Can You Play Risk With 2 Players? (Practical Guide!)

Risk is a well-known strategy game in which players use military pieces to battle and conquer the globe. Often enjoyed as a fun pastime between family and friends, Risk can provide hours of entertainment for large groups. But is it possible to enjoy the fun with just two people?

People can play Risk with two players. The game designers have even created a special variation of the standard game. This allows players to enjoy short and fair games with just two people. 

If you are keen to get started in a two-player game of Risk, then look no further; we’ve covered the basics of gameplay for two people, outlined how to get started, and given a rough idea of how much time you’ll need to play.

An image of 2 dice on top of a board game.

How Many Players Do You Need To Play Risk?

At least 2 players are needed to play an in-person game of Risk, but there can be up to 6 players. The original version of the game allowed 8 players, but the gameplay took too much time, so it was reduced to 6. To play solo Risk, play online versus a computer or other online players. 

It’s impossible to play the board game version of Risk on our own (solo play). If we don’t have anyone to play against but want to practice our skills for the next battle, there is an online version of Risk. This allows us to play against other players worldwide using a computer or mobile device.

Can You Play Risk 1v1? (2 Players Total)

Thanks to the brilliant design of Risk, we can play the game as a one-on-one challenge, meaning two people can compete against each other. The game’s inventors have specific guidelines for a two-person game that allows us to utilize spare sets to create standard gameplay.

How Do You Start A 2 Player Risk?

To start a two-player game of Risk, choose which color set each player will use – and which color will be for a neutral army. Count out forty infantry pieces for each army and use the Risk cards to assign territories. 

Create three piles of cards from a good shuffle pack, removing any wild or secret mission cards before shuffling. Then, each player selects a deck of cards, with the remaining deck being neutral.

Follow the territories on the cards to place one infantry on each territory. Both players will have fourteen territories, with the remaining becoming part of the neutral team.

Players can add remaining infantry to their territories with a maximum of three on any territory. Players can then place one additional infantry piece of the neutral army onto any neutral territories, taking it in turn. This can help enforce neutral territories between players’ territories. 

When set up, return all cards to the deck, including secret missions and wild cards. Reshuffle the cards and start the game. Players should familiarize themselves with the standard gameplay rules before playing a two-player game. 

How Long Does A 2 Player Game Of Risk Take?

Playing a full Risk game with regular rules usually takes 30 minutes to 2 hours. A two-player game takes the same time unless playing the Capital version of the game, which is designed to take less time.

As Risk is a game of chance, it can go on for a long time since the dice roll cannot be controlled. 

A two-player game will be quicker than a full six-player game and is more engaging for both players since they need to participate in every turn actively.

To apply Capital Risk rules, both players can select a territory to be their “Headquarters;” if a player captures their opponent’s headquarters, they win the game.

Elements that can contribute to shorter gameplay are experienced players and luck. Players who know the game well will already have strong strategies for winning territories.

In addition, having good luck when rolling the dice can lead to a strong lead for one player, making it easier to dominate the game.

An image of a family playing a board game together.

How Do You Play 2-Player Risk With Neutral Armies?

Opponents can use neutral armies to make playing Risk the same for two players as six. Pick a set to be the neutral army; then, the army will take up the same primary number of territories as those playing. Both players will take turns defending neutral territories. 

When we find ourselves adjacent to neutral territory and want to attack our opponent, we will use the dice for defense. The neutral army can’t attack other territories or gain reinforcements. 

When playing with a neutral third team (no player), we don’t have to focus on them. They won’t attack us. We must focus on beating the other player or gaining all of their territories.

We can still be the winner if there are uncaptured neutral territories though usually, these are all gone before a player wins. 

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

Risk is a great game that a couple of friends can enjoy. Two people are the minimum number of players required to enjoy the head-to-head battle for territories across the globe.

Risk can kill a spare half hour or keep you entertained for a lazy afternoon, depending on your skill level and which variation of the game you play. 

Risk has specialized two-player guidelines that outline how to use spare armies to create exciting gameplay that mirrors playing as a large group. We no longer need to hold out for a full house to play Risk and enjoy conquering the world as a duo.


Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These are the sources used in this article and our research to be more informed as gamers.

  • Risk: The World Conquest Game Instructions. (n.d.).

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