We were created to serve the gods, but who among us will rule? Grow barley, make pots, and bring your goats to market—then sacrifice it all to win the favor of the gods! Sumer is a cutthroat digital board game about four Sumerian nobles engaged in the political game of worship. Action meets strategy in this raw struggle for power set at the dawn of civilization.
The game is divided into harvest and auction phases. During the harvest phase, players use their workers to generate resources like barley and clay which can be sacrificed to gain victory points. Players also collect goats that are used during the auction to bid on valuable items like extra workers, resource production buildings, or statues that grant victory points. Success in Sumer requires a combination of strategic planning, platforming skill, and situational adaptation. The game combines the depth and elegance of European-style board games with the excitement of action video games.
You can also watch an explanation of the game here:
The goal of this project was to harmonize modern board game design aesthetics with the medium of local multiplayer video games. Every team member is an avid player of both tabletop and digital games, and we wanted to create something with the best aspects of both. We were heavily inspired by Ozark Softscape’s 1983 masterpiece M.U.L.E., which combines a complex economic simulation with real-time interactions between players in a way that has never been recreated. Sumer is intended as its spiritual successor and explores the junction between board games and digital games. We merged the elements that make each of them a great medium – imagine a board game that requires minimal setup, handles all its own calculations, and has fun action gameplay as well as complex systems. The current renaissance of local multiplayer games is fostering a climate in which this unexplored direction can blossom and, hidden at this intersection of physical and digital, Sumer is the first game to re-explore this uncharted territory.
During our year of work, we have found this uncharted design space to be full of promise. The digital medium has allowed us to introduce the uncertainty and potential for mastery of physics-based movement into the normally discrete world of board game systems. Likewise, the elegant mathematics of those systems provides a canvas of unprecedented richness for the generally simplistic genre of action-based multiplayer games. We believe there is an unexplored genre here waiting to be discovered. Since we are living in a golden age of board game design and a time of renewed interest in local multiplayer, we hope Sumer will inspire others to follow the path that M.U.L.E. blazed, but which has lain neglected for so many years.
- Lead Programmer: Misha Favorov
- Lead Designer, Programming & Sound Director: Josh Raab
- Art Director, Design & Programming: Sig Gunnarsson
- Producer, Lead Playtesting & QA, Design & Research: Geoffrey Suthers
Visual Artist: Adam Alexander
Composer: Neil Quillen
Voice Work: Melanie Ehrlich
Voice Work: Devon Talbott