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Enter a vast, underwater cosmos: a mysterious interconnected world of sharp teeth, glowing eyes, and black ink.
Enter a vast, underwater cosmos: a mysterious interconnected world of sharp teeth, glowing eyes, and black ink.
12,012 backers pledged $766,085 to help bring this project to life.

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Oceans: a standalone game in the Evolution series

$766,085

12,012

Oceans is a 2-4 player strategy game in the Evolution game series where you create a vibrant web of marine life through millions of years of evolution. Whatever version of Oceans you pledge for, it will automatically come with a 5-6 player expansion.

The Evolution games are known for vivid themes, easy rules, and hidden depth. With many thousands of play-tests, years of non-stop design, over 100 unique illustrations, and more content than we've ever put into a game before, Oceans is our most ambitious project to date.

At the game's start, the only food source is plankton, the foundation of the ocean food web. It populates the beautifully illustrated Reef and Ocean boards, shown here as prototypes: 

(Note the fish tokens you see above are off-the-shelf items we used for testing. The actual tokens will be cardboard for the standard edition and acrylic for the deluxe edition. See below.)
(Note the fish tokens you see above are off-the-shelf items we used for testing. The actual tokens will be cardboard for the standard edition and acrylic for the deluxe edition. See below.)

Your goal is to create and evolve species so they find their niche in the growing ecosystem, by giving them helpful combinations of traits. This is a what a species looks like: 

Each species is defined by its population (the fish tokens above), and its traits (the cards above). Through the game It'll gain and lose traits, and gain and lose population depending on what it can eat, and what can eat it. Despite your best efforts, some species will go extinct! It's natural selection at work. 

Because you can build species from any combination of traits, thousands of species are possible, and they all interact in their own particular ways as the ecosystem builds. Every game creates a one-of-a-kind world, never to be seen again.   

Many species will be predators, each bigger than the next, all the way up to the dreaded apex predator. But some will eat in other ways, for example by scavenging on the sea bottom or filter-feeding on plankton. Below are examples of trait art - each a watercolor painting by famed nature artist Catherine Hamilton:

Then there's a whole other side to the game. It's called The Deep. 

Huge regions of deep ocean are unexplored, and what little we've seen of them can seem like fantasy:

We had to put this mysterious world into the game. Hence The Deep.

The Deep will contain, at minimum, 50 unique, powerful traits, which dramatically boost the range - and strangeness - of species you can evolve. We commissioned scores of illustrations from a variety of fine artists to make them. Here are examples:   

Through unlocked stretch goals, at least 32 additional Deep cards may become permanently added to the game. 

Beyond those, there are also 8 foiled Deep promo cards to unlock. These foiled traits are more aggressive and/or complex than the other cards in the game. 

With all stretch goals unlocked, you'll get more than 90 unique Deep cards in total. They raise the number of distinct species you can evolve from thousands to about one million.

Each time you play, there are 2 scenario cards in play (chosen at random at the start of the game from a deck of at least 25). Each creates a major ecosystem-shift when activated, altering the whole game. It's another way the evolutionary timeline changes each play.

The standard scenario deck can create about 600 distinct Ocean histories to evolve through, but we're also offering up to 13 more scenario cards as stretch goals. With those added, about 1500 Ocean histories are possible. 

We've packed all this into rules that are simpler, more intuitive, and easier to teach even than Evolution, which was already known for being easy to teach. Nonetheless you'll find tons of hidden tactics and strategies...under the surface. 

Note: Oceans is mechanically quite different from previous Evolution games. See this update for details.  

 For every pledge level, at the end of the campaign, you'll choose between English, French, Spanish and Italian versions of Oceans in the pledge manager. You can pledge for as many copies as you wish.

Standard Edition Pledge Level - $45 USD ($5 off MSRP)

You get the Oceans Standard Edition and all unlocked stretch goals. 

The Standard Edition contains:  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), 24 Scenario cards, 24 Species boards, 200 cardboard fish with 6 different illustrated designs (see below), 4 Player screens, and 4 Bonus Score tokens. Note exact numbers of some components could change with final game tweaks.

The 5-6 player expansion contains 40 additional fish, 2 extra player screens, 2 extra bonus score tokens, and 10 extra species boards.  

Note: unlike in the prototype pictured above, the final cardboard fish will be illustrated on both sides: 

Deluxe Edition Pledge Level - $70 ($15 off MSRP)

You get Oceans' Deluxe Edition and all unlocked stretch goals. The Deluxe Edition improves on the Standard Edition in the following ways:

  • Includes 240 deluxe translucent acrylic fish tokens in addition to the cardboard fish of the standard edition, so you can decide how you want to play. The acrylic fish are more durable, easier to handle, and they refract light beautifully. Our goal is to make them as delicious-looking and as tactile as possible. We'll have done our job if your first instinct is to eat them. Prototype:
The final version may look even better, as they'll have smooth, beveled edges.
The final version may look even better, as they'll have smooth, beveled edges.
  • Includes custom-printed, premium food bags for up to 6 players for storing your points, instead of cardboard player screens. They feel super-silky, they have drawstrings, and they help keep your playing area neat and compact. 
  • Includes 220 custom Oceans premium matte card sleeves, for sleeving both the core trait cards and The Deep trait cards, plus spares. 

Box Cover Art Painting Pledge Level - $3000

You get the Deluxe Edition, all unlocked stretch goals, and Catherine Hamilton's original 12" x 12" watercolor painting for the Box Cover. Because the painting is one-of-a-kind, only one backer can pledge this level: 

Pledge levels which are no longer available

There are a number of pledge levels with backer limits that have been reached, and so are no longer available. To simplify this page, we've removed descriptions of these levels for now. We'll add them back in if any become available again.

Whatever language you choose for your game, your stretch goals will also come in that language. There are three types of stretch goals: 

  •  Deep Cards: Unlocked Deep traits that will become a permanent part of both the Standard and Deluxe Editions. Each card that isn't unlocked may be available on our website for $2.  
  •  Foiled Deep Cards: Promo Deep traits that are more aggressive and/or complex than normal Deep traits. After the campaign, each foiled card may be available on our website for $3 if there are any left over. 
  •  Scenario Cards: Promo scenarios that are wackier than the standard scenarios. Some are downright goofy. After the campaign, each scenario card may be available on our website for $1 if there are any left over. 

The total value of all stretch goals is more than $100.

You can order as many of each add-on as you like. Note the non-digital add-ons will add extra shipping cost, which will be charged after the campaign ends in our pledge manager.

Evolution (English or Italian) - add $40 to your pledge for each English copy, $35 for each Italian copy

Evolution is an award-winning board game where 2 – 6 players adapt terrestrial species in an ever changing ecosystem with hungry predators and limited resources. The game has been used in the evolutionary biology department at the University of Oxford and featured in the world's leading scientific journal, Nature. You'll be able to choose between English and Italian versions in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

Evolution Video Game (English Only)

Add $12 to your pledge for a Steam code (20% off). In the pledge manager at campaign's end, it may also be possible to add-on iOS and Android versions.

We've turned Evolution into a video game for iOS, Android, and Steam. It's got lots of new content and modes of play, and a refined interface. The learn-as-you-play tutorial makes it perhaps the easiest way to learn Evolution.

Evolution: Climate Standalone (English Only) - add $60 to your pledge for each copy

Climate is a more advanced version of Evolution, where you must contend not only with other species, but also with a changing climate that can swing from scorching hot to icy cold, and major environmental disruptions like drought and meteor impacts.

Evolution: The Beginning (English Only) - add $25 to your pledge for each copy

The Beginning is a faster, simpler, more casual Evolution experience than its parent game. It's especially good for playing with young kids (8 and up) and it works very well for 2 players.

Evolution Foiled Promo Card Pack #1 (English Only) - add $12 to your pledge for each pack

This pack contains 7 copies each of 5 foiled promo traits that that can be used in both Evolution and Evolution: Climate. We normally sell each trait for $5 each (and not all of them foiled). With this pack you save more than 50% on each card. The cards are: Extra Sensory Perception, Cybernetic Limbs, Gigantism, Venom, Unstable DNA.

Evolution Foiled Promo Card Pack #2 (English Only) - add $17 to your pledge for each pack

This pack contains 7 copies each of 7 foiled promo traits that that can be used in both Evolution and Evolution: Climate. We normally sell each trait for $5 each (and not all of them foiled). With this pack you save more than 50% on each card. The cards are: Sharp Teeth, Rapid Mutation, Pest, Invasive Species, Pounce, Quills, and Last Stand.

Evolution Foiled Promo Card Pack #3 (English Only) - add $15 to your pledge for each pack

This pack contains 7 copies each of 6 foiled promo traits that that can be used in both Evolution and Evolution: Climate. We normally sell each trait for $5 each (and not all of them foiled). With this pack you save 50% on each card. The cards are: Mimicry, Trample, Timid, Insectivore, Coprophagia, and Claws.

Premium, Custom Deep Deck Tray by Dog Might Games - add $49 to your pledge

This custom Oceans card tray is crafted by the Viking Lumberjacks at Dog Might Games. Built to fit the Deep Deck, the trays are built using Culry Birch and feature the Oceans logo fully sculpted into the wood and Dog Might's custom Azul stain. The Trays measure 12 x 3.25 x 2.75" and fit both sleeved and unsleeved cards. Like all Dog Might products, the Trays come with a lifetime guarantee. Check out more of their Gaming Gear at dogmight.com.

Note these trays will be fulfilled separately from the rest of your pledge, direct from Dog Might Games. You'll be charged for shipping in the pledge manager after the campaign ends. Here are shipping estimates to common locations: 

  • US- $15.00
  • Canada- $25.00
  • EU- $35.00
  • AU-$40.00

Wood Fish Tokens - add $14 to your pledge

For meeple lovers: 240 wood fish. The color design of these fish aren't final. This picture will give you an idea of what they look like:

 Oceans art print of your choice - add $40 per print to your pledge 

At the end of the campaign, through our pledge manager, you'll be able to choose from any of the 12 prints pictured below. Each archival fine art print is 8"x 8".

Are you a retailer interested in carrying Oceans in your store? We're running an awesome promotion for the Deluxe version of Oceans through our distributors. 

  • For the English version, contact luke [at] northstargames [dot] com for details or ask your favorite distributor if they're participating in North Star Games' Oceans' promotion
  • For the French version, contact ksretailer [at] funforge [dot] fr
  • For the German version, contact Schwerkraft-Verlag through this link.
  • For the Spanish version, contact clientesedicionesmasqueoca [at] masqueoca [dot] com
  • For the Italian version, contact kelly [dot] stocco [at] pendragongamestudio [dot] com

Oceans is for 2-6 players, ages 12 and up, and takes 50-110 minutes, depending on player count. Note we may yet make small rule changes before going to print.

How to Play  

Play-Through 

Shipping will be charged after the campaign ends, through our pledge manager. Below are shipping cost estimates depending on where you live. Actual shipping cost may rise depending on how the campaign develops, and which add-ons you pledge for (especially the whole boxed game add-ons).

  •  USA: $10 to most places
  •  CANADA: $15 to most places
  •  EUROPE: 7€ to Spain and Portugal, 13€ to the Canary Islands, 9€ to France, 9€ to Italy. 11€ to Benelux. 17€ to the rest of the EU countries. 23€ to the non EU countries.
  •  ASIA: $20 to most countries   
  •  OCEANIA: $25 to Australia and New Zealand 
  •  SOUTH AMERICA/LATIN AMERICA: $35 to Mexico, $55 to most other countries. 
  •  REST OF THE WORLD $40-$55 to most other countries.

We DO NOT SHIP to PO Boxes domestically or internationally, nor to Afghanistan, Burma, North Korea, Sudan, Russia, Ukraine, or Kazakhstan.

We expect to deliver rewards to backers in September 2019. Note this is an estimate and it's possible it will change. In addition, delivery to different countries can vary due to regional differences in shipping systems and customs issues. We'll keep you informed of all timeline changes via post-campaign updates.

This project is promoted by Green Inbox

Risks and challenges

North Star Games has been publishing board games for over 15 years and has delivered millions of games through retail and distribution in that time. This is our 7th Kickstarter campaign and the 4th campaign for the Evolution Series. We know what it takes to produce high quality games in large quantities and fulfill them despite the varied difficulties of international fulfillment, and we have time-tested systems in place which minimize errors.

As with our previous campaigns, if you're unsatisfied with the condition of any of the components you receive, we'll replace them. This minimizes the risk to you.

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Questions about this project? Check out the FAQ

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    Playtester Pledge Level

    This level is for verified Oceans playtesters only. Others who pledge at this level will receive no rewards.

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    Standard Edition

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    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Cleaner Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Cleaner trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Schooling Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Schooling trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Migratory Filter Feeder

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Migratory Filter Feeder trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Parasite Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Parasite trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Transparent Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Transparent trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Mutualism Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Mutualism trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Bottom Feeding Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Bottom Feeding trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Inking Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Inking trait, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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    Deluxe Edition + Box Cover Painting

    You get the Deluxe Edition of Oceans, Catherine Hamilton's original watercolor painting for the Box Cover art, and all unlocked stretch goals. You'll be able to choose your language version in the pledge manager after the campaign ends.

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Funding period

- (31 days)