Following the NorthStar:

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

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2021 SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year - Voting Open

Dominic Crapuchettes
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The nominees for SXSW Tabletop Game of the Year were announced this morning. I'm excited to share that Oceans was one of them. I'm also excited mention that most of my favorite games of 2020 were nominated. I'm extremely honored to have Oceans mentioned beside them. It's a great list of games, which means Oceans has little chance of winning, but it still feels good.

I posted a Geeklist where people can quickly read about each of the nominees share their thoughts on the one's they have played.
https://boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/283021/2021-sxsw-tabletop...

Voting is also open to the public if you're inclined to voice your opinion on the matter:
https://www.sxsw.com/awards/gaming-awards/voting/
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Wed Feb 17, 2021 12:07 am
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Geekgold is burning a hole in my pocket!

Dominic Crapuchettes
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If anyone wants 8 geekgold to buy an Evolution or Oceans microbadge, post below and I'll give it to ya.

In fact, if you want any microbadge that I own, let me know and I'll give you the hard cold cash. If it's good enough for me, it's good enough for you.

CHEERS!
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Tue Jan 5, 2021 11:29 pm
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Memorial to Satish Pillalamarri

Dominic Crapuchettes
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My business partner of 17 years, Satish Pillalamarri, recently lost a battle to cancer. His passing has left a big hole in the lives of everyone at North Star. I just posted a Geeklist as a tribute.

MEMORIAL GEEKLIST

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Tue Nov 3, 2020 10:10 pm
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Multiplayer is Free until the Quarantine Ends

Dominic Crapuchettes
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From gallery of domcrap

Multiplayer is Free until the Quarantine Ends
The gaming community is being hit by the quarantine. Conventions are cancelled, game stores are closed, and we can't get together with friends to play games.

So we're making online multiplayer games free on iOS and Android. No restrictions. Even private games are free, which means you can play with your normal gaming friends at your normal time (but from the comfort of your living room). We will keep multiplayer free until game conventions start happening again. Maybe until the end of summer, or maybe until the end of the year. It depends on how the quarantine goes. It's one small way we can help.

Free download links here.

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BoardGameGeeks Awards
We are extremely honored to have 4 nominations from the community. Thank you. Now that Evolution multiplayer is free, go try it out to see if it's worthy of your vote. We think you'll be impressed.

Evolution was nominated for Best Board Game App
Quacks: Herb Witches was nominated for Expansion
The Taverns of Tiefenthal was nominated for Board Game of the Year
Wits & Wagers Vegas was nominated for Party Game of the Year

Vote Now. Voting ends on Friday.

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User Organized Tournaments
Some of our dedicated Discord users are organizing Evolution tournaments. It's a fun way to spend quarantine, especially now that multiplayer is free. If we get enough users, we will start giving away free board games as prizes.

More info is on our Discord in the USER TOURNEYS category. Come join the community:

Join Discord

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New Traits in Beta
Some new trait cards have entered beta. Information on how to join the beta is in Discord under EVOLUTION BETA TEST.

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I hope I meet up with you in one of the tournaments. It's been fun chatting with people on Discord. I came in dead last in the first tournament, so don't be daunted. It's a friendly group. Cheers!

Dominic Crapuchettes
Founder of North Star Games
Lead Designer of Evolution, Oceans, Wits & Wagers, and Say Anything

From gallery of domcrap










You're still here? What are you waiting for? Go download the app! It was chosen as the #1 app of 2019 by Ars Technica, Vulture, Pocket Gamer, and several other magazines.

https://arstechnica.com/gaming/2019/12/the-8-best-board-game...

https://www.vulture.com/article/best-board-games-2019.html

https://www.pocketgamer.com/articles/080256/top-5-best-ios-s...
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Thu Apr 30, 2020 11:34 pm
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What can dictators teach us about game design? How to make a game's emergent incentives clear by raising the stakes.

Dominic Crapuchettes
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From gallery of milomilo122

The fourth post in Ben Goldman's essay series about the design of Paint the Roses is up, here.

It's about a technique by which a designer can better understand the unexpected incentives games create.
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Thu Nov 7, 2019 4:15 pm
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I'm blown away by your enthusiasm - Over 1,200 people signed up. WOW!!!

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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.

From gallery of domcrap


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.

From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap



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.

Board Game: Oceans


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

Board Game: Oceans


...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!



Board Game: Oceans


Board Game: Oceans


From gallery of domcrap



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

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Thu Nov 15, 2018 9:17 pm
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Oceans is ready for outside playtesting...

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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.


From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap


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.
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Mon Oct 29, 2018 6:22 pm
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LAST CALL - Free Access to Evolution Video Game

Dominic Crapuchettes
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About 3 years ago, I convinced one of my MBA classmates to leave a cushy job at Intel to create a digital division for North Star Games. Our goal for North Star Digital was simple: to set the quality bar for digital board game conversions. Not just to set it, but to blow it out of the water! Scott Rencher sold his house in Oregon, moved his family across the country, and prepared for what is turning out to be the wildest ride of his life. Then he hired a team of experienced coders and artists from Hasbro, Booz Allen Hamilton, NBC Universal, Microsoft, and Wizards of the Coast. And they also left their cushy jobs to join us for the ride of their lives...

We had to make room in the office before the new team could get to work, so Scott gave my 4 year old son a sledgehammer and a bag of Halloween candy. Then he invited everyone else in the office for a "tear down those walls" party (ie HR's solution to pent up office politics).

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Industry Previews
The initial response to the alpha version has been very positive from video game reviewers. Brett Nolan from AppAddict says "Evolution Will Be My Next IPad Board Gaming Addiction."
        - App Addict
        - Gameosity


Free Access to the Alpha
Now we're ready for widespread feedback! Click on the link below if you're interested in getting free access to the Alpha on Steam (or potentially on your iPad). Your feedback will be greatly helpful to us as we put the final polish on the game.

        - Tell Me More -
        - Sign Me Up -


Timeline
        - April 22nd:         Final call for Alpha testers
        - Spring 2018:      Widespread release


Follow the Journey
Subscribe to North Star Digital's blog if you want to an insider's peak into the process and timeline.


Graphics Montage
From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap



Concept Sketches to Final: Card Design

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From gallery of domcrap


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From gallery of domcrap



Concept Sketches to Final: Darwin Host Character

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From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap



Concept Sketches to Final: Species Board

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From gallery of domcrap


From gallery of domcrap



Variable Foilage Graphics

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Showing the Alpha at PAX East

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Still Here?!!
What are you waiting for? Your last chance to get free access to a game that might set the new bar in the industry ends on April 22nd. Help us make this happen. Cheers!

        - Sign Me Up -

---
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Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:15 pm
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PAX East - photos of one of the most amazing conventions I've ever attended. Now I understand why I keep hearing about PAX.

Dominic Crapuchettes
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I went to my first PAX earlier this month and had a fantastic experience. I highly recommend going even if you don't play video games. PAX East had over 100 tables dedicated for open board gaming, a sizable games library, tons of fun events, and seriously knowledgeable volunteers. Unlike GenCon, all of the organized events are free!

This story begins like many others, with a road trip...





From gallery of domcrap
Packing the van at the NorthStar galactic headquarters.


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We've arrived! Nikki and Melissa are excited about our biggest show ever.


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Our sweet new Wits & Wagers casino table. This is the brain child of Bruce Voge.


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Bruce and a wildly insufficient pile of Happy Salmon. We always underestimate the demand for fish at these shows.


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Our booth was inexplicably visited by two rampaging dinosaurs...


From gallery of domcrap
...who started dancing together.
(We did not see that coming.)


From gallery of domcrap
This girl is either excited or scared out of her wits! I can't tell which.


From gallery of domcrap
Scott Rencher, head of NorthStar digital, talks to press about development of the Evolution video game. I'm told our team is starting to case waves. Here is a review from a prominent video game reviewers:
http://appaddict.net/2017/03/15/pax-east-2017-north-star-gam...


From gallery of domcrap
A random person going through the Evolution tutorial...


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...and a random dino doing the same.


From gallery of domcrap
Tom Vasel and J.R. Honeycutt hosted a charity Wits & Wagers gameshow event that drew 600+ people.


From gallery of domcrap
Only 16 people were able to play in our Evolution tournament. This woman, in a moment of OCD weakness, organized all of the food tokens at her table. Ha!


From gallery of domcrap
These 4 people made it to the final table, hoping to win the top prize of a T-Rexmeeple.


From gallery of domcrap
This is our booth from above. We had two hanging banners and 20 x 50 feet worth of space manned by volunteers in purple shirts (I found 14 of them in this picture). This is the biggest booth we've ever had (and I couldn't help but notice that it was bigger than both Asmodee's and CMON's booth). I also noticed that Evolution was getting increasingly played in the open gaming section as the show went on. It made a pretty big splash. So did Wits & Wagers and Say Anything. This was a seriously fantastic show for us. Exhausting, but lots of fun.





That's all folks!
Let me know if you want to join the NorthStar Demo Team for one of our upcoming shows. In exchange for two 4-hour booth slots, you'll get a t-shirt, a game, tasty snacks, and an awesomely fun time with the North Star crew! Unfortunately we cannot provide hotel or transportation. Sorry.

BGG Spring
Origins
Dice Tower Con
WBC
GenCon
PAX Prime
WashingCon
Essen
BGG.Con
PAX Unplugged




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PAX East 2017
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PAX South 2017
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Essen 2016
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Mon Mar 27, 2017 11:58 pm
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New Evolution Rulebook

Dominic Crapuchettes
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We're finalizing the rule booklet for the next print run of Evolution. I would love to get feedback if anyone has some free time on their hand. My goal is to cut the purchase order by Monday.

Here is the new link:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B8VmBYx0QMasUmdtVjE1eEhtdj...

Please post any comments below. Thanks!


-------------------------------

And some of you might be interested to see Touch Arcade's PAX South coverage of the current version of our Evolution video game:

http://toucharcade.com/2017/01/27/pax-south-2017-evolution-t...

We're about 6 months away from the limited Beta Kickstarter release and it's starting to come together.

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Wed Feb 1, 2017 10:50 pm
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