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May 17, 2021
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Spirit Island Review

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08 Jun 2018 00:00 #274972 by GeekInsight

The island strikes back.

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08 Jun 2018 10:10 #274973 by Pat II
Replied by Pat II on topic Spirit Island Review
Now this sounds interesting and hopefully, as you state, it isn't too heavy on the kill the imerialist/whitey aspect.

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08 Jun 2018 11:17 #274976 by Matt Thrower
Replied by Matt Thrower on topic Spirit Island Review
Five stars? Wow! I'd heard it was good, but hadn't expected that.

I've stayed away from this because of the allegedy complexity. A game where the actual description starts "complex and thematic" sets my alarm bells ringing. How hard is it to learn?

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08 Jun 2018 11:20 #274977 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Spirit Island Review
Been waiting for months for this game to come back in stock since there was buzz in our forums. Great review!

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08 Jun 2018 11:35 #274979 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic Spirit Island Review
This is absolutely a five star game. It’s innovative, unique, and the gameplay is tremendously compelling. It is complex, but the payoff is a game with strong themes and a Dudes on a Map concept unlike any other.

The anti-colonial thing is handled with a light touch- it’s not “anti Europe”, even though you can choose to play the invaders as European countries. It’s still very high level, only the most delicate victimized white supremacist would take offense. There is subtlety, like how the invader pieces are all plastic, the island’s pieces are all wood.

I especially love that the things you do in this game you can’t do in any other game. Like using natural, elemental powers to scare would-be settlers away or to force them out of your lands.

Great, great game. Best board game of of 2017, hands down.
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08 Jun 2018 12:12 #274988 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Spirit Island Review

Michael Barnes wrote: This is absolutely a five star game. It’s innovative, unique, and the gameplay is tremendously compelling. It is complex, but the payoff is a game with strong themes and a Dudes on a Map concept unlike any other.

The anti-colonial thing is handled with a light touch- it’s not “anti Europe”, even though you can choose to play the invaders as European countries. It’s still very high level, only the most delicate victimized white supremacist would take offense. There is subtlety, like how the invader pieces are all plastic, the island’s pieces are all wood.

I especially love that the things you do in this game you can’t do in any other game. Like using natural, elemental powers to scare would-be settlers away or to force them out of your lands.

Great, great game. Best board game of of 2017, hands down.


Hands down better than Gloomhaven, Shadespire, TI4, Sidereal Confluence and Dungeon Degenerates?
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08 Jun 2018 12:16 #274989 by Michael Barnes
Replied by Michael Barnes on topic Spirit Island Review
Didn’t Gloomhaven come out at the end of 2016?

I would say yes to the rest though.

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08 Jun 2018 13:21 #275002 by Legomancer
Replied by Legomancer on topic Spirit Island Review
The anti-colonial thing is very present, and good fucking for it. I love that the bits belonging to the natives and spirits are cardboard and wood, and the invaders are all plastic. It's about damn time, and it's very well executed.

I was wary of it at first because it seemed hard as balls and impenetrable, but my first game was with 4p and a not great teach. Since then I've played it 2- and 3- players and it got a lot more manageable.
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08 Jun 2018 14:06 - 08 Jun 2018 14:07 #275006 by charlest
Replied by charlest on topic Spirit Island Review

Michael Barnes wrote: Didn’t Gloomhaven come out at the end of 2016?

I would say yes to the rest though.


It was delivered to backers at end of 2016, but hit retail in early 2017.
Last edit: 08 Jun 2018 14:07 by charlest.

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08 Jun 2018 18:21 #275026 by GeekInsight
Replied by GeekInsight on topic Spirit Island Review
This is definitely a five star game. It's hard to say more than what's already there, but it's such a refreshing take on a well-traveled theme.

As for the complexity, it's nothing that should pose much trouble to any hobbyist. If your previous experience is limited to Clue and Risk, then this is definitely up a notch. But if you can play any FFG LCG, you can pick up Spirit Island without issue.
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08 Jun 2018 22:43 #275035 by DarthJoJo
Replied by DarthJoJo on topic Spirit Island Review
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this game and a lot of appreciation for the twist in the theme, but the presentation actually rankles me. You’re pushing back against foreign invaders/colonizers. Cool, but you’re not the locals. You’re protective spirits. It feels like a cop out. The locals still lack any agency, to the extent any character in any game can be said to have agency. You’re not acting as them but on their behalf.

Is there something I’ve been missing in the reviews?
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09 Jun 2018 02:15 #275041 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Spirit Island Review
I don't have a designer's bone in my body (at least, not the designer's bones that have any carry through) but a few months before I caught wind of this game (they had a print and play version out), I was thinking, if I ever design something, it's going to be along the lines of indigenous people fighting against an NPC colonial power or powers. I had in mind more of a semi-coop thing where you could choose to ally with other players if need be - potentially even ally with the colonial power as well (because in my mind, I was thinking Cortez and Tlaxcala and so on). So yeah, this one came out, and of course I don't have any follow through with my idle ideas. But I would eat up a game with the same kind of theme that gave agency to the locals and put it firmly in a historical setting.
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09 Jun 2018 11:44 #275052 by Gary Sax
Replied by Gary Sax on topic Spirit Island Review
I think there's a LOT of space left for this sort of thing, fwiw, mc.

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09 Jun 2018 20:12 #275053 by mc
Replied by mc on topic Spirit Island Review
Oh, without doubt. Probably the closest thing are Navajo and Comancheria, I guess? But they're solo affairs, obviously, and also fairly brutal and depressing, from what I understand. I just like the idea of something that understands the complexity of the situation, from the indigenous perspective - something that acknowledges the non-homogeneity of those peoples as well, and doesn't just put the idea out of a very straight "noble savages vs evil coloniser" type scenario (although more of these would be fine by me to balance out the multitude of benign colonisation games!).

I think it's beyond me, to be honest, time wise, and gaming chops wise also.... fun to think about though, and my brain does turn back to the idea every so often.


This thread reminds me that I do still have those pnp files for Spirit Island and that I should give it a go.
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10 Jun 2018 16:53 #275063 by stoic
Replied by stoic on topic Spirit Island Review
There’s rumors that the upcoming expansion to Spirit Island will be called “Cargo Cult” and you’ll parachute drop parcels of Western Civilization to the indigenous natives for extra end game points.

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