It was dire my friends, dire. Looking at the board was like looking into your own demise. The Politician had control of 80% of the world, with only Africa and my little Australia untouched. No one had heeded my warnings and it happened the only way that it could have happened.
But I was still alive and spoiling for a fight. I talked to the Gamer. Let us put our differences aside my old adversary. Separately we are doomed but together perhaps we can change the course of this war. Turn and fight my friend, fight for everything you hold dear.
He would not. He was not convinced. It is often this way with the power hungry and delusional. The truth was there but he refused to see it. At that moment I could have wiped him off the face of the board and I considered it. But again, Risk is more than just tactics. It’s about people. And in that moment, I decided that the course of action that I would take was the only one that I could take. If you would not hear my words of peace, dear Gamer, if you slap away my hand of friendship, so be it. I will show you through my actions my commitment.
At that moment, I started the greatest march ever seen in the board game of Risk. 1000 feet with 1000 dreams marched. Victory or death, there were no other options. The ground shook, the heavens rumbled and the women quivered. If others lacked the courage, then so bit it. From Australia we marched. Through the steppes of the Mongol empire we marched, conquering as we went. Into India we slaughtered, up to the communist block we freed the people. We bypassed the Gamer. If he wanted to see what kind of men we were, then we would show him.
We made the leap to Greenland and pushed on. We swept over the land like the bubonic plague, crushing each hotspot of resistance offered by the Politician. We steamrolled through the East Coast and then exploded through the Midwest. We turned north and retook Alaska. We erected a monument to those fallen and then we turned our attention once again south. In the west coast we threw the invaders into the sea. My army was unstoppable. When the Politician rolled 5’s, we rolled 6. When he put up a barricade, we burst through it like a bloody spear. We could not be stopped.
We faced off with his South American Army, the main force of his empire. They could not avoid the onslaught brought to there doorstep. When it was all done, the Politicians army lay in tatters, strewn about on board like a strippers nurse’s outfit on buffet night. We had marched from one end of the map to the other. It was a march that would have made General Sherman proud. It made the blitzkrieg look like a Sunday stroll. The Politician was not defeated, but he was severely weakened I had effectively taken away every major army that surrounded the Gamer, giving him the only chance he would ever get, if only he would believe. If only he would have faith.
He did not. The politician is wily and has skills. To underestimate him is to sign your own death warrant. He rallied his troops and organized his reinforcements. He then took out his vengeance on the Gamer. Very calmly and methodically the Politician wiped the Gamer’s forces off the board like crumbs from a plate. The politician had erased the memory of every single player from the game, with one lonely exception. And now he turned his attention to that exception.
Like a scourge he came and like a badger I defended. I lost hope, I lost faith. In my moment of darkness I questioned if I should go on now or just open my torso to his bloody conquest. But I said before that the game of Risk is more than just about tactics. It’s about more than just strategy. I wanted to concede but the ghosts of the vanquished allies would not let me. Yes, the game is also about people and their memories.
“Fight on!” whispered Mr. Rogers. “Yes, to the end!” The Teacher said. “Anyone have anymore chips left?” The Hippie asked. I did not have any more chips. But I did have some fight left in me.
Wave after wave I defended. Again and again I gave ground but inflicted heavy casualties on the aggressors. Like the Spartans at the hot gates I drove back the Persian horde. And then the politician made a mistake. He split his forces. Sun Tzu, I know thee well. His split forces could not erase me from the map, although they tried. Now it was my turn. Opportunity, that fickle mistress, had arrived at my pad without any panties on. How could I refuse her?
I began my counter offensive. No mercy, no prisoners. We traded blows, punch for punch. Every move made, every move countered. Back and forth, each inflicting damage, each taking it and then asking for more. The Politician and I, locked in a bloody struggle for more than just the Risk game, this was the struggle of Fatherhood dominance.
But my army, fueled by the righteousness of our cause, rallied and would not be pushed back any further. Coordinated, we attacked everywhere at once impaling the dreams of the vanquished upon my pikes. The Politicians world grew smaller and smaller while mine grew larger and larger. The urging of my fellow players at the beginning, seeing them wiped out without mercy, my trying to convince the Gamer to join my cause, my heroic march across the board: all of it went through my mind. In the end there was blood and carnage. In the end there were screams and cries. In the end there was destruction and chaos. In the end, there was victory.
The Politician had been vanquished and my army stood alone upon the Risk board. Tired and hurt but united on the board of victory. 6 of us started and only 1 remained. It had been a long road. A road where friendships were tested and chips were eaten. Beers were consumed and wives went to bed. There will be other challenges and other challengers. The Teacher, The Hippie, Mr. Rogers, The Gamer, The Politician and myself all fought for ultimate control of a child’s board game. Just a board game and yet, something much much more.