Oceans board game
Oceans board game

Oceans

Four years in the making, Oceans is the next stand-alone game in the award-winning Evolution series.

Theme
Enter a vast, underwater cosmos: a mysterious interconnected world of sharp teeth, glowing eyes, and black ink, where your survival depends on your ability to adapt to the unknown. The foundation of the oceanic food chain are billions of one-celled organisms called phytoplankton that capture the sun's energy through photosynthesis. The next level are species that feast on the sea's abundant plant life — zooplankton. All of this takes place in Catherine Hamilton's beautifully illustrated central board called the Reef. Every other oceanic species is a predator, each bigger than the next, all the way up to the dreaded apex predator. And even bigger than apex predators are enormous filter feeders that gently swim through the ocean scooping up everything in their path with their baleen.

Gameplay
Oceans is a continuation of North Star's quest to make a gamers' game that is easy to teach. Game designers Nick Bentley and Dominic Crapuchettes don't think people need to sit through 30+ minutes of rules explanations to get an immersive experience.

The foundation of Oceans is a simple turn structure and a deck of 10 straightforward traits, making it easy to learn all of the cards and wade effortlessly into the first game. The 10 traits were chosen because of the rich thematic interconnections, providing a tapestry of synergistic card play. Additionally, there are 4 randomly chosen scenario cards that activate (and sometimes deactivate) at various points during the game. The scenario cards impact the basic tenets of gameplay, encouraging people to vary their play style and strategy each game.

This foundation loosely mimics a scientific oceanic ecosystem, similar to what you've come to expect from games in the Evolution series. This is the core of Oceans and it's fully playable on its own. But there's more if you are willing to dive a bit deeper...

Oceans also includes something which will break the seams of the scientific reality you've come to accept: The Deep. The Deep is a deck of 100 unique power cards that require an additional cost to play. These power cards range from things you might find in nature to the fantastical Kraken or Leviathan.

Oceans is an engine builder where the world of science is disrupted at the seams by the world of fantasy. Players must adapt to the changing environment with an interconnected ecosystem that can survive and thrive against the inevitable march of time and the natural struggle of predators seeking to survive.



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User Ratings & Reviews

  • Reviewed
  • Some insist that Oceans is only tangentially related to the Evolution game series. The similarity in core card play and the parallels in theme, have left me with few real life scenarios in which selecting Oceans over Evolution: Climate was in Ocean's favour or wasn't arbitrary altogether.Ocean's design philosophy is as strange as the game is good. Evolution's focus on simultaneous play feels like a unique culmination of interactivity, strategic depth, and engaging gameplay, within a concise duration. Oceans feels oddly defiant in the way that it favours conventional gameplay structure, in the stead of furthering Evolution's foundational strengths. Still, Oceans impresses with it's replay variety, incredible artwork, and air tight engine building.
  • If you enjoy animal themes or thematic engine builders, this game is for you. It feels similar to its predecessor, Evolution, but more refined in some ways. Beautiful art and tight gameplay make this one a winner for me.
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Top Forum Posts

Board Game Meets Wildlife - How Catherine Hamilton Illustrated the Evolution Series image
Post-session report - Evolution:Climate and Oceans image
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User Activity Feed

My actual answers:

  • The best overall design: #Everdell
  • Your best memories: #Dune
  • Best cover art: #Oceans
  • The best euro: #Concordia (though to be honest, I'm not sure what actually counts as a Euro)
  • The best quick game (30m or less): #Santorini
  • The most fun you can have with your clothes on: 
  • The first game you loved: #Evolution: Climate
  • The best game you can can fit in your pocket: #Hive Pocket
  • The most immersive experience: #Western Legends
  • Your most played game: #Santorini
  • Your favourite components: #War Chest (heavy clinky chips!)
  • The 'to put it politely, I can't fathom how anyone can enjoy this' award: 

We'll play #Dune and #Oceans back to back some day.

On second thought, that sounds exhausting lol

The only upcoming games next year that are on my radar pretty much are reprints or expansions:

No games last week. I was the lead in a play that was being put on this past weekend, so there wasn't any time for games. Now that the show is over, my hunger to play has only increased. #Brass: Lancashire, #Oceans and #Hansa Teutonica are on the agenda!

Is it time for #Oceans??

And this is exactly how you sold me on #Oceans. I feel like we like a lot of the same games