Turn-based game provides opportunity to strategize
Explorers are invading the land of Tahan and the ancient spirits of the wild are angry. Help the Tahan drive off the invaders, in Spirit Island, where players team up and spread their presence throughout the land.
Nine spirits are available for play in the base game of Spirit Island, although expansions offer three extra playable spirits, which can be purchased separately.
Every spirit starts the game with power cards unique to them, but during the game all spirits have opportunities to gain more power cards obtainable by any spirit. These extra power cards can give you the power to destroy invaders, create fear through manipulation of the invaders or boost you and your teammates power for one turn.
During every turn, there are five parts that must be done before the next turn can commence.
- Spirit Phase
- Fast Power Phase
- Invader Phase
- Slow Power Phase
- Time Passes
A turn is made up of mandatory and optional parts. The spirit, invader and time passing phases are all mandatory for the game to continue, but occasionally the fast power or slow power phases will be skipped all together.
Growth is the first choice a player has to make every turn. On the top of all spirit boards there is a line of options labeled as growth. At the beginning of the turn players choose one of these options for their spirit. The growth section of each spirit is unique in the combinations of reclaiming already used power cards, spreading your spirit’s presence and gaining more power cards.
All players choose which growth they are going to use in the spirit phase before proceeding with the rest of the turn. This phase influences what each player can do for the rest of the turn, which makes this phase one of the most important in a turn.
I really enjoy the mechanic of having to spread your presence out as a spirit to be able to use ability cards in certain areas around the island. Spreading your presence feels like getting more of the Tahan in that area to believe in you and call on you to help them in their time of need. — Cohl Obwald
One great aspect of this game is the fact of it being turn based. This way players can take as long as they want to figure out a strategy before starting to play cards for the turn, instead of stressing to figure out something off the top of their head quickly without thinking it through. This also allows multiple players to collaborate their ideas before the action phase.
These five phases make the game flow very well. The fast power cards used in a turn are ‘fast’ enough to come before the invaders arrive and start building their towns and cities, but the slow powers occur after the invaders have ravaged the land and built up their forces. These power cards make sense by how powerful they are and the names of the actions make sense as well.
This podcast features grandmother and game lover, Marianne Jones. Jones describes her favorite aspects of the cooperative side of Spirit Island.
At the beginning of every turn is the spirit phase. In this phase every player chooses a given boost from the growth section of their spirit. The growth selections consist of adding your presence to the board, reclaiming already used cards and adding new power cards to your arsenal.
The growth choice I choose most is the one with the ability to reclaim cards and add presence, because presence decides where you can use your abilities. In the end it is better to be more spread out than concentrated, and after using a power card, players can not use it until they reclaim it.
I really enjoy the mechanic of having to spread your presence out as a spirit to be able to use ability cards in certain areas around the island. Spreading your presence feels like getting more of the Tahan in that area to believe in you and call on you to help them in their time of need.
Another amazing aspect of this game is the ability to play it solo. Solo play allows a single person to protect a smaller island than with more players. For every person playing the game the island gets larger and more difficult to protect.
During one of my solo games I was using the spirit Lightning’s Swift Strike, which is one of the most destructive spirits in the game. The bad thing about Swift Strike is it’s limited control over the Tahan and the invaders. The extra power cards I obtained during the game assisted me with moving the pieces to my advantage.
At the end of the game, if the spirits and Tahan emerge victorious, the island is purged of the vile invaders for now, but I imagine later, now that they know what they are up against, will come back with renewed strength and numbers.
Overall, Spirit Island is like no other game I have ever experienced. The game mechanics have players power up or reinvigorate their spirit every turn. One of the best aspects of the game is the cooperative play.
Spirit Island can be purchased on Amazon for $55.@thefeather, Instagram @thefeatheronline and Facebook @thefeatheronline.
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