This review is biased. I've played Starcraft and more recently Starcraft 2 for the past 8 years, so when I heard this game would be released in the summer (turns out they delayed it to the fall) I had constantly monitored its progress. Therefore, even if the game was flawed, I would still whole heartily enjoy it. There are numerous changes to this Risk version when compared to other ones, but there are comparisons with Risk: Halo Wars.
Compared with the standard Risk, here are the changes:
1. Hero unit per faction, 6 in total, that add +1, -1 to dice rolls.
2. Mineral fields that boost the value of territories.
3. One Command center per faction that needs to be held in order to win (for Command room mode).
4. Achievements and Rewards (similar to Mission cards), where a player earns certain achievements along with random rewards accompanying them when objectives are completed, including conquering a planet, holding mineral fields, etc. Rewards add special bonuses that last indefinitely, such as being able to use an extra attack die, 4 max instead of 3.
5. Faction cards, one deck per race, have stars and abilities on them that allow for the choice of gaining reinforcements based on the total amount of stars, or using special abilities. Overall, each race has abilities that are identical in effect, but other stand out, for example Zerg can tunnel under a territory, Terran can transfer their base to another territory on the map, and Protoss are able to destroy units on a planet.
6. The map is similar in layout to standard Risk, except Asia and North America have switched places, now represented by Char and Aiur.
7. On the faction cards and the map itself, many references are made towards the PC, and once nintendo 64 game.
8. Four modes, basic training: introduces the new rules; command room: earn 3 achievements and control command center to win; total domination: classic risk, with mineral fields; team play: command room with 2v2 or 3v3.
9. Units are now worth 1 and 3, for instance a marine is worth 1 unit and a tank is worth 3. The units of each race are detailed remarkably well, along with the Heroes.
The game becomes several levels more complex than standard Total domination due to all of the additional factors involved, which is quite overwhelming during the first game when the effects of the new conditions are learned. The main advantage is that the ratio of luck and strategic skill shifts over to skill, since players who use their abilities right and aim for certain territories will have an edge over those who blindly attack and roll lucky 6's.
If you have a special connection with Starcraft and enjoy Risk, along with desiring an even more strategic game, this one is worth the money.