High Rise is a city-building strategy board game with a bit of corruption from the designer of The Networks, Wordsy, and Bad Medicine. In the game, you and your opponents are constructing skyscrapers in a somewhat reputable city. You'll move around the board on a one-way track, choosing any unoccupied space ahead of you and doing its action, and waiting for everyone to pass you until you take your next action.
Most of the spaces on the board represent Tenants; various corporations and government entities who would love to move into a notable new building. Each Tenant offers a different power for players who land or build on them. The best part is that the game comes with 45 Tenants, of which you'll only use 15-20 (depending on player count), so every game you play will require different strategies and plans depending on which Tenants are on the board.
Note: This will be our board layout. It will be fully illustrated; see below for an example of the board's final art! Final buildings won't be rectangles; they'll be die-cut to match the contours of the illustration.
The game offers three modes of play:
- Introductory mode - An abbreviated 2-round (100-minute) version of the game that lets new players jump right into the game.
- Standard mode - An abbreviated 2-round (100-minute) version of the game that lets experienced players each construct a Building on a Tenant during setup, giving everyone a unique path before the first turn.
- Full mode - The full 3-round (150-minute) version of the game. The extended length of the game allows you to pull off strategies that you can't do in the shorter game. And despite the length, the game remains engaging and riveting throughout.
Heiko Günther, who was responsible for the remarkable look and flow of Formal Ferret's hit game The Networks, will return as graphic designer for High Rise. We're also delighted to welcome star illustrator Kwanchai Moriya to the team to handle images for the cover and board.
High Rise has been in heavy development since April 2017. The gameplay is 99% done, with only a few rules tweaks remaining. Its compelling gameplay sticks in players' brains long after the game ends.
This is an in-progress rendering of the art, without iconography, for the right side of the board, showing 3 out of the 5 neighborhoods.
Here is the working, pre-graphic design draft of the rulebook and almanac. We will apply graphic design to these documents over the next few months, but this should give you an idea of how the game plays.
You’ll take your turn by moving your Mogul on the one-way track to any unoccupied space and performing that space’s action. But you’ll only get to move again once everyone else has passed you on the track. So don’t move too far!
Actions will generally let you collect Floors into your Construction Yard, construct Buildings with your collected Floors, or manage your Corruption.
Many actions allow you to take Corruption in order to get a bonus. But the player with the most Corruption at the end of each round gets a penalty, and everyone loses VP at the end of the game based on how much Corruption they’ve accumulated.
When you construct Buildings, you must match one of the 5 Blueprints available that round. If you’re first to construct a particular Blueprint, you get an Extra Floor to add to your Building. This is good, because each Floor in your Building earns you 1 VP!
There is a revolutionary new building material called UltraPlastic. Any UltraPlastic listed in a Blueprint can be filled by any color Floor, and any UltraPlastic Floor can stand in for any color in a Blueprint. But if you match UltraPlastic in a Blueprint with an UltraPlastic Floor, you get an Extra Floor in your Building as a reward!
Tenants on the board will give you a power when you land on them or when you build on them. Some powers are immediate; others can be activated whenever you want. If you land on a Tenant with someone’s building, that player gets to draw a random Floor into their Construction Yard.
A round ends once all players have made one lap around the board and stopped in the Stop Zone. The players with the tallest Buildings in each neighborhood, and the players with the tallest buildings overall on the board get bonus VP.
The Introductory and Standard Game ends after 2 rounds, and the Full Game ends after 3 rounds.
Kickstarter backers will also receive a bonus expansion! Here's what it will contain...
The Bonus Expansion will not be exclusive to Kickstarter backers. It will be available at conventions and from the Formal Ferret web site once the game comes out.
NOTE: The following videos were shot back when the game had stackable pieces. Those pieces are no longer part of the game. These reviews also used a older prototype with more primitive graphic design. But the mechanisms of the game are almost completely unchanged, so they will still give you an excellent idea of how High Rise works!
Here are the pledge levels that are currently or soon to be available...
Backing at this pledge level will get you one copy of High Rise, shipped anywhere in the world. You'll also get the Bonus Expansion, which will grow as we hit certain stretch goals. See Shipping Rates for more information about extra shipping costs.
(Only 50 slots available in total)
Backing at this pledge level will get you one copy of High Rise, shipped anywhere in the world for free, with the Bonus Expansion. You’ll also get the opportunity to name one of the Building Tiles!
The fine print for the Donor pledge level: All naming submissions will be reviewed by Formal Ferret. We reserve the right to decline or ask for changes for any name we find inappropriate or cruel, or that overtly advertise a product or service. We will communicate a deadline by the conclusion of the campaign. Please have your submission in before the deadline, or we may not be able to include your suggestion in the game.
(Only 4 slots available in total)
Backing at this pledge level will get you one copy of High Rise, shipped anywhere in the world for free, with the Bonus Expansion. You’ll also get the opportunity to name one of the 4 piers on the board!
The fine print for the Yacht Owner pledge level: All naming submissions will be reviewed by Formal Ferret. We reserve the right to decline or ask for changes for any name we find inappropriate or cruel, or that overtly advertise a product or service. We will communicate a deadline by the conclusion of the campaign. Please have your submission in before the deadline, or we may not be able to include your suggestion in the game.
If you’re not sure if you want to back High Rise yet, but would like to follow along, you can back the game for $1, or any amount you want! On the right side of the page, under “Support,” look for the box that says “Make a pledge without a reward,” and enter the amount you’d like to back at. This will let you get updates as the campaign progresses, and gives you the chance to upgrade your pledge as the campaign ends. If you don’t update your pledge by the end of the campaign, you’ll still be able to modify your pledge in BackerKit, our third-party pledge manager.
UPDATE: We are going to include the $60k stretch goals to all Kickstarter backers for free. That's a bunch of wood/plastic bits to replace the punchboard bits that come in the box. It's a sign of gratitude to all my excellent Kickstarter backers!
I will be working with shipping companies around the world to try to keep shipping costs as low as possible, and to avoid customs fees or duties.
What's the difference between this version of the game from the last Kickstarter campaign?
High Rise was on Kickstarter in early February. I pulled the campaign after one day when I realized the price was too high. This relaunch brings the price of the base game down from $99 to $59.
In order to cut the price by that much, I needed to make a big change: I removed the stackable plastic pieces. Here's a video that details the differences between the old and new version.
Will you be offering stackable plastic in the future, perhaps as a Kickstarter add-on?
Not as a part of this campaign. But if this game becomes as popular as The Networks is right now, I'd say it's a good possibility as part of a future expansion! If I do this, I'll provide an upgrade tier so that backers of this campaign would not need to buy anything redundant.
Do you offer any retailer pledge levels?
After the Kickstarter campaign ends, we will offer a retailer package as an add-on in BackerKit, our post-campaign pledge manager. This is mainly so that retailers will not have to tie up capital into an expensive Kickstarter pledge level for most of the year. Instead, your card will be charged just before the games arrive at my warehouse later this year, so there will only be a few weeks between payment and delivery.
If you're interested, we highly recommend backing this campaign for $1, so you'll be notified when the retailer add-on becomes available.
This offer will only be available for retailers.
What if I want more than one copy?
Back for a single copy now. You will be able to pledge for additional copies as an add-on in BackerKit.
I'm in the EU. Do you offer EU-friendly shipping?
Yes! In previous campaigns, I've shipped to the EU from the UK. That may change for this campaign depending on how Brexit goes, but my fulfiller has a warehouse in Germany that we will be able to ship from. So either way, EU backers will not have to pay customs or VAT.
I'm in the UK. Do you offer UK-friendly shipping?
Yes! I will still be able to ship from the UK for people in the UK. Note that there's a small possibility that backers in Ireland and/or Scotland will get their games from the EU, depending on how Brexit goes.
What other countries will you be shipping from?
In total, I will be shipping from the following countries:
- United Kingdom
- Germany (possibly)
Are you planning to sell this game at conventions?
There is a possibility that I will have a limited number of copies of this game at Gen Con and Essen Spiel. If that happens, I will notify the campaign and reserve copies so that backers attending the convention can pick up their games at the show. If I have leftover games, I will offer them for sale to convention attendees. The number of games sold this way is likely to be low, and I'd expect to sell out of our remaining convention stock before most non-backer attendees can buy it. However, I wanted to mention it in case it is a factor in your deciding to back the game!
I don't like the plastic standees! Can't you do something else?
We tried an all-punchboard solution, but with tiles standing vertically at over 9 inches (23 cm), buildings kept tipping over too easily. 3-centimeter plastic stands with flat bottoms have no problem holding the tiles up.
We do have a $70,000 stretch goal in which all backers receive wood standees. I can't put those in the retail box because it would drive up the cost, but I want to offer a reasonable alternative to plastics, for backers who prefer something else!
I have access to a 3D printer, or I want to use a service to 3D print on my behalf. Will you be offering the STL files for the old stackable plastic game, so that I can play that version?
Yes, I will offer STL files for stackable plastic (with a small fee to compensate the person who designed them). But be warned!
- It will not be cheap. You're going to have to buy a ton of filament in a bunch of different colors. If you want to use a 3D-printing service, count on paying at least a few hundred dollars. There's a LOT of plastic in the stackable plastic version of the game!
- It will not be quick if you are printing yourself. You're looking at printing about 290 individual plastic pieces, not counting defects. If you are working off a single printer, count on this taking a few weeks.
- You will need a bigger bag than the usual bag that comes in a board game. Even a Crown Royale bag is a bit too small here.
- Some pieces will stack a bit too snugly, and stick together in the bag. This wouldn't have been a problem with injection-molded plastic (which is much more accurate than 3D printing). It's not a showstopping issue, but it's something to expect with 3D printed components.
The game plays great with the cardboard pieces, so give it a try before committing to printing plastic pieces!
Gil Hova has been designing board games since 2000, and has been self-publishing his own designs through his publishing company Formal Ferret Games since 2014. He's best known for the strategy game The Networks. He's also designed the family game Wordsy and the party game Bad Medicine.
Gil is co-host of the Ludology podcast with Geoff Engelstein, and has taught game design classes at NYU GameCenter and Playcrafting NYC. He also runs the NYC-Playtest game designer group. Gil's games combine satisfying and rewarding gameplay with streamlined rulesets, and often a dash of humor. He lives in Jersey City (next door to NYC) with his partner and two adorable ferrets.
Heiko Günther is a carpenter and a graphic designer by trade. In 2010, together with five other graphic designers (who share an urge to make the world a more beautiful place) I founded Bureau Stabil, an agency for graphic design and related stuff. They operate from Saarbrücken and love their jobs.
His family has always played board games, mostly the variety that allows you to be mean to the people you really like. Playing board games to me is, among other things, a way to build character. Much like in real life, there are rules you need to adhere to, there are ways you might try and break these rules, there are other people whose actions you might want to guess, react to or influence – in short to interact with – to be successful, and, most importantly, you make and keep changing plans and look for ways to bring them fruition.
But unlike real life, if a plan doesn't work out, you restart and try a different one next time. And, once the game is over, no matter how mean you acted, no matter how devious you were, no matter what grudges you held against your opponents during the game, all of that is over, the testing ground is closed and your friends are your friends again.
Kwanchai Moriya is an illustrator and painter. He was born in New York and grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. He completed his education with a degree in History from the University of California and a degree in Illustration from the Art Center College of Design. Kwanchai lives and works in Los Angeles, California.
He has a passion for making fun illustrations, and has worked primarily in board games, card games and children's books. Kwanchai is also an avid painter, working mostly in acrylics with science fiction and fantasy themes. His other hobbies include making woodworking, playing board games and backpacking.
Written, directed, animated, and edited by: Gil Hova
Camera by: Steve Landau, Dicebreakers
Fib-O-Meter graphics by: Bebo, Be Bold Games
Music credits: "Monkeys Spinning Monkeys," "Look Busy," "Plucky Daisy," "Tiny Fugue" Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com) - Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License - http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Risks and challenges
No Kickstarter project is without risk! My job as creator is to minimize these risks as best I can. To date, I have successfully funded and fulfilled 5 Kickstarter campaigns.
The biggest risk we face are production delays. I am working closely with the plastics team at Panda manufacturing who will make sure that High Rise will be produced quickly and without error.
We are also going to finish up illustration and design at the end of the campaign. We are almost done with the game's graphic design prior to this campaign launch, but there will still be some illustration work to be done. We should have this at the manufacturer by the end of spring.
Of course, we are not planning on delays. But if I have a choice between delaying the game and releasing a game that is significantly suboptimal, I will, whenever possible, delay the game and fix all issues to everyone's satisfaction.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (21 days)