Monday, May 24, 2010

Advance Risk Board Game Strategy Part 1: General Army Management

Also printed on Associated Content

Beyond setting up the Risk board and the basic mechanics of the game, the most important part of any Risk game is the question of where to place armies and what do with them. Here are four key concepts to use your armies effectively.

1. Continent capture and protection: Under most circumstance, the first priority of army placement when you begin a new game will be to place your armies in positions where they try to capture a continent (i.e. by capturing every territory belonging to that continent). In most every game I’ve ever played, the game play during the middle and latter stages of the game will center around placing armies to defend continents players hold, attacking continents to “breakthrough” the defenses and capture the continent, and trying to expand a single captured continent to capture a second, third, etc. continent.

There are two main reasons why holding a continent (or preventing your opponents from holding a continent) is such an important part of the game. First, holding a continent gives a player bonus armies for every complete turn that they hold that continent. These bonus range from a modest +2 armies per turn for Australia and South America to a whopping +7 armies for Asia. These bonuses can add up to give players dozens of extra armies later in the game.

Second, holding a continent carves out space where you can hold territories by placing armies on a few key “choke points”. A good example of this comes when a player holds all of the territories in Australia and the territory of Siam. By placing a substantial number of armies in Siam, the player not only protects that territory directly but also indirectly protects the entire Australian continent because any attack on those territories has to go through Siam first.

2. Card Mining: Winning cards and turning in completed sets can make the difference between winning and losing a game, especially in the late game when the extra army bonuses for turning in card sets become huge. Even in games without the progressive card bonuses (i.e. with “set value” rules, my preferred method of play), a cannon + cavalry + infantry set and the 10 extra armies it provides can make the difference between winning and losing.

The only two ways to win cards in the game are to win them by capturing at least one territory each turn or to capture them by eliminating all of the armies of any player on the board. Both methods involve attacking. Because of the importance of having cards, especially late in the game, it is usually not good to “turtle” into a corner of the board by placing your armies in completely defensive positions and not attacking at all. Such strategies are eventually doomed to fail (you have to attack sometime to win) and usually leave you vulnerable to elimination from a player flush with extra armies gained from turning in cards.

A good method to mine cards in a game is to select an area of the board where no one is trying to hold territory and capture one territory in that area each turn. An example of this would be if you held both Australia and Afghanistan early in the game and no one held or had strong armies in Asia. At the beginning of your turn, you could place roughly half of your reinforcements on Siam and half on Afghanistan and use your armies on Afghanistan to capture an adjacent country with only one army defending it to win your card.

As a compliment to this strategy, sometimes you can “squeeze” a player by capturing all of his or her territories in Asia, Europe, etc. and forcing that player into either a massive border attack to capture a card or into “turtle” mode to preserve armies. An example of this would be if a player holds South America and a couple of card mining territories in Asia and is also bottled in by players in North America and Africa. By capturing both of that players Asian territories, you would basically cut off the players ability to gain new cards and force the player to drastically change strategy.

3. Breakthroughs: Sometimes in Risk, as in life, it becomes necessary breakout of your familiar surroundings and leap into the wider world. In Risk, these types of moves during a turn usually take the form of “breakthroughs” where you push some or all of your armies from your home base (or even a strong card mining country) and attack the enemies’ front lines directly.

Before attempting any breakthrough, you should have a very specific goal in mind of what you want to accomplish with the move. Can you break through the enemy front lines and into her or his protected continent and take away the continent bonus armies for several turns to come? Can you eliminate one or more enemies and take their cards? Will your move leave you exposed to counterattack from one or more players to act after you?

An example of where this might be useful is in a situation where you control Australia and another player has just finished taking North America. If you have a large number of armies in Kamchatka, you might be able to breakthrough into Alaska and deny your enemy the +5 bonus armies that come with controlling North America. You may even be able to leverage this breakthrough into eventual control of the continent yourself, depending on your opponents’ response.

4. Equilibrium: Occasionally you will encounter situations in Risk where you are “stuck” for one or more turns in a situation where you are not necessarily vulnerable but, at the same time, you can do little to improve your position. In these situations, it might be best to take a “wait and see” attitude where you maintain the equilibrium while forcing your opponents to act against each other.

An example of this would be if you had a strong position in South America but you were blocked in by enemies with positions in North America and Africa. In this case, it might be wise to slowly build armies on your continental borders (Brazil and Venezuela) while waiting for your opponents to attack each other. Often times, a fourth player (maybe one with a strong Australian position and marching into Asia) will force a break in the equilibrium at some point and allow you to attack.

Bottom Line: When deciding where to place your armies in Risk always have a concrete strategy and never do things out of frustration alone. Always look for opportunities to strengthen your position and deny strong positions to other players. Every army counts.

Part 2: Australia

Part 3: South America

Thoughts on some movies: Sex in the City, Mr. and Mrs. Smith

Lacking in other ideas, I decided to review some movies my wife and I watched over the weekend.

1. Sex and the City:
spoiled, oversexed, ugly, stupid, rich, white girls whining about their problems, most of which are brought on by unbelievable selfishness on their part.

Not only that, but it was over two hours long. Any movie I watch over two hours long better have some epic battle scenes to break the monotony, or I'm going to get bored and start surfing the net.

Finally, how much really exciting stuff is there that can be said about female sexual relationships anyway? How many times you had an orgasm, how many positions you performed, what your guys stuff tasted like, etc. Who freaking cares? In real life, I've had people try to tell me about their sex life. It was gross and uncomfortable for everyone involved. Sex is a very natural part of life, IMHO, but it should be kept PRIVATE for the most part.

2. Mr. and Mrs. Smith: good but not great movie. My problem with Angelina Jolie is that, even though she has a rockin' good body, she looks like a horse in the face. Also, the storyline on the movie was very predictable. I called the ending (no I haven't seen it before, so what?) that the two were married about an hour into it.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Why You Will Never Make Money Blogging

All bloggers have, at one time or another, dreamed of a retirement from our 9-5 jobs facilitated by the enormous success of our blogs. We imagine sipping drinks on the beach on some remote island that we own, all while millions of adoring fans continuously click on our ads and buy products from our affiliates to feed our privileged lifestyle. I hate to tell you this, but . . .

It's not going to happen!!!


1. No one reads your blog:
Lets be honest folks, out of the twenty people you associate with closely on a daily basis, how many of them read or follow a small blog on a daily basis? Unless they are bloggers themselves, I would guess that the answer is close to zero. Note that for "small blogs", I don't count sites like Tmz or Huffington Post. They resemble my blog about as much as I resemble the little snake creatures from the movie Alien.

Even among the few internet users who faithfully follow blogs, the competition is pretty intense. Unless you happen to somehow stumble into a niche that has a lot of interest yet hasn't been overly published, your chances of holding an audience are particularly slim. You're especially unlikely to do so with the kind of "shotgun" approach like I use.

2. No one clicks on your ads: Even if they do come to your blog, people probably aren't interested in the type of crap your site is selling. How many ads do you click on in the typical blog that you visit? I click on ads as a matter of courtesy for the other bloggers I enjoy, but most people don't. Even if they do, how long is it going to take you to become a millionaire from the 35 cents you make from two pity clicks a day?

3. People don't visit your site to shop:
When is the last time you went to a small Wordpress or Blogspot blog to buy something from Amazon, Kohls, Revlon, etc? Even if you did see something you really liked on there from one of those companies, would you really trust the link in the blog, or would you go directly to the company websites?

4. Someone can do your site BETTER that you: Even if somehow you do manage to find an absolutely brilliant series of ideas for your blog that make it a money generating engine, be assure that someone, actually a lot of someones, can write the same style blog with the same type of content even better than you do. Heck, I can think of at least a dozen blogs that I read on blogspot alone that are better written, updated more frequently, and have better content than my blog. Since I haven't seen any of them posting from their retirement homes in Maui, I am assuming that they continue to write more for fun than for the huge bump to their income it generates.

In summary, don't believe the crap that you find online about becoming a billionaire blogging. Not gonna happen. You could always click on my ads to support me though :)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Some Observations about The Mall

1. Victoria Secret is a great place to pick up on girls. If the girl is married, she'll let you know right away. But, she'll still probably be grateful for the compliment. If she's single, the perfume and sexy girl y colors of the store should have her in the right mood. Best of all, if you do manage to pick her up and she shops at Victoria Secret single, you KNOW that she likes to boink!

2. No one ever buys the massage chairs at Brookstone -- they just get free massages. If it weren't for the 20$ crap they sell, like the combo coffee-maker-alarm-clock-back-scratchers that they sell there, that company would have been bankrupt three years ago.

3. Never walk past the handbags in Macys with your wife when it's close to her birthday. It's a battle that you can't win.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

An open question to our readers

Future Twits is looking for a new direction, and we need your help.

In the early days of Future Twits, the staff here focused mainly on creating funny an original content, mostly making fun of the rich, celebrities, and anyone who offended our virtual sensibilities.

Unfortunately, no one ever read it.

An average readership for our blog in those days was one or two people a day. Sadly, most of the time this was one of the authors (alright, fine it was me -- there are no other authors) checking to see if someone had visited the blog.

After that, the blog took a different direction.

We started posting more "gimmicky" material, articles about 5 ways to get rich, 10 hot anime girls, or 27 ways to beat your spouse or significant other without getting caught. The last one was removed due to copyright violations.

However, gimmicky seems to work. Each and every day this week, I have had no less than 25 or so horny Asians hitting the 10 hot anime girls page to look for pictures. It's somewhat mind blowing.

Question to readers: which article type do you like best -- satire or gimmicky? Please leave your comments at the end of the article.

Oh, and the customary pretty girl photos!!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Movie Recuts Galore

For your viewing pleasure: lots and lots of movie trailer recuts from Youtube. Enjoy!

1. Broke Back Top Gun

2. The Shining Family Movie

3. Mary Poppins Horror Movie

4. Willy Wonka Drug Dealer

5. Star Wars Broke Back

6. The Terminator Romance

Also, the results of the poll are in. Most of you think that I should post more often. Thanks to all who participated.

Oh, and my customary pretty girls post. This group is from Korea -- Wonder Girls.


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