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What's ONEUPMANSHIP all about?

It's all about "playing the game" — with guts and heart...

But oneupmanship (lowercase) is also all about living life like you have a pair, and a brain, and how.

November 11, 2013

Let's do launch.

We had the official debut celebration on Saturday night for all the friends and family who have helped to make this quixotic idea a reality, and to let the world know that ONEUPMANSHIP HAS ARRIVED. A bunch of people stopped by and had a drink, got a picture or two taken, and left with a complimentary first-edition of the "game-changer", as well as the smug satisfaction that they got in on the ground floor of something that is actually going to shift a paradigm. Somewhere. We hope!

October 30, 2013

ONEUPMANSHIP has arrived!

The proverbial slow boat from China finally pulled in the driveway this morning (looking more like a rusty tractor-trailer truck with Jersey plates), so it seems like it will be ONEUPMANSHIP for everybody who behaved this year! Or didn't behave, as the case might be. Ha ha! Calling all first-dibbers, pushy A-types, and the hopelessly, constitutionally impatient — here's your golden opportunity to seize the moment and buy ONEUPMANSHIP now. What are you waiting for, Christmas?

August 4, 2013

Tooling along.

We just received the "tooling" sample, which is essentially the first printed prototype, with the gold foil leaf on the box and everything. We decided to partner with Grand Prix International to manufacture the games, and we couldn't be happier. Looks classy and like we actually know what we're doing!

A shot of what's inside the black box — capitalist pig*, priceless art and private jet included.

May 29, 2013

Getting Kickstarted.

We are finally ready to push the button on the initial manufacturing run, and we thought we'd turn to the Kickstarter community to see whether there are enough closet capitalists out there who want to join us as partners in crime. We set the bar low (our M.O.) and are asking for only $5,000 — so if you haven't gotten on board yet, hurree y'up!

UPDATE — Here's what an old friend replied when I sent him an email about our Kickstarter campaign (click play button):

UPDATE X 2 — Yay! We made our goal, and then some. Thanks so much to everyone who chipped money in, helped us play-test, offered some encouragement (or discouragement), criticism/advice/suggestions and wished us good luck — now it's time to get 'er done...

October 8, 2012

Mr. Pennybags.

Been play-testing with my son Neuman, and I've always wanted to say this: he's literally beating me at my own game. Even when I change the rules slightly every time to try to offset my total incompetence, he still manages to come out on top...

March 30, 2012

Are you game?

We just got an email from Graham Houghton, an archaeologist and writer (and ONEUPMANSHIP fan) from Australia, and we thought we'd share it with you:

"I know how much work goes into this sort of thing. Back in the late 80s and early 90s we developed a game called 'Country Landowner'. It was inspired by all the nouveau riche in the UK, also known variously as yahoos, yuppies and several other appelations, who were spending their sudden fortunes buying up country estates and making out they were the next best thing to some sort of royalty."

"The idea was that you had to run the estate, avoid the taxman, make money, screw everybody else and try to stay out of the bankruptcy court. You bought Title Deeds, shares etc, but the trough (as in 'snouts in') was where you made or lost fortunes. We mocked it up and tested it for months and it seemed to work well.

"But then we tried to sell it. I would never have believed how hard that would be. None of the major manufacturers were interested; out of some 45+ enquiries we only had one response telling us, bluntly, to go away because they only developed in-house ideas. We never did sell."

November 8, 2013: "I'm afraid I have to decline your very kind invitation (to the launch party) on the grounds that I have a screenplay to finish. I will, however, raise a glass here in Adelaide to your success. And by the by, when I've finished the current blockbuster project, I'm going to dust off Country Landowner and update it and make it less parochial. See what you and your butterfly wings have done?"

First Day of Spring, 2012

Et In Arcadia Egos.

Had a great fun time play-testing with J.P. and a couple of his buddies in the conference room of Arcadia, Inc. this morning. Still some tweaks to be made, but the mechanics of the game seem fairly sound. And we had a big winner after about an hour and a half, Kindarp, which was a miracle given that most of the time was spent trying to pile on, and then cut through the b.s., condescension, trash talk and machismo.

Oneupmen: JP, Jeff, Glen and Kindarp.

Leap Day, 2012

All in the family.

You play games the same way you live life, and that's never more true than when you're with family. Unfortunately, I tried to impress everyone (it's my game, isn't it?), but I ended up losing bad ugly...

Tripp, center, with his "trophy" niece Cate, before the start of his slow-but-steady-wins-the-race victory. Connor looked off camera; Dad looked dapper, and even stayed awake until the end.

February 13, 2012

Masters of the (Wall Street) Universe.

J.P. brought his buddy Ken over this morning and we had a first-go at the game. It was interesting to see how they played it—shrewd, aggressive, and in it to win it! Meanwhile, I felt like a dissolute stoner wannabe buying the Trophy Wife and attempting to build the tallest building before I went bankrupt.

Seriously, lotsa fun, and a qualified initial success. There's a lot of work ahead — some elements worked well and others didn't work at all — but at least we've set ourselves up for an interesting, if quixotic adventure.

January 23, 2012

Oneupmanship — Mine's Bigger.

I finally got the game board somewhat mocked-up and have started play-testing with friends. I never thought it would be so much mental effort to design and prototype a simple board game — I think it's been a casebook study in The Peter Principle, validated in the real world by me. Seriously, we rolled the dice and saw it played pretty well since there was some chest-pounding, and a lot of groans and gnashing of teeth!

Hate to seem pushy, and to plaguerize a great turn of phrase, but are you "ready to bite the ass off a bear" yet? Yes, I want ONEUPMANSHIP right now.

October 16, 2011

Based on Wall Street — with ugly underbelly.

This is the innocent-enough text that started it all — my buddy J.P. contacted me with a brilliant concept, perfect for the times:

I thought, what an ideal way to stick it to all the politically-correct wussies out there. My contribution to society, which up to now has been minimal, is going to be a sly, spicy, heterodoxical, real-world board game that is the perfect antidote to the namby-pamby mush that passes for entertainment these days — ONEUPMANSHIP, like life, takes mental toughness, financial acuity, diplomacy, gumption, compunction, and just plain naked talent/ambition to win. A sense of style, and humor, too. Of course good looks don't hurt either. And winning is the name of the game, isn't it?

I know, I know. Looking, and mostly behaving like Keith Richards, on a good day, and being an "artist" (read: con) at heart, I'm probably the last person in the world who should be making anything other than lame excuses, but hey.

*Executive Package comes with a selection of custom pawns, which vary from game to game.

Darwinian. Expensive. Smart. Classic.

ONEUPMANSHIP is a beautifully-designed grownup board game that's not only wicked, cutthroat fun, it's also a witty and irreverent lifestyle accessory/wry political statement.

WARNING: It's the perfect game for the right players, but is definitely not for pinkos, pikers, posers or pantywaists. There are other people who probably won't take a shine to it either, like do-gooders, geektards and vegans, but we wanted to stick with the alliterative for now.

The Oneupmanship Blog


Calling all cheapskates.

Nothing is cheapest. Introducing One Up! as a free PDF download...

5 bullet points and you're ready to shoot.

Writing a screenplay is a piece of cake.

Hey, Players, join the party.

Don't you want to learn every trick in the book, hang around with the cool crowd, get the latest updates and treasures from our Miltonic mind, have the most fun/best time? Of course you do. Alpha Males and Females only.

An Old's Cool Handbook.

We also think there are lots of life lessons to be learned from oneupmanship (the attitude), and THE OFFICIAL MAN UP MANUAL is our stab at a smart-alecky guide to the really important stuff, like "How to be the world's worse dad without even trying" and "Three must-read books if you're on death row." Just kidding.

Our guide is filled with practical, old-school know-how, lost arts, recalcitrance and humor, too: we guarantee you'll laugh out loud at our smirky debut monograph — Brain surgery... it's not rocket science.

Are you also a word nerd?

One Up! is the ultimate mind game — it's not only faster and easier than Scrabble, it's also way harder too. Seriously, do you think you have enough intellectual soup in the kitchen, so-to-speak, to whip out the biggest words and win?

Check out the quick, canny, fun you'll have playing The Wicked/Smart Word Game.

Indian Summer comes around again.

Relive the glory days of hell-bent-for-leather: after a 20-year hiatus the original American motorcycle movie re-debuts as a DVD.

Sidebar tidbit.

In our humble opinion, the five most important books ever written on how to live (or not live) a rich life. Read them to your kids at night —

1. Adam Smith - The Wealth of Nations

2. Adam Smith - The Money Game

3. Robert Heinlein - The Moon is a Harsh Mistress

4. Friedrich Hayek - The Road to Serfdom

5. F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby

6. Michael Lewis - Liar's Poker

Our all-time favorite New Yorker cartoon.

By Mischa Richter. © 1987 The New Yorker.


We learned all about oneupmanship as a teenager in the early '70s from a very old friend named Dr. Victor Popeo. He was, and is, a wry, self-deprecating and fine man, and knew every cool trick in the book. Our hat's off to you, Dr. Popeo.

Eric Berne's bestselling Games People Play was a huge best-seller when we read it in college, and it made a lasting impression on us. (The book, not college.) Even though Berne readily credits Stephen Potter's Gamesmanship as a precursor, we weren't familiar with his work until recently.

*Pluralis maiestatis throughout.