Rise & Fall is the name of the upcoming strategy game for 2 – 4 players from Archipelago creator Christophe Boelinger. The crowdfunding campaign started on Kickstarter on September 6th. We were able to test the game in advance in a digital alpha version and get a first impression.

I would describe Rise & Fall like the Civilization video game series in terms of gameplay. Each player plays their own nameless nation and tries to expand their power and have the most control over different areas on the map. To do this, he slowly builds himself up by roaming the map with nomads and building cities. In addition to the nomads, there are traders and mountaineers who move peacefully across the map, because Rise & Fall does not contain any fights. You can only convert your opponent's figures into your own with the help of temples. In Rise & Fall, the only question is the tactical positioning of its various units.

A “strategy game with full control”…

… this is how the publisher Ludically advertises his new Kickstarter project. This is to mean that there is absolutely no luck or coincidence in this game. And with this promise, the game begins with the construction. The playing field consisting of modular tiles is built up alternately. First you start with the sea, then comes the land, the forests, the mountains and finally the glaciers. Here you can strategically create a map on which you can later use bottlenecks or landscapes to your advantage.

The players then take turns placing a nomad, a city and a ship on the game board in any order. And the game begins. Depending on which units you lead on the field, you have certain civilization cards in your hand at the beginning of a round, which can be played in any order. The respective units and their possible actions are depicted on the civilization cards. You also choose one of these actions for each unit of the same type. Each unit type can be used once per turn. However, different actions can be performed per unit.

Rise & Fall materials. Copyright: Ludically

As soon as a player has all units of a type on the game board, there is a so-called trophy at the end of the round, which brings in additional victory points. All other players must discard a civilization card, which they can only buy back with gold.

Basically, this was already the complete game. In the end you get points for all your trophies, the number of units on the game board, your gold and for areas where you have the most units. Depending on the height of the terrain, the dominant player gets more points. At the end of the game, the player with the most points wins the game.

This simplicity is what made the game so special. Mistakes were quickly punished, but with the right skill and new goals, they can also be quickly rectified. Every second it felt like you were really building your own nation and having an impact on those around you. In terms of gameplay, we thought Rise & Fall was great. However, we have our concerns about how Rise & Fall might work on the table. Due to the fact that the different world tiles are on top of each other, there could quickly be a lot of chaos on the table, as tiles could slip or the different figures could be accidentally knocked over. However, we haven't been able to test a physical copy of Rise & Fall yet, so this is just a guess.

Kickstarter is launched

The Rise & Fall campaign went live on September 6th and will continue until October 13th Kickstarter available. From 59 euros (+ delivery costs) you can also purchase the game in German. The expected delivery date is December 2023. If you buy two games, both copies can be combined due to the different colored figure sets. This allows the game to be played with up to 8 people. So if you happen to have friends who would also be interested in the game, you could fund the game together, saving on shipping costs and sharing each other's copies of Rise & Fall for big nights out.

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