About this project
Sumer is a unique blend of modern board game design and exciting real-time action, set against the beautiful backdrop of a mysterious ancient civilization.
The game is set to come out for Steam Early Access in the next few months, with a full release for PC and Mac once our online multiplayer is ready to ship.
To claim the throne, four nobles of the ziggurat must compete for Inanna’s favor. She is not easily pleased, but what god is? To prove your worth you must perform sacrifices according to Inanna’s sacred rituals. Place your workers in workshops to gain resources and goats. Offer up the resources to Inanna and use the goats to trade for new workshops and abilities. Only the swiftest and cleverest noble will become the ruler of Sumer.
A worker placement video game!
Sumer takes the board game mechanic of worker placement to a new level. Each day, you and your competitors will awaken at dawn to begin your worship. Run and jump around the ziggurat to place your workers so they'll collect resources. You only have 2 workers, so you better figure out your strategy, move fast, and claim workshops before your friends beat you to it!
Real-Time Dynamic Auctions!
Whoever is willing to sacrifice the most goats gets Inanna's blessing! The auction is simple — just move left or right to change your bid in real time. Each auction is a mind game of bluffing and bravado, and you never know an item’s real price until time is up! Trick your opponents into overpaying for their bids while you snag good bargains for your own!
For an in-depth look at the basics of how the game is played, check out our gameplay explanation video:
- 1-4 players - Play local with up to 4 players. Master playing solo or try to beat up to three of your friends.
- Devious AI - A variety of personalities and skill levels makes the game a challenge for any player.
- Online multiplayer - Much of the development funding from this Kickstarter will go towards letting you test your skills online against friends and strangers.
- Comfortable game length - With a game experience of 20 to 30 minutes, Sumer plays in a fraction of the time of a comparable strategy board game.
- Infinitely replayable - Randomized setup and a huge variety of different auction items make each playthrough a unique strategic experience.
- Nuanced strategies - There is no single key to winning. Being quick on your feet and making smart long-term investments are both crucial to victory.
- Sumerian culture - We’ve worked with professional historians to bring you the ancient civilization that invented writing, beer, and board games.
- Customizable gameplay - Play the way you want by turning on variants like Big Head mode and Hidden Auction Items.
- Your controls - The game can be played with controllers, mouse and keyboard, all at the same time!
We wanted to make sure that playing Sumer felt like playing a board game designed from the ground up to be a video game. While there are digital versions of existing board games, we wanted to make something that took advantage of the affordances of video games - in other words, a board game that could only ever be digital.
The two board game mechanics at Sumer’s core are worker placement and auctions. We gave each of them a digital twist to bring them to video games.
Each mechanic has its own phase, and the two are deeply intertwined. Use the worker placement phase to compete for points and prepare for the auction. Then, use the auction phase to build your strategy with items that will help you get more points in the next worker placement phase. Learning to take advantage of both phases is therefore key to victory.
As ancient civilizations go, Sumer is pretty obscure. Heck, most people think it’s called "Sumeria". That’s understandable, since the culture was lost and forgotten until only about 150 years ago.
With the help of historians and our own research, we drew from a wealth of Sumerian culture and mythology that inspired the mechanics and visuals in our game. We hope you get to know this intriguing ancient culture while playing.
Did you know that Sumerians...
- ...invented writing? Originally used for counting bushels of barley, the written Sumerian language, like Latin, was used for thousands of years after their culture came to an end.
- ...built the first cities in the world? We actually chose Sumer as our setting because we wanted to create the sense of building up a city from nothing.
- ...invented both beer-brewing and the drinking straw? They used huge straws to sip beer out of massive pots without having to drink the muddy part at the top.
- ...wrote the world’s first literature? They composed the cycle of Gilgamesh stories which became the basis for the Epic of Gilgamesh, considered the earliest great literary work.
Although we know what materials and instruments the Sumerians used, nobody knows exactly what their music sounded like. Armed with contemporary research and the few surviving examples of ancient Mesopotamian music, composer Neil Quillen has created a beautiful, atmospheric soundtrack. Try giving our title screen music a listen:
For $75 you can get the FOUR NOBLES and a t-shirt!
For $500 you can voice goats, workers, sound effects and music. A special option will be available in game that turns on your set of custom sound effects.
If we hit our goal of $25,000, we will release the great game of Sumer on PC and Mac. But even more funding gives us the possibility of adding additional features and would allow us to bring the game to more platforms.
We formed Studio Wumpus to explore the exciting possibilities of digital board games. If we combined the social experience and elegant systems of board games with the visceral thrill of video games, what sort of new experiences could we create?
We’ve been working on Sumer for the better part of 2 years. The game was jointly designed by the four members of the team, with each member taking over an important development role as we progressed. Although the initial phases of development were supported by the NYU Game Center Incubator, we've been working independently without external funding since fall 2015.
Who are we?
Our core team consists of four people: Misha Favorov, Sig Gunnarsson, Josh Raab and Geoff Suthers. We handle the design, code, and implementation of everything in the game.
We have been working with several freelancers to create our stunning visuals and music, including artists Jet Landis and Adam Alexander, and composer Neil Quillen.
We are in the final stretch of the game development process, but there is plenty left to do in the next few months. That is why we need your help!
We were Greenlit by our amazing community in just 8 days! We’ll get Sumer up on Steam Early Access within the next few of months and once it’s up, you will get constant updates on the game until we release it at the end of the year.
A successful Kickstarter campaign means we are able to implement online multiplayer and get the game to it's community in less time. It will let us continue working with our incredible freelance talent for more great art, music, and voice-over work. It will let us make our best version of Sumer. The finish line is in sight, and we can get there with your help.
Risks and challenges
There is always a risk to making a whole new kind of game like Sumer. Breaking new ground means that there haven’t been many games we can look to for guidance. The good news is, we’ve already spent the time figuring most of this stuff out. We’ve iterated continually on our user interface to make the game easier to learn and understand so that players can enjoy the fast-paced gameplay. Of course, nothing is perfect, and there may be unexpected delays as we make improvements based on feedback from the Early Access community.
Being a new game studio also has its challenges. We have a strong background in game development, but this will be the first time we’re self-publishing on Steam or consoles. We expect some kinks in getting the game onto all target platforms, but our network of game developer friends and contacts will help us get those sorted out quickly.
Rest assured: Sumer will be released. If unexpected delays accumulate and funds deplete, we will still work hard to get this great game into your hands. It’s just a matter of what additional features and extra polish we’ll be able to bring you, and how long that will take.
Thank you for your support!
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