Rise Up: The Game Of People & Power
Above Photo: From store.toolboxfored.org
Build your movement. Beat the system. A board game about people winning together—even when the cards are stacked against us.
- You can also order Rise Up Expansion Packs here.
- You can also order the Rise Up Education Kit here.
- You can order the Rise Up Poster Series here.
Lead a march of thousands of people. Write a protest song that goes viral. Fight for what you believe in. Rise Up is a cooperative board game about building people power and taking on oppressive systems to create change. It’s ethically manufactured and made by the creators of Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives.
In each game of Rise Up, players take creative actions to fight for victory. Everyone wins or loses together. The game weaves a story about your movement, which can either be based in reality (like stopping an oil pipeline) or fictional (like fighting for dragon rights). But “the System” is hard at work too, maneuvering to crush your movement through tactics like setting up surveillance, making arrests, or causing infighting.
A great choice for game nights with friends and family, Rise Up is an alternative to many mainstream board games that feature themes of conquest, exploitation, and warfare. It’s a strategy game that can only be won through player collaboration.
And we’ve done something innovative: just flip the board over, and you’ll be able to play Rise Up Simplified, a version that’s quicker to learn and that has simpler rules. Rise Up Simplified is appropriate for younger kids and people who have less experience with games. It can be played with co-workers, in workshops, trainings, after hours at conferences or retreats, and in community organizing settings where time is of the essence.
At the start of each game, players come up with a movement they want to create. It can be serious or silly. (Such as “fighting for a living wage” or “free pizza for everyone.”) Then the game naturally teases out the story of your movement as you go. Players have to gain supporters in order to play Movement Cards like “We organize a massive march!”, “General strike,” “We take time to help out our neighbors and build our community,” and “Someone writes a protest song.” These cards allow players to build their movement, take on the System, and help their fellow players gain supporters and resources.
The goal is to grow your movement power in different places across the board. But watch out, because the System is fighting back. With cards like “Smear campaign against our movement” or “Arbitrary arrests”, the System will make you lose supporters and resources while it cements its own power.
Players lose if they run out of supporters or if the System gains too many victories. Players win if they score more victories than the System.
Rise Up also has unique cooperative game mechanics that keep players interested and engaged during the whole game, even when it’s not their turn.
“Rise Up is a blast for the gameplay alone. The cooperative element added a layer of novelty for even this hardened gamer nerd — it takes a lot of group strategizing to beat The System! But the icing on the cake is the opportunity for activists to both poke fun at ourselves and engage with real tactical questions.”
-Jessica Stites, Executive Editor, In These Times magazine
“I train organizers for a living, and what’s impressive to me about Rise Up is how closely the play of the game reflects the kind of situations that organizers encounter in real life. It’s great practice for those who organize professionally, and great fun for those who don’t.”
–Jeff Pinzino, Associate Director, Midwest Academy
“The game was super fun! Loved that it encourages cooperation, creativity and strategic thinking in a super chill way. Can’t wait to play it with my friends!”
– Hnin, Cooperative Training Director at Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive (CoFed)
“I want to organize!”
– Nine year old game tester of Rise Up Simplified.
“I have never played a collaborative game before and now, because of Rise Up, I am converted. I get it. It created interesting and challenging game play with tension in the moments of collective decision making. As someone with no experience in social organizing, Rise Up enabled me to connect and discuss strategies and experiences with my teammates who have a lot more experience in social action. Rise Up created a conduit for conversation that was open and not intimidating.”
-Charlotte McCurdy, Master of Industrial Design Candidate ’18, Rhode Island School of Design
“It was a treat to play a game that was so genuinely interactive and cooperative! Rise Up encouraged me to think creatively about social issues I care about while building relationships playing with – rather than against – the people sitting around the table with me. And it was fun!”
– Jackie Stein, Public Health Phd Candidate, UMASS Amherst
“I am blown away by the educational opportunity this game provides. I’m very much looking forward to playing this with my family, friends, and community. Used as a tool for teaching and empowerment, I believe this game will be a great resource to those who want to organize and create better systems to improve their communities and society as a whole.”
– Stephanie Merrill, Chicago activist, mother, and teacher
“Rise Up is innovative and timely – we are facing incredibly difficult social and political struggles where we are asked to identify the systems that perpetuate inequality and how we can come together to fight back for ourselves and for our communities every day. Rise Up makes these conversations possible, effortless and brings levity by using storytelling/narrative based gameplay to encourage advanced gamers and novices alike to jump in and get involved. Thanks for making such a wonderful game, it’s truly phenomenal.”
-Vanessa Fernandez, Chicago-based activist and game enthusiast
“Rise Up is a great game for teaching about social movements. Not only does it cover various strategies and tactics used to create social change, it does so in an inviting and creative manner. I would recommend this game to anyone who wants to learn how to make their voices heard on issues that are important to them.”
-Peter Hoy, Food systems educator
We’re dedicated to manufacturing Rise Up in an ethical way. It ise produced in the United States, and nearly 100% of the money spent on the manufacturing has gone to a worker-owned company using environmentally friendly resources whenever possible. This is groundbreaking for board games—as far as we know, it has never been done before for a game of this scale or scope.
Rise Up is a product of the TESA Collective (The Toolbox for Education and Social Action). TESA creates tools and programs for your cause. Want to learn more or work together? Go to toolboxfored.org. Brian Van Slyke of the TESA Collective is the game designer and project lead for Rise Up.
Graphic Designer: Molly McLeod. Molly McLeod is a designer, artist, and educator based in Oakland, California. She helps nonprofits and organizations working toward social justice communicate more effectively and design awesome things. TESA previously worked with Molly on the graphic design of Co-opoly: The Game of Cooperatives, and we’re thrilled to be collaborating with her again.
Artist: Design Action Collective. We’re excited to team up with Design Action Collective, a social justice, worker-owned, and union design and visual communications studio based in Oakland, California. Design Action is making beautiful, custom art for Rise Up’s cards, board, and box. Innosanto Nagara is bottom-lining the illustration work. He is the author and illustrator of the children’s books A is for Activist, Counting on Community, and the upcoming My Night in the Planetarium.
Printer: Community Printers. Since 1977, Community Printers have been engaged in high-quality commercial printing. They are also a worker-owned cooperative. They are especially proud of their history of community involvement, social activism, and commitment to environmentally friendly printing. Community Printers and the rest of the Rise Up team have been collaborating closely to figure out how to manufacture Rise Up so that it is accessible to the public.
Thanks to all of our Kickstarter backers for making Rise Up possible! We especially want to thank two organizations for their generous contributions to the game’s production:
SEIU: We are the Service Employees International Union, an organization of two million members united by the belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide and dedicated to improving the lives of workers and their families and creating a more just and humane society. seiu.org
The Flux Movement: Flux is a global initiative for driving mass adoption of the world’s most prosperous democratic system. voteflux.org