Notify me if/when this item becomes available:
(you will be asked to log in first)
Please Login to use shopping lists.
While whole forests crumble to appease our desire for wooden games from Germany, we can hardly complain when they continue to be so outstanding. This is a sophisticated construction and conquest game employing large wooden pieces of different shapes and sizes. Players form the game board using 120 wooden tiles. The game includes other chunks of wood for huts and for male and female figures. This game is available in two editions: standard Sumera, and Sumera Exotic, the same game made with special exotic woods.
Sumerian clans migrated into a well-defined area, where they built cities and founded an advanced civilization. In the game Sumera, you control the destiny of a clan, expand its territory and marry its young men and women to representatives of other clans in order to increase your power. Will you be able to make your clan the most powerful in Sumera?
At the start of the game there is a deserted, connected and fruitful land. You begin on a square of your choice and expand your territory by building on top of foreign tiles, skillfully placing your people, making useful marriages and attacking figures that get in your way.
The victory formula is the number of tiles of your color that are connected to one of your huts plus the number of your unmarried people on the board, all multiplied by the number of marriages you have concluded. Your aim is therefore to make as many marriages as possible. If you do this better than the others, you become the monarch of Sumera.
Hartmut Witt may not yet have enjoyed the rewards provided by a Spiel des Jahres or a multi-million dollar deal with the likes of Hasbro, but it has not been for the want of trying.
During the course of over a decade, the young carpenter Witt has emerged as a talent of note, and with a title to his credit -- Koalition -- which simply refuses to budge from my all-time top ten. Additionally, underrated fare such as Dream Team, Teufel Teufel, Lowendynastie, Osiris and Germanica (from the Kampf Um Rom combination) suggest a fervent mind.
And so we receive a Witt package with joy and expectation, even if Sumera is not so much a package but more a bag of wooden pieces. In fact, the words ``Bausack'' and ``Bandu'' came to mind upon an initial inspection. And now we have the laboriously-compiled English rule set, duly provided by our trusty leader, the theme is confirmed as ``construction'', but in a considerably more sophisticated manner.
Sumera (the game of Sumerian clans) affords players (ideally two or four) the chance to expand their personal kingdoms and marry into opposing households in order to gain victory points.
The fundamental element in Sumera is the tile build. Initially, the game board is formed using the 120 wooden tiles provided. Matching colours may not lie adjacent, but otherwise the set-up is at the behest of the players. The only other components provided (wood again) are huts (three for each of the four game colours), and sets of male and female figures.
With the map in place, players must initially add one hut enclosing a man and woman piece. From this starting position, additional figures may be introduced and moved. Tiles may also be removed, stored and then placed either within or adjacent to your own territory as expansion takes its course. The other option is ``marriage'', when figures of the opposing sex and different clans end their move on the correct colour. They are then ``housed''. When a third hut is laid, the game ends immediately. This is likely to occur more often than the other closer, which is prompted by the absence of movable tiles.
Each player is allowed three actions per turn. These are likely to be the removal of tiles from the board's edge (no part of the map may be isolated) and the extension of your personal domain. Here lies Sumera's foundation. Building costs vary: one or more action points if the tile laid is at a higher level than the highest adjacent tile of your colour, but free if the tiles played are at the same or a lower elevation. For example: Hercules has five tiles in store. His land is still at sea-level. He may cover tiles of any other colour as long as they spread from his base. The first tile laid will obviously raise the profile of his land (one action), but the subsequent enlargement can account for his entire stock of tiles without further action points.
Players will need to enlarge their territory in a hurry, even at the higher costs, because they provide victory points and a surface for new huts. These are constructed when additional figures are inducted. Starting at the seminal hut, they may beetle about all over the place seeking partners or the chance to eliminate the opposition (I prefer the ``Peace, Love, Dove'' option). If you are able to collect a lady (for a geezer) or vice versa, and finalise a move (seven squares maximum, vertically or horizontally only) on a square of your colour, then a hut may be ceremoniously lowered upon them. Oh, the sound of tiny wooden blocks! This is another delightful twist, because marriage scores points for both parties, and the invitation to boogie should not be afforded to a close competitor. However, and as in real life, the benefits outweigh the obstacles.
You will remember that I mentioned ``elimination''. Combat takes place when figures of the same sex find themselves sharing a square. Although there are several determining factors as to the victor (the height of the land and the colour of adjacent squares), assume you won't entertain the idea without the certainty of victory. Each strike results in the removal of a figure, and the opponent may only strike back in multiple conflict. No dice or charts -- simply move in and create havoc.
At the end of each turn, figures and huts must have squares to ``support'' them. If this criteria is not met, they are removed, and the player must start over. Parlous, but not entirely critical, although the unfolding lands evolve at quite a speed.
I use the word ``speed'' prudently. Although Sumera requires aforethought, game turns come round rapidly. When I made up my first board, it looked like a minimum two hours would be required to achieve a result. In fact, Sumera should take less than an hour. I would also recommend the two-player version (each participant handles two colours each), in which individual tallies (the sum of squares under your control plus individual figures multiplied by those of your clan who have tied the knot) are totalled. And as if this were not enough, Hartmut has provided the rules for three additional games to suit younger strategists (Sumera is strictly 12+).
Beyond the obvious aesthetic quality, Sumera provides a notable challenge, and will suit those of a Euphrat & Tigris or Löwenherz bent. And whilst it will not replace Koalition as this designer's finest effort, it is still front-line material.