Shorts: North Star Digital Studios behind Evolution

On our Patreon page we publish interviews with independent developers for our clients. The latest published interview with North Star Digital Studio.

This time we talk to Bree Woodward, artistic director of North Star Digital Studio. Studios behind the board game Evolution and the recently released board game Oceans. In addition to digital games, North Star also has a pretty good collection of physical board games.

I’ve reviewed the digital game Evolution on the iPad and more recently on the Switch. Great game, as you can read in my journal!

Guided by the North Star

Tell us about North Star Digital Studio or North Star Games.

Our mission at the North Star Games is to bring friends and family together for an exciting and memorable experience.  Our board games bring laughter, joy and creativity while expanding and enriching your mind.  We launched North Star Digital with the intention of bringing our board games to an even wider audience and showing our players the benefits of the digital format. As you look forward to each new release from North Star Games, we can sleep well at night knowing that our mission will be accomplished.

What’s behind the name of your studio?

North Star Games founder Dominic Crapuchettes owned a fishing boat in Alaska for 12 seasons, but deep down he always dreamed of starting a board game company.  One stormy night, his boat took on so much water that the batteries in the engine room flooded.  All electronics are dead, including the navigation system and bilge pumps.  Dominic was forced to climb onto the outside deck to steer his boat into port at North Star.

He vowed that if he survived, he would quit fishing and create the company of his dreams.  He opened the North Star Games in 2003.

A change from the first prototype

Evolution has been around for some time, first as a board game. What inspired this game?

Dominic stumbled across the Russian game Evolution: Origins of Species, and while it showed promise, it was a very flawed game and suffered from some mechanical gameplay issues, which inspired him. Even without knowing if a license for the game was available, and without falling asleep for weeks thinking about how to turn this game into something incredible, the inspiration for a new Evolution was born. Here you can learn more about the history of home furnishing.

Oceans and the coming games

I was watching Oceans on my iPad. Do I understand that it is based on the same principle of evolution?

Yes, absolutely, but it is important to note that this is not a development that distorts the theme of the ocean.  While there are some known mechanisms (feeding on the reef, as in a magic potion, evolving your species with draw cards, etc.), the reef is not the only place where you can find the best food for your species. Evolutionary actors will feel familiar, but will have to formulate entirely new approaches.

What other cool games are you currently working on?

We are working on a number of projects:

  • Drawing of the roses: A cooperative completion game called Draw Roses, set in the world of Alice in Wonderland.
  • Depth Legends: Distributed in the oceans, introducing indigenous mythology into the ocean ecosystem.

Want to know more?

Want to know more about the first versions or prototypes of Evolution, they were very different? What was the biggest challenge in converting the board game into a digital game? And what advice does Bree Woodward give to aspiring developers working alone or in small teams to achieve their goals?

Remember to join on Patreon at level 2 or 3 for just $2.50 a month to unlock everything!

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