Drew’s Reviews- Spirit Island

Euro worker placement games are kinda on the other side of my gaming spectrum. I prefer more randomness and dice chucking in my gaming cuz to me, that represents the total randomness life throws at you every day. I LOVE games like viticulture and the game we’ll be talking about today, Spirit Island. Not a new game by any means, but if it wasn’t on your radar it damn well should be. This game has classic must have in your collection written all over it.(laughs) At first it doesn’t look like your average worker placement cube pushing euro abstract, but it is surely abstract. You play one of 8 spirits on these small islands just discovered by colonists in ships in those really early days. There’s some card drafting and micromanagement on your spirit board also, so there is enough depth here to fill a 50 gallon drum.(laughs)

Gameplay is a little snickety because the rules can seem a little daunting at times. This is by no means a gateway game for beginners into the genre. I was barely able to hold my own the first game but caught on quick cuz I just can adapt fast. Man was it worth it. The power you feel sometimes as these otherworldly spirit demigods just fills you with such power and excitement when cards and things are going your way. Your job is to make sure the colonists don’t survive the overtaking of your island. Your weapons are fear, nature, superstition, flat out terror sometimes, and like I said it can be exhilarating.

Production value on this is top notch. Double sided island boards that can accommodate 1-4 players have 2 different art styles which I loved. The art style is minimalistic but perfect, with some splashes of epicness. Colonists have minis and like 3 different types of buildings as they dig in and fortify their cities and towns and keep spreading. And that of course is where you come in. This game is a blast solo, even though the board is very small it lets you focus and really soak up the power you are reigning down on the hopeless fools that can barely fight back. Escapism at its finest. There’s an additional mini expansion with 2 more spirits and another big box expansion coming later this year. The mini expansion is great because the 2 new spirits are just plain fun. I made my own PnP style because these are pricey on ebay. No where near worth the prices scalpers are asking, so PnP away my friends…(laughs)

There are so many subtleties and nuances and so much depth here, I’m gonna leave all that for you to discover, the same way the colonists are discovering YOUR new world. This box is HEAVY. You get more than enough bang for your buck here. Like double your moneys bang for your buck I’d say, since this game is a highly vaulted game in my collection now. I even joined a Facebook group that opened up even more enjoyment of the game for me. This game has a wonderful rabid fan base because once you sink yourself into its intricacies, you won’t be able to pull yourself free. This is indeed avant-garde euro style, but not just for the sake of being so. This game is honest in everything it tries to do and does. And does quite well on all counts.

This game is still easy to find in stores most of the time. Last time I checked, it was still in print, but I may be wrong. But if you see a copy or have the cash for a big box game, grab this one, you will not be sorry you did. Your collection will thank you and your loved ones will hate your collection and hobby even more because of the way it will consume you. I get consumed by gaming anyways, it’s just my personality, and there are plenty worse things to get consumed by. I joke about this all the time in a dark way, but I always say a drug habit would be cheaper than this hobby, and you’d have more free time and money afterwards. I by no means condone drug use, that’s my dark sense of humor poking its ugly head through, it happens.(laughs)

Again, hopefully I teased you with just enough to make you want this stellar game. A modern classic with some old school mechanics and some very avant-garde brand new exciting play styles that will just wrap their tendrils around you. And with that comment, NO this is not a mythos game, but that would be cool if they made a mythos type spirit. Hopefully someone will get the bright idea and we’ll see one here. Until then, you’ll have plenty to throw your monstrous spirit powers at and decimate those puny humans!(laughs) Get this one, it’s a big step forward in gaming and will be in your gaming style too.

Always spiritually uplifted,

Andrew Baumgartner