These reviews were left by users who have played the game. If you'd like to leave a review, you can start by going to the game page.
GAMEPLAY Players take on the role of an eponymous spirit, wielding spooky powers to help the native Dahan population (read: Mushroom People) turn back the invaders and the blight they bring with them. A turn is broken into several phases. First, players choose a growth action and pay for the cards they will use this round. Second, players enact fast power cards and take any innate actions if possible. Third, invaders ravage while the MP fight back, and then the invaders build and explore. Fourth, players enact slow power cards and take any innate actions if possible. And, finally, there is a clean-up phase. The game continues until the spirits win by achieving their fear-level objectives, or the invaders win by exhausting the terrain deck, placing all their blight on the island, or by completely killing off one of the spirits. THOUGHTS Kudos to Eric Reuss for not only making a heavy cooperative game but also a cooperative game that eliminates the QB problem many of these games suffer from. There were moments when players said, “This is clearly the best move.” But, overall, there is so much to process that it would be difficult and cumbersome for a player to direct another player’s action. The main action of the game happens via your personal deck, and the powers are nuanced enough that even playing the same spirit several times would not get old. All that said, I can see why people enjoy SI but I don’t think it’s for me. First, I don’t care for the aesthetic or table presence of the game. The beginner side of the tiles, while easy to parse, looks like a prototype, and the invader pieces feel a little cheap. Second, the game is just too long. At the beginning of each round, we parse what we want to do, calculating energy, choosing our cards, and thinking about the icons we need for our innate powers (or whatever they are). Then we talk about the board state. Can you deal with this here? I got this area. But, oh wait, your power sets you up to deal with them. I guess I could direct this card here but that feels like overkill. Maybe I’ll just push an MP this round and save up for next when mountains are ravaged. There is so much information to parse, I end up losing the thread of my initial plans, which forces me to start all over. It’s solitary and quiet, it’s frustrating, and it’s looong. Some people might like the puzzley nature of SI as well as the deep dive you can take into getting better with a spirit and the different cards but, man, that is so far from what I am interested in. SI is a unique design but a hard pass for me. I’ll give SI a rating of six (“Ok – will play if in the mood”) because I think it’s a clever design but I certainly will actively look to play something else if possible.
I don't even like co-op game but this is the co-op game even for people like me +Spirit Island: Heart of the Wildfire & Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island Promo Spirits (2017) +Spirit Island: Branch & Claw (2017) +Spirit Island: Jagged Earth (2020)
Haven't bothered to rate a game for a long time, for reasons that would take too long to explain, and yet, I feel compelled to rate this one. It gets 9 stars because it is imaginative, evocative, and stupendously provocative. But more importantly, it is a blast to play because every spirit is really distinguishable from others. Excellent design!
Like most coop games Spirit Island ramps up to brutal hard by the end. I love the theme, but am not a huge fan of the difficulty. I did not play a lot of Nintendo games growing up for the same reason. I want to have fun not get beaten into submission.
I found this game not as complex as some have led on. It has plenty of moving parts but there is a great amount of symbology and player aides to keep you from digging into the rulebook. The play starts a little slow but by the third or fourth round the play becomes very dynamic and interactive. Overall this is a really cool game.
The best Co-op (and solo) game I've ever played and it's not close. a top 3 game for me, I just can't decide whether it's 1, 2, or 3. Euro crunchiness with a great theme, components, art, difficulty, and variability. a 10/10
Alan introduced the game to me at LBGG. Loved it and immediately set about tracking down a copy. This game is such a mind melt of choices & theme. A cooperative area control game i can play with the wife
W/ Exp: Branch and Claw, Promo Spirits Way too many rules to keep track of, but we had such a blast playing through this. The amount of variety is staggering in just the base box and with it being cooperative, it's a good and heavy game to chew on.
One of my favorite games in the collection, and one that is fun to solo. Definitely a brain burner. The real magic comes out in how much the game changes depending on which spirits are in play. I need to get this back to the table and dive in a little deeper.
I am not one that is very fond of coop games in the pandemic ilk since I think there is usually a fairly obvious decision tree. This game has so much going on that the decisions are far from obvious, and it would be very difficult to micromanage other players. I have only played solo, both with a single spirit and two handed and there was so much going on with two-handed that it was hard to manage. This just makes me even more excited for multiplayer.
Spirit Island is a deeply strategic and highly collaborative game. Each spirit is unique and thematic, with various levels of complexity to encourage several sessions. The hand crafting elements establish a, albeit slow, sense of power progression. Unfortunately the rules overhead becomes overly laborious. The base game is quite simple, but after including scenarios and adversaries the rules become difficult to remember and the invader phase becomes excessively tiresome.
On of the best co-op games I have ever played. It's a great take on the colonisation theme where you are defending instead of attacking. The game offers great replay-ability with multiple spirits, adversaries, scenarios and (fear-)cards to mix up the gameplay and set-up. I'm interested in the expansions, but will only buy them when I have had enough of the base-game.
My all-time favorite cooperative game. My wife will only ever play coop games, so our collection, although small, would be 100% coop if relatives didn't buy us competitive for gifts. What I look for in a great board game is fantastic art, fantasy/science fiction themes, complexity, and difficulty. Spirit Island delivers on all fronts.
This is a favorite in my local group. The players play as spirits helping native villagers fight off invading colonialists. There are many spirits and each one plays very diverse and in interesting ways, making combinations with other spirits that are really unique and fun to explore. The game is also very challenging. The base difficulty is a pretty challenging level for the first few playthroughs, but then you can add more variety to a game by introducing scenarios that modify rules as well as adversaries, basically giving the invaders special bonus abilities and advantages. The adversary levels range from level 1 to level 6 and there are many adversaries so you definitely have many options in how to change it up.
(10/17) 7. Really cool coop that seems to offer a ton of variability. Love the different powers and the slow/fast card play is really interesting. Feels like a game that wouldn't necessarily get stale quickly.
Played the Print and Play version during Kickstarter period. Very fiddly, and despite comments that the theme was strong, I disagree. If you have a power that moves a city from one region to another, without destroying it, then that doesn't feel consistent with the theme - that's just manipulating the gameboard. Multiple plays will be needed just to establish a gameplay rhythm so you can start to understand how to co-operate. Overall, this game feels like it needs to be streamlined. If you have several other friends who love their AP, or are going to be happy to persevere through multiple gameplays to reach basic familiarisation levels, then maybe this game is for you.