3 Design Strategies I Learned From Losing a Global Domination Boardgame

I could have ruled the world. Alas, I lost. So I want to help YOU win with this handy guide to global domination.

Recently I played the strategy board game, Risk. Some of you may know it and can already nostalgically reminisce about those  painful nights you pitted yourself against your own family members or friends. For those who don’t know, without going too in depth, Risk is a board game that consists of a world map that you must conquer through strategic placement of your army. With a little luck from the dice, it will depend your fate whether you win a battle or lose against an opponent.

But this isn’t about the game, this is about the aftermath. Like all mistakes, I’ve had time to assess my losses and learn what not to do for next time. Other than never learning to trust my brother again (he called a truce, and at my moment of dire defenselessness, struck. ), I’ve actually recalled some strategies that may not only help me conquer the world next time but also my design work.

Look at the overall scheme and problem, proceed to analyze to plan ahead

Sometimes it’s easy to forget that, to solve a problem, one should understand the entirety of it before attempting to solve it. When I decided to conquer “Europe”, I didn’t consider that it had many borders, which meant easier attacks from others. Likewise, in design, especially architecture and urban planning, the site of a building is crucial.

An incomplete model sitting in its site – was looking to see if it was a good fit.

Consider the help of others, and weight their advice to your own judgement

Design is SO subjective. Sometimes you really want to fight for what you think is the best solution, other times you may need to accept that others’ may have constructive comments that propel your design forward. Could I have used my dad’s advice on dispersing my army instead of concentrated in one area? Probably.

Abandon ship when it’s a dead end, and seek an alternative route

How often do we get tied up in our first design that we get blinded to other options? I had said, “I must rule this portion of the map!”

Looking in with someone else’s perspective is helpful – even the miniature people in your models!

There isn’t just your game, your plan. Everyone is playing the game, and everyone has a solution

There are so many solutions to one problem, it is often hard to just pick one. In the end though, someone has to win. My brother won this round but who is to say I won’t come  back stronger and smarter the next time?

I’d love to hear your comments on whether you played RISK, or even more design (or board game related) strategies!

Author: Crystal Yung

Hello! My name is Crystal Yung and I am an undergraduate student studying architecture at the University of Waterloo. Please feel free to check our my online portfolio of my works: https://issuu.com/crystalyung/docs/portfolio_2017

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