Deterritorializing RISK

Jonathan Lee


This paper examines how board wargames play with ideologies of and behind military conflict. Through a case study of RISK: The Game of Global Domination, it shows how the spatial arrangement of the board create performative visual and tactile spaces that literally materialize worldviews, paralleling a perspective Martin Heidegger calls the "world picture." RISK represents military expansionism by performing a nationalist map logic that divides the world into discrete, interchangeable, conquerable territories. Thus, this game opens up critical play that productively dialogues with the critical discourse of theorists like Benedict Anderson, Louis Althusser, and Rey Chow, allowing players to engage the signifying logic of war.