I asked Scott Rencher to leave a cushy job at Intel, relocate his family across the country, and start a digital division...
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Recommend
158 
 Thumb up
1.25
 tip
 Hide
Five years ago, I asked Scott Rencher to leave a cushy job at Intel, relocate his family across the country, and start a digital division for North Star Games. I gave him one simple mission: to set a new bar in our industry for a digital conversion of a board game.

It's been a long journey, but they finally released the game today! In my opinion, his team has not only set the bar - they've blown it out of the water. It's been a crazy ride (as these things tend to be), so I've put together a few highlights. Feel free to comment. I'm happy to answer any questions... Enjoy!



From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap


NOTE: A BGG admin asked me to remove something that went against BGG policy. Once the content was removed, the title of this Geeklist made no sense, so I changed it. If you came here to get details about the old title, you can get them on the North Star Games blog.
Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
  • [+] Dice rolls
1. Board Game: Entrepreneur [Average Rating:5.41 Unranked]
Board Game: Wits & Wagers
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
This is an old dream of mine. A very old dream.

Back when I worked as a programmer at a dot-com in 1998, I had a hard time deciding whether to start a traditional board game company, or a digital board game company. I chose cardboard because it required less start-up money.

I tried to get Scott Rencher to join North Star Games when I started the company in 2003 but failed. Then starting around 2009 when iPhones were exploding in popularity, I brought up the idea of Scott starting our digital division. He just laughed. In fact, every time I saw him I would bring up the idea (he would come every year to recruit for Intel). I don't think he took me serious until we were once stuck in a car all day driving to a wedding...

At some point he looked over and said "Wait a minute. Are you being serious?"
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
2. Board Game: Evolution [Average Rating:7.16 Overall Rank:434]
Board Game: Evolution
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
My original goal was to release a digital version of Evolution around the same time the board game got released in 2015. It was all mapped out just perfectly in my head.

From gallery of domcrap


As you know, things rarely go according to the plan. It took time to convince Scott to take a huge risk with us, then it took time to relocate the family from Oregon (largely due to him getting 3 knee surgeries and nearly losing his leg). Then it took another 5 years to raise money, hire the team, and get the product launched with the level of polish we desired.
17 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
3. Board Game: Crazy Office [Average Rating:6.19 Unranked]
From gallery of domcrap
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Office Space

One of the most joyous occasions was when my son helped create space in our office for North Star Digital. My wife also helped with the endeavor. That was an epic day for us.

From gallery of domcrap





North Star Digital kept a blog about their journey. It includes 24 people hired, 1 that we had to let go (which is not bad for 5 years), 2 times running out of money, 4,438 Kickstater backers, countless design discussions, 466 test versions, 4 Gen Cons, and 2 inflatable dinosaur costumes.

From gallery of domcrap
26 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
4. Video Game: Evolution [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:7067]
From gallery of domcrap
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Fast forward 5 years and the much-anticipated Evolution: The Video Game is being released today! It’s also Darwin’s Birthday. Coincidence?

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Nope. The date just seemed like a natural selection to us!

From gallery of domcrap
46 
 Thumb up
0.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
5. Board Game: Movie Trailer [Average Rating:5.60 Overall Rank:16059]
From gallery of domcrap
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Release Video



I'm very proud of what our small team has accomplished. They poured their hearts into this project (as well as countless late nights and weekends). I think the final product is more similar to triple AAA games from public companies than the board game conversion we typically find in our industry. I've told them this and I believe it. They surpassed my expectations.
19 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
6. Video Game: Evolution [Average Rating:5.20 Overall Rank:7067]
From gallery of domcrap
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Download Details

It's available in English on PC and Mac via Steam for $14.99. It's also available as free-to-try on iOS and Android with a full version available for $9.99 as a one time purchase. Those who purchase the game in the first week will receive a 20% launch sale discount.

Steam
iOS
Android

The free-to-try version on iOS and Android gives the first 9 levels of the campaign, the easy artificial intelligence opponents, and one multiplayer game a day. The Paid version unlocks all 21 levels of the campaign, the medium, hard, and expert AI's, 4 more AI personalities, Private Multiplayer Games, and unlimited matchmade multiplayer games.

From gallery of domcrap

We are also doing something very cool for the launch, but I can't post about it here. Go to the North Star Games blog to get the details.
14 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
From gallery of domcrap
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
There's more to the story. There always is.

I didn't go into the sobering financial aspect of this endeavor which threatens to sink the company. But I have no regrets. I love what we've accomplished and I'm excited to see how it is received by the community. Perhaps in the future I'll share everything behind the scenes like I did nearly a decade ago:

It all started on a sinking boat in Alaska...

From gallery of domcrap
From gallery of domcrap

(that's me with the red coat, beard, and geeky glasses)
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
8. Board Game Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Board Game Designer: Dominic Crapuchettes
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Thanks for reading! This game is near and dear to my heart. It really is a beautiful work of art and I want to share it with as many people as possible.

Cheers,
Dominic

From gallery of domcrap
25 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
9. Board Game: Peer Review [Average Rating:6.00 Unranked]
Board Game: Peer Review
Dominic Crapuchettes
United States
Bethesda
MD
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
North Star Games designs party games that don't suck! Play them with your non-gamer friends over the holidays.
badge
First there was Hearts, then there was Spades, and now we bring you Clubs. The suit of clubs finally gets some respect!
Avatar
Microbadge: Oceans fanMicrobadge: Carcassonne fanMicrobadge: North Star Games "Evolution" Contest participantMicrobadge: Agricola fanMicrobadge: Nexus Ops fan
Reviews

Someone just forwarded me a review from Touch Arcade. I hear they're pretty big, so this is fantastic news! I can't tell you how happy it makes me to see this point of view in print. Here are a few quotes that put a smile on my face:

Touch Arcade wrote:
It’s fitting that a game I previously picked to shake up the Card Brawler genre is all about survival of the fittest. Even back then during the beta I could see the potential this one has for folks who want to devour a competitive experinece on a cross platform environment. Evolution: The Video Game (Free) has leaped into the fray with a powerhouse game poised to steal the thunder of some of the most popular games on the app store.
Touch Arcade wrote:
Evolution is a game begging to steal the spotlight from heavy hitting card games like Elder Scrolls: Legends (Free) and Hearthstone (Free). While the offline version is free, playing more than one online game a day will cost you $8. It’s a cost that is in my opinion fully justified and absolutely worth spending.
Touch Arcade wrote:
So where do we sit with Evolution? Its a little weird comparing the usual 2 player head to head gameplay with Evolution‘s 4 player configuration, but even so I think there is in many ways more game here that is immediately accessible and has a longer term viability than most other card brawlers. I hope the price tag doesn’t scare players off because this one is worth every penny.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
Loading... | Locked Hide Show Unlock Lock Comment     View Previous {{limitCount(numprevitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}
{{error.message}}
{{comment.error.message}}
    View More Comments {{limitCount(numnextitems_calculated,commentParams.showcount)}} / {{numnextitems_calculated}} 1 « Pg. {{commentParams.pageid}} » {{data.config.endpage}}