Gen Con 2023 – NorthStar Game Studio

NorthStar Games had several titles in addition to showing the Legends of the Deep expansion to its Evolution-adjacent game, Oceans. Eila and Something Shiny is a story-centric game where players as a group determine the fate a bunny off to find something shiny (duh.) Inheritors is a small box card game where players discard to draft cards to create sequences of single-color cards.

Legends of the Deep

Kickstarted last fall, the Legends of the Deep expansion should be arriving to the US in September with most other places seeing their pledges sometime in the fall. The heart of the new expansion (there’s a new base game you can get that includes the expansion) is twofold. A set of 24 cards depicting fictional Legendary creatures which are not used like creatures or abilities in the standard game. Instead, these cards are drafted by players and played (by spending points) during the game – although a player may only have one active at a time. They tend to break/change the game in broad strokes to create new strategies and styles of play. The cards are based on mythology taken from all around the world.

Alongside the Legends of the Deep expansion there is an expansion to change Oceans into a solo game. It’s called Oceans: Solo Expansion (surprise.) There are four levels of difficulty and some adjustments that can be made at each level. The lowest level is meant to introduce Oceans to a new player while the highest are obviously quite a challenge. The core of the AI opponent is a shark (which will attack your creatures) and a whale (which feeds on the available fish.) They are tracked using the shark board and whale board respectively. Over the course of the game the shark and whale can change so that the game state continues to evolve.

Eila and Something Shiny

My vote for the most illegible font of Gen Con 2023 is the title on the box of Eila and Something Shiny. Is it “PiLP”? OILP? Maybe eiLP? Now that I know it’s there, I can see the “A” but I know it has bunny ears only because I already know the game’s theme… Moving on, Eila and Something Shiny is a cooperative game for 1 or more players, emphasis on the 1. Everyone together plays as Eila. The multiplayer aspect is simply the players discussing and making Eila’s decisions. NorthStar adjusted the recommended age range of from 8+ to 12+, even though it seems to me that (at first) the game begins pretty mild (strategically and thematically.) However, thanks to comments below, YMMV (your mileage may vary) as some think the story gets unexpectedly dark towards the end.

The game revolves around a deck of cards that serves basically as an event deck as well as a healthy dose of flavor text. Cards are flipped and decisions are made which either remove the card from the game or return it to the event deck to be drawn on the next “day” (playthrough of the draw deck.) The top card is flipped and the players must decide as a group to choose one of two options. Cards usually grant a resource immediately (and return the card to the draw pile) or give players a more significant reward but the current card is then removed from the game. The most frequent example of this would be gaining an entirely new event card to put into the draw deck. Each time players go through the stack of cards, it is considered 1 day. Players then must spend certain resources (or take damage) as an end-of-day cost and may then spend other resources (typically harder-to-find ones) to gain rewards that advance the story. The active (old non-removed cards plus any “found” this day) cards are then shuffled to form the deck for the next day.

Eila’s resources are tracked at the bottom of the board. Carrots, stars, and coins are stored to the left while energy, books, and skulls are kept to the right. There are only so many slots on each side so if you want more coins you’ll have to settle with storing fewer carrots. Of note, the skulls are actually not something one wants. Instead, they simply take up valuable storage space and reduce how much you can hold in reserve. Eila also has a certain number of hearts. These can be wildcards for almost any resource, but if Eila loses all their hearts, the players lose – and there are situations where the game may force Eila to lose hearts directly.

The game has 5 different “chapters” to play, one chapter equal to one play through the entire game. Every chapter has starting conditions, final goals, and lists how many “days” the players have to complete the mission.


I did not get a full explanation of Inheritors, but thankfully I can poach some information off an upcoming review written by our leader M. Yu. Inheritors has players scoring points by creating straight-flush runs of cards in the various colors. Runs must start at “1” and go up to “6” and may not skip any numbers. Of course, there’s only one of each 5 and 6 of a color so they can be hot properties.

Gameplay revolves around either playing a card to one’s tableau or discarding cards to gain cards from the market in the middle of the board. Players can discard one card to draw two cards from the face-down deck. When cards are discarded they are added to one of the three rows of market cards, which basically accumulate over the course of the game. A player can also discard a card to a row to pick up all of one of the other two rows. The catch here is that the discarded card must match the top card of the claimed row. At the end of the game players score points equal to their highest card in each color.

However, there are some other cards running around beyond just the numbers. First, there are special Advocate cards that grant an ability, but are placed in the trash (not market) when used. There are Quest cards which are worth 1 or 2 points and can be claimed by a single player once they have satisfied the conditions. There are Relic cards for each color which are worth 1 point if you have the highest number of that color on the table, but they are -1 point if you do not. Tome and Epic cards give points to the player who has the most.

Finally, there are Clan cards. Clan cards are not in the deck but are displayed at the start of the game. A player may claim a clan card if they have played at least a “3” of the matching color, but may only claim one clan card per game. Clan cards grant a player special abilities which will tend to push a player towards a specific play style.

The game continues with playing, discarding, and drawing cards until either the deck is exhausted or all Honors and Quests have been taken. At that point, points are tallies with ties broken by the player holding the most Tome cards.

About Matt J Carlson

Dad, Gamer, Science Teacher, Youth Pastor... oh and I have green hair. To see me "in action" check out Dr. Carlson's Science Theater up on Youtube...
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4 Responses to Gen Con 2023 – NorthStar Game Studio

  1. Paul B says:

    While I haven’t played it, based on other coverage (notably Space-Biff) I’d suggest reconsidering the recommendation of Eila and Something Shiny for a younger audience. I understand that later in the game it gets pretty dark and unsettling content-wise, which would probably make it inappropriate for younger children.

  2. Tony says:

    FYI, for the Northstar Version of Eila, they upped the age rating on the box to 12+.

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