This past week, Diplomatic Risk has definitely broke into my top-five board games list. I've always loved the original Risk, however Professor's Jackson's adaptation of the game to include strategies that use other International Relations theories beyond realism, has made the game exponentially more complex and subsequently more entertaining.
However, Professor Jackson's adaptation of the classic board game goes beyond simple entertainment. The game of Diplomatic Risk most importantly gave us a theoretical world stage to experiment with using different schools of international relations theory to achieve our individual goals. In essence, Diplomatic Risk was a “lab”, in which the class could apply what we had learned without participating in and altering the current international system. Additionally, the game makes vehemently clear how certain violent and non-violent conflicts evolved in the history of international relations, specifically the Cold War. Our game of Diplomatic Risk was full of questioning of motives and suspicion, which seemed to lead to distrust between several groups of states. Personally as diplomat and later head of state for the Red State, I grew very distrustful of the other world players after the religious uprising that formed the Brown State and lead to a new structure of alliances and enemies. This sudden change in pace and hierarchy of the game caused me to continually question the motives of even the simplest of actions in an attempt to pinpoint each state's goals, and lead me to take a more realistic stance compared to the rest of the world. However, as I was transitioning to a more realist approach to achieving my state's objectives, I witnessed other states utilizing both liberal and even constructivist tenets, which is what I believes gives this game its value. The variety of diplomatic strategies in combination with the classic military strategies of Risk give Diplomatic Risk its complex academic value while simultaneously providing intrinsic entertainment.