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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!

Archive for Nick Bentley

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A board game industry pro describes 2 key factors that allowed him to find a way into the industry

Nick Bentley
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From gallery of milomilo122


North Star's own Ben Goldman wrote an essay about the factors that allowed him to find a way into a game industry career.

Thought it might be of interest to other aspirants. It also includes the origin story of our upcoming game Paint the Roses, which Ben designed.
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 3:23 pm
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Paint the Roses' rulebook is being written with the aid of a new rules visualization method called a Context Stack

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From gallery of milomilo122


As part of his essay series about the design of Paint the Roses, Ben Goldman has written about a method he's using to make the game's rulebook as clear as possible: the Context Stack, which is a way to visualize a game's rules as a network of ideas.

It's one of the cooler things I've read about rulebook design.

Check it out here
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Tue Nov 12, 2019 5:08 pm
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Our next game: Paint the Roses. You're a gardener for the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland, trying to plant her roses so she doesn't behead you.

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From gallery of milomilo122

We've been hard at work on our next game: Paint the Roses. I want to make you aware of a series of essays about the game and related design topics, by the game's designer, Ben Goldman.

Paint the Roses is a cooperative game where you work as a gardener for the Queen of Hearts in Wonderland. She would like nothing more than to behead you, so she gives each gardener a different, secret rule about how to plant her garden. Each gardener must then watch how the others plant the garden to deduce the Queen’s whims. Guess wrong and it's off with your head.
From gallery of milomilo122

The essay series covers the why's and how's of game design, expansion modules made by other well-known designers, and things Ben has learned along the way.

We're also using it to design in public: we post about design issues we're working through and ask our readers for advice and feedback (and sometimes raffle copies of the game for those who provide it).

Here are the first three posts in the series:

Why I designed a logic game set in the illogical world of Alice in Wonderland

How to fix the biggest problem in cooperative games

Feedback wanted for a key component in Paint the Roses

Please enjoy, and let us know if there are particular topics you'd like us to cover.

-Nick
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Tue Oct 29, 2019 5:11 pm
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Oceans Kickstarter campaign delayed until late March

Nick Bentley
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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:

From gallery of milomilo122
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Tue Feb 26, 2019 12:29 am
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We're giving away 1000 copies of Evolution to celebrate the launch of Evolution: The Video Game

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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:
From gallery of milomilo122

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).

From gallery of milomilo122


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.
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Tue Feb 12, 2019 5:33 pm
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Oceans original watercolors from artist Catherine Hamilton - unboxing

Nick Bentley
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Tue Sep 18, 2018 7:33 pm
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We're turning our fans into reviewers, and you can get a game of ours months before it's published

Nick Bentley
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From gallery of milomilo122


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.
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Tue Jun 12, 2018 6:44 pm
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dude - it's a game where you say dude

Nick Bentley
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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

From gallery of milomilo122
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Tue Mar 20, 2018 10:11 pm
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All deep games are legacy games (and other ways to think about depth)

Nick Bentley
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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)
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Tue Jan 30, 2018 7:00 pm
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The neurobiology of Happy Salmon, the most ridiculous game in the world

Nick Bentley
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Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level I - One small step for geek... One giant leap for geek-kind!Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level II - If I have seen further, it's only by standing on the apex of other's dice.Microbadge: BloggerMicrobadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level IV - The journey of a thousand crits begins with a single roll...Microbadge: Citizenship Recognition - Level V - My God! It's Full of Stars!
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!

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(this gif brought to you by islaythedragon)
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Tue Jan 16, 2018 9:43 pm
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