SU&SD Review: Spirit Island!

2022-07-21T19:03:07Z

Haven’t seen this one yet, but I’m getting my popcorn as the old review was by Praul.

Summoning the Spirit Island gang! @EnterTheWyvern @yashima

Interesting. Tom’s con is the same as Paul’s

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At the end of the review I was still thinking about the pieces that got blended.

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Interesting timing, now that they’ve announced a new Spirit Islite that will be a Target exclusive, aimed at your mum


(†): Presumably

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I think @RogerBW is part of the crowd too now. Even if i was too lazy to remove expansion cards for his first game…

I suppose my reaction to Tom’s impression was a little covered by what Matt said at the end about the expansions. However I also think his thing about it being a bit solitary isn’t too wrong and is quite a lot about personal tastes. I do feel though that I like the level of chat. I find there’s plenty of chat but it’s maybe vague and then when it’s time to execute powers that the details get shared. Something like “Who’s going to deal with that ravage?” and whoever pipes up will then tell you that unexpected tigers was the solution in the appropriate phase.

In general I think that Branch and Claw is part of the base game, however it being separate allows for a better onboarding experience for building up knowledge of rules and strategy. However I think Tom’s complaint about flow is likely if you don’t add it in quickly for the necessary spiciness. Maybe 6 games in is ideal? Probably before going on to adversaries but after you have internalised enough of the turn structure. Largely it’s the events that mess with the flow just enough for variety but not enough to stop the game being strategic.

My most regular spirit accomplice is very focussed on matching symbols and fast powers and in general has a narrow focus on which cards they’ll use with regards effects. So I think they have a closer experience to Tom’s with regards the playing of each spirit being more on rails. I personally find the challenge of making the best of the situation is enjoyable exploration so sometime being low on matching symbols to your spirit’s powers is a fun story to tell and good for getting the cogs whirring. The inbuilt powers are usually powerful though so I guess the game does present those rails a bit to you.

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This was a bit of a weird one? Matt really seemed to like it. Tom needs to try the expansion. I feel like the tokens and events are really needed to get the full experience of the game these days. The base game is just a bit too predictable without the events and the tokens are just such great fun. I think for anyone who likes the base game even the tiniest bit Branch & Claw is a must have. As previously stated: Jagged Earth is just “more stuff” but the “mini expansion” anything but mini. IMO it completes the game. But check out the base game before getting it because if you really don’t like the base game, the expansion won’t fix that.

Also the invader actions are in the wrong order: first ravage, then build, then explore. I hope they played it right it would be a major upheaval to do it the other way.

Anyhow, I am happy there is finally a patreon.

Edit: also what @EnterTheWyvern said.

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True. Anyone is part of the Spirit Island gang by playing Spirit Island :sunglasses:

It is a matter of taste with Tom’s con with solitaire-ish. Whats interesting is that I actually prefer that way. I hate this co-op committee making decisions together. We play by ourselves but the game emerges due to our collective input (and the AI’s)

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I’ve played I think three games, and I’ve enjoyed them all, and I’ll probably buy it… but I haven’t bought it yet. I’m not sure what, apart from no storage space, is holding me back. I’ll probably come round in time.

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I very much agree with this. However I think the sheer quality of the Jagged Earth content is sooo high that it manages to be impactful for the veteran player. The spirits are really fun and escalate the complexity nicely. Plus the powers are really interesting and challenging without being weak or corner case useful.

Yeah, just sitting and chatting about the best way to do something is often better served with a looser experience. I’m not sure I’d call it solitaire, but it’s like you are all coordinating a bit at a higher level while working in your branch before merging each players decisions to the master branch for the turn. There may be some conflicts to resolve which can occaisionally provoke more chat for a social bonus.

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Recap: I didn’t want it, got it for free from a neighbor, and I’m now part of the gang.

This and Burgle Bros broke my “coops are terrible” wall down.

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I am looking forward to see this one, it is one of my favourite games, even if I have mainly played it solo. I actually got the Branch & Claw expansion last month and I still haven’t tried it.

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They clarify in a comment on YouTube that they were going for flavor not rulebook so more like describing how an invader operates over multiple rounds not the order in which players’ execute those actions for the invaders each round.

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This was the first “heavy” game I specifically bought for the solo experience, and it remains one of my favorites. It hits the table just rarely enough that I need to play a warm-up game to remind myself of the rhythm and rules before playing the real thing.

I think the review covered all of the joys and issues I had with the game when I was first wrestling with it. Except the art and graphic design. I really like the art and graphic design.

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Jagged Earth is brilliant and I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Spirit Island. There is just so much there. But unlike Branch & Claw I would play without the content from this box. I would have to sort through all the card decks to separate it out which I won’t but in theory I could and the game would be great. Base game is a very good game but I would not ever play without Branch & Claw again.

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Spirit Island has been on my “to buy” list for a while due to the many positive things that people have said about it here.

The SU&SD review tipped me over the edge, not because it made me think I’d like the game any more than I already did but because I became worried that it would sell out and I wouldn’t be able to get it when I wanted it!

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A mildly interesting follow up, but with Jagged Earth is Branch and Claw less essential? Jagged comes with an event deck, tokens and more powers etc. for cost effectiveness Branch and Claw is perfect for rounding the base game but maybe it’s not as mandatory now

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I think I count as one of the Spirit Island gang as well, despite not playing it nearly as much as I would like. Like @bengeile, I often need to remind myself of how to play each time I break it out. Even more so now, considering the Branch and Claw expansion which I have used once. But I do love the game so!

I have only played it solo so far, one and two handed. I hope to get to show it to others at some point, but my wife usually is not up for something quite as brain-burny as this, and I think it may be easier to stick with two players to start with, so it does not come to mind when having a game day with friends.

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Saw the review last night. I can see where Tom comes from (I don’t think he is that much into coop games, tbh), but I cannot see that predictability so clear as they refer to in the review. It’s either that, or I am really rubbish at playing the long game, but the degree of predictability you have on the card turning system is what makes the game winnable. I can see their pickle with this, but other than that the game would be so random it would lose some of its magic, or simply become too luck based.

I have played it only 8 times, all of them solo, most handling 2 spirits, so I am still to dig deeper into the game, but it feels like there is so much to explore. I totally go with Matt opinion of “this game has legs” because even without expansions, the combinations are so numerous and there is plenty of game for your buck in that box.

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I think the multiple escalation mechanisms have grated a bit for me: you get more powers and the explore-build-ravage cards get worse and the effects of the Fear cards improve. That feels as though it needs to be very carefully balanced and so it constrains the course the game can take. This is not an informed opinion, and it may well change as I play more…

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By the way, where is Spirit Island now on the BGG Ranks??!! I wanted to record a play on it at my usual scroll on the top 100 and it’s gone???

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