Teen creates card game from the bottom up
LINCOLN — Seventeen-year-old Harrison Brooks and his family have been visiting Addison County from their New York City home since he was a young kid.
“Every chance we’d get, we would come up here to visit (my grandmother in Lincoln) and spend as much time as we could,” he told the Independent. “A lot of my early childhood memories are from Vermont: struggling to lift hay bales, looking forward to the Addison County fair, going to summer camp in Hancock, learning how to lawn mow.”
This summer the Brookses are in the process of moving up to Lincoln to live year round, and among the things Harrison brought with him from the Bronx was “ElevatorUp.” It’s an old school card game from a 21st century kid. And Brooks began selling the game this summer out of his bedroom here in Lincoln.
“We have always been a big card and board gaming family,” he said.
ElevatorUp is played with a special deck of cards. Brooks created it when he was around 12 years old. He printed out drawings on paper and then cut them into cards. Then he’d get his older sister and folks to play the game that was still developing in his head.
“It didn’t have the name or theme yet,” he said, “I’d play with my family and friends, continuing to refine the rules. When I was older, I thought that other people would really enjoy playing this game, so I came up with the theme (elevators), wrote, rewrote, and rewrote again the rules to make it as clear as possible, and designed the cards.
“I have an older sister who, along with my parents and friends, were my test subjects who would give me feedback on the rules, designs, and other aspects of the game.”
The goal of the game, recommended for 2-5 players ages 7 and older, is to be the first one out of cards. In order to do that, you must play cards that are either a special action card or that are higher than the previously played card. As the game goes on and the building gets taller and taller, special action cards can make players “stuck,” send them down to the lobby, close the doors on them, or even start a brand new building. In order to win, players must use face up cards, which were set before gameplay started as well as play mystery face down cards, which can completely change the player’s position right at the end of the game.
Brooks not only created the concept and particulars of the card game, but he also set up distribution and marketing. He sells ElevatorUp on Amazon. He set up a slick website with a how-to-play video and marketing photos of players in action (they look they are having a lot of fun).
Brooks still has to finish his senior year in high school. If his high school in the Bronx offers classes online — as he expect — he will wrap up his secondary education at that school from his Lincoln home.
Harrison has enjoyed creating his first card game, and is bullish on its future.
“I definitely want to create more games in the future,” he said. “Right now, I have been trying to spend all my energy on ElevatorUp, but my wheels have been turning about possible new games and variations of ElevatorUp, so we’ll have to see what’s next!”