Oceans

North Star Games has launched Oceans, the latest game in the Evolution series, on Kickstarter, and it funded on the first day of the campaign.  Oceans is a strategy game that recreates the building of a marine ecosystem through millions of years of evolution. Like the other games in the Evolution series, players create and evolve species in a growing ecosystem in an effort to survive and thrive. Species will be defined by one or more of the 12 traits found among sea life.  At first, the only food source is plankton and predating species will be limited to few traits, but as life (and food) become more abundant, more complex creatures can evolve. But the ocean is a complex ecosystem and the deeper one goes in the ocean the stranger the ocean world becomes.  Oceans includes this mysterious world with The Deep, where 50 unique traits create powerful and strange creatures of the deep ocean.  Oceans features the same art style by naturalist Catherine Hamilton found in the other Evolution games.

Oceans plays 2-6 players, ages 12+, between 45-100 minutes.  Contents for the standard game include 1 Rulebook, 1 Reference Guide, 2 Player aids, 1 Reef board, 3 Ocean boards (2 small, 1 large), 120 Surface cards (10 of each type), 50-80 Deep cards (1 of each type), 25 Scenario cards, 35 Species boards, 215 cardboard fish (96 Light Blue, 42 Salmon, 30 Yellow, 18 Blue, 6 Midnight, and 23 White tokens), 6 Player screens, and 6 Bonus Score tokens.  The Deluxe Edition ugrades the fish to acrylic fish tokens, custom printed bags for storing points instead of player screen, and 220 custom Ocean card sleeves for both the core trait cards and The Deep trait cards. The Kickstarter campaign runs through April 26 with an expected delivery date of September 2019.  Check out the Kickstarter campaign to learn more.

Fans of Evolution and North Star Games can now anticipate an upcoming sequel to the richly scientific franchise. Designed collaboratively by Nick Bentley, Brian O’Neill, and Dominic Crapuchettes, OCEANS is billed as their most ambitious game yet several years in the making. While it continues to use Evolution’s excellent theme and art in fun new ways, it will also inter the figurative depth and denizens of the ocean into it’s strategy to create something altogether not for the feint of heart. The game is intended to hit Kickstarter in February 2019 with an anticipated release the following September.

“OCEANS is the latest entry into the Evolution Game Series and, a grand cumulation of effort by North Star Games to design the ultimate gamer’s game. […] Whereas the previous games in the Evolution series were bound exclusively by the science (and the core of this game is as well), OCEANS expands upon it with a new set of cards called “The Deep”. This fantastical set of new cards stretch the boundaries of the game from science, to science fiction by including creatures like the Leviathan and the Hydra.”

However, before the anticipated launch of the crowdfunding campaign, North Star Games is seeking outside playtest groups to ensure the design is as polished as it can be. This additional effort to put their game through more pressure before putting it to Kickstarter further shows the love and care they have in OCEANS and I think it’s a great sign of a good game on the horizon. If you are interested in participating in playtesting, you can follow this link for information and to apply. For even further details, screenshots, and behind-the-scenes looks for OCEANS, be sure to check out their blog and website for all that and more.