player options: pass'n'play (hand your device around amongst a group of friends) and WiFi (find and play opponents over WiFi). However, the WiFi option is for local play only (i.e. someone on the same WiFi network as you), which is rather disappointing. A game like RISK is surely a great candidate for an online, turn-based, multi-player experience?
The overall game implementation is decent, with attractive graphics and reasonable sound effects and music. The typical Xbox Live achievements are present, with some rewarding skills, and other rewarding of repeated gameplay. There are plenty of nice touches, such as a "total war" option when attacking to avoid repetitive dice throws (i.e. attack until one side has won).
If you're fan of the RISK board game then this will be an essential download, but it's worth a look for any board game fan. However, the limited trial (tutorial mode only) is a little disappointing and may put some people off. A little more try would have probably resulted in a few more buys.
THE REAL RISK EXPERIENCE! Pursue world domination on your Windows Phone with THE ORIGINAL game of strategic conquest! Mobilize against realistic AI adversaries or challenge up to 5 multiplayer opponents. Play the game that has fueled dreams of global conquest for generations!
Risk can be downloaded from the Nokia collection in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The full game costs £2.29 / $2.99 / €2.99.