The games produced by Greater Than Games and developed into digital editions by Handelabra Games are fantastic. I’ve been a fan of Sentinels of the Multiverse since Infernal Relics first came out, and I purchased the digital edition on day one. So when I heard that Handelabra would be producing Spirit Island Digital Edition, I was in on the Kickstarter and playing it in early access.
In Spirit Island, settlers are colonizing an island, and the island’s spirits and the native Dahan are resisting that colonization. You play as one of these spirits, and your job is to destroy the settlers.
Spirit Island is a cooperative game, but Spirit Island is not a lightweight game. It’s complex, difficult, and rewarding. I love it, but if you’re a casual gamer, it may not be for you.
You can play Spirit Island with 1–4 players controlling 1–4 spirits, or if you’re like me, you just play two spirits by yourself. More than that can get mentally taxing.
The first phase of each turn has your spirit first choosing a “growth option.” These options are different for each of the game’s eight spirits. Your growth option may have you add presence to the board, gain energy, choose new power cards, or some combination of these. Each spirit also has a growth option that will allow the spirit to reclaim cards that have been used and discarded.
As presence is removed from a spirit’s card and added to the board, new abilities are uncovered. Generally, this allows the spirit to play more cards per turn, and grants increased available energy to spend on card plays.
In the next phase, spirits play power cards. Each card in the game is qualified as either “fast” or “slow,” and this determines whether the card will take effect before or after the invaders act. At first, it seems as though fast powers are always better, but as you gain experience in gameplay, you realize that slow powers allow you to react to the post invader phase board state even before the following turn’s fast powers. Making good decisions requires a lot of analysis and foresight.
Fast powers take effect first, and then comes the invader phase. The invaders come in three types: the explorer, a one-man scout with but a single hit…