Following the NorthStar:

An insiders peek behind the (iron, wood, and brick) curtains at NorthStar. Stay current with Evolution, Wits & Wagers, Say Anything, Happy Salmon, and new games in the pipeline. If that sounds interesting, click on the subscribe link to the right. Cheers!

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7]

Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Oceans Kickstarter campaign delayed until late March

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Hi all,

Quick update: we've decided to push back the launch of the Oceans campaign for about a month, to late March. Our obsessions got the best of us: there are a couple of finesse-y touches we decided to make before pressing the big red button.

Also, we thought it wouldn't hurt to put a bit more space between the launch of the Evolution Video Game (which just launched) and the launch of our Kickstarter campaign. We'll announce the exact date shortly.

Apologies. We know (or hope, anyway) you're waiting for the campaign like:

Twitter Facebook
7 Comments
Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:29 am
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
42 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

We're giving away 1000 copies of Evolution to celebrate the launch of Evolution: The Video Game

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Reposted from the North Star Games blog

Four years ago, we raised a bunch of money to make a video game version of our strategy game Evolution. Evolution is a super-thematic game where you evolve species by giving them traits, to help them adapt and survive in an ever-changing ecosystem:

We've had 5 people working full time on the video game for these last 4 years. That may sound like overkill, but there's a reason: our goal is to make the best digital board game on Earth. The project's a failure if we don't blow the doors off.

The game has launched today (worldwide on Steam, iOS, and Android), and we're certain we hit our mark (we delayed this launch like 5 times to make sure of it).



Wise readers will be (and should be) skeptical of such claims, because companies crow so much about how awesome they are, even when they aren't.

So, to induce you to see for yourself, we're giving away 1000 copies of the Evolution board game to people who try the video game ($40,000 of games).

How The 1000 Game Giveaway works:

Every day for the next 100 days, we'll randomly select 10 winners from everyone who played an online game that day. It's free to enter on iOS and Android. Just download Evolution (free-to-try in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store), make an in-game account with an email address, and play an online match each day. We'll select new winners daily from those who play an online match each day. Winners cover the cost of shipping. You'll find more details about the giveaway here.

Download Details

Steam
iOS
Android


It's available in English on PC and Mac via Steam for $14.99. It's also available as free-to-try on iOS and Android with a full version available for $9.99 as a one time purchase. Those who purchase the game in the first week will receive a 20% launch sale discount.

Game Details

While Evolution’s digital adaptation is loyal to the original board game, it has also done some evolving of its own. Stunning new artwork, animated cards, lush environments, distinct enemy A.I. Bosses, and a new campaign mode are just a sample of the new features exclusive to the digital edition.

Playing against human opponents from around the world provides its own thrill in fast-paced games. Cross-platform multiplayer provides a deep pool of players to battle wits with, and skill-based matchmaking encourages healthy competition.Evolution’s digital form has been crafted to play as fast as possible, so matches generally last less than ten minutes.

Check out our launch day activities

We're streaming all day today on our Twitch channel. In conjunction, we're running a funding drive for Stack Up, a military charity that delivers care packages of video games and nerd stuff to deployed troops, military hospitals, and stateside bases. You'll find a donation link on our Twitch channel and you can read more about it here.

In addition, we'll be posting like fools throughout the day on our social media channels. For all that follow us on Twitter and Facebook or visit the official website.

Finally, our own Dominic Crapuchettes tells the origin story of this project in this geeklist

Thanks all. It's been a long journey and we couldn't have pulled this off without the enormous help many of you given during this project.
Twitter Facebook
13 Comments
Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:33 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
60 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

I'm blown away by your enthusiasm - Over 1,200 people signed up. WOW!!!

Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Two weeks ago, we made a call to get playtesters for the next stand-alone game in the Evolution series, Oceans. Our plan was to get 100 dedicated playtesters. To our surprise we received over 1,200 submissions! I can't tell you how happy this makes me. Thank you for your excitement. It means the world to me.



Instead of turning away a thousand enthusiastic people, I've decided to make the PnP files and the Tabletop Simulator game available to everyone. I don't want people to to have to wait until September 2019 to play Oceans while others talk excitedly about their experiences on social media.

        https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2092741/game-2-beta-v1-spou...
        https://twitter.com/GamesYYC/status/1061341802848935936
        https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2096288/playtest-could-use-...
        https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2092704/ready-go


About Oceans
Oceans is the next stand-alone game in the award-winning Evolution series. It's the most massive project North Star Games has ever tackled, with over 100 unique cards and pieces of art...


Art
The most obvious selling point is the original watercolors by world renown nature artist Catherine Hamilton.








Theme
Enter a vast, underwater cosmos: a mysterious interconnected world of sharp teeth, glowing eyes, and black ink, where your survival depends on your ability to adapt to the unknown.

The foundation of the oceanic food chain are billions of one-celled organisms called phytoplankton that capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis. The next level are species that feast on the sea's abundant plant life —zooplankton. All of this takes place in the Reef.



Every other oceanic species is a predator, each bigger than the next, all the way up to the dreaded apex predator..



...and even bigger than apex predators are enormous filter feeders that gently swim through the ocean scooping up everything in their path with their baleen.


Gameplay
Oceans is a continuation of our quest to make a gamers' game that is easy to teach. We don't think people should have to sit through 30+ minutes of rules explanations to get an immersive experience.

The foundation of Oceans is a simple turn structure and 10 straightforward traits, making it easy to learn all of the cards and wade effortlessly into the first game. The 10 traits were chosen because of the rich thematic interconnections, providing a tapestry of synergistic card play. Additionally, there are 4 randomly chosen scenario cards that activate (and possibly deactivate) at various points during the game. The scenario cards impact the basic tenets of gameplay, encouraging people to vary their play style each game.

This foundation loosely mimics a scientific oceanic ecosystem, similar to what you've come to expect from games in the Evolution series. This is the core of Oceans and it's fully playable on its own...




But wait, there's more...



if you are willing...



to dive a bit...



deeper...





Oceans also includes something which will break the seams of the scientific reality you've come to accept: the Deep. The Deep is a deck of 100 unique power cards that require an additional cost to play. These power cards range from things you might find in nature to the fantastical Kraken or Leviathan.

Venture into the Deep at your own risk!










Oceans is an engine builder where the world of science is disrupted at the seams by the world of fantasy. Players must adapt to the changing environment with an interconnected ecosystem that can survive and thrive against the inevitable march of time and the natural struggle of predators seeking to survive.

2 - 5 Players, 60 - 90 minutes, Ages 13+


Game Designers
Oceans is a stand-alone game in the Evolution series. It has been a collaborative effort between Nick Bentley (veteran game designer and former neurobiologist), Brian O'Neill (professor of marine biology), Dominic Crapuchettes (old school pro Magic player and retired fishing boat captain), and Ben Goldman (chaotic neutral graphic designer and lawful evil game designer).


Available on Tabletop Simulator and PnP
Thanks for reading about this pet project that's been lurking about the office for the past 4 years. If you're as excited as we are, download the PnP files and give it a try. It's time for this monster to surface! Or come to PAX Unplugged and play it with me at a dedicated Oceans table.

Cheers,
Dominic

Twitter Facebook
4 Comments
Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:17 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Oceans is ready for outside playtesting...

Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The original concept for Oceans emerged in a dark basement over 4 years ago. It briefly came up for air with a blog series that Nick Bentley posted here on the BGG. Now, after 2 years of full-time design and development work, we're ready to enter the final phase where we open testing to the public. Get the details on the blog. Space is limited - over 150 people have already signed up this morning!

[Update at 6pm: We're at 526 people now. Wow! Thanks for all of the support. It means a lot to me. modest]

I'm very proud of how this game has evolved. It was originally slated in 2014 to be the first expansion to Evolution. Now it's an massive stand-alone game that towers over its humble father.






Twitter
I've finally broken down and started a Twitter account. Follow me @DCrapuchettes to see what I'm working on. You'll get the first peek at new art as it comes in and see the latest games before we throw them out to the world.
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:22 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
29 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

Oceans original watercolors from artist Catherine Hamilton - unboxing

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Twitter Facebook
9 Comments
Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:33 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
14 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

We're turning our fans into reviewers, and you can get a game of ours months before it's published

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Before they release games, publishers like us send pre-release copies to reviewers.

And those reviewers get to have a good time. They get to play all the games long before anyone else and present them to the rest us like future-divining shamans. The popular reviewers float through convention halls with contrails of groupies (reviewer groupies exist btw) as publisher after publisher tries to catch their eyes with hopeful, upturned faces. It's good to be a reviewer.

It occurred to us there might be a fun opportunity here. What if we could give our fans a taste of what that's like? We can't provide groupies (lacking any ourselves), but we can send an unpublished game to a small group of fans to review it and crow (or complain) about it before the world.

Interested? Read on.
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:44 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
11 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

dude - it's a game where you say dude

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Ever since we published the extremely doofy game Happy Salmon, we've come to appreciate the value of doofiness, and that, in turn, has inspired us to explore other doofy game ideas.

In the course of our exploration, we found a game of such profound, undiluted doofiness that we feel we have no choice but to publish it (possibly against our better judgement).

We wrote up a little sneak preview for you. See here

Twitter Facebook
8 Comments
Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:11 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide

All deep games are legacy games (and other ways to think about depth)

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
There's a new blog post (composed lovingly by yours truly) over at northstargames.com, reflecting on some things I've learned about depth in the aftermath of Evolution's publication (I'm a developer on the Evolution games, and designer of the upcoming Oceans).

Read it here

(and enjoy)
Twitter Facebook
25 Comments
Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:00 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
16 
 Thumb up
5.00
 tip
 Hide

The neurobiology of Happy Salmon, the most ridiculous game in the world

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
North Star Games has a new blog at northstargames.com ("The Secret Life of Fun"), and the first post there is a story about how we ended up publishing Happy Salmon and why it has become a hit. Speaking of which, Happy Salmon is a nominee for the Toy Industry Association's Game of the Year Award!

Enjoy the article!


(this gif brought to you by islaythedragon)
Twitter Facebook
0 Comments
Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:43 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls
Recommend
38 
 Thumb up
1.00
 tip
 Hide

Evolution: The Video Game is launching on Kickstarter today. A look back at some ideas we trashed to get here.

Nick Bentley
United States
Madison
Wisconsin
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Today, we launched Evolution: The Video Game on Kickstarter.

We've been working on it for nearly 3 years. We could have made almost 4 babies in that time! Instead we've been trying to craft the best digital tabletop game ever made. Life is exciting when you shoot for the moon, so we're shooting. Some features:

fully cross-platform for Steam, iOS, and Android
fast and fluid: you can play a game in 10 minutes
beautiful animations that enhance gameplay instead of slowing it down
online multiplayer mode that matches you with similarly skilled players
campaigns offering new ways to play that don't exist in the physical version of the game
a learn-by-playing tutorial that makes learning effortless

We've come a long way. We've posed hundreds of design questions and answered each dozens of times, always looking for a better answer than the one that came before.

In celebration of our launch, here's a look back at our progress through the lense of just one of those questions: how should a species be represented onscreen?

We started with two design maxims, diametrically opposed:

1. All information needs to be present when it's necessary; nothing is hidden behind a click.
2. The screen needs to have high over-the-shoulder appeal, meaning somebody walking by would say "that looks pretty".

We came up with 64 different solutions before finally settling on one. I won't show you all 64 because I'm not insane, but here's a chronological sampling:

First, the beginning. A screenshot of our first full-screen mockup:



This was as close as we could come to the look of the tabletop game. It immediately revealed a problem: the scheme wouldn't allow for more than two players. There wasn't enough room onscreen to add more species for the left and right players.

Another problem: early testers didn't look at the mix of population, body size, and traits, and see a "species". They just saw a hodgepodge of stuff. We wanted players to identify with their species and understand it as a creature. We begin experimenting with putting a picture of a species in the center of each species to tie all of the information together. Enter the species “badge”:



This helped tie things together and also allowed traits to be smaller. But in making the traits smaller, we realized we should emphasize the outline of the creatures on the trait cards to make them easier to distinguish from one another:



We also had the challenge that for population, a player has to know how many population are fed and how many are unfed. So we added population markers:



We wrestled a lot with how to best show this mix of fed and unfed population:







The above is the one we settled on for the first working prototype of the game. Population was represented by the bubbles on the left. This design carried us all the way through to the second version of the game, complete with production code:



The transition to 3D resulted in another variant of this badge, complete with a dynamic body size label that grows as the size increases:



Then we took it to our first public showing, at PAX East, and quickly realized we had two major problems:

First, players didn’t like counting lots of little pips.

Second, it wasn’t intuitive that the population pips are a “hotspot”. To add a population, you needed to drag a card to exactly the population area of the badge. A line of pips didn’t make an obvious target to drag to.

With that, once again we dove into another round of trying to get perfect mix of each of the elements of the species: population, fed and unfed states, body size, traits, and clear target hotspots:

The “Stone”




The “Paw Print”




Having a number for population, and displaying the food eaten, proved particularly difficult.

The “Flower”




The “Slash”




The “Smile”




And finally, a mere 64 versions later, we give you...drumroll please...

The Claw!




The absolute perfect mix of art, user interaction, and information, in an elegant package. Hope you like it. If not, no problem, no doubt Mark, Bree, and Jesse would love to crank out another 64 versions. Otherwise...

back our Kickstarter campaign!

(among other things, it's the only chance you will ever have to get in on the game during its beta stage)


Twitter Facebook
6 Comments
Tue Sep 12, 2017 1:05 pm
Post Rolls
  • [+] Dice rolls

1 , 2 , 3 , 4 , 5  Next »  [7]

Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.