Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Music to Play Risk By

Image stolen from John Rostron because I couldn't bothered to take a photo of my own.

I've always enjoyed the occasional game of Risk but it seems like I'm playing it an awful lot recently. This is largely down to Risk Legacy, a sort of epic, serialised version of Risk in which each game affects the next. I've played several games with the same group of people, and it's sort of addictive - it's like someone took this already-moreish world domination game and turned it into the board game equivalent of a Dexter boxset.

Simply looking at the box art makes you manlier, albeit in a nerdy sort of way.

"That's all well and good," you mutter to yourself, "but I didn't come here for a board game recommendation. I came here for music-based bloggery!" Well, you're in luck, because every so often during these games of Risk, someone will suggest that we put a CD on.

And the choice of battle music has proven to be something of a sticking point. We tried Lene Marlin, but she made the whole affair feel ridiculously laid back:

We tried We Were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank by Modest Mouse, which was slightly more invigorating but a bit too noisy and distracting:

Someone put Favourite Worst Nightmare on during the last game we played, but that album is only slightly less noisy than the Modest Mouse one, and it gave us an additional distraction when Fluorescent Adolescent came on and people started singing along.

Clearly, a good Risk album needs to fade into the background a little bit - otherwise, it's kind of hard to concentrate on marching into Irkutsk and keeping your North African nemeses out of South America. Having said that, the usual anodyne dinner party music won't do either; the likes of Air and Portishead might work well for other, more polite social occasions, but Risk demands something that gets pulses racing and fists pumping.

It's a conundrum, all right. My first thought was Manowar - surely the ultimate purveyors of war music. They've even got a song called Battle Hymn, for crying out loud:

But, again, it's too distracting. The howling metal vocals, the howling metal guitars...these sounds simply don't sit well with the frowny concentration that Risk necessitates.

So now I'm thinking film soundtracks. The only one I actually own is Little Shop of Horrors, which clearly isn't quite right - we need something with no lyrics, only epic soundscapes that will spur our little plastic dudes to victory (or glorious defeat, as is usually the case with my own Risk campaigns). Some Ennio Morricone, perhaps?

Now we're getting somewhere. Sadly, I don't own any Spaghetti Western soundtracks on CD (perhaps that's a situation worth remedying), but I do have a reasonable facsimile:

Rome was conceived by Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi as a kind of tribute to Spaghetti Westerns, a soundtrack to a film that doesn't exist. Admittedly, some of the songs do include lyrics, and the overall sound is a little softer than I'd ideally like (there's none of the gut-busting brass that I associate with Spaghetti Westerns), but I think it's close enough. I'll pop it on during the next big Risk session and report back; in the meantime, here's a sample of what we'll be listening to:

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