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Archive for Dominic Crapuchettes

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

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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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

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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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North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
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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.






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).






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





Concept Sketches to Final: Card Design










Concept Sketches to Final: Darwin Host Character








Concept Sketches to Final: Species Board








Variable Foilage Graphics




Showing the Alpha at PAX East




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...





Packing the van at the NorthStar galactic headquarters.


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


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


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


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


...who started dancing together.
(We did not see that coming.)


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


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...


A random person going through the Evolution tutorial...


...and a random dino doing the same.


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


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!


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


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




PAX East 2017
PAX South 2017
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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New Evolution Trait Text - feedback appreciated

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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I think we're getting close to the final version of the new text. I'm very happy with how it is turning out. Thank you for all of your feedback. Over 120 people took the poll!

The format has been standardized anytime it did not detract from the readability. Here is a graphic of the new text on the cards. I would love to hear your feedback before we go to print. Remember, the goal is to be as easy to understand as possible for the most number of new players.





This print run of Evolution is expected to be available for $39.99 in the summer of 2017. You can learn more about it on the previous blog entry.


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


Tournament Kits
In case you haven't heard, we put together an Evolution tournament kit for your local game store. Everyone who participates in a tournament will receive 7 copies of Hibernation with new art by John Ariosa. Everyone who makes it to the final table will receive 7 copies of a limited edition foil Night Prowler trait, and the tourney winner will get the super cool T-Rex Meeple! Tell your local game store to host an Evolution tournament by showing them the picture below (or just tell them the tournament kit product # is NSG.506).



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


Sneak Peek
Here is a limited edition promo that we're making for the Dice Tower:

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Thu Jan 5, 2017 4:07 pm
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Poll: Evolution Text

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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We are in the process of putting together the next print run of Evolution which will be released in 2017. There will be significant changes to some of the game components because we want to bring the price down from $55 to $40. While we're at it, we're going to overhaul the wording on the trait cards to make everything more consistent. We would love to get your input on 7 specific cards. If you have 5 minutes, please take the following Google poll. Thanks!

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfx70470D5YIPM0xzs-...


Component Changes
None of this is set in stone, but we are actively working towards the following changes. The pictures below are prototypes of what we plan to do.

Box
- Smaller box

Watering Hole
- Smaller Watering Hole with new art

Food Screen
- Food screens instead of food bags

Player Aids
- 2 player aids instead of 6

Species Boards
- 20 Species Boards instead of 24
- 40 wooden cubes instead of 48


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Fri Dec 30, 2016 10:37 pm
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Ars Technica Review - Bloody great: Evolution: Climate is a board game “red in tooth and claw”

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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I'm thrilled that Ars Technica posted a review of CLIMATE over the weekend! They are one of my favorite web publications. Here is a small excerpt from the review and a link:

Ars Technica wrote:
Every trait feels well-integrated with the game's themes, and each game I played has offered an eye-opening look at how these traits might interact with food and climate to produce nature's complex ecosystems. I almost felt like I was learning something—and having great fun doing so.

Ars Technica wrote:
Overall, the Ars crew loves Evolution... And unlike most "edutainment" titles, it's great fun, with plenty to explore in the interplay between traits, food, and climate.


http://arstechnica.com/gaming/2016/12/bloody-great-evolution...

I tried posting it as a review on the CLIMATE page but it got declined, which is why I'm posting it as a blog post. And while I've got you here I might as well post some other fun stuff...

Tournament Kits
The Evolution Tournament Kit is finally available! Tell your local game store they can host an official tournament, because everyone who participates in a tournament will receive 7 copies of Hibernation with new art by John Ariosa. Plus the final table will receive 7 copies of a foil Night Prowler trait and the tourney winner will get the super cool T-Rex Meeple! Let your local game store know they should host an Evolution tournament by showing them the picture below (or just tell them the tournament kit product # is NSG.506).


Promo Cards
Here are a few promo cards we've been noodling around with:


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Wed Dec 21, 2016 11:56 pm
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Unboxing Evolution: Climate Production Samples

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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The production samples have arrived!!!

Check out this 2 minute video to see how giddy I am. I have never been more excited in my life to see our games. Climate is more near and dear to my heart then anything else I've ever worked on. It's a spectacular production.



Cheers everyone! I am one happy camper.
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Thu Jul 21, 2016 6:06 pm
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Looking for A Few Good Playtesters...

Dominic Crapuchettes
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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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Don't read this blog post if...

Spoiler (click to reveal)
you can't handle the truth!!



The truth is that we’re looking for outside testers for the Evolution: Climate expansion!
Official playtesters will get their names listed in the rules and a free copy of the Climate expansion. The timeline is tight for everything we want to accomplish, so let me know ASAP if you are able to do the following:

1) Construct a prototype of the Climate expansion:
    - You’ll need 185 card sleeves (129 base set + 56 Climate) and 56 cards as backings for the Climate cards (we use Magic cards).
    - There are also 18 event cards to cut out. Sleeves are not essential for these.
    - Print a Climate track on two pages and tape them together.

2) Play the Climate expansion at least 5 times by January 15th:
    - Record the climate each round, how many events were triggered, and the scores.
    - Give feedback about each game.

3) Make an updated prototype of Climate (we expect to update the cards based upon the feedback).

4) Play the updated Climate expansion at least 5 times by Febraury 15th.
    - Record the climate each round, the scores, and how many events were triggered.
    - Give feedback about each game.

5) Optional: Post a review on the BGG in February for people who are thinking about Kickstarting the game.

If this is something you can happily accomplish, send an email to Evolution At NorthStarGames Dot Com with your name and a short paragraph about the people you'll test with. We'll choose 5 - 10 playtesters by the end of next week.

Cheers!
Dominic


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Tue Dec 1, 2015 10:16 pm
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