Episode 166: Oceans

Click here for the direct download link for this week’s episode

1) The Pegs discuss their recent game plays including Nova Luna, Succulent, Vampire Empire, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell and many more;

2) All the Pegs review Oceans by North Star Games; and

3) Look back at our Party Game Suite.

Join in the conversation for this episode over at our Board Game Geek guild.

Show Notes

00:01:10 – Trivia: Samuel Taylor Coleridge

00:03:45 – Trivia: Contest progress


00:08:17 – Oceans Contest!

00:10:10 – Romance with axes

00:14:40 – Back into the Shadows of Brimstone


00:17:12Nova Luna * [Buy] – Stronghold Games; Designer: Uwe Rosenberg; Art: Lukas Siegmon;

00:24:30Succulent * [Buy] – Renegade Game Studios; Designer: J. Alex Kevern; Art: Anna Daviscourt;

00:32:14Harald [Buy] – Eagle-Gryphon Games; Designer: Rémi Gruber; Art: Emmanuel Civiello;

00:38:22Cities: Skylines – The Board Game * [Buy] – KOSMOS; Designer: Rustan Håkansson; Art: Fiore GmbH;

00:49:40Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norell: A Board Game of English Magic * [Buy] – Osprey Games; Designer: Marco Maggi, Francesco Nepitello; Art: Ian O’Toole;

00:57:55Vampire Empire [Buy] – Stronghold Games; Designer: Filip Miłuński; Art: Piotr Słaby;


01:05:29 – Plaid Hat becomes an independent studio again

01:09:42Virginia Gaming License Plate

01:12:50Asmodee Replacement Parts Polic

01:20:42Modist Brewing Tapletop Session

01:25:15 – Charterstone goes to reprint

01:26:30Feed the Kraken Kickstarter

01:30:09Merlin Big Box Kickstarter

01:31:18Cosmic Frog


01:35:10 – Rules Breakdown

Oceans is the newest title in North Star GamesEvolution series.  It’s a stand-alone game designed by Nick Bentley, Dominic Crapuchettes, Ben Goldman, Brian O’Neill that will have players creating and evolving species that will compete for a pool of common resources as well as feeding off each other.  The game boasts art by Guillaume Ducos and Catherine Hamilton and plays 2 to 4 players in about an hour to 90 minutes.

At the start of the game, each player begins with a hand of cards that represent various trains of their developing species.  As a general rule, traits will determine how their species will feed – foraging from the common supply, attacking adjacent species, or both – as well as various special powers.  The powers reflect evolutionary advantages that, for example, allow a players species to gain population every time a neighbor does, or to leech population from a neighbor without actually feeding, or to gain defensive bonuses when attacked.  In addition to the deck of basic cards, there is an additional special deck called The Deep that contains unique and powerful traits. These cards can only be played after a certain trigger in the game is met and at the cost of discarding a certain number of points, but once in play can offer remarkable bonuses.

Play is simple: A player will play one or two cards on their turn, depending on how late in the game it is.  The card can be played to add a trait to an existing species – up to a maximum of three – or to start a new species.  Then, they may choose one of their species to Feed. Most species will Forage, which removes population – represented by fish tokens – from the Reef to their player board.  Others will Feed by attacking, which will remove Population from an adjacent species. In Oceans adjacency is an important concept: it does not mean the adjacent player but the adjacent species, which can in fact be one belonging to the player whose sea creature is doing the attacking.

After Feeding, each of the player’s species will age, losing one or two population from their board to the player’s supply.  This supply represents end-game points. If at the time of aging a species has no population to give, it goes extinct and is discarded.  After this, players may discard any number of cards from their hands and draw them from the regular or Deep decks, with some limitations on how cards are selected from the Deep.

Population is managed in three different pools in the central play area – the Reef already mentioned, and three Ocean areas.  Players will draw population from these pools in various ways over the course of the game, keeping in mind that Foraging species can only draw population from the Reef.  Once emptied, these species will not be able to eat unless card actions are played to Migrate population from one of the other ocean pools back to the Reef. All cards have a Migrate value that can be played as a player’s card action rather than playing it as a Trait to evolve a species.

Gameplay will be modified by two event cards drawn randomly at the start of the game and assigned to the two Ocean pools closest to the Reef.  When these pools empty, these effects become active.

Play continues like this until all Ocean pools are empty, at which point a supply of Reserve population is emptied in the pool and players finish the round.  All players will score the Population they have collected over the course of the game as well as any Population left on their board, and the player with the highest total wins.

01:38:57 – Review

02:07:00 – Ratings


02:20:40Just One [Buy] – Repos Production; Designer: Ludovic Roudy, Bruno Sautter; Art: Éric Azagury, Florian Poullet;

02:23:32Pantone [Buy] – Cryptozoic Entertainment; Designer: Scott Rogers;

02:27:03But Wait There’s More [Buy] – Toy Vault, Inc.; Designer: Jay Cormier, Sen-Foong Lim; Art: Zac Pensol;

Check out our original review for these Party Game Suite titles during Episode 140.

Gameplay Photos

* Disclosure: These titles were received free of charge by the publishers or distributors. If you are interested in submitting a title for review, please read our Review Policy.

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