Oceans: the next game in the award-winning Evolution series October 29 2018, 10 Comments

We're emerging from the Depths...

The most massive project North Star Games has ever tackled is starting to surface. After going dark for nearly a year, the next stand-alone game in the Evolution series is finally coming up for air. 

If you are among the 1,300 people who signed-up to playtest Oceans, you can go to Discord to get the Print & Play files and start discussing the game with the development team (actually, the v3 files are open to anyone interested in trying the game). Otherwise, read on to see if Oceans is something your game group might be excited to play. A stand-alone game of this size needs a massive number of dedicated playtesters.

The 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 need 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 12 traits were chosen because of the rich thematic interconnections, providing a tapestry of synergistic card play. Additionally, there are 3 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!

...

Electrostatic discharge

 

Oceans is an engine builder where the world of science is disrupted at the seams by fantastical phenomena too outlandish to be believed.  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 (master of game design architecture 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).  

Help Test this Monster!

Join the Discord community if you'd like to interact with the people creating this game (the dev team and an active international playtest community.  better yet, play the PnP game (or on Tabletop Simulator) and help us polish this monstrosity into a beautiful pearl. Welcome aboard biologist!

Twitter

Or if the vastness of the Ocean terrifies you, follow me from afar @DCrapuchettes on Twitter.  

I'll post the latest game ideas and sneak peeks of the most recent art as they emerge from the depths.

And possibly the rare photo of one of my kids helping me playtest. But I won't go overboard on this - I promise.