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What Spirit Islands are you comboing?

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23 Oct 2018 19:25 #284563 by Gary Sax
Actually going to through your replay and play it out for myself. Thanks for this.
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24 Oct 2018 07:13 #284587 by mezike
My pleasure. I had a run through myself on it last night and there are some typos due to my indecipherable handwriting but it’s mostly correct and good enough for you to figure out what we were doing.

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04 Nov 2018 13:53 - 04 Nov 2018 13:54 #285249 by Gary Sax
Just taught this game to my spouse, took all of the advice here on intro games where it differed from the rulebook: no lightning dude, I used the river she used the green spreading wilderness faction. No using the programmed automatic power progression.

Huge hit! Spouse loved it. Went way better than my solo learning games. I never would have thought doing the card buys thing yourself would be better for new players but it really is. Thank you again for that advice. I think I wasn't really groking how important getting minor/major powers was.

We won in the 2nd fear stage but that was because of did the extra growth before the first turn.
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05 Nov 2018 08:17 #285270 by Bernie
Glad it went well. It is so fantastic two player.

And games go much faster without teardown and setup if you can manage to leave it up :)
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05 Nov 2018 10:46 #285289 by Gary Sax
If I didn't travel all week I'm guessing it would have stayed on the table!

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05 Nov 2018 12:34 #285313 by Gary Sax
Either of you guys tried the expansion spirits? I think they both look cool but the creeping wilderness one that pushes the Dahan had me excited to try it (eventually, one step at a time).

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05 Nov 2018 13:08 #285318 by mezike
Yep, both are great although a little more complex. My son loves to play Sharp Fangs so it comes out a lot, but I’ve never really figured a good way to play wilderness that is as satisfying as some of the other spirits. I’d very much recommend starting with Thunderspeaker for a spirit that moves Dahan around, that one is a lot of fun as you get to take the fight direct to the invaders. Maybe that’s why I’m not so into Wilderness, it feels kind of passive?
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05 Nov 2018 20:47 #285376 by Bernie
Keeper is one f my favorite spirits. He plays a little different, as you always want to end your turn with 2 or 3 energy. Generally he just houses a board. Starts pretty slow though.

The thing to keep in mind with the expansion is that it really randoms up the game. I think this is much needed after you play for a bit. In base you have 2 random things. Fear cards and invader cards. The event deck totally messes with everything. in a great way.
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05 Nov 2018 23:35 #285387 by Gary Sax
Yeah, the event deck doesn't do much for me on first glance. Might feel differently if I played enough for it to get stale. A problem it would be nice to have!
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06 Nov 2018 03:08 #285389 by mezike
I absolutely agree. Now that you know what you are doing you will reach a point pretty quickly where every game at the base setting is ending in victory in stage II level II and it starts to lack a challenge. That’s the point I’d recommend to add in Prussia as an adversary which is low overhead and to include the expansion tokens and event deck.

What the events do well is throw curve balls at you so that you have to contstantly challenge your strategy and readjust, it keeps you on your toes and stops the game feeling stale. Which conversely is totally unhelpful when you are trying to learn how to play!
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11 Nov 2018 15:45 #285958 by Gary Sax
Played again today, good time had by all... still using bonus growth training wheels but if we're having fun, it's all good.

I was using the slow rock guy. I'm starting to grok that while defend isn't as good as killing dudes, it's still not a bad option at all. Since each color will come up so rarely and with such long lead time, it's reasonable to handle groups with defending for the medium term. This game is short and doesn't cycle through colors very much. It's like when you think about space racing in Twilight Struggle, more often than not you won't see the cards often enough again to make burning them at some cost to you worth it.
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11 Nov 2018 20:08 #285967 by Gary Sax
Spouse wanted to play another one... very tight game, one move from losing, but we pulled it out. I had a hell of a time with the Dahan location for one energy spirit with tons of 0 distance powers. I was moving dahan around to kill tons of stacks (w/a defense power I pulled) but that also meant the Dahan were NOT spread around the board well at all.
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12 Nov 2018 03:30 #285974 by mezike
It sounds like you are really getting the hang of it now! I think that the level of complexity can create a bit of a barrier on the learning curve but once you get over the hump there is so much to discover in the detail of how different spirits work with different powers and how they all combo together.

It sounds like you are mostly playing with two? It changes a bit with three because the extra border gives the invaders greater reach but also allows for greater collaboration between the spirits.

I hear what you are saying about Earth and manipulating movement and defensive powers. When you add in the expansion there will be a few more options for this with the additional tokens so I would say that it is actually an important part of the gameplay. When you play at higher levels of difficulty there are very few occasions when you outright go on the warpath from the start.
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19 Nov 2018 06:03 #286435 by mezike
I was just thinking some more on the game we had over the weekend with Sweden as the adversary. Most people, including myself further up this very thread, recommend starting with Prussia because it is easy to implement due to the additional effects mostly being in the setup. What Prussia does is it adds pressure because the invaders have a fast start, they reach level 2 more quickly, and the introduction of an early level 3 card spoils any attempts to create safe zones as do the additional town placements in level 2. I'm wondering now if this actually encourages poor strategy as the invaders popping up everywhere means that there is always a viable target for pretty much anything you play and your only real decision is which victory trigger you are racing toward, Fear or Destruction.

Sweden however I think could be the more interesting introductory adversary. In order to be successful against them you need to focus on cutting down the spreading threat as the commonplace combination of Town and Explorer is going to hit with four damage which is awkward to defend against. You can't even push two Dahan into a ravaging land and let the survivor take out the town in revenge because there won't be one in this case. You also can't leave single Dahan floating around as they are vulnerable to being converted into Towns during level 2. So the onus is on adopting a rounded and forward-thinking approach, controlling Dahan both to protect them and also to help in the fight, stopping small threats before they escalate and grow, carving out safe areas, and so on. This approach is more valuable in improving your overall play than simply racing to grow capability.

I think that Sweden is also well suited to low complexity spirits. Earth gives you easy access to 3 defence which is enough to handle a Town and Explorer, Lightning lets you easily pick off problematic Towns, River moves stuff around to prevent blight during ravages. In any case, whichever combination you play you will almost certainly be working on your long term plan and all three spirits have the capability to deliver big game-changing moments in the late game where the number of Cities on the board will start to be a worry.
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21 Nov 2018 20:19 - 21 Nov 2018 20:43 #286657 by Gary Sax
Today was like the breakthrough day. My spouse and I blew off our afternoon of work and played Spirit Island 3 times in a row, we only meant to play once but my spouse wanted to keep playing. It was so good! I added the expansion sans events in the first game and then we took of the training wheels on game two and went without the extra growth before the start of the game, still did well and won all three games.

The expansion is *great* and I haven't even used the events---I don't think my spouse would like it because the lack of randomness in execution is one of her great pleasures in gaming (e.g. setting up combos and watching them execute). Cannot recommend Branch and Claw enough, the token additions are pitch perfect.

My spouse has basically found "her" Spirit. She loves the wildland spirit in the expansion that bumps Dahan out of the way and creates the wilds that prevent exploration everywhere it goes. The amount of energy that spirit produces is just like out of this world if you can get your powers working to get wilds out there. I tried the Ocean twice and ended with a game of the River. I *love* playing the Ocean. Getting resources from kills is a blast and figuring out how to push everyone to the coast is a good point of cooperation. We found that the Wild spirit and the Ocean are a really, really good combinations---the Wild Spirit focuses on slowly creating a wild wall well inland and pushing out while the Ocean controls the coasts and tries to pull powers that gather from inland so it can get to them. Nice complementary stuff. Have either of you guys got any thoughts on the Wild spirit? We found it almost overpowered in our first three plays with it. But I can see where if you can't get the wild out there quickly it's really hard to spread presence except with the fourth spread option which could be difficult (can't spread to blighted land).

I'll keep Sweden in mind. We are moving toward starting to experiment with all of the different options, still playing very generic in general. Might add a blight card and/or a low level colonial power next.

Anyway, overall, what a game.
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