I just learned that George W. Bush and I have something in common: in our college days, we both were avid Risk players. I finally gave up the game for my own mental health, but the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue appears to be playing it on a much grander scale.
For those of you not familiar with the board game Risk, it's an American version of a French game called "The Conquest of the World." The board is a map of the world, with continents divided into regions. Each players have markers, which represent armies, and cards, which represent the various regions. Without getting into detail, the objective is to conquer the world.
I often used a defensive strategy, building up my armies in Australia, which could only be attacked from one country, and then going on the attack after the other players had exhausted their armies against each other. I started taking the game seriously. Much too seriously. In a game in which your friends are your enemies, the line between the game and the personal is too easy to cross--at least, it was for me. I stopped playing Risk and have tried to avoid games. I'll play Scrabble, but I don't play to win. I just play to get some unusual word, like syzygy, even though I'd have to use blank spaces. (I've never gotten to spell syzygy in Scrabble, but perhaps someday I will.)
George W. Bush was apparently very good at Risk. But playing the game, even too seriously, risks only a friendship. He's now playing Risk with real armies, and risking real lives. And he's not even particularly good at it.