Rise (Game Review by Ben Bruckart)

  • Designer:  Remo Conzadori and Marco Pranzo
  • Publisher:  DLP Games and Capstone Games.
  • Players:  1-4
  • Ages:  14+
  • Time:  60 Minutes
  • Times Played: 4


Rise is a game about scoring for economic and social development of a city. You manage your progress on several tracks to influence different areas of science, culture, and politics while managing happiness and the environment impact.

But what is it really?

There is almost no theme here and I love it. Themes are usually only useful for teaching games and giving players a sense of goals but this game tosses theme out and gets right down to 10 tech trees. This is a tech tree game pure and simple!

The Turn Summary

Rise gets a big bump for simplicity. You take three decks of Action cards, one for each of the game’s three eras (removing some random cards depending on player counts), shuffle them separately and then shuffle a deck of event cards. Each turn comprises flipping over Action cards on certain spots of a track and flipping over event cards on spots in between the age cards and then each person places one (yes, just one) factory below an Action card. You do this through all the ages with some cleanup.

The Components

This game has eleven cardboard tracks, ten for tech trees and one for scoring. This will be the majority of what is laid out in front of the players. There is a thin board where the age and events are laid out with the turn summary explained. Players have a few small wooden components used to designation position on the eleven boards and some cardboard money. There’s a couple other pieces that you use depending on which boards you choose (each board has an “A” and “B” side).

The rules are explained below but to skip to thoughts <link here>

Each turn you place your factory below one of the four exposed Action cards and leave it there until everyone places a factory. If someone places a factory on the same card as you chose, they place it to the left of your factory giving you a bonus action (more about that later). Going later can reward you with more events, as the Action cards are resolved from left to right.

Gameplay and Tracks

As explained above, Rise is played over three eras (each with their own decks). The number of cards comes out to 4 game rounds per era so you play 12 turns in total.

Each game round consists of five phases.

A. Gain Income

B. Card Display Setup

C. Place Factories below Action Cards

D. Activate Events and Actions

E. Activate End of Round Effects, Coin limits.

A. Gain Income

Take your income according to your position on the Industry track. It consists of coins and sometimes victory points as well.

B. Card Display Setup

Reveal the top 4 cards of the Action card pile and the top 3 cards of the event pile and place them in the frame alternating with each other.

C. Place Factories

In the above picture, you can see the turn order track in the top left. In turn order, each player places their factory below a factory card. There are four available spots with events between them. Placing a factory farther to the right has additional costs on top of what the card may cost. The spots cost 0, 1, 2, and 3 the farther to the right you go.

If someone places a factory on the card where you’ve placed a factory, they place their factory to the left of yours. This gives you the option of activating one of your face-up “School tiles”, which gives you a bonus action. Over the course of the game, you can add to your supply of School tiles, which are exhausted when you activate them; some actions or cards refresh them, so this is an area where players have agency to min/max. [In a 2p game, the rule is that the first player gets to activate a School tile if their opponent places a factory anywhere to the left of theirs (not necessarily on the same card).]

D. Activate Events and Actions

Resolve the Action cards and Event cards from left to right. Each action card has a top and a bottom action. The top action is cheaper (no coin cost), but the bottom action does more. After you have completed the action, you move your factory to the turn action space that is open and farthest left.

When an Event card is reached, all players who have their factories to the right of the card activates its effect.

E. Activate End of Round Effects, Coin Limit

This symbol symbolizes end of round rewards. Depending on the board, this is usually coins, but it can be points as well. You gain or lose coins or points depending on your positions!

After this occurs for 3 eras, there is end gaming scoring. Score 1 victory point for each space you advanced on the Politics Track. The Satisfaction Track can award you points. Cultural tiles which go on the Culture Track, can earn you points based on requirements of the tile. Coins can score some extra points if you play with the B side of the Culture Track.

High score wins and ties are broken by most coins.

The Tracks

It’s a little difficult to highlight each of the ten tracks (and both their sides) but let me give a peak into some the replay value.

The Satisfaction and Riot Tracks

These tracks are things you must balance. While going on each is good, going low can cost you money, points, and abilities. Often times, you can go up a track, but have to go down one of these respective tracks and there are tradeoffs to consider.

The Science, Culture, and Politics Tracks

These are the three main tracks of the game in my opinion. Each of these tracks are a little longer and movement up and down in them is sometimes less frequent. These tracks do tie into some end of game scoring that synergize with the other tracks. Science moves you up on other tracks. Culture has more association with Satisfaction and some end game scoring. Politics has more end of game ramifications and rewards those who progress here first.

School Track

The school track gives some choice to those who go here to attain more books used in the factory placement bonuses. The books are piece and track dependent based on your choices. If you go here last, you have fewer choices than those who go here first.

Bank Track

This track makes some of the factory spots cheaper and can reward you money or victory points. The tracks also have different movement options between the spots which I will give a taste of below.

Press Track

The Press track is a set of circular tracks that let you progress down little paths and return to the middle. The rewards are smaller but you are less committed to one set of extra actions and can adjust your path based on your strategy.

Industry Track

The Industry track gives you a set of income as either coins or victory points but the costs are steep, often rooted in decreasing progress on the Riot track. The rewards here do compound during the game but you can spend a few turns recovering from a choice to move up here.

Bureau Track

The Bureau track give you rewards that get better the longer you stay in it but you can choose to collect and restart at the beginning at any time.

The tracks have different types of spaces.

This spot is often where players start and any number of people can reside here. 
Some track spots allow multiple players to land there.Some track spots allow just one person to land there and others pass over it without a penalty (except missing the activation). 
Some track spots let you activate two other tracks whereas some spots let you choose one of two tracks to move up in.Some track spots let you optionally collect something and return to the start while others let you collect something and collect each space you passed often giving many rewards for the pickup. 

There’s dozens of scenarios and they are all pretty well covered in the rulebook.

Spots with black icons and font are rewards. Spots with red are costs.


Some tracks have random setup pieces that change emphasis for scoring. Each of the ten tracks has two sides that are different but do not change the game too much. This gives players more options when emphasizing tracks. There are no random changes within the tech trees. Only the differences in the card presentations

Event Cards

While the era cards have increasing value as the game goes on, there is only one deck of event cards. Most of these are beneficial cards but some have costs and move you down certain tracks. Often going deeper (farther to the right) in the turn, means you will benefit from more Event cards but that also means higher costs and you must weigh whether it fits your strategy or is worth it.

My Thoughts on the Game

This game was recommended to me by my friend and fellow OGer Simon Weinberg and this one surprised me. Its crunchy for sure. Minimizing moving down while maximizing moving up tracks is tough, often requiring you to determine if the event cards are worth going later for. The iconography is quick to teach and the simplicity of the turn makes it much more likely to be played even with casual gamers. I like that it doesn’t try to overdo a theme (theme, shmeme) and gets right to how to play and here are the tracks. After your first play, you will see the value in the income steps but seeing different strategies show you there is no one way of winning.

Where Tiletum for me is this year’s best gamer’s game, Rise comes across as a much more approachable, medium weight game that is fun and thinky. DLP did a great job in development and the rulebook is clear with examples and explanations for even the “B” sides of the boards.

Thoughts of Other Opinionated Gamers:

Dale Y (3 plays) – Well, if you wanted a subtitle for this game, it would be “Tracks: the Game”.   This is one of those games that focuses on a single thing, and I must say it does it pretty well.  Each of the tracks has its own strategy – both for progressing on it as well as what sorts of chaining actions it might provide; and having two different sides for each track keeps you constantly re-evaluating your possible choices with each game.  Thus far, I haven’t found any of the tracks to be superior or a slam-dunk; you just have to maximize your actions with the choices you get.   Given the randomness of the card deck, there doesn’t seem to be much advance planning that you can do when you see the setup of the tracks; you still have to wait and see what actions you can take each turn to figure out your best play.  I thought that it would be too repetitive and same-y to stay around, but after 3 plays, I’m still looking forward to trying it again.  I really doubt I’ll make it to the 2^10 different setups that you can have, but I certainly think 2^3 plays is likely; and in this day and age, that says something.

Ratings from the Opinionated Gamers

§  I love it!  Ben Bruckart

§  I like it. Dale Y

§  Neutral. Lorna

§  Not for me… 

Obligatory Cat in the Box Picture:

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