Spirit Island Play-by-Forum

I’ve been grooving on Spirit Island recently via Tabletop Simulator with my regular (online) boardgaming crew, and while it may be slightly crazy to attempt this, I would like to run a play by forum game of it for y’all. I’d administer the game state through the Tabletop Sim module, provide screenshots as appropriate (at least once a phase and on request), process invader turns and power draws, etc.

For those who might not be familiar, Spirit Island is a cooperative game of ancient spirits of nature trying to fend off European settlers from their island, be that by turning the natural forces of the island against them, protecting the local villagers as they fight off the invaders, or scaring the invaders so badly they flee. Each spirit is highly asymmetric in playstyle and abilities, and grows in power as the game goes on, but the Invaders (who have their own special asymmetric abilities based on the nation they’re from) are relentless - each turn they ravage the land where they’ve been building, build where they explored, and explore fresh lands based on their deck of actions. Position is very important - pushing invaders out of lands they’re activating in can be nearly as effective as killing them, and spirits can usually only exert their powers within a certain range of the Presence they add to the board.

I’d ideally like four players of whatever level of experience with the game. (With Jagged Earth it supports as many as six but that seems like it would be overwhelming.) If we’ve only got two-three takers I could possibly step in as a player as well but juggling both roles would be a lot, I think. I propose to use an Adversary which gives the Invaders their national identity powers (basic or level 1 unless folks would like to go higher, as those are still relatively simple) and Blight card, which gives a bit more of a buffer against loss but makes things more challenging once the island is Blighted. The tutorial game uses neither, but they’re fairly core mechanics and it’s pretty possible to win as even new players with both in place, although higher level adversaries get rougher fast. There are also two expansions - Branch and Claw, and Jagged Earth. If our players are mostly or entirely new we may not wish to use either, otherwise I’m generally in favor of incorporating Branch and Claw, which adds a few tokens that make Invaders’ lives harder and random events, as well as adding two more spirits and more cards to every card type. I think it makes the game richer and a bit less predictable for both better and worse, without massively upping complexity. I haven’t played with Jagged Earth yet so can’t weigh in on it but it does add a whole bunch more spirits, so if there’s interest, shoot, why not.

I’ll post links to the rulebooks in the next post, plus spirit summaries. If you’re interested, please post to say so, ideally with pick for spirit and a vote as to whether to include expansion(s). Also if you have opinions on which adversary to use, feel free. Otherwise I’ll probably randomly determine based on what content we’re using.

Original game rulebook:

Branch and Claw:

Jagged Earth:
Searchable official FAQ:

Core Spirits:

Promo Pack 1 Spirits - these are complicated/weird spirits that can be used with or without expansions

Branch and Claw Spirits - these will require the use of Branch and Claw due to relying heavily on tokens introduced by that expansion.

Jagged Earth Spirits - many of these spirits use tokens introduced in B&C, some may also use new content introduced in Jagged Earth. Probably we would want to be using JE in order to play with these. I recommend we not select some of the funkier spirits like Finder of Paths Unseen or the Very High complexity spirits in general if there’s any players with low experience with the game. Apologies for a couple bits of certain spirits being obscured by game interface, should be mostly readable though.

I’d be down to play, but I’ll be totally incommunicado for over a week the second week of September. If that’s not a problem, I’m in. I’ll put in a tentative vote for B&C and JA because I think the extra tokens make the game more interesting, but I could easily be convinced otherwise. My copy of JA just arrived, so I’ll have to look through it to see if there’s any spirit I’m just itching to play.

We might have to take over for you during that time or something (based on my experience of forum game speeds, we’ll almost certainly still be going if it gets off the ground at all), but it’s coop, so that’s not the end of the world if that’s okay with you.

Yeah, of course. I don’t want to hold the game up :)

I will be interested in this. Very new to the game with only a couple basic plays.

I’d definitely like to play. I’ve only tried it solo 3 or 4 times, but only on the base game, using the least complicated spirits so far.

@Juan_Raigada, @rowe33, any preferences on using expansions or regarding particular adversary? I’d probably recommend going with base game adversaries just because I’d assume even novice players have at least seen those and I’d guess the expansion ones get a bit weirder. It doesn’t feel to me as a relatively inexperienced player like Branch and Claw has made things much harder to get to grips with, and it looks like the main new thing Jagged Earth brings (besides a bunch more cards, spirits, etc) are Badlands tokens that do a bit of extra damage to both invaders and Dahan when they take damage in a space with Badlands, so I’d lean towards using both, but if you’d rather a gentler first forum game (I’ll almost certainly be up for more)…hey, I get it.

I’d prefer going with base stuff at first to see how it goes online, then adding expansions for a 2nd game if all goes well. If you two (or a possible 4th) want expansions then I’m fine with that, just haven’t experienced them at all!

I do like the branch and claw stuff, but would be ok with only the base game for a first game

How about we use Branch & Claw but not Jagged Earth for now?

Sounds good to me.

Fine with me too. I’ll play Sharp Fangs if no one else wants it.

My plan is to give folks until like, middle of tomorrow CST to weigh in if someone wants to be a fourth and then proceed under the assumption I’ll also be participating. But I can always turn over the reins if a fourth turns up in during setup.

If I do participate, I’m eyeing Ocean’s Hungry Grasp or maaaaybe Heart of the Wildfire. I’ve been playing mostly defensive Spirits for the last couple of games and being able to drown or burn sounds nice. Though Ocean’s also quite limited geographically. It would be interesting to see Ocean combined with a Spirit that’s good at moving invaders like Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares, but Bringer’s also pretty funky so, YMMV.

I’d like to try out Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds as it looks pretty interesting.

Happy to use this one if you want to play Ocean.

Well, it doesn’t seem like we’re getting a fourth taker so let’s do that. @Juan_Raigada, which spirit would you like to play?

I’ll do Thunderspeaker, I think

We have four, don’t we? You, me, @Juan_Raigada and @rowe33