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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

What Spirit Islands are you comboing?

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11 Oct 2020 17:03 #314999 by mezike
Tried Starlight today, my son had Finder. It was a weird game, both spirits are quite slow (Finder struggles to do any damage at all) and we spent most of the game at Terror Level 1 so we ended up battered and constantly on the verge of losing - then it all just coalesced into something wonderful. In order to minimise damage we had been shepherding the invaders into a couple of mega-cities, finder made them adjacent and used a major that links adjacent lands into one and some other combo which allowed us to put almost all the invaders into just one of the two lands. The following turn we isolated that land and used the Major that breaks towns down into explorers and pushes them, except they went nowhere as they were isolated. After that we just had a few straggling towns to snipe and the penultimate ravage of the game saw a horde of Dahan take out the last remaining city. We were only just on Terror Level 2 so it was a squeakily close finish and a real long and slow game to boot. Starlight is a lot of fun but the growth phase is murderously complicated as it’s crucial to have the full play figured out before you put a presence into play as you might need to unlock a specific growth action in order to get things done. Another pain point early on is only being able to recover a single card - then later on you find that you have been accumulating cards at such a rapid rate that when you do eventually do a mass recover the options are completely overwhelming! We were fortunate in having Elemental Boon as it allowed Starlight to flex into many different forms which Finder really needed in support during the early game.

Then we ran Downpour and Wildfire again and hammered the invaders so hard we had to slow down as we were running out of targets and therefore struggling to progress on fear cards. Downpour has a first turn combo that can take out two towns and Wildfire can break either a city or another two towns so I think its not just the natural synergy between the two but also the ultra fast start that makes the pairing so compellingly brilliant.
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12 Oct 2020 04:11 #315008 by mezike
Was thinking about our recent games a bit more this morning. We've been playing with x4 cards on each level of the Fear deck, events in play, and we remove an extra stage 1 card from the Invader deck, no adversary or scenario. It's making for interesting games where we confidently expect to win in stage three but have to be crafty about it along the way, and the focus is entirely on the island and the spirits without any interfering overhead. Just the act of taking out that small handful of background conditional rules is making such a big difference in allowing the fun part (the interaction between the players/spirits) to shine a little brighter.
I might do a B-P and slip one of the stage three cards inbetween the ones and twos in order to push a bit more board presence for the invaders, but in general I'm enjoying the game a lot more by using the game components to increase difficulty without also increasing complexity.
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12 Oct 2020 11:36 - 12 Oct 2020 11:42 #315019 by Gary Sax
Yeah, totally I get that. We play a lot of B-P to accomplish something similar but not that streamlined. But for the same reasons.
Last edit: 12 Oct 2020 11:42 by Gary Sax.
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12 Oct 2020 19:43 #315040 by Bernie
Sounds like a decent difficulty bump without a full on adversary.

Got two games in today. First was vengeance and downpour. They are indeed an ok combo. I played vengeance (third time) and felt like I am starting to get better at it. This spirit still feels like a lot of work. If it had an innate that added disease I would like it a lot better. I sealed the game with one of the new majors. Treated all of my presence as badlands or beasts. And did 2 or 3 damage too. Great closer power. I played it better. It still feels like I would be doing more as another spirit for the same effort. Game was against Spain. It was ugly till we finally got control of it. The pair is good. Downpour can just defend so well.

Second game I decided to play Grinning Trickster paired with shroud vs Russia 1. Wow does Russia just totally mess with Trickster. Plan to strife that village and let the explorer alone with dahan to clean it up. That dream is gone. Things started out poorly. Island went to blight. Card kinda helped. We got to add a presence and a dahan. And then we added 2 or 3 cities to two lands. We oddly enough tore the cities apart. I used strife to make them kill themselves and shroud did shroud things. The explores were the real threat in the game.

Trickster has grown on me. I think it’s my experience with vengeance that has made this happen. Both have one unique that adds their chosen token to the board but the pay 1 energy to strife a second thing feels better than vengeance’s don’t play a presence to disease or play one when you die. Trickster also has less that requires strife. Only having one unique that works off it while also having an innate that can add it. Trickster is all so just sort of random fun.

Have not pulled the cards to do a real count, but it seems to me that strife is generally a fire element power. Disease I think is water. At least in branch and claw power cards. Just another slight knock on vengeance. I really want to like the spirit. I really enjoy seeing the tokens on the table.

Still have no games with Many Minds or Fracture. So will look to get them to the table soon.
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15 Oct 2020 08:19 #315169 by Bernie
So, in my quest to figure out vengeance I went through the minor deck to count cards that add disease.

There are 6.
2 have fire and beast. One with water
1 has fire
2 have beast
1 has neither

This leads me and my buddy to the conclusion that the best way to play is heavily on the edge aggressively throwing presence out to die and play disease. I did a little of this in my game that went well.

This got me to thinking. I have been playing at low difficulty to learn the spirits. It may just be that we play too well at low difficulty to really play well as vengeance.

I have a good feel for wildfire, with the aggressive blighting. You get to see the positives of that right away. You need a longer eye with vengeance. It still feels like a lot of work for the payout. I will try and put the effort in to learn how this guy works. I have yet to read any write up on how to play them. Aside from what has been said here. It’s a fun puzzle. I like picking at this in my head. Thanks all for the help.
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15 Oct 2020 09:14 - 15 Oct 2020 11:32 #315170 by Gary Sax
The strategy guides on BGG I've read also emphasize letting presence die as often as you can as vengeance while still remaining viable. So your conclusions sound consistent with that? Beyond being viable, I'm just not sure playing vengeance will be my brand of fun... but I need to find out.
Last edit: 15 Oct 2020 11:32 by Gary Sax.
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15 Oct 2020 09:59 #315174 by mezike
I've only played a playtest version of Vengeance, one occasion quite some time ago. I remember having some broken combo where I was destroying my own presence and bringing it back which they then toned down on the next release. I figure that is very likely the way to go though as the design and development seemed to lean in that direction.
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16 Oct 2020 04:00 #315221 by thegiantbrain
Got a review of Spirit Island coming to the site soon. Spoilers, I loved it. Really satisfying Co-op with an incredibly generous base box.
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16 Oct 2020 05:25 - 16 Oct 2020 05:25 #315225 by Gary Sax
There are so many plays in just the base box, honestly. I think branch and claw rounds it out with new systems once you know you're a fan and playing it a ton, but the base game stands on its own.
Last edit: 16 Oct 2020 05:25 by Gary Sax.
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17 Oct 2020 21:18 #315305 by Bernie
Got a game in today.
Rock bros unite with shifting memory and stones unyielding defiance. My first game as stone. This game had a lot of blight. Like a lot. We kept the island healthy.

I ran the energy track on stone. It’s a blast to play. Although you only get one card play for a bunch of turns. The reclaim one and triggering both innate powers each turn is really solid. I can see the excitement and totally different play style of the card play track.

My rock bro Memory did a lot of defending. And then got into majors to close the game out.

Nothing too crazy with this duo. On the other hand I think Stone may make a great partner for vengeance. I am pretty in awe of the sheer amount of blight that stone can get on the board. It’s nuts. Should make for lots of damage with Vengeance using the blight as badlands.

Two more spirits to go. Not sure when I will get to them though. Also. Scotland is a mean adversary. Both it and Russia do mean things.
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17 Oct 2020 22:39 - 17 Oct 2020 22:40 #315307 by Gary Sax
I like Stone's Unveiling Defiance too, it's a ton of fun. Favorite spirit so far in the new wave.



I also played today. Starlight Seeks Its Form wasn't fun for me today, I chose a path which kept me alive and kicking but didn't deliver much oomph. I'll grow Starlight a little different next time I play, you need to reach for majors at some point and you definitely do not want to wall off all of your energy increase growth options.
Last edit: 17 Oct 2020 22:40 by Gary Sax.
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17 Oct 2020 22:52 #315308 by Bernie
I can see that frustration with Starlight in that regard. I want to try a major build with them. I think it really depends on what you draw. I went hard into the 2 unlocks required gain a power card when last I played Starlight. I was rolling in powers after that. Which led me into card plays. You are not wrong that this leads you into a sorta stopgap problem solver that someone else has to heavy lift for you. But there is something to be said for the magic of 9 powers or more going off a turn for doing things to the board.

I can see the allure though conning off my game of mostly playing one card as Stone ;)

I keep wanting to replay spirits and I have 2 to go and all the aspects. So much to do!
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18 Oct 2020 19:21 #315321 by Gary Sax
Yeah, I think that one is green. You're really looking for two identical combo minor powers, I think Starlight is primarily about minor powers dumpster diving early determining the shape of your game.



I write a bunch about it here, but Shadows Flicker just kind of sucks and even trying out some of the other aspects doesn't seem to change that. I do really like the aspects system, though!
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18 Oct 2020 19:59 #315322 by Bernie
Let me open with I really enjoy playing shadows. But you are spot on about the issues of growth and things just sucking for a while.

I counter this slightly by only really playing it with a team mate that gets me past this issue. Some easy ones are River for energy or Green for even just 1 out of growth presence placement. This is powerful for every spirit. But it’s such a huge deal for shadow and lightning swift strike that I feel it merits special mention. Shadow ramps really fast after it’s slow initial tracks.

I think the other problem shadow faces is that it’s innate for a so good that it feels bad when it’s not going off. Like real real bad. It is also a sport that can get wrecked by events or some adversary’s. Anything that plays 2 explorers or replaces explorers with villages is brutal to the flow shadow requires.

All of this is not helped by (need to look at the new minors) the general lack of awesome cards in the fire / air minors. There are some standouts. The defend 10 at range 0 from a sacred site is a total all star for shadow. As is Fire in the sky. But I routinely find myself taking cards that I will play but never resolve just to keep the innate going.

You do have the slightly stellar Dahan take no damage that without aspect you can pay one and often clear a land with the Dahan for the cost of 1 energy and a blight in your unique cards.

This is for sure a spirit with a lot of potential feels bad moments though.

My best advice is try it with River or Green next time. Now that I type this not sure if you were paired with Green in the game you are speaking about. And I can’t speak yet to the aspect. But I think the one you reference adds a second innate. I would be super about that. I am also possibly talking totally out of my ass here about things you already know. And if I am sorry. I just really like Shadows despite its pitfalls. But I for sure know they are there.

Shadow will be the first of the aspect spirits I play. Just not sure when that will be yet.
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18 Oct 2020 20:12 #315323 by mezike
In defence of Shadows, I think that its strengths are in explorer manipulation, strong options with range that can get into any part of the island, a heavy lean on fear generation, and an ability to move fairly quickly into majors.

Gathering or nipping off an explorer has the obvious benefit of preventing a build which then later prevents a damaging ravage. It's base special power might appear pointless at first but consider that two of it's starting powers move Dahan and the other (plus it's innate) move invaders - what this means is that, straight out of the box, Shadows can reach pretty much any land on the island or at least move invaders into lands that it can reach. That is super useful because it means that whatever cards you choose to keep are more than just situational, they can be made to be effective every single turn. It also only really needs one sacred site and then for just one energy (of which it can generate plenty) it can target any land with Dahan with a sacred site power - this is significantly more valuable in practice than might initially appear as sacred site powers often end up limited in range for any but the most mobile of spirits.

Shadow's growth action that puts presence out at range 3 allows it to physically get almost anywhere and everywhere on the island really quickly when Dahan aren't an option, further strengthening its capability to range. Jumping up to 3 energy in turn two with a +3 bonus energy on one of it's growth options can give it ten energy in just the second round which means it can comfortably take and play majors by the third round. Because it can spread itself thinly and with great range, it can also get those majors out into play in places where they can make a difference more quickly than pretty much any other spirit because it isn't hindered by slow increase of range on presence placement.

All of it's starting powers (and innate) generate fear. In a two-spirit game Shadows can, on its own, pull the first fear card into play by the end of the second round. I personally don't think that you need to go above three card plays with this spirit so if you avoid reclaims you can go into a cycle of constant energy growth with low card plays that enable you to take new majors to replace previously played ones with the flexibility and scope of range to consistently land them in effective places. When I play I will start with two card plays if I need to trigger the innate to prevent a tricky build, otherwise I just go for energy growth. It usually takes three or four rounds to really get into stride so I guess it's a mid-game spirit? I would definitely want to have a major in hand by around the third turn, likely staving off a reclaim for just one more turn to keep pushing the energy track a bit more.
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