Summoners Fate is a top-down adventure that combines exploration, card collecting and tactical combat. You control the fate of your Summoner and command an ever-changing band of companions. Defeat monstrous hordes and reap the rewards of treasures, allies, and powerful spells as you advance deeper into ever changing lands. Are these chance encounters or do they connect to a greater meaning?
The battlefield of Summoners Fate is a tabletop board game brought to life
Summoners Fate will be released on iOS, Android, PC and Mac. The game will be available free-to-download on the App Store, Google Play and Steam.
Our target release date is Q3 2018 and we have a closed beta planned for Q1 2018 or sooner. We plan to localize the game in 13 languages for world-wide enjoyment. Additionally, we have taken accessibility considerations for color blindness, left-handed players and one-handed play.
Spells destroy enemies and environment
Summoners Fate is inspired by our favorite tabletop, role playing, and collectible card games we played growing up. There's a satisfaction playing these games that goes beyond winning: the creative expression of building a team, devising a play style that's unique to you, and seeing your carefully planned strategy culminate in an epic experience shared with friends. Our goal is to capture this amazing feeling of creativity and strategic mastery in a modernized game that's fast and fun for those of us living in a world that often goes by too fast without it.
Use cards to transform terrifying monsters into tiny squirrels
Are you wondering about the unique top-down perspective of Summoners Fate? One of our goals is to capture the feeling of playing a classic, miniature-based tabletop board game. We want the game to feel both familiar to fans of this genre and approachable to new players. Additionally, there’s an important connection between the world perspective and the game story:
The world of Summoners Fate exists in a dimension parallel to ours. The screen of your device (whether your desktop monitor or your phone) represents your “looking glass” into this world. With simple gestures across your looking glass, you command your chosen characters, unveiling their destiny with each of your decisions.
Experience a unique perspective where characters look up at you
To the inhabitants of this world, you - the player - represent the concept of “Fate” personified as a deity-like entity. Characters seek your lead and literally “look up” at you to guide them. Special characters called Summoners are particularly attuned to your presence. They are your direct link, your conduit to their world. Through your Summoner, you can play the “hand of fate”, a literal hand of cards representing magical spells, equipment and characters you can bring into the world. But take care - should your Summoner perish in battle, your link to the world will sever and your heroes will be defeated.
The lands of Summoners Fate are boundless and continually grow and expand in ways that defy the natural laws of our own physical universe. To bridge this metaphysical barrier, your gaming device of choice interprets the world as a series of saga-style maps that you can use to traverse and explore with your characters. It’s this unique mechanism that also enables us, the developers, to continuously deliver unique adventures for you. It is our hope, our dream, that Summoners Fate is more than a game - it’s a continuing medium - a source that brings you enjoyment for decades to come.
The gameplay of Summoners Fate revolves around exploration, strategic management, tactical combat and planning. Each run through the cycle escalates your experience as you build your strategy and take on greater challenges.
On a macro level, your goal is to explore the word and experience its story. Exploration of the world takes place by interacting with simple, pirate-treasure-like maps called Prophecies.
Explore the world by interacting with simple yet inviting maps like this one.
Each prophecy map contains a series of colorful iconic landmarks representing dungeons to explore and a cryptic message that unfolds into a self contained, lightweight story. Dungeons are a series of seamlessly connected levels that can be tombs, outdoor wilderness or both.
Completion of a prophecy comes with rewards in the form of new cards and the reveal of additional prophecies to explore. It’s this system of one-small-map-at-a-time that allows the game to be both quickly accessible and possible for us to expand with continuous new content.
Your survival in Summoners Fate depends heavily on your ability to carefully manage the resources of your expeditions. These resources include your Summoner, your hero companions, and your deck of cards.
Summoners are your primary character and conduit to the game world. If your Summoner dies, you immediately lose the battle. Your deck of cards represents magical spells, enchantments, weapons, equipment and characters that you can call into battle. Cards are played with your Summoner, so any rules or constraints, such as line of sight or adjacent targets, use your Summoner as the point of reference on the board. Your hero companions are additional controllable characters that accompany you on the journey. New companions can be summoned by playing cards.
Dungeons are a series of seamlessly connected rooms and wilderness areas that you explore one screen at a time. Each room presents a variety of possible challenges including combat, puzzles, trap evasion and treasure rooms.
When you clear a room, you move on to explore the next. The challenge is that the resources you bring with you - your Summoner, your hero companions, and your deck of cards - are limited and carry over with you room to room. If you start as a lone Summoner, but summon a Barbarian to the fight and equip him with gear, he will follow you through to each room going forward (assuming he survives).
The strategic layer of Summoners Fate adds additional considerations to how you approach surviving the dungeon. Do you blast the mob of goblins with a fireball in the first room or save it for the boss fight and attack them directly with your warriors? But what if you lose your Cleric in the fight? You may be in trouble if you encounter poisonous snakes in the next room.
On a micro-level, the smallest segment of gameplay is clearing a single room. Rooms are designed to take an average of 3 minutes to complete and chain together seamlessly. This means you can choose to play in bite-sized chunks (ideal for mobile) or play longer, sit-down sessions (ideal for PC). The most common room encounter is tactical combat.
Combat is turn-based, alternating from your turn to the enemy turn. On your turn, you are able to issue one command to each of your characters on the board and play as many cards as you have available. Each of these actions can be performed in any order that you wish.
The Ice Queen freezes a Yeti
To accelerate the pace of combat and make commanding characters intuitive and fun, each character's movement and action are combined into a single gesture.
To issue an attack, drag your character to the target.
There are no submenus or ability buttons in Summoners Fate. Instead, characters automatically perform the appropriate action for the target you select. For example, Paladins have a melee attack and a healing ability. When you select your Paladin, all possible targets will light up with reticles (red for enemies, green for allies). Drag to an enemy to attack, or drag to an injured ally to heal them. Casting spells, equipping items, and summoning characters are also intuitive: just take the card you want to play and drag it from your hand onto the battlefield.
Card mechanics follow a few rules: You need mana to play a card equal to the number shown on the card. Cards range in cost from 0-5. You generate 3 mana each turn and can store up to 5 mana. You hold three cards in your hand and draw new cards at the end of your turn until you have three cards.
Terrain in Summoners Fate has tactical significance. Large rocks, trees and other structures block movement and line of sight. Hazardous terrain such as lava and spikes cause damage, while swamps slow you down. Furniture can be looted for cards.
On a meta-level, you’re on a quest to collect more characters and more cards so you can expand your strategic diversity and take on bigger challenges. We say “strategic diversity” rather than “power” as it best represents the spirit of our card collection mechanic. While some card games are are about obtaining the most powerful cards to win, our goal for collecting cards is driven by a desire to experiment with new and creative ways to win. The balance we are aiming for should create a feeling of rock-paper-scissors, meaning there isn’t a silver bullet set of cards or strategies that are most powerful. Rather, choosing the right card, the right strategy at the right timing to counter your opponent’s tactics leads to a victory filled with surprise and excitement.
Everything in Summoners Fate is represented as a card including the characters, spells, items, environment - even the Prophecy maps! With your cards, you can build a team consisting of a Summoner, heroic companions, and deck of 20 cards representing spells, items, and summonable characters.
Every card in the game can be collected overtime through gameplay, making Summoners Fate a true free-to-play title and not a premium, pay-to-win title. We will offer card packs for sale, which is our how game will generate revenue and enable us to continue funding development and service of the game.
Our content target for launch will have over 400 cards including over 200 unique playable characters. Here’s a just small sample of our playable characters so far:
And that list is just a piece of what we have made so far! Post launch, our goal is regular content updates for Summoners Fate, including new maps, characters and spells.
Breadth of content is part of the equation, the other is quality. Characters are carefully designed to not only look unique and distinctive, but to play strategically different. Characters have natural strengths and weaknesses that complement each other to create strategies where the sum is greater than the whole. For example, the presence of a Skeleton Captain on the board enhances the power of all ally skeletons. Build a team of all animals, and you can guarantee that all of your characters are going to benefit from spells like Animal Overrun or the Breed card:
There are multitudes of factions: Orcs, Skeletons, Dreadnoughts, Ironclads, Animals, Insects, Dragons… Additionally, you’ve got card color to consider. Build a deck of all Arcane spells and enjoy a cost discount to everything in your deck when using a Wizard as a your Summoner.
The moment you boot up, you’ll be having fun blasting away enemies with all kinds of spells. As you advance to harder levels, the game will present challenges that require you to build strategically focused teams. There’s no right or wrong strategy. Some players like the raw power of destruction spells and blowing things up. Some like to swarm the board with hordes of squirrels. Others still like the cunning approach of holding back and manipulating your opponent to the brink of madness. If we haven’t added enough choices to build your dream strategy, we will listen to you and make it happen.
Beyond single player adventures and card collecting, Summoners Fate opens up to multiplayer matches where you get the chance to put your strategies to the test against other players from around the world. For the worldwide launch, we’ll support 1v1 head-to-head matches in Real-time, Asynchronous, and what we’re calling on-demand, “Desynchronous”.
In on-demand, “Desynchronous” mode, you’ll play against the constructed team and deck of other players controlled by the game’s AI. We’re also planning an option where you can “download” a queue of opponents and play them in sequence offline.
On my flight home from Seattle, I pondered over my time at PAX West where I had just finished showcasing my game, Summoners Fate, with Indie MEGABOOTH. The experience was so surreal it felt like a dream: chance encounters and passionate discussions that seemed to flow naturally together in a series of meaningful, interconnected events.
I was tired and uneasy the morning I left because I had been up late the night before fixing bugs I discovered in the demo. I was frantic on the plane as I worked against the clock of arrival and the battery life of my laptop. Then I arrived in Seattle and there was a driver waiting with my name on a sign. I didn’t have to worrying about where I was going, I flowed as if on a gentle current. Stress began to melt away.
This was thanks to my friend, Laura, who’d I met met several years back when we worked together at EA. She’d already anticipated the state I’d be in and had put an entire plan in motion to provide the support I would need to succeed at the show: a place to stay, time to polish the demo, introductions to her friends and rides throughout the area - including a stop for a signature Seattle hotdog. This is the delightful and heart-warming surprise of people I’ve met in the game industry: the lengths they go through to show their kindness and support. And this was just the first of many I would experience at PAX.
After spending the morning and early afternoon exploring the various PAX exhibits, I made my way to the Indie MEGABOOTH. Once there, I started talking with some of the other devs who were showing their games in the MINIBOOTH. I reached my hand out with excitement to Nicolás, another dev creating a game with CCG mechanics called Causa. “I’m so excited to meet another dev also working on a CCG!” I said. “I can’t wait to hear about your stories and how you’ve solved problems in your game design.” His face lit up with joy. It’s a wonderful feeling to meet someone like this. They’ve experienced and dealt with the same challenges so you can connect and understand each other in a way other people can’t.
Up and early the next morning, I was anxious to meet folks exploring the expo and have them play my game. I had quite a scare when my demo wouldn’t install, but the volunteers were quick to respond. The MEGABOOTH team and Pax enforcers are among the most amazing and courteous folks I’ve ever encountered. What could have been a very uncertain and trying experience was made easy with their constant support and reassurance. “Are you doing ok? Can I get you anything? Here's some cough drops, let me refill your water…” This is a level of service and care all organizations should aspire to.
The showfloor was a great place to discover what gravitates people toward games. I found out it was a combination of familiarity and weirdness. “Summoners Fate is a top down fantasy adventure meets deck builder.” “Ohhh, ok” (nodding inquisitively). “And you get to hurl squirrels at your enemies and then transform them into super squirrel mutants.” Laughing. “Ok now I gotta try this…”. Being with the Indie MEGABOOTH helped: people knew going in that everyone manning the booths were the actual game developers - and that’s what makes the experience so special. It wasn’t just a chance to show the game, but also my personality: that I’m sincere about my enthusiasm with the game and my commitment to players.
Hanging out with fellow indies was good medicine. It was reassuring to hear similar stories about the sacrifices we're making. One of the dev teams, working on a game that rivals the art of Skyrim called Eastshade told me how they were living together with their mom and grandma. Others were taking breaks while dealing with family emergencies or trying to juggle a full-time job or contract work on the side to keep things up. I could relate: My wife had to return to working full time to give us extra runway on our project. I had to take on more responsibility taking care of our two children. We had to pay for an expensive surgery out of pocket because we didn’t have corporate insurance. We’ve missed out on vacations, we never travel to see family, and we’re constantly dealing with disasters that come up. Uncertainty creates enormous pressure and there are many times it feels all-consuming and soul crushing.
Despite our common challenges, none of us deterred away from the hopeful sentiment we all believed in: You can always make more money, you can't get back the time in your life. Your moment must be seized while it can.
I met so many amazing people, including some of our longtime fans and followers who made a special trip just to see me. Shout outs to Tom, Patrick, Kyle and Jeremy! I got to tell John Baez, founder of The Behemoth how Battle Block Theater’s level editor inspired my son to become a game developer. Chainsaw Games Studio, creators of my favorite Xbox party game, Knight Squad, were just across from the MINIBOOTH showing their new game, Aftercharge. An analyst from Magic the Gathering team told me he really enjoyed the onboarding in our demo. Wanderbot, a YouTuber I admire and really wanted to share my game made a surprise visit. My new friend from Tencent, YiCong, also stopped by and I got a chance to show the development tools I wrote to make the game. As the sole engineer on my team, I don’t get many opportunities to speak about the behind-the-scenes challenges of production and supporting a live service. It felt so incredibly validating to have a fellow developer take delight in the feats I’d accomplished.
On Sunday evening, Indie MEGABOOTH hosted a mixer event for the devs and their sponsors that included several publishers. The party itself was incredible: free food and drinks, arcade and pinball machines with bowls filled with complimentary quarters. There was no pressure of having to make a sales pitch, just casual conversation and engaging stories of our experience and getting to know each other. This was an opportunity to show your true self and realize how small and intimate the game industry is: Nearly everyone knows, has worked for, or has a friend who worked with someone and we're all just regular people with a desire to fulfill our potential doing creative work.
The most intense moment of the show happened when I least suspected it. I had just sat down behind the booth for lunch, legs tired and back sore from three days of nonstop standing, when I overheard a group of people playing my game. It was their playful banter and obvious enjoyment of what they were experiencing that got to me. I only heard fragments, but I remember a woman saying "What are you doing to these poor animals?!" and a guy responding "You don't understand, this is WAR!". “Now watch this watch this... Mutant squirrel!! Squirrel army!!” And then just lots of laughter. I knew at that moment this was the highlight of the show. Something about just hearing their joyful commentary, not knowing I was there, made it all the more sincere and meaningful. I had made something that gave them a moment of happiness, and I was fighting hard not to cry and not to laugh at the same time.
The MEGABOOTH concluded with a group photo and hugs goodbye, then I headed for the airport. It was a successful show. I certainly had a lot of luck, and yet there was one specific choice I made that helped achieve this outcome: having a positive attitude. If I could offer one piece of advice I've validated time and time again from my experiences: When you engage with others in the community, give them your true, honest and open self. Pause and listen attentively, open yourself to feedback and the wisdom others have to share in their stories. Recognize and admire the work and talent of others.
Attitude and perception works like a mirror: when you seek out the best intent in others, it reflects back the best intent in yourself. From this, positive things unfold, like a gentle current that carries you along in a series of exciting adventures.
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