Last night, I got together with some local gamers to play Settlers of Catan and Carcassonne, which is always fun. Afterwards, we tried to optimize Risk for faster play. One of the problems with Risk is that with large armies, the play is slowed down by player war campaigns while others wait to be attacked. Seasonal Risk seeks to address that, while Bludgeon Risk limits game length by removing the ability of any player to produce new armies.
  1. Seasonal Risk
    Play with nukes
     deal out 4 random lands from deck of lands
     those lands are nuked and impassible for the remainder of the game 
     (put a marker on the nuked lands)
    Place armies as you see fit; put cards away, they're not used.
    Seasonal play
     4 seasons to a year
     season = for each player
      attack one land until (victory or retreat)
      all players get one non-combative land movement by troops 
     after 4 seasons, everyone produces and places armies in turn order
  2. Bludgeon Risk
    randomly nuke the number of countries needed give each player the 
            same number of cards (lands) each
    deal out the cards
    each player places troops at will in rotating turn order
    after that, cards are no longer used.
    for each player
            must attack one land until (victory or retreat)
            all players get one non-combative land movement by troops
    when all players can't attack any further, the game ends

The seasonality seems to me more war-real because campaigns are limited to single battles and everyone can react to the news of the battle. If there were more than three players, one could even conduct simultaneous battles, which might make for very interesting gameplay. On the other hand, Bludgeon Risk is very much a risk mgmt and logistics game, which makes for very different gameplay.

The next time we game, we're going to try some other alternative rulesets to see how they play. I like the idea of trying to optimize gameplay, knowing that good games keep a good balance in game variables.

Last thought of the game night was to try to categorize game dynamics to help understand what makes for good games. Given gamers' propensity for analysis, I think this has been already done, just need to do a literature review.