Uprising: Curse of the Last Emperor is a board game that can be described as “made in Germany”. In addition: The title from Nemesis Games is extremely successful in crowdfunding on Kickstarter. Cooperative, 4X, solo mode, well equipped, visually impressive: there are many reasons for the success of the board game. Still, you can't get rid of the feeling that there has to be more to Uprising.
An old Kickstarter: wisdom says: If it works, then it works. With Uprising - Curse of the Emperor this is currently easy to see. Well over 2.000 supporters have put money into the crowdfunding of the 4X board game that has its roots in Berlin, among other places. The makers say of themselves that they are “dungeon masters”, experts in role-playing games, connoisseurs of the scene and passionate about them. You can see that throughout the campaign - the players seem to be drawn to the passion for a board game whose rough mechanics aren't all that unique. Why does Uprising still stand out as a project? It's because of what you don't see right away.
Uprising: One of those "one percent"
Fans have to put around 79 or even 129 US dollars on the table to secure their copy of the board game Uprising: Curse of the Emperor. No small amounts, but players are not afraid to invest in the crowdfunding project. The hopes for a terrific gaming experience are there, fueled by how-to videos and previews in which the big names in the scene rave about the 4X board game.
Once upon a time on the islands of Azuhl. Players control the fortunes of their chosen faction - there are a total of eight to choose from, each headed by a leader with individual skills and his own deck of cards. That creates variance, a small trick with a big effect. Also clever: Different levels of difficulty determine how challenging a cooperative game of uprising is.
Divided into chapters, again divided into phases, the heroes make their way across the hex fields of the game board. Your goal: to collect points - more than the opposing factions. You could moan about that, but with Uprising, the path to the goal seems to be the essential part. You get to this point in different ways: quite clumsily through battles, but also by completing quests or by offering refugees a new home on the islands of Azuhl. Whether you win or lose in the end is usually a bonus in cooperative games anyway. Having fun together, being entertained and being able to immerse yourself in the game - these are factors that can inspire players. The creators of Uprising seem to have succeeded in doing just that with their idea.
The success on Kickstarter is considerable for a debut. With Uprising: Curse of the Emperor, Nemesis Games celebrates a debut in two respects: It is the first Kickstarter project of the game company and their first game at all. The title is offered to an international audience in English. The three creative minds have determined it that way, also to initially reduce the effort. Offering a board game in two languages was by no means impossible, but it would have meant more work that would not have been affordable at the moment - and so German fans have to be content with English texts, at least for the time being - after all, it will be a localized set of rules.
And a fully localized version, i.e. Uprising entirely in German? The makers hope that this can be implemented in the future. "We hope that Uprising will also be available in German one day and will do everything in our power for it, especially after we've seen how overwhelming the support from Germany is," says Dirk Sommer from Nemesis Games, who is responsible for the translation, among other things of the regulations is responsible. For the current crowdfunding campaign, they played it safe. Also in order to be able to deliver the game as planned. "We decided to use English for this Kickstarter because we still have a lot to learn and we have seen friends how a Kickstarter can be delayed for years through multilingualism".
Invested in success early on
Nemesis Games had a plan: collect around 33.000 euros and thus realize Uprising: Curse of the Emperor. The bare figures show how well this works. The crowdfunding campaign will run until September 10th, and the financing target has long been exceeded by miles.
It was anything but certain that their Kickstarter would be so successful. Not even that Uprising even comes from the funding was considered a set. “Of course you hope for success,” reveals Dirk, who worked on the project with his teammates for around four years. The realization: “As far as I know, one percent of all Kickstarters make it past the 100.000 mark,” says Dirk Sommer. There are a few more in the end, but these “magic projects” are in the low, single-digit percentage range. So the champagne corks were allowed to pop at Nemesis Games: “Yes, we are surprised, you simply cannot count on such a success. That of course motivates us to give even more gas. " Said and done. You no longer have to worry about the 100.000 mark, now it's time to double. Nemesis Games is fighting to reach 200.000 euros. The limit will probably fall with the remaining two weeks until the final gong.
“We are proud and overjoyed that our baby is so well received”, says Dirk Sommer happily and when you look at the campaign, the performance and the game, you take away the joy of the creators. Uprising is not an anonymous large-scale project, but corresponds to the Kickstarter idea. This cooperative board game is a prototype of the idea that actually seems to be behind “crowdfunding”.
Laying down such successful funding is also work. The makers invested time early on, in their game and the trappings. “We started public playtests in Berlin very, very early on,” reveals Dirk. In the capital there are “fortunately an almost endless number of board game enthusiasts”. And then there was the fact that people on YouTube or Instagram also liked the project. “We got an incredible amount of support”.
On top of that, there are some benevolent choices about their Kickstarter. Instead of gray miniatures, which presumably only a fraction of the games actually painted, Uprising has acrylic standees: colorful, ready to use and pretty to look at right from the start. It seems as if the creative minds behind Nemesis Games speak from experience: “In any case, we have enough unpainted gray plastic at home,” says Dirk.
“We risked not offering conventional stretch goals, but simply said: 'Hey - our baby is born of the highest quality right from the start'”, Dirk explains about the obvious peculiarities of the Kickstarter campaign. A “Linen Finish” as an unlock at 15.000 euros? There is no such thing as standard. You will also look in vain for an eight-part modular inlay as an intermediate goal, because that is also included as a service. This means that players know right from the start what they are getting for their pledge. Clever. The decisions are well received, reveals Dirk Sommer: "We get a lot of positive feedback for them."
But passion alone is not enough when it comes to taking a game from the drawing board to the shelves. The playfulness has to be right, the concept too. Uprising: Curse of the Emperor seems to score with both. “Personally, I don't know of any cooperative 4X game,” thinks Dirk. "There is sure to be one, but I think this aspect contributes to our success." And then: "I think people also recognize how much work we have done." The time factor again, but with good reason. “Which publisher has time to test and develop a game for four years?” Asked Dirk as a question.
Who is now curious: The Campaign for the cooperative 4X board game Uprising: Curse of the Emperor runs on Kickstarter until September 10th. Backer is expected to hold the game in their hands in August 2021, that's Nemesis Games' plan - and so far the three “Dungeon Masters” have been very successful in implementing their plans.