Uprise is a unique strategic 3-D tower building game, by independent game designer Alex Racine and Games by AR. There are 2 editions of the game, The Influential Edition, and the Apprentice Edition. The Influential Edition contains enough cards and components to play the competitive mode with up to four players or the cooperative mode with up to eight players. The smaller Apprentice Edition only allows for two players in competitive and four in cooperative. There is also a solitaire-play mode that both editions can, somewhat obviously, handle. Unless otherwise noted I’ll be referring to the Influential Edition throughout this Spotlight but as a general rule, the Apprentice Edition includes half the stuff.
Each game starts with drawing a mission card, that has one of 40 unique goals for that game. Some of the goals are score-based, some require a checklist of sub-goals, and still more require you to match a specific building pattern. Each player then draws a starting Top Hat* card and a starting Secret Agenda* card. They will then draw a hand of three ‘Stache* cards which they can either put in their Vault to buy upgrades on later turns or use to play 3D Bureau* pieces for completing their Secret Agendas. [I’ll come back to the reason behind the cards names later.] Play continues until all the players run out of ‘Stache Cards or they complete the Mission requirements.
I was lucky enough to try out Uprise at the Edmonton Prototype Convention recently (and had actually preregistered to try it out BEFORE it hit Kickstarter and before deciding to write this spotlight because it looked great. For the record, I was right and it really was great.
The unique combination of dexterity, balance, and the fact that Top Hat cards do not need to be even remotely aligned, makes for some unusual and ridiculous tower constructions. The volume and variety of Mission cards ensure that every game is different and (hopefully) fun.
The prices for this campaign are exceptionally reasonable and in Canadian Dollars (which currently has a favourable exchange rate for many countries). Also nice is that all the shipping costs have been provided up front to avoid any nasty surprises after your money is spent.
For only $35(CAD) you can get the smaller Apprentice Edition, while $55 gets the better Influential Edition. There is also a Kickstarter exclusive Illuminati Limited Edition for $80 which replaces the red Bureau pieces with glow-in-dark versions. If you and two friends all want copies there are a pair of group pledges for three copies of either edition for $100 & $150, saving you money on each game and on shipping.
I promised to come back to why the cards are named as there are. The ‘theme’ of Uprise is that you are building a Secret Society. You travel the world building Bureaus while disguised in a stylish Top Hat and Mustache. It’s a cute take on the theme, but it’s completely superfluous in my opinion. It doesn’t take anything away from the game and it doesn’t add anything to the game, but as Stephen Sondheim wrote in Gypsy: you gotta have a gimmick.
All told, Uprise is a complete blast. EPOC wasn’t a massive event, so I was usually near enough to watch the many people who played enjoying themselves for two days.