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The Northstar is no sinking ship... (for now)
Dominic Crapuchettes
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Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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Many of you have already read my geeklist called "North Star Games: It all started on a sinking ship" about how I left the fisheries in Alaska to start a board game company. This geeklist is a short follow up of things that have taken place since that list was posted.

A bunch of great news has been sweeping through our company recently. I've posted some of this on my BGG blog, but that has limited followers and other people might be interested in some of this stuff... like perhaps winning an iPad... or maybe in some of the other stuff like our revenue numbers, or our grand plans for the future...

Cheers!

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1. Board Game: The Newspaper Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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A short article about our company was published in the Washington Post today. Since it is timely, I thought I would add it to this geeklist.


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2. Board Game: Lottery [Average Rating:4.28 Unranked]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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Say Anything was picked up by Target AND Toys-R-Us!!!

Wow. This is a huge moment for our company! To celebrate and bring attention to the game, we're hosting an iPad contest. We need your help spreading the word in order to stay on their shelves. Here is what you can do:

1) Go to ourFacebook page and click on your favorite answer. It only takes 30 seconds!

2) Afterwards, click on "Invite friends" to let others know about the contest.

We want this to go as viral as possible, lest Say Anything gets dropped from Target and Toys-R-Us, and millions of families never get the chance to play the 2008 BGG Party Game of the Year. To help it along, if one of your friends wins, we'll also send YOU a free copy of any one of our games!
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3. Board Game: Say Anything [Average Rating:6.79 Overall Rank:856]
Dominic Crapuchettes
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MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
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To help spread the word, we also made a 1 minute video. Our goal was to give people a quick way to figure out if Say Anything is a game they would enjoy.

We wanted to show that it's a great game to play with the family over the holidays, but we didn't think a video of any of our families would work out, so Satish (my co-president) invited a bunch of people from his improv class. I think we made the right choice (if nothing else, we had a great time).




Note: You don't have to be funny to enjoy this game, or even be good at it. We just thought people who do improv would make for a good video.
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4. Board Game: Gold! [Average Rating:6.43 Overall Rank:3867]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
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Wits & Wagers goes Gold!!!

We sold our 500,000 copy of Wits & Wagers this month, and The Totally Rad show did a review to commemorate the event. Yes, you heard me right! The TOTALLY RAD SHOW!!! It was totally radical, dude. This is my favorite quote from the show:

"I think it is the best party game ever made." - Jeff Cannata

To celebrate this occasion, we are giving away a free copy of W&W every day this month. Watch the show on YouTube to get the details.





Thanks to everyone at the BGG for helping bring attention to Wits & Wagers. It would have never gone gold without your help!
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5. Board Game: Evil Ted [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
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I was asked to speak about board games at a TEDx event in Washington DC last month. The over-arching topic of the event was Reinventing, so I talked about two transformations that are currently shaping our industry.



Discussion is encouraged. Pipe up if you have something to say about these topics. These are issues that I'm passionate about.

PS Please forgive my frequent "ums" and other blatant flaws. This is the first time I have ever spoken in front of a crowd with 4 or 5 cameramen around the room. (yes, they put makeup on me. If only it had made me look less bald...)
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6. Board Game: The Fund-Raising Game [Average Rating:0.00 Unranked]
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
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While browsing YouTube for these other videos, I found this short clip about how the Cupid Cup helped our company's development. The Cupid Cup is a business plan competition hosted by the founder of UnderArmour.

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7. Board Game Publisher: North Star Games
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
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Other Points of Interest

Employees
At the beginning of this year, we had 5 full-time employees and 1 part-timer. We now have 9 employees and we are hiring our 10th. Those are big changes for a basement start-up. Our employees are going to revolt if we don't get office space soon. (seriously)


Revenue:
  2003   $400
  2004   $15,038
  2005   $52,565
  2006   $95,398
  2007   $307,669
  2008   $730,039
  2009   $1,573,506
  2010   $1,921,131
  2011   $3,000,000 (estimated)

This seems like a big jump from 2010, but all of these gains will disappear next year if Say Anything does not stay on the shelves of Target and Toys-R-Us. If that happens, then the Northstar will probably be a sinking ship (and I'll have to change the title of this geeklist). Growing quickly is all about taking calculated risks, and taking on the extra expenses of new hires and office space is one of those calculated risks that could backfire. I try not to think about that possibility. Instead, I try to focus on ways to bring as much attention to Say Anything as possible, hence the iPad contest and this geeklist.


Wits & Wagers Party:
We have developed a new edition of Wits & Wagers from the ground up. It was designed to be more intuitive as a television game show, and the end result is AWESOME! This is not a marketing spiel. I honestly think this will be the best version of the game by a good bit. The questions are definitely our best set, and the rules are more streamlined and intuitive. I'll post more about this on my blog sometime soon.




Special BGG Content:
We are going to hold a contest to create a special BGG promo pack of Wits & Wagers cards. I was supposed to talk with Chad last week, but I've been too busy to follow up. Suffice it to say that it will happen at some point (who knows when), so start thinking about good Wits & Wagers questions! We might also create a promo pack of Say Anything questions and Crappy Birthday cards. I think the Crappy Birthday card contest would be the most fun!




iPhone / iPad app:
Some of you may remember that we were working on a Wits & Wagers app with a company called Griffin. They created this awesome device that connected your iPhone or iPad to your television along with 4 WiFi controllers with which to play games. They pulled the plug on the project at the last minute, because Apple told them it would compete with their future plans for Apple TV.

It has taken me this long to find a suitable partner, but it looks like we will partner with Backflip! They have produced some GREAT apps including the original Paper Toss and the recent DragonVale. They have over 25 million users who play their games each month. That's big! They have had over 100 million downloads on the iOS and over 30 million for the Android. We have talked about the details, but we don't yet have a legal contract, so it is not yet set in stone. Keep your fingers crossed for us. This is a relationship that would ensure a very high quality app.


Future Projects:
I am starting to look for long-term partnerships with brands that we'd like to associate with Wits & Wagers. I think this is the next step of development for the company. The three projects that I will be working on next year are:

1) Making a great Wits & Wagers app with Backflip.
2) Pitching a Wits & Wagers television game show concept.
3) Trying to put together a Wits & Wagers partnership with National Geographic for an edition of Wits & Wagers Family that comes with huge photographic question cards. We are not interested in a simple license. We want to form a partnership that involves television advertisements on their part.


My BGG Blog:
Those of you interested in following our company should subscribe to my BGG blog. Party games may not be your favorite type of game, but if you have to play them over the holidays with your family, you might as well play party games that don't suck!
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