LONG READ: Playing Real Risk - Russia vs US

LONG READ: Playing Real Risk - Russia vs US
Russia can invade the Baltics and Ukraine to recreate the Soviet Union, but it can't hold the territory for more than one go
By Ben Aris in Berlin April 18, 2019

“Finn. You want to play a game of Risk?” I asked my 12-year old son.

“Sure, dad. Prepare to loose!”

“OK. But I’ve got an idea to make it more interesting. Let’s play Real Risk, where we distribute the armies on the board based on the number of real foreign military bases of all the most powerful countries in the world, rather than use the territory cards!” I said, doing that annoying you’ll-learn-something-from-this thing dads do.

“?”

“Trust me. It’ll be fun,” I assured him, pretty much killing off his enthusiasm. “I’ll be Russia and you can be everyone else.”

I knew already that this was going to be a pretty one-sided game. The US has around 800 overseas military bases while the rest of Nato has at most two dozen overseas bases. Russia has three (if you don't count the former Soviet republics) and China (which will be a Russian ally for the purposes of the game) has one.

But to make it a little less predictable we decided to play mission cards instead of the more usual “global domination” and by some miracle I got “re-establish the Soviet Union” whereas Finn was unlucky and ended up with “global domination” anyway.

I ordered 800 US flag cocktail sticks online and when they arrived, I spent about three hours sticking little bits of plasticine to the end of the sticks. I stole Finn’s colouring pens and made the other flags.

(Wife: “What on earth are you doing, Ben?”)

Set up

The first problem with playing #bneRealRisk is working out where all the armies go. The second problem is then fitting them all on the board. After setting up the #bneRealRisk board it is clear that both sides are actually within a whisker of achieving their missions already.

Disclaimer: before I go on I should say that I didn't research this article very thoroughly. It’s far too complicated. And after rooting around on the internet in my spare time for over two weeks it quickly became clear that no one knows exactly how many or where all the international US bases actually are. So I arbitrarily fished out numbers and locations from Wikipedia and a couple of other sites that seem reasonable. I posted a spreadsheet with the numbers and locations here so you can play too, and made up some new rules as they were needed. I invite readers to tweet with the hashtag #bneRealRisk if they want to make the inevitable complaints, comments, corrections or simply abuse me for being a lackey of the Kremlin.

Disclaimer II: I’m fully aware that “bases” don't equate with “soldiers and materiel” and Russia’s military is actually a lot more powerful than it appears if you just count the bases. Also many of the bases (especially the British ones) don't have any soldiers or tanks in them at all. Russia has more tanks and nuclear subs than the US, for example, and now, according to President Vladimir Putin, new super whizzy “hypersonic missiles” that can beat all the US defences. America may have its marines and Seal Team Six, but Russia does death like no one else and simply keeps sending in soldiers until eventually your gun wears out and they get you.

But I’m going to ignore all that. I just wanted to play a game of Risk with Finn. If you want to complain then you are just spoiling the fun. Besides, as every student of military history knows, unless you go for Blitzkrieg, winning wars comes down to who has the better logistics and superior economic power so bases count. In Risk that means capturing and holding the coloured continents.

Russia (21 armies):

Let's start with Russia.

Made up rule #1: you get an army on each of your home territories as well as your foreign bases.

The people that drew the original Risk board were clearly smoking something when choosing/naming the regions. I put out armies on the obvious Russian territories like Kamchatka and Yakutsk (which is actually a city, not a territory) and Irkutsk (ditto). I also gave Russia Mongolia, but technically it has no bases there.

In Central Asia (I know — there is no Central Asia on the Risk board, but I added it for the sake of my mission card) Russia has the bulk of its actual foreign bases – five in total in Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, and let’s include the occupied territories that used to belong to Georgia. There used to be a base in Uzbekistan, but former president Islam Karimov closed it down. (Actually Russia probably deserves more than five bases as according to reports Russia has one base in the Moldova breakaway republic of Transnistria, four in South Ossetia and five in the former Georgian region of Abkhazia.)

However, the really big problem with the traditional Risk board is there is no “Russia” at all. Where Russia should be, Risk actually has “Ukraine” – that stretches all the way up to the Barents Sea and shares a border with Scandinavia (!). D for geography for the Risk originators. So I changed that too, added a “Russia” to my board and a “Ukraine” where it actually is on the Black Sea. Russia gets two armies in Ukraine – one in Donbas and one in Crimea.

Made up rule #2: you are allowed to have more than one country’s army in the same territory and no armies in a territory if one of the big players is not there.

Made up rule #3: you can attack with just one army and if you lose you just die. If you win you don't have to leave an army behind when you occupy the new territory.

Another missing territory that is important to the #bneRealRisk is Syria in the Middle East, where both Russia and the US have bases. And while we are defacing our board, lets add a “Baltics” as well, coz they’re kind of important to current geopolitics.

That’s basically it for Russian armies in Europe and Eurasia. Two more #bneRealRisk additions are Russia gets an army in Siam (as Russia is close to Vietnam, its foothold in Asia) and two bases in Southern Europe (Serbia and Moldova). Actually Serbia is not really a Russian military ally but it’s not part of Nato so for the purposes of the game, let's give it to Russia. It does have what some US military analysts suspect is a stealth attempt to set up a military base, at the Russian “humanitarian centre” at Nis near the border with Kosovo. 

In Africa Russia gets one in east Africa thanks to its friendship with Eritrea. It wanted a base in Djibouti but was blocked by the Americans (see below).

And finally I gave it an army in Venezuela. Russia doesn't actually have a base in Venezuela, but there are reports it has been sending arms and soldiers there. I thought it would make the game more interesting if we gave Russia a foothold in South America, and clearly this is what the Kremlin is thinking – just this plan has not gotten very far. One of the classic Risk strategies is to capture South America early on as it is easy to defend, earns useful extra armies each turn and it will piss the Americans off.

Russia is now fully deployed.

China (2):

China has been investing heavily in its military might, but it only has one foreign base. Unlike the west, its military strategy (so far) really is purely defensive.

For the purposes of a #bneRealRisk game I’m going to assume that China and Russia are allies against the US and will play them as if they were a single player – because they are.

The huge mistake in the US policy towards Russia is that it has very effectively driven Moscow into the arms of Beijing, which is just as worried about US aggression as Moscow is. It’s clear to Beijing that if Russia is contained and crushed then China is next.

That should be a big bonus to Russia as any seasoned Risk player knows Asia is impossible to hold, but if you can hold it just one go then the extra armies it earns – seven extra armies – are a crushing addition to your forces in the early stages of the game.

China’s overseas army is in Djibouti in Africa. WTF?

What or where is Djibouti? I must confess that I had no idea there was even a country called Djibouti. And given China can chose from the whole world if it wants a single foreign base, why the hell chose Djibouti? More on Djibouti in a moment.

UK (17):

Now let's move on to the Allies (for want of a better word).

The British distribution of overseas basis is frankly funny – a mix of the legacy of WWII and Elizabethan spice trading, with a smattering of Empire thrown in. Useful from a military strategy point of view, the location of our bases ain’t.

My favourite two bases are the Ascension Islands and the British Indian Ocean Territories. Both are basically rocks in the middle of the sea in the Atlantic and Indian oceans respectively. Militarily they are totally useless as they are close to nowhere and were probably just watering stop offs for spice traders.

So of course Britain decided to keep them.

There is only one base in India and another in Nepal, which is actually nothing more than a recruiting office for the Ghurkhas (coz it's obviously important Britain maintains a regiment of Nepalese fighters amongst its forces, because they are so cute).

More understandably there is one base in Germany and another in Cyprus. (What is it with all these British bases on islands?). One more in east Africa. (Kenya of course.) And one in the northwest territories (Canada – Commonwealth). Britain gave up the pink Empire, but has not been able to totally let go, eh?

In addition there are two British bases in Central America (Montserrat, Martinique – more islands). And finally two in Indonesia (Brunei and Singapore – big islands).

And let’s not forget Gibraltar, which is not an island, but a rock, which is just an island without a sea surrounding it. But even Gibraltar has sea on one side so it is almost an island so obviously we kept that too.

Just for fun I put one extra base on the Falkland Islands at the bottom of Argentina, because… I never understood why we went to war over that as it is as far away from anything else important, as most of the rest of Britain’s overseas bases are. But Britain has been on the Falklands since the 1700s…

None of the UK bases – with the possible exception of the one in Germany – serve any useful military purpose that I can see, although as a risk player those two bases in Indonesia are a gift: as any seasoned Risk player knows – grab Australasia early on for the two extra armies it earns each go is a classic tactic and usually a winner.

France (9):

France also has a serious overseas presence. It also had an empire and it has the French Foreign Legion legacy on top of that. For the sake of the game France is an ally of the UK and US and played as one team.

But the French, being French, have been very French about what being an ally means. Despite its massive concentration of bases in Europe there are no US bases in France at all – the only militarily significant European country with no US bases.

In February 1966 president Charles de Gaulle in a fit of classic French peevishness said the changed world order had "stripped Nato of its justification" for military integration, and soon afterward France stated that it was withdrawing from the Nato military structure (which it didn't do). But all the Nato institutions – SHAPE, the Nato headquarters and Allied Forces Central Europe (AFCENT) — were informed that they must leave French territory by April 1967. They all moved to Belgium, where the Nato HQ is to this day.

France’s overseas bases are only slightly less random and meaningless than the UK’s. They have one in the UAE and three in North Africa — Gabon, Ivory Coast and Senegal — which makes sense (oil, ex-Empire) as well as one in Germany, because everyone that defeated Germany in WWII gets one of those. One army base is assigned to French Guiana (the right-most part of Venezuela on the Risk board), which is close to Tabasco, where the sauce comes from, and everyone knows the French like food. 

Then it goes a bit weird. There is one in Djibouti in Africa (there it is again!), because everyone has a base there, and then it goes a bit British as France maintains a base on Reunion – a rock in the sea in the Indian Ocean, west of Madagascar.

Now we have put out all the armies other than the US, and Russia does look threatening. Thanks to its domestic territory armies Russia could mass a total of 15 flags on the European border in the first round – not to mention the two flags it has inside Ukraine — and rapidly overrun Europe in the first round where it faces only four British, two French and one Ukrainian flag. This is actually the Nato official assessment in the real world: Europe’s Nato forces are incapable of holding off a Russian invasion and would rapidly be overrun if it came to a fight.

So now let's put out the US flags.​

US (769):

Most of the US soldiers are at home in over 5,000 bases. The US army is by far America’s biggest employer and soldiers work for a military-industrial complex that the Soviet Union would be proud of.

As the US spends more than twice as much as the Nato mandatory minimum of 2% of GDP, the military is a key component of the US economy and it is literally in the business of making war. It’s like Russia’s huge public sector: Washington can turn its own economy up or down simply by increasing or decreasing military spending.

But for the purposes of the #bneRealRisk game we are going to put only one army on each of the domestic territories (which includes the Canadian territories of Quebec — again a city not a region — and the Northwest Territories).

We are more interested in the overseas bases, because, even with his new hypersonic missiles and Armata main battle tank, Putin is never going to try and invade the States. He can’t as Russia doesn't have any adjacent armies.

The main problem with setting out the US bases on the #bneRealRisk board is no one is sure how many bases there actually are. The number 800 is bandied about liberally, but drilling into the lists it becomes confusing.

I calculated 769 overseas bases, but this just a guesstimate. Adding to the confusion are secret bases and “lily pads” — installations with less than 40 soldiers that are usually just radar listening stations or drone launch sites rented from non-aligned countries. Still, 769 will do.

Africa (7):

Africa is a good example of the confusion as the US has only one official (and really big) base in Djibouti, but seems to have lily pads in a large number of other countries, so I gave it another six armies in northern and eastern Africa.

So what’s the deal with Djibouti? It’s a tiny African country at the bottom of the Red Sea on the left hand side of the Bab-el-Mandeb Strait and is famous for nothing.

Djibouti is also the only place in the world where there are military bases from competing powers that are all in shooting distance of each other. It has the most military bases of different foreign powers in one country bar Germany.

In addition to the big US Lemonnier naval base, built on the remnants of an old French Foreign Legion base, there is a Japanese Self Defence Force base (their only foreign base) and China has one (also its only foreign base). The Russians wanted one, but were vigorously blocked by the US. Indeed, China only managed to open a base there by sneaking it in and opening almost overnight. Everyone is spying on everyone else.

Incidentally the US have been calling their base “Lemonier,” as in LEMONier, for years until they were finally persuaded to acknowledge it used to be French and changed the spelling to Lemonnier, after the name of the French general for which it is named. (Don't say anything…) Like the Camp Bondsteel Balkan base in Kosovo (see below), America continues to expand Camp Lemonnier and has invested $1.4bn into this one.

Djibouti is important, as it is a pinch point for oil leaving the Middle East to international markets. A glance at the Risk board and it’s easy to see why the US hates Iran so much, as the straights of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf across the way is the other pinch point for oil shipments out of the Middle East. Iran is in a position to lock up the oil trade at will and there is little the US can do about it.

South America (7):

South America is also sparely populated with US bases with a total of seven on the continent in Peru, Brazil and Argentina, and of course Gitmo in Cuba. However, tensions have been rising there recently as Russia has reportedly been flying in troops and arms to Venezuela to support the Nicolas Maduro regime, so this might change. Venezuela is Russia’s foothold in South America and Washington doesn't like it.

 

Australia (4):

The US has four bases down under but these are little more than listening stations. However, for a Risk player those bases are a gift as regular players know bottling up Australasia early on can be a game changer. With the US ally Britain commanding Indonesia, the Allies have already captured the purple continent.

Misc. small countries

The US used to have two bases in Central Asia, in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, which it used after 9/11 to supply operations in Afghanistan against the Taliban.

There is also one in Mongolia and two lily pads in India and Nepal. There are small bases in Siam (Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, and the Philippines). Norway is the only Scandinavian member of Nato and there is one US base there. More recently Nato added three “tripwire” bases in the Baltics, which are simply designed to be attacked by Russia and trigger Article Five of the Nato treaty, thus guaranteeing a Nato response.

And there are at least six bases in Afghanistan, including the heavily militarised Bagram air base that is a fully militarised base connected to the war there.

Middle East (27):

The first really big cluster of US bases outside of the homeland is in the Middle East where there are some 27 bases scattered across the region. Obviously many of these are linked to the Iraq war. Although the number of US bases in the Middle East has fallen dramatically in recent years the 27 bases there now are almost as many bases as all its allies have combined in the rest of the world.

Japan/South Korea (173):

Now we come to the main concentrations of US overseas bases. One of the things that jumps out at you when setting out the US overseas bases is that WWII and the Cold War never ended. The US continues to “occupy” both Japan and Germany (at least as far as bases are concerned).

There are over 130 US bases in Japan and another 83 in South Korea, which make up a huge concentration of force in the Pacific region. These bases are there for many reasons. Part of the forces are directly pointed at North Korea, but of course they also threaten the whole Pacific seaboard of both China and Russia.

It’s tempting to say that Japan remains an occupied country but the Japanese (and Germans on the other side of the planet) were actually quite happy for the US presence after WWII as during the Cold War these bases protected against a belligerent Stalin and Soviet Union. At little cost to their hosts, the US provided a global security umbrella against an expansive USSR.

Since the advent of US President Donald Trump things have started to change and Europe is less comfortable with the US umbrella as they feel they are being bullied by Washington. In Japan too, the US bases have been unpopular thanks to the constant scandals caused by badly behaved GIs killing and raping the locals that have been going on for decades.

Northern Europe (420), Southern Europe (100), Western Europe (26)

But by far the largest part of the US bases are in Europe, some 520 bases in all with 287 in Germany alone, as well as 89 in Italy and 57 in the UK. There are so many bases in Europe that you cannot fit them on the map.

Like Japan, during the Cold War Europe was grateful for the US security umbrella, but now the new German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas along with French President Emmanuel Macron have been openly calling for a European army, although they stopped short of asking the US forces to leave. As I argued in an op-ed “The end of the post WWII world order”, the European security setup is changing, but nothing significant will happen until all these US bases in Europe start closing.

Looking at Europe from Russia’s point of view, it must look terrifying. The Kremlin has long complained about Nato’s expansion eastward and you can see why. Adding Romania, Poland and the Baltics to Nato may seem insignificant, but with the forest of military bases in their rear Russia has no hope of holding any of these territories (as we shall see) if it were to attack.

There are 420 bases in the Northern Europe territory on the Risk board with the biggest at Ramstein in Rhineland-Palatinate that also serves as both the US HQ for air forces in Europe and Africa as well as the Nato Air Force command. Ramstein underlines the point that although Nato is an alliance between the “free world” powers, it is actually run by the Americans.

The US has 26 bases in the Western Europe territory on the Risk board – five in Spain and 21 in Portugal, but none in France.

 

There are another 100 US bases in the Southern Europe Risk board territory facing two Russian bases in Moldova and Serbia. Technically these are Nato, not US bases, as most of the newer bases set up since the collapse of the Soviet Union are Nato bases (the same is true in the Baltics), but scratch them and it is clear they are actually US dominated installations. I put the two Russian flags on top of the US flags as there was no more space on the board.

Southern Europe is home to one of the most controversial US bases, Camp Bondsteel in Kosovo. The Balkans is another place where competing powers are sitting cheek by jowl and the place where the line between Russian and US forces is most sharply divided.

Following the bombing campaign and “independence” of Kosovo from Serbia, the US has made sure of Kosovo remains “independent” by building the huge Camp Bondsteel base, which is probably the most militarised base in Europe and was recently further expanded with a $1.4bn investment. Belgrade unsurprisingly objects to this, and there are a lot of very angry comments on the Internet (like this one) along the lines of “the camp is an illegal military base on Serbian sovereign soil maintained by force.”

In general the forces in Southern Europe have squared off into opposing factions that either joined, or are going to join, Nato or have aligned with Russia. Russia’s two “bases” in the region are hugely outnumbered by the US forces and here a base really does mean military firepower.

 

 

We are ready. It's time to play.

 

Round one – Russia’s go

Technically you are supposed to get extra armies at the start of each go. You get bonus armies if you occupy a whole colour continent. And you also get your total number of armies divided by three. But we skipped this rule as that would mean the US gets an extra 258 armies on its first go and I’d already used up all the cocktail sticks I bought online. Plus couldn't be bothered to colour in more Russian, French and British flags.

Not made up rule #4: this is actually a real Risk rule, although not a popular one. Usually you can only move an army into an adjacent territory, but an alternative rule is you can move any army to any other territory, provided you have a complete chain of occupied territories in between.

Russia goes first as it's “Putin’s Russia” and he is the aggressor.

Where to strike first? In playing Risk it is essential to win at least one territory each go so you can get a card. Once you have three you can trade them in for even more bonus armies. These extra-extra armies are usually a game changer.

Really there are only two candidates: Ukraine and the Baltics. Given I didn't want to trigger Nato’s Article Five and force Finn to attack me, it has to be Ukraine. Besides it’s actually already occupied by Russian troops and Russia has two armies to Ukraine’s one. Not to mention all the Russian armies next door in Russia-proper.

Looking at the board you start to see why the Kremlin is so freaked out by Nato’s expansion since the 90s. There is literally a forest of US bases in Europe so no wonder they were worried by the possibility of Ukraine joining the alliance. Clearly it would be total overkill as far as the US is concerned, but for Russia it would mean losing their forward-most and hugely important naval base in Crimea.

Playing #bneRealRisk it is clear why Putin risked going to war with the west by annexing Crimea – he prevented Washington getting another territory card, keeps a store of armies that can be moved up to the Middle East and Southern Europe and slows down any would-be march by America into southern Russia.

After all the US only has 100 armies in Southern Europe while Russia has two in Ukraine (Crimea and Donbas), which only have to win 50 rolls of the dice in a row to defeat an attack rather than facing over 500 US armies that could attack from Northern Europe. (I know, I know the maths of dice rolling doesn't work like that, but whatever).

“Russia attacks Ukraine from Ukraine with two armies,” I announced to Finn picking up two die.

“Bring it on dad,” said Finn, his voice dripping with true grit.

Defending region

Attacking region

die score (attack, defend)

number of armies lost (attacker, defender)

total armies left (attacker, defender)

Ukraine (1)

Ukraine (2)

5/2, 2

0/1

2/0

Victory Russia!

 

Victory Russia! Russia occupies all Ukraine.

Baltics? Ah screw it… I make use of Rule #4 and bring all my domestic armies up to the western border, giving me 16 armies massed on the Baltic border.

“Russia attacks the Baltics from Russia with 13 armies.” Russia gets three dice this time while Finn got two thanks to the three “tripwire” US bases in the Baltics.

Defending region

Attacking region

die score (attack, defend)

number of armies lost (attacker, defender)

total armies left (attacker, defender)

Baltics (3)

Russia (13)

5/2/1, 4/2

1/1

12/2

Baltics (2)

Russia (12)

1/1/2, 5/2

2/0

10/2

Baltics (2)

Russia (10)

6/6/1, 6/4

1/1

9/1

Baltics (1)

Russia (9)

6/4/3, 3

0/1

9/0

Victory Russia!

 

That’s it. The Baltics put up a good fight that cost Russia three armies, but the outcome was never in doubt. Russia re-conquers the former Soviet Union as everyone always suspected Putin wanted to. Russia wins!!! Mission accomplished. Except….

Made up rule #5: each player has to get at least one turn in the game.

 

Round 1 – US go

“Now Finn, you know full well that Nato is a defensive alliance and we civilised people in the West would never start a war and attack Russia,” I said, giving Finn a crash course in western ethics.

“Suck my d*ck. America attacks the Baltics with 520 armies from Northern Europe.”

I guess I shouldn't be surprised. And as Finn almost certainly has a slightly higher IQ than the current president of the US, he hesitated a nano-second longer than Trump probably would before unleashing the full power of the US military.

But it does make you wonder. Given that both Macron and Maas have called for a European army that implies moving out from under the post Cold War US security umbrella, would Europe choose not to attack a Russia that had invaded the Baltics? Would Paris and Berlin risk bringing down massive destruction on all Europe for the sake of a few million newly minted members of the EU, or just ignore Article Five?

It doesn't really matter as it was US soldiers that the glorious Russian army killed when it occupied the Balts, so the question is almost certainly moot. Americans can always go on holiday in the Caribbean and Mexico instead.

Defending region

Attacking region

die score (attack, defend)

number of armies lost (attacker, defender)

total armies left (attacker, defender)

Baltics (7)

Northern Europe (520)

2/1//1, 6/3

2/0

518/7

Baltics (7)

Northern Europe (518)

3/3/3, 4/2

1/1

517/6

Baltics (6)

Northern Europe (517)

4/2/1, 6/4

2/0

515/6

Baltics (6)

Northern Europe (515)

5/3/3,6/4

2/0

513/6

Baltics (6)

Northern Europe (511)

6/4/1, 4/3

0/2

511/4

Baltics (4)

Northern Europe (511)

3/2/1, 6/1

1/1

510/3

Baltics (3)

Northern Europe (510)

3/2/2, 2/2

1/1

509/2

Baltics (2)

Northern Europe (509)

4/4/4, 6/6

2/0

507/2

Baltics (2)

Northern Europe (507)

4/2/2, 2/1

0/2

507/0

 Victory US!

The Russian forces that occupied the Baltics put up a very spirited fight that cost the US… sorry, that cost the Nato forces 11 armies to retake the territory at a loss of seven armies for Russia.

And that is probably how it would go in real life too. Russia can supply its forces in the Baltics easily from the homeland, as well as supporting them from the Kaliningrad enclave. Russia has three battle groups in the European part of Russia of some million men and has brought up more resources to the western part of the country to support its forces on the western border. If it came to a fight then Russia would throw everything into defending its toehold in the Baltics and probably also launch attacks from Ukraine on Nato bases in Poland and Romania where the US has activated the first two “missile shield” bases designed to protect Europe from “rogue states” – a hypothetical attack from North Korea. Because that's what keeps Europeans awake at night. [cough, cough…]

“Well done Finn. You have re-captured the Baltics and fulfilled your Article Five obligations under the Nato treaty. So of course being a peace loving westerner you are going to stop there, aren't you?” I said to Finn.

“America attacks Russia from the Baltics with 507 armies,” Finn replied.

Oh sh*t.

In order to mass enough forces to make sure not just of a victory in the Baltics, but to ensure Russia could hold the inevitable counterattack I moved all the domestic forces up to the Baltic border and the rest of the country is now empty of forces. If I lose this then there is nothing to stop the US from marching through the entire country.

We throw the dice and get 6/1/1 vs 5. Victory US. “Russia” falls.

“America attacks Southern Europe from Southern Europe with 100 armies,” Finn says, attacking Russia’s two bases in Moldova and Serbia. Victory US.

“America attacks Ukraine from Southern Europe with 100 armies,” Finn says, in a bid to retake Ukraine from Russia. Victory US.

“America attacks Central Asia from Russia with 607 armies,” Finn says, combining his forces from Northern and Southern Europe. Victory US.

Finn then sweeps through the rest of the Russian territories, which are empty of forces because I moved them all up into Europe.

“America attacks Syria from Syria with 607 armies,” Finn says, diverting his main battle force south for a moment into the Middle East. Victory US.

Russia now has only four armies left on the board in East Africa, Siam, Mongolia and Venezuela. These are cut off from the motherland, but hope dies last as they are also out of reach of Finn’s main battle group in Europe.

However, in Africa Finn moves up his forces in East Africa and calls on his British and French allies in the region to help. The Japanese decline, because theirs is a “self defence” force. Roll the dice. Victory US.

In Venezuela Finn has to take a real risk. The US only has three bases in Brazil, and another three in Peru so if he attacks there will be a fair fight where Russia actually has a chance of at least beating off an attack. Roll the dice. Finn gets 1/1. A glorious victory for Russia, which doesn't even need to roll! (If you tie then the defender always wins and you can’t roll less than a one.)

Roll again. Victory US.

Siam is Russia’s last outpost. The US calls on the French to help. Roll the dice. Victory US.

That leaves only China standing on the board with a single army in the homeland. Finn now combines his two European battle groups with the forces in Japan/South Korea. The token Russian force in Mongolia is immediately swept away.

“America attacks China from Russia with 644 armies,” says Finn. (By this point I have actually lost count of the number of armies he is supposed to have and made that number up.)

I won’t give the details, but China put up a spirited resistance with its single army taking four armies off the US before being crushed. This must actually be Beijing’s nightmare in reality and why it has been actively developing military ties with Russia – China and Russia held joint naval exercises in the Baltic sea in 2017 for example, as well as joint land exercises. If Russia falls then China will have defend itself from the US on two fronts – three if you include the allies in Southeast Asia.

The final Chinese army in Djibouti surrenders.

Game over. The US has achieved its mission of total world domination.

It took one round.

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