Purdue student startup creates zombie board game

West Lafayette, Indiana, UNITED STATES

Lafayette, Indiana, Sept. 26, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- A Purdue University graduate and entrepreneur is turning his computer graphic knowledge and interest in creating and manufacturing board games into reality through his Lafayette-based startup Wonky Rhino Games.

Carl Sommer, founder and CEO, already has his first product, a game that involves finding a cure for zombies called ZORP for Zombie Oblivion Response Pack.

Sommer launched a campaign for his game on Kickstarter, an online funding platform, that will conclude on Oct. 23. 

 “If I receive sufficient funding, some retailers have expressed interest in buying multiple copies to sell from their stores locally,” he said.

In ZORP, one person plays as the "Zombie Master" who controls a steadily growing horde of zombies, Sommer said. The other players are all humans who have nine turns to get a cure to the zombie virus. Along the way, humans get to collect weapons and events with different abilities to help them survive. The Zombie Master controls different types of zombies with different movement patterns and can also get zombie events on certain turns in the game.

The game is for two to four players, Sommer said. “If there’s more than one human playing, they can work together to help each other survive longer, or they can turn on each other to slow each other down as they race for the cure.”

Sommer started working on ZORP in September 2015 while still pursuing his master’s degree in computer graphics technology in the Purdue Polytechnic Institute.

“The game came about before the company, but I always knew I wanted to make a board game, mostly for fun," he said. “After testing the game prototype with many people and getting good reactions, I knew it was an achievable goal to finish it and kickstart a company within a year."

Sommer attended the annual Game Developers Conference in San Francisco last March.  The conference made him realize how difficult it is to break into the market.

"It just made me more determined to create a startup, and that's when I made the commitment to really go for it,” he said.

He enlisted the help of the Purdue Foundry, an entrepreneurial hub for Purdue-affiliated entrepreneurs. Sommer started the Foundry’s LaunchBox program this summer and began meeting with one of its entrepreneurs in residence in July.

“The Purdue Foundry has been a tremendous help. The LaunchBox program helped me structure my thoughts and prioritize when to focus on different aspects of the business,” Sommer said. “My entrepreneur in residence also has been great to simply talk to directly about specific questions.”
More information about Wonky Rhino Games and ZORP can be found at www.WonkyRhino.com

About Wonky Rhino Games
Wonky Rhino Games was created by Purdue University graduate Carl Sommer as he was finishing his master’s degree in computer graphics technology. He began making ZORP for fun during his free time. While he was a teaching assistant, some of his students began playing his prototype version of the game after class. As interest for ZORP began to build, he decided he would start Wonky Rhino Games and launch ZORP as a Kickstarter project. Following graduation, he began working to officially establish Wonky Rhino Games.

About Purdue Foundry
The Purdue Foundry is an entrepreneurship and commercialization accelerator in Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship whose professionals help Purdue innovators create startups. Managed by the Purdue Research Foundation, the Purdue Foundry received the 2014 Incubator Network of the Year from the National Business Incubation Association for its work in entrepreneurship. For more information about funding and investment opportunities in startups based on a Purdue innovation, contact the Purdue Foundry at foundry@prf.org

Carl Sommer, founder of Wonky Rhino Games and creator of ZORP (Zombie Oblivion Response Pack) shows off his creation at a gaming convention in Indianapolis. (Photo provided by Carl Sommer)
A publication-quality photo is available at https://news.uns.purdue.edu/images/2016/sommer-zorp.jpg


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