Publisher: Greater than Games
Designer: R. Eric Reuss
Time: 120 min.
Spirit Island is a co-operative game where you play as a Spirit of Nature who has found a way to co-exist with the native inhabitants of the Island. The problem is, there are now colonists who want to explore the island as well, and they begin to to upset the synergy and balance between the natives and the Spirits. As Spirits, you do your best to rid the land of the menacing intruders.
At the beginning of the Spirit Phase, each player will gain energy based on how much presence they have on their player board, or in other words how many discs they have out on the board. Players will also draw cards based on their player board as well. Before that, they have an opportunity to Grow by taking one of the Growth Actions. This is how you get your pieces out on the board and move them.
The Spirit Phase is a free formed flow or actions where it doesn’t go in order but you can choose who goes when and how, by playing cards from your hand and using energy to activate them. Everyone plays cards and then they are activated….slow cards first then fast cards.
The colonists will then start showing up in areas where they already have presence and next to them. There will be a card drawn for them and the terrain that it matches will be affected. The colonists move in different ways though. The first time they show up it is just people, then next card that shows up will move the first one over to build buildings, after they build they will be pushed into devastation and start fighting back against the Spirits. But it is not easy to kill them off. Towns have a strength of 2 and cities have a strength of 3. Getting them out of the lands before they can build bigger and more powerful structures is key.
- Unique theme and really interesting Player Powers. The different Spirits are really unique and offer a different feel.
- I enjoyed the options that I had with the cards. You have to have energy to play those cards so resource management is key.
- Colonist AI is really well done. The way they scale to ramp up is really well done. Knowing where they are going to build next and ravage next is really cool as it allows players to plan on how best to stop them.
- I like how there is no specific turn order and you have to communicate what cards you have and when those cards would be best to be played. I liked the difference between fast and slow powers. You really had to think about their proper uses.
- Great art and the production value was really high. I loved the art on the box cover.
- The board can get really congested with lots of stuff making it difficult to keep track of everything. The Huts can be knocked over and roll out of place. Just gets cluttered.
- Just another co-op that doesn’t really offer anything new. I did like the different Spirit powers but nothing really earth shattering.
This was my first big disappointment of Gen Con this year. I had heard many good things about it, but after playing, it just didn’t do anything for me. In its defense, we didn’t play a full game as we only had about a 30 minute demo so that was probably a part of it. I am really starting to get picky and annoyed with co-ops. All in all they seem to simply do the same thing. Stop something from spreading and or kill something off. Spirit Island seems like every other co-op just with a slightly different theme. For all the rave this game has generated pre-Con, I didn’t see it! I will pass on it.