Episode 1 : “Location, Location, Location”

Jul 1, 2013


Reality Gamemasters opens up with our two hosts, Rob Cesternino and Dalton Ross, a Risk afficianado.  The guys break down the six players, three Survivors and three Big Brother players.  Ross believes that these reality players are poised to play a great game of risk.

Join the conversation with the cast and other viewers by tweeting with #RealityGamemasters.

Summary : Click to reveal spoliers!


There is a round-robin draft conducted, and prior to the draft Ross states he believes that location is going to be key in how this game plays out.  He believes that whomever lands Australia will be in a great position.


  1. Stein – Stein, as America’s player, says there’s only one choice for his top pick.  Inexplicably he chooses Central America, which is not the United States.

  2. Fishbach – Stating that someone else will obviously go for it, Fishbach jumps on Western Australia.

  3. Terry – Pondering the move for only a second, Terry selects Argentina.

  4. Clarke – citing her dislike for Eric Stein and also that she’s British, Clarke elects to take Western United States, which incidentally is not Britain.

  5. Hoffman – Hoffman elects to take Brazil because it is big and he is small.

  6. Cochran – Admitting he has no idea what he is doing, and bemoaning the fact that Australia is off the board, Cochran elects to go with South Africa because nobody else is in Africa.


Round 2

  1. Stein – Stein takes Greenland.

  2. Fishbach – Fishbach elects to lock down Oceania by taking Eastern Australia.

  3. Terry – Remaining in South America, Terry takes Peru.

  4. Clarke – Clarke takes Alberta, fortifying the west side of North America.

  5. Hoffman – Hoffman says he is taking North America but instead takes North Africa.  It’s unclear if he really thought Africa was America.

  6. Cochran – Remaining in Africa, Cochran takes the Congo, giving him a large portion of the south of the African continent.


In Round 3, Stein continues to focus on the Western Hemisphere, and takes Quebec.  For the record, America’s player still has zero United States territories.  Ross and Cesternino discuss the battle of wills in North America right now.  Ross thinks both are sort of making a mistake, as he feels both players force themselves to maintain too many borders early in the game.


Later in the draft, Stein is confused because Cochran owns basically all of Africa before the game even starts.


The players round out the draft, placing armies in various territories, including Terry fortifying Scandinavia and Hoffman strengthening his presence in Brazil.   Cesternino is impressed with the board, as Fishbach has basically been given all of Australia.  Ross believes to start the game, Fishbach has the game’s strongest position.

The guys kick it to sideline reporter Andrea Boehlke.  Boehlke states that the tension in the room is high, and kicks off the game wishing everyone luck.

Stein makes a “ready to roll, literally” joke, and kicks off the game by attacking fellow Big Brother-alum Matt Hoffman.  Hoffman’s Venezuela is about to be under siege from Stein’s Central America…

But you’ll have to wait until next time to see how it turns out.

Scouting Reports : Click to reveal spoliers!

Stephen Fishbach (Silver) – A “competitive little bastard,” according to Ross, Fishbach has waited all year for this event.  Fishbach himself believes he is the winner, just waiting to be crowned.


Sophie Clarke (Blue) – Clarke claims she has magic hands, with an ability to roll sixes at will.  Ross believes Clarke will do well, but is worried she might just be a little bit too aggressive.


John Cochran (Red) –  Ross feels Cochran might play a little bit of possum with the other competitors, downplaying his ability, and waiting to strike when the moment is right.   Cochran admits he is relatively inexperienced at board games, and, seemingly on cue, downplays his ability.


Eric Stein (Black) – Both Cesternino and Ross point out for the first time Stein is playing his own game.  Stein feels this is his shot to redeem himself.  He doesn’t just want this win, he feels he needs it.


Matt Hoffman (Green) – Though Ross thinks Hoffman will lay back a little bit in this game, Hoffman is not shy to admit he is a very experienced Risk player.  Ross believes, however, that Hoffman will pick his spots and will not play an overly aggressive game.


Ian Terry (Yellow) – The “Big Brother-version of Cochran”, according to Cesternino, Ross ponders whether Terry is Cochran-light or Cochran 2.0.  Ross predicts a methodical game from Terry.

Game Board at End of Episode : Click to reveal spoliers!



  • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

    Tell us what you think about Episode 1 of Reality Gamemasters

  • Roberto

    Everytime I played Risk, the person who got Australia early on won, so my money is all on Stephen right now.

    Also, The episodes seem really short. Wish they were longer.

  • MikeS

    Is there a link to see a picture of the board with all of the territories drafted and their armies placed?

    • taylor

      This is coming! Stay tuned.

  • KB

    The guy who wrote the summaries seems like he’s super cool and handsome.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      And smart too!

  • Jim Van Nest

    Seriously…you never just give Australia to someone. After 1 short episode and no actual battles, you have to give the edge to Fishbach right now!

  • Dragonslayer_023

    I’m surprised they just let Fishbach have the key to the game, although if he only has Australia he could be in a tough position later on. Holding Australia is a good way to get second place but how will he convert that to a win?

  • T.J. Bronley

    Too short, but absolutely awesome.

  • Debbie Wright

    This is awesome! But yes, I little bit longer with more gaming would be great!

  • Jeffrey Stone

    Great episode. Lots of tension building already, you can tell that all 6 of them are trying to win. I think Eric Stein has put himself in an awful position both strategically on the board and socially. He is fighting for a large continent whose rewards will almost certainly never be reaped because of the number of players in the game which will certainly weaken his army. He is already starting to point out other people’s advantages, such as “How does Cochran already have all of Africa?”, this will probably bother Cochran. THEN he goes and attacks Matt Hoffman, someone who might have been a potential ally! I think it is quite clear that Eric Stein is first to go, he is making other players nervous with his shakiness and Sophie Clarke is Cut throat and will definately be targeting Eric as well as manipulating other players to eliminate him.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Great analysis, Jeffrey!

  • Lisa Ramirez Peoples

    We played this game in my high school World History class. I had no idea what was going on then with this game and I still don’t! But based on this episode I am definitely interested in finding out!

  • Barbara McKee

    Great fun! Rooting for Cochran. Longer episodes please.
    Thanks for creating this Rob. :)

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Glad you’re enjoying the show, Barbara. Had lots of help with this project. My partner, Alex Forstenhausler, did most of the really hard work!

  • Redonk

    Looks like Cochran & Fishbach are in the best starting positions (Africa, Australia respectively). Look forward to hearing their opinions on their starting positions.

  • Ron

    Too fun! But I’ll echo, longer would be even better, though its likely too late for that now. And I’ll be patient and wait for the graphics with the board positions.

  • Justin

    This is amazing! The setting, music, commentary, and casting are absolutely excellent.

    Some criticisms: A little longer would be better as it would better allow us to see the bigger picture of the game and would better develop the mindsets and strategies of the players.

    A graphic representation of who has what country/territory on the web site at the beginning/end of the episode (or in the video) would really help illustrate what exactly is going on.

    Under “Summary: Click to reveal spoilers” you mention events that presumably did not happen in Episode 1. Does Episode 2 start after that summary, or is it an accidental episode 2 summary/spoiler as well?

    Thanks again for making this! The work you put into all of this is unbelievable and I am excited for Episode 2.

  • Klaas

    Are all the episodes that short? I would definitely buy the raw footage…

  • Judy Baldwin

    Rob and Alex– this is really fun to watch – the casting is phenomenal and I know they all came to play! I have to concur with everyone — too short!

  • Mickey

    Episode 1 power rankings:

    1. Stephen – Getting Australia so early will add up in the long run. If he can take Asia too, I don’t see how he could lose. However you never want to be the frontrunner too early in Risk, and I think people will already be looking at him as the guy to beat.

    2. Cochran – Is Cochran a hustler? For someone who claims to be inexperienced he’s put himself in a great starting position, he could take Africa straight away and has a great chance of holding it. Much like in Survivor, I feel he will be underestimated and allowed to skate by undetected..

    3. Matt – Time will tell if Matt prioritizes Asia or South America but he’s given himself great options. I would like to see Matt align with Sophie. If he helps her take North America from Eric, and she helps him take Asia against Fishbach, the results could be devastating.

    4. Ian – Putting your power base in Europe is a risky move as it’s so hard to hold and you can be attacked from all angles. He has a little side-campaign going on in South America but Matt greatly outnumbers him there so I don’t see it bearing any fruit and could end up just being a distraction, actually.

    5. Sophie – It looks like she’s going to be locking horns with Eric and I see that hurting them both in the long run. Eric’s not going to give up North America easily and even if she does get it, it’ll be a long, time-consuming battle that could prove costly..

    6. Eric- I don’t really have much of a sense of what he’s trying to do. Taking on Sophie will not be easy and he’s isolated himself so much that if he starts losing that battle, he has nowhere to go.

    • http://www.robHASaWEBSITE.com/ Rob Cesternino

      Wow, power rankings. Phenomenal!!

    • http://twitter.com/thelivetwit thelivetwit

      Very good rankings man, you helped get my head spinning thinking about all of this haha

  • Max Zambrano

    Would love if you guys joined me tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PDT on Spreecast to discuss this episode. I’m loving what some of you have to say and showing up tonight to talk some more would really be great! http://www.spreecast.com/events/reality-gamemasters-episode-1-recap

  • dan

    The best suggestion I read in the comments was a graphic representation of the countries controlled by each player both at the beginning and end of each episode.

    Australia is usually too obvious a move to make and people end up singling out the player who takes it. However, it seems as though these players really don’t mind Stephen taking it. They’ll regret it later though.

  • Ken L

    Gotta like Stephen’s chances bagging Australia with little competition. It looked like Ian had a lone soldier in Indonesia but abandoned the idea for Europe. Nobody keeps Europe for long so not great for Ian. I like South America and Africa as secondary muster locales although South America can get isolated with no land to conquer for cards. Stephen and Cochran are my early leaders.

  • http://twitter.com/thelivetwit thelivetwit

    It looks like Stephen is the top dog right now with Australia. Even though there isn’t any action on that side of the map, the way things are going to shake down in Asia is what interests me the most.

    So right now Eric split his pieces between North America and Asia. Since Eric is taking on Sophie in North America and attacking Matt in South America, his power base is going to be in Asia once he loses his pieces in North America. I could see Sophie making a strong push into Asia to eliminate Eric and take his cards. That’s where I could see Fishbach coming to Eric’s rescue with a temporary alliance to push Sophie back out of Asia and from there Fishbach could take Eric’s cards
    for himself and be the top dog of the east.

    The west is too messy right now to make much sense of yet. Gotta like how Cochran is positioned though.

  • Greer Scout

    Brilliant !!
    Dalton and Rob make an entertaining team.
    Loving it. Need more.

  • http://www.teamugli.com/ Jericho McCune

    I’m interested in seeing how this turns out. Risk is an amusing game, and it’s accessible to enough people that this could be a hit as long as the personalities shine. I don’t know the BB players, but I can already see why they were chosen.

    I would have liked the episode to be a few minutes longer. The cut after the commentary seemed huge – we went from “here’s the first couple of picks” to “okay, everyone is almost done” in a flash, with no explanation of what we fast-forwarded through. I picked up a lot by reading the board, but I had to go pause it and really look. One solid overhead showing everyone’s position as soon as they’re done placing would have been nice at the end, just before final commentary.

    If there’s a game two, I suggest commentary after first picks, final picks and final placement. Viewers that don’t understand Risk could use a few lines of explanation about why squaring off in N. America could be an early exit for someone and why S. America is the poor man’s Australia, how a game of Risk starting with six people but only two with property in Australia is just poor planning (Stephen starts with the early advantage – it was touched on), and how the final placement of troops may predict a player’s overall strategy.

    You could fit that in without going over 10-12 minutes! Regardless, it’s too late now so these are just suggestions for the future. I enjoyed the product and I’m looking forward to the other episodes. Early on, I’m going to predict Stephen because not only were the other players silly enough to give him the best board placement, he knew when he put his first piece there that he probably wouldn’t get away with it. He seems to know the game better than the others, so with the advantage he was handed, it’s his game to lose from turn 1.

    Also, before the first turn is played, we should have confessionals. Why did they make the picks they did and how do they feel about their start position? They could be posted as individual videos, 1.5-3 minutes each, so they wouldn’t get in the way of the main program – similar to the way Tabletop on Geek & Sundry uploads their extended interviews along with the program.

    Sorry if that sounds overly critique-y, but since this is your first show like this I thought I should go for the gold. This is your Borneo, production-wise, so notes are good. I’ll definitely be watching the whole season. Great idea, good execution.

  • Justin

    To the best of my ability, here is where everybody ended up at the start of the game before Eric launched his first attack. Unfortunately, I could not go further and count the number of armies on each territory.

    North America
    Alaska: Eric
    Northwest Territory: Sophie
    Greenland: Eric
    Alberta: Sophie
    Ontario: Sophie
    Quebec: Eric
    Western United States: Sophie
    Eastern United States: Sophie
    Mexico: Eric

    South America
    Venezuela: Matt
    Peru: Ian
    Brazil: Matt
    Argentina: Ian

    Iceland: Ian
    Scandinavia: Ian
    Great Britain: Ian
    Western Europe: Matt
    Northern Europe: Ian
    Ukraine: Sophie
    Southern Europe: Cochran

    North Africa: Matt
    Egypt: Cochran
    Congo: Cochran
    East Africa: Cochran
    South Africa: Cochran
    Madagascar: Cochran

    Ural: Matt
    Siberia: Eric
    Yakutsk: Matt
    Kamchatka: Eric
    Irkutsk: Matt
    Mongolia: Eric
    Japan: Cochran
    Afghanistan: Stephen
    China: Stephen
    Middle East: Sophie
    India: Stephen
    Siam: Stephen

    Indonesia: Ian
    New Guinea: Stephen
    Western Australia: Stephen
    Eastern Australia: Stephen

  • Antonfan

    What is Matt doing? He’s sooo spread out.

    Wishing for longer episodes as well. I don’t need to see every dice roll but I’d like to atleast see each decision the players make.

  • masbond84

    it’s interesting that they let Stephen have almost all of Australia in the beginning. Australia is always a continent I try as much to capture just for the sake of extra troops. I will have at least make Stephen work to capture Australia or suggest everybody to stake a country in that continent and fight it out later. It could backfire for Stephen though if he doesn’t expand fast enough and everybody fall back in eliminating him by systematically going northward to Australia.

    And it is interesting that Sophie chose, as it seems, to battle Eric for North America. That wouldn’t be a continent I would choose to battle at the start as there are too many countries and 3 borders for me to defend. It might prove to be a draining fight but if captured early, the winner can quickly branch out to the other continents quickly.

    Am quite interested to see how the episode goes on. A bit short but I am intrigued. And definitely looking forward to the placement of the troops at the start of the game.

  • Jeremy

    Great episode, I haven’t played Risk in a very long time because I’ve switched over to Settlers of Catan, but after this I’m craving a Risk game in my household. What would you guys do if you were in Eric’s situation? He surely knows that he is in a bad position and maybe is going to try and take South America?

    • http://twitter.com/thelivetwit thelivetwit

      In Eric’s situation I would have put like three pieces down in NA and when I saw Sophie going for it I would have just tried to isolate myself over in Asia and just go for some easy cards and let the other players battle it out Stephen is in an awesome spot. He’s got far east to himself right nowwww

  • Marc Percy

    Great first episode. I too wished it was just a few minutes longer, but overall very good. I agree with most that Cochran and Fishbach seem to be in the best position early, but I don’t know a whole lot about this game and it has been a long time since I played. On the production side I thought it was well done. Would have liked an overhead shot of the board, and I am not a fan of the shakiness of some of the video, but also realize that it could have been on purpose and it is all just a preference. I look forward to the rest of the episodes.

  • Mad Mark

    Cochran has worst starting spot. I also think Stephen’s Australia takeover is overrated. Although half of Risk is luck / the other half strategy, it is hard to predict who will roll dice well…My prediction, however,based on what little we got, is whomever takes North America will win.

  • Judy Baldwin

    Crap I was all excited to watch episode two and then realized it was only Wed!

  • Mario Picard

    Awsome show, I’ll watch the next episodes for sure!

  • Stephanie Lubin

    I want more…..more. Right now. wouldn’t it be better to wait and then watch all episodes, being the entire game, at once. 1st episode was such a tease

  • George Crummer

    What a great concept! Loved it, and actually was pleased to see it wasn’t an hour long episode! lol Hoping to see more sideline reporting during the game from Andrea, getting comments from the players as the game progresses. Overall, it’s a great idea! I’m looking forward to more versions on Realitygamemasters… Sorry, Mousetrap, and Operation come to mind…