The game Risk had a huge impact on our lives. The idea of building and cultivating an empire, be it democratic or tyrannical (not real tyranny, board-game tyranny) taps into something very primal within us. Success is a measure of control, achieved through acquisition and proliferation — he who has the most, wins. Look around you today and you’ll see that this concept remains the driving force behind many of the most drool-worthy products. It’s those add-on features — the accessories, apps, options and order-form boxes that must be ticked — that are the territories to be taken on our new maps.

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A quick survey of the complementary products available for the Iris Home Management System by Lowe’s will have your inner Napoleon plotting and screaming. Browsing through the bevy of automatic locks, key fobs, cameras, light switches and other accessories had us feeling like a pot-bellied biker with a bone-stock Harley at home.

Like any budding emperor, we first turned our attention to further securing our home turf. The Iris Smart Kit does a fantastic job of keeping things in check when we’re away, but we could use a couple extra door/window sensors; being able to sneak a peek when an alarm is tripped could save unnecessary panic. The Iris Digital IP Security Camera can be connected either wirelessly via its internal 802.11 b/g/n adapter or hardwired directly to lend a set of eyes when you need them most. Its motion activated lens records in 720p and comes with night vision, so you’ll easily be able to explain it was just the damn cat knocking over that vase your mother-in-law gave you. An outdoor model is also available, with the same great features encased in a weatherproof package and the custom programmability afforded by the entire Iris line, so you can see when the cable guy finally comes knocking at your door from the comfort of stop-and-go traffic.

Each and every piece of an Iris kit you add to your empire is easily controlled via your smartphone, tablet or computer.

The Iris Smart Key Fob is one of the easiest and most effective ways to keep your home just how you like it. Not only can it be used to simply control your alarm, but each fob can be programmed to make your Iris devices respond a certain way depending on who’s home. If you’d like to trigger the Iris connected light switches you installed in the foyer, stairs and bedroom to come on every time the missus unlocks the new Schlage electronic deadbolt, no sweat. Going that extra mile to program the mixer and toaster oven to fire up at the same time may feel like a good idea, but trust us, you’ll be better off using those Iris Electrical Outlets to have the big-screen fire up every time you cross threshold instead…just saying.

Each and every piece of an Iris kit you add to your empire is easily controlled via your smartphone, tablet or computer. With a continued subscription to their Premium Service (this on top of the basic service, which is free), all of the programming wizardry from Iris Magic remains, as well as extended streaming, recording and storage times for your home surveillance. If you didn’t go our route and start with Iris’s top-of-the-shelf Smart Kit, it would be a good idea to pick up a range extender or two — not only does it punch up the system’s signal to extend its range, but it also allows you to add more devices to place total home domination well within your grasp.

One of those extras that you should definitely make room for is the carbon monoxide/smoke detector, by First Alert — in fact, you should probably pick up a couple of those too. Once connected to the Iris system you (and any others you have indicated on your network) will be alerted via text, email, phone call or any combination of the three as soon as an event is triggered. First Alert’s alarm also uses next-generation photoelectric smoke-sensing technology: those false alarms that make your head want to explode during greasy hungover Sunday morning breakfast fry-ups should be silenced forever. Amen.

Iris also offers an ingenious little water leak detector. If you rely on a sump pump system to keep your basement high and dry, it’s a great idea to have this installed to alert you to any rising tides. Like a first-timer at a Polar Bear Dip, as soon as this thing touches water everybody’s gonna hear about it; then you can get things in motion to rescue your tax records from a murky death and save yourself the indignity of slaloming through “floaters” of any kind.

With the appropriate number of range extenders, Iris’ Smart Hub can currently put control of up to 200 electronic minions in the palm of your hand — an impressive army, to say the least. As the number of compatible devices increases, we expect our forces to grow accordingly. From installation, to living with, to expanding the Iris Home Management System in the interest of achieving total dominion over our own domain, everything has been an effortless affair. Now, if we could only expand our coverage of Asia in Risk…