Game Review: Spirit Island

Spirit Island is a game where you play as one of many different ancient primal spirits who watch over an island somewhere in the world. Your island is inhabited by natives, called Dahan, who can aid you. However, it’s come under attack….or at least is trying to be settled by those pesky settlers! Will you have what it takes to repel the invaders and keep your island safe?

The game of Spirit Island is split over a number of rounds. During rounds you will play cards that represent your spirits powers, extend your presence on the board, remove invaders from the board, and create fear in the survivors. This game is a cooperative game, meaning that the players will all work together to try to defeat the game. The goal of the game changes as the fear level increases, making it less difficult to win the game as the game progresses. The first three levels all have to do with the removal of certain types of invader tokens, while the final level is the completion of all of the cards in the fear deck.

Meanwhile, there are a number of ways to lose the game. The first way to lose, and possibly the most common, is to run out of blight tokens. Blight tokens are placed on the board by the invaders as they damage various land tokens on the board. There are typically 4 blight tokens per player and a blight effect card that will flip from healthy to unhealthy side (adding more blight tokens when flipped to unhealthy). Another way to lose is if a spirit is destroyed. Each spirit has a number of presence tokens that indicate where they can do things on the island but also represent the spirits life force. If they are all lost then the spirit is destroyed and the players lose. The final way to lose is that if time runs out. There is a deck of invader cards and if that deck runs out, then the game is over. That deck is effectively a way to track the total number of rounds played.

This is a game I really enjoy playing. There’s a lot more to the game then what I am going to lay out here. I would recommend you watch Greater Than Games How to play videos for a full run down of the game. This game scales well from solo play all the way through 4 players, though expect to add about a third or so more play time for each player added. There’s quite a bit of the game that is played at near simultaneous, but coordinating player actions and resolving powers can take some coordination between the players.

The game overall is complex, but not impossible to win. After our first game, I haven’t lost to the invaders. We continue to slowly add in more difficulty and still haven’t explored all of the content that we can add in, both to increase difficulty and to add to the replay-ability. The game continues, even after 10-15 plays of the game, to deliver a fun experience and I enjoy bringing it back to the table. This is one I would recommend for anyone’s collection, particularly if you like cooperative games.

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