Behind the lighthearted theme of Livestock Uprising is a solid game that combines resource management and player versus player combat with a randomized game board. The game is both fun and funny, at least if you find cards named Dynamite Donkey and Bloodthirsty Llama humorous. While the tongue in cheek humor will keep you laughing at the table, Livestock Uprising actually packs in a decent amount of strategy and depth.
The game play area is comprised of a set number of tiles, which is dependent on the number of players. These tiles are randomly placed to form a square grid, with most tiles having either a type of resource or an obstacle.
Players control three generals that belong to one faction (cows, pigs, goats, or chickens). These generals do not have attack and defense power of their own, but must recruit troops in order to fight and harvest. The various troops cost a different amount of multiple resources. For example a Sacrificial Sheep cost 2 Grass while an Ornery Oxen costs 1 Carrot and 2 Apples. Certain troops can only harvest certain types of resources, which is typically what is needed to upgrade to the next most powerful troop type. In our games, announcing out loud what troop unit we plan to buy has gotten laughs and then interest from gamers at other tables. Saying, “I’m going to buy a Dynamite Donkey” definitely gets some attention.
Most troops are common and can be purchased by any player, however, each player has a set of special forces that only they may recruit. Each of these special forces is unique and certainly worth their resource cost.
At some point, while you are out gathering resources just minding your own business, an opponent will attack you. Yay for combat! Combat is based on the fixed total of your troops attack value combined with a dice roll. This number is compared to the defender’s combined defense value and dice roll. This means there is a little chance involved.
Eventually, players will harvest enough resources to recruit five troops for each general. When this happens (or actually before this if you just really, really want to) the generals and their troops can be combined to form a super army! Basically, the super army is a super awesome killing machine. While the super army can no longer harvest resources, it uses the combined attack power of all its troops. It also gets a movement bonus and is all around pretty BA. Simply take your super army and defeat the other players for supreme victory.
The components are all top quality. The cards feel and look nice, the tiles that make up the board are thick, and the resources tokens are thick and plentiful. You get player boards and cardboard standies to represent your generals. This adds a very nice tactile aspect to the game. And, if you really want to go all out, upgraded components, such as a wooden trough, can be purchased from the publisher.
The replay value of Livestock Uprising is fairly high. The randomly generated playing area makes the game board different every single time the game is played. The combat mechanic and the different strategies that players can employ mean the game won’t go stale for a long time.
The storage solution is decent. All of the tiles fit upright in a slot on one side of the box and there are baggies for the cards, resources tokens, and dice, which fit nicely on the other side of the box. The player boards fit on top and keep everything snug.