The board game publisher previously known as North Star Games has announced a rebranding to Northstar Games Studio, which will accompany a new focus on digital and analogue titles designed for a hobby audience.
The studio was founded in 2003 by Dominic Crapuchettes, a former professional Magic: The Gathering player and seasonal commercial salmon fisher. Early successes in party games eventually allowed the US-based company to spool up a hobby games division that, over the years, has produced some of the studio’s most well known board games, such as The Quacks of Quedlinburg, The Taverns of Tiefenthal and Evolution.
Now, the newly minted Northstar Games Studio says they are ready to put the era that created Say Anything, Wits & Wagers and other more accessible titles to bed and focus on a single part of the board game market - hobby gamers.
“Over the years we’ve published exciting, award-winning titles catering to a wide variety of players - everything from party games to kid games to family games to digital apps,” Crapuchettes said in a press release. “I love all types of games, but we were too small to be everything to everyone.”
Part of this structural shake-up was spurred by COVID-19 pandemic pressuring the board games market, raising the cost of raw materials, manufacturing and shipping to unforeseen levels that still haven’t relaxed back to their pre-2020 numbers. Northstar had already been in the process of selling off parts of the company, brokering a deal with the Asmodee-backed Exploding Kittens last year to purchase the Happy Planet brand - Dicebreaker favourite Happy Salmon included. The studio also managed to see both Wits & Wagers and Say Anything to veteran toy maker Mattel.
Northstar Games Studio’s rebranding includes a new logo designed by Quillsilver Studio that the studio said hopefully portrays “feelings of empowerment, mystery and the excitement of exploration.” It does have a boat and some fantastical fish, but how much of that is a callback to Crapuchettes salty former life isn’t clear.
The press release doesn’t name any new projects for the studio, nor any changes or delays to existing ones. Coming off the back of cooperative puzzle game Paint the Roses, the designers are currently working on a complete redesign of the prolific Evolution series tentatively named Nature, which is currently in playtesting. No release date has been provided at this time.