The forums moved on March 1, 2021. Please read this page for more information.

Won my first game last night

27 posts / 0 new
Last post
The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017
Won my first game last night

So my group’s been enjoying Spirit Island, but also we’ve been SO BAD at it. It’s taken eight games before we got a win, and we’re not entirely sure what we’ve been doing wrong. The invaders just constantly get so far ahead that we can’t stop them within the first few rounds, and that’s on easy settings.

But we won! I was River, and the other group members were Thunderspeaker and Ocean. It just went fantastically well: River used River’s Bounty to make more Dahan for Thunderspeaker and pushed towns into Ocean, Thunderspeaker got Wrap in Wings of Sunlight early, which meant we could move Dahan to defend anywhere really easily, and Ocean helped the coast enough that unlucky builds early on didn’t hurt too much. I think Thunderspeaker got the final hit; we generated just enough fear that when it destroyed the last town, we moved to Terror Level 2 and won. It was fun! I just hope it doesn’t take another eight tries to win next time.

TakeWalker
TakeWalker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 26, 2016

River, Thunderspeaker and Ocean are the Spirit Island dream team. :D Pretty much nothing they can't do.

There are a lot of rules new players can get wrong that will make the game nearly impossible. The only one that comes to mind is cascading blight into every surrounding land instead of just one. Though I do recall someone on BGG having trouble because they didn't know they had a starting hand of spirit cards...

What kind of setup were you playing with? Any scenarios, adversaries, blight card?

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

We picked a random Blight card from among core and Branch & Claw. It never flipped so we never found out what it was. No adversary or scenario. 

...Wait, Blight doesn’t cascade into every land?

The main problem we’ve been getting is just awful early builds. Multiple cities by round two. 

TakeWalker
TakeWalker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Feb 26, 2016

Starting without blight cards is usually the way to go, but since that's mostly about complexity, you're probably fine. Especially if you're sticking with just B&C blight cards, you won't get any of the gross, awful ones.

Funnily enough, I just found the list of commonly misplayed rules! Came back to share. :D

Ameena
Ameena's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 15, 2012

Generally I find that if you can't destroy Invaders quickly enough to stop them Ravaging, then try to at least concentrate them together into as few lands as possible - even if a land has multiple Cities/Towns and is doing a whole load of damage in their next Ravage, they will still only add one Blight to that land (and a second to an adjacent land if cascading, of course). I didn't realise some people misplayed it as Blight spreading to every adjacent land - ouch! That would likely flip the card in a turn or two (depending on player count)!

I tend to find that the Invader population grows quite a bit over the first couple of turns, but then you sort of get over the hump and catch up to them, getting on top of things and hopefully smashing them all back down again. Or you don't and you end up getting the Blight card flipped, which increases the chances of losing depending on which Blight card it is and if you get any "Blighted Island" Events afterwards (because those tend to be horrible) :P.

Ocean is my favourite spirit (with Keeper as my other favourite spirit) - in a two-player game I regularly run out of things to eat :(. But Reaching Grasp is my friend, if it comes up (as it is when I play Wildfire >:)). What's that? My Range 0 Innate Power is suddenly Range 2? Woohoo, om nom nom... >:)


I am the Wordweaver...

Basically, I like writing stuff ;)

Lorkenpeist
Lorkenpeist's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 10, 2018

Ameena wrote:
I didn't realise some people misplayed it as Blight spreading to every adjacent land - ouch! That would likely flip the card in a turn or two (depending on player count)!

Probably not quite that early.  Cascading blight is quite rare in the early game, because the land that starts with blight never starts with invaders (except the extra blight from Sweden 6), so whenever that terrain first comes up it will be just a lone explorer, unless you previously moved other invaders there.  Every spirit in the game, including promos, has at least one reliable way to deal with an initial explore into the starting blight, except Keeper of the Firbidden Wilds (who strangely is also the most OP of the spirits).  Cascading blight is probably not going to happen until at least the second time a particular terrain comes up.

MindWanderer
MindWanderer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 29, 2015

The Girl With No Name wrote:

The main problem we’ve been getting is just awful early builds. Multiple cities by round two. 

Multiple cities by round 2?  That's peculiar.  With no adversary, only one land per board starts with a Town, and it's a different land type on each board, so at most, if you prevent no builds at all, they should be putting up one city in round 1 and one in round 2.  And on the Easy settings (don't do an initial Explore during setup), it shouldn't be possible for them to build more than 1 new city by the end of round 2.  So I think there might be something else you're not doing right.

Sentinels Statistics Project -- Statistics updated daily!

Submit your games here!

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

MindWanderer wrote:

 

The Girl With No Name wrote:

 

The main problem we’ve been getting is just awful early builds. Multiple cities by round two. 

Multiple cities by round 2?  That's peculiar.  With no adversary, only one land per board starts with a Town, and it's a different land type on each board, so at most, if you prevent no builds at all, they should be putting up one city in round 1 and one in round 2.  And on the Easy settings (don't do an initial Explore during setup), it shouldn't be possible for them to build more than 1 new city by the end of round 2.  So I think there might be something else you're not doing right.

My misspeaking. What I meant was “the cities always end up spread far out”. By the time the ravage step came along, we were having trouble actually getting there in time to stop them from blighting stuff.

dpt
dpt's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Aug 06, 2013

Do you mean Cities (the larger piece with 3 buildings depicted) or Towns (with 2 buildings)? Because you shouldn't be getting lots of Cities early on.

(You do end up with lots of Towns, spread apart.)

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

No, cities. I think I’m explaining this badly. Hold on.

So this one time, it was a two player game. We both decided that, even though we were having trouble with the low difficulty spirits, we would choose moderate ones for variety. I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.

The first stage was Wetlands, Mountains, Sands. Since neither of us are very experienced, we found it really hard to get out of the Jungles to stop them building more cities, and then the ravages were just awful. It was less bad for Green, because it could use the Wetlands more, but we just couldn’t do much. I’m sure everyone here is like, “oh, that’s easy,” but we’re still new and didn’t see how we could win until it was too late.

That’s sort of what I mean. We always felt like by the time we could fight back, the invaders were too entrenched for us to do anything. 

Lorkenpeist
Lorkenpeist's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 10, 2018

The Girl With No Name wrote:
I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.

You're playing with Sharp Fangs Begind the Leaves, from the Branch and Claw expansion?  Are you playing with all the bells and whistles, like events and tokens?  I highly recommend separating out the expansion until you have a somewhat solid grasp on the base game.  It sounds like you may be trying to learn too much at once.  How long you want to wait before adding the expansion back in is up to you, but my personal recommendation is to at least wait until you're able to win on basic difficulty more often than you lose.

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

Lorkenpeist wrote:

 

The Girl With No Name wrote:

I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.

 

 

You're playing with Sharp Fangs Begind the Leaves, from the Branch and Claw expansion?  Are you playing with all the bells and whistles, like events and tokens?  I highly recommend separating out the expansion until you have a somewhat solid grasp on the base game.  It sounds like you may be trying to learn too much at once.  How long you want to wait before adding the expansion back in is up to you, but my personal recommendation is to at least wait until you're able to win on basic difficulty more often than you lose.

You’d think that’d be the case, but the events and tokens actually helped us win. 

RySmith6
RySmith6's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 3 days ago
Game DesignerPlaytester
Joined: Oct 17, 2013

woof. This sounds like some of our early matches.

The thing that really started to turn the tide was after we overheard Paul mention that his favorite strategy (at the time) was Slow powers with Push/Gather. You lose out a little on the current build/ravage, but the ability to effectively neutralize one land for the next several turns by moving one explorer that just explored into a land where they're all alone?

Having tried the Damage/Lightning/Defend strategies almost exclusively up until that point, It really unlocked the game for us. It was like realizing what the Visionary is good at after trying to win everything with Haka/Ra/AZ. It took a lot of reminders to not speed it up with Lightning and just wait for the lone explorer.


"But dice are dice, and Dice are Fickle"

Internet Pseudonyms: PseudonymTwitch, PseudonymTweetr, PseudonymGamer

Ameena
Ameena's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 15, 2012

I like it when I play as Ocean and deliberately ignore a newly-arrived Explorer in one of my lands, letting them Build during their next Build phase so I can use Swallow the Land Dwellers in the Slow phase to eat both of them, get Fear for the Town, and hoard both for future Energy generation >:).

Anyway, I see no harm in using the Branch and Claw stuff in an early game if you feel like it - a while ago I tried teaching some new players without the expansion and it just made me feel underpowered not having Wilds and stuff everywhere to throw at people. Okay, some of the Events are annoying (Cultural Assimilation, looking at you...), but you know, it's all fun :D.

If you own Tabletop Sim, maybe some of us can show you some tricks some time, or see if there's anything you're inadvertently getting wrong that makes the game harder for you or something. I am yet to play with an Adversary or Scenario so don't worry that I might try and throw one of those at you ;).


I am the Wordweaver...

Basically, I like writing stuff ;)

MindWanderer
MindWanderer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 29, 2015

The Girl With No Name wrote:

No, cities. I think I’m explaining this badly. Hold on.

So this one time, it was a two player game. We both decided that, even though we were having trouble with the low difficulty spirits, we would choose moderate ones for variety. I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.

The first stage was Wetlands, Mountains, Sands. Since neither of us are very experienced, we found it really hard to get out of the Jungles to stop them building more cities, and then the ravages were just awful. It was less bad for Green, because it could use the Wetlands more, but we just couldn’t do much. I’m sure everyone here is like, “oh, that’s easy,” but we’re still new and didn’t see how we could win until it was too late.

That’s sort of what I mean. We always felt like by the time we could fight back, the invaders were too entrenched for us to do anything. 

I'm still not quite following this.

A Spread of Rampant Green's second Growth option is to place a presence in any land, at range 1 of any of its existing Presence (basically, adjacent).  Plus it can first place a Presence in any Jungle or Wetland within range 2 of its existing Presence.  Combined, you can put a presence pretty much anywhere on the map in round 1, except a couple of lands in the far corner from where you start.  So, for example, you can deal with a round 1 Town by either Fields Choked with Growth (which has a range of 1 itself, so you can reach a land up to 4 away from where you started) to push the Town into a different land.


Sentinels Statistics Project -- Statistics updated daily!

Submit your games here!

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

MindWanderer wrote:

 

The Girl With No Name wrote:

 

No, cities. I think I’m explaining this badly. Hold on.

So this one time, it was a two player game. We both decided that, even though we were having trouble with the low difficulty spirits, we would choose moderate ones for variety. I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.

The first stage was Wetlands, Mountains, Sands. Since neither of us are very experienced, we found it really hard to get out of the Jungles to stop them building more cities, and then the ravages were just awful. It was less bad for Green, because it could use the Wetlands more, but we just couldn’t do much. I’m sure everyone here is like, “oh, that’s easy,” but we’re still new and didn’t see how we could win until it was too late.

That’s sort of what I mean. We always felt like by the time we could fight back, the invaders were too entrenched for us to do anything. 

I'm still not quite following this.

A Spread of Rampant Green's second Growth option is to place a presence in any land, at range 1 of any of its existing Presence (basically, adjacent).  Plus it can first place a Presence in any Jungle or Wetland within range 2 of its existing Presence.  Combined, you can put a presence pretty much anywhere on the map in round 1, except a couple of lands in the far corner from where you start.  So, for example, you can deal with a round 1 Town by either Fields Choked with Growth (which has a range of 1 itself, so you can reach a land up to 4 away from where you started) to push the Town into a different land.

Basically, we’re bad at the game, MindWanderer. It’s not much more complicated than that. What you said there works perfectly, but we didn’t see it.

MindWanderer
MindWanderer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 29, 2015

Sorry, didn't mean to sound condescending.  I just wasn't following "get out of the Jungle" when Green has a presence placement option that isn't restricted by land type, so I was trying to guess if there was another rules misunderstanding somewhere.  I apologize that it came out wrong.


Sentinels Statistics Project -- Statistics updated daily!

Submit your games here!

The Girl With N...
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: Jun 28, 2017

No, you didn’t sound condescending at all.

I think with Green we got stuck on Gift of Proliferation being really helpful to Sharp Fangs by letting it put down more Presence, so we kept trying to reclaim that.

AdamH
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: May 17, 2018

Ameena wrote:

Anyway, I see no harm in using the Branch and Claw stuff in an early game if you feel like it - a while ago I tried teaching some new players without the expansion and it just made me feel underpowered not having Wilds and stuff everywhere to throw at people. Okay, some of the Events are annoying (Cultural Assimilation, looking at you...), but you know, it's all fun :D.

For a while I tried teaching new players by eliminating all of the expansion stuff, which was a huge pain. Either I had to filter out all of the expansion cards from both power decks and the fear card deck (using the new blight cards was just fine) or just re-draw when one came up. I also couldn't play with a few of the spirits which was a bit annoying.

I made a topic earlier about an official setup that doesn't use events and I've been very happy with it. It turns out that this works just fine for new players and I haven't really had any trouble with it. Normally I only offer the low or medium complexity spirits from the base game as options for first-time players, none of which use any of the extra tokens, so we can get started playing and get a few turns in before any of the expansion mechanics are likely to be introduced. Whenever they see a symbol they don't recognize I can explain it then, and when the ask what the beast tokens are that start on the board I just tell them not to worry about the beasts, but they're good.

Maybe I'm just getting better at teaching the game. I'd really like to have more experience with teaching the game because I want to make a video that explains the game rules (I've done this with a couple of other games before and had a lot of success with it, my Power Grid video gets more views than anything else on my channel and gets a huge spike every Christmas :-) but I feel like I want some more practice explaining it and seeing what works. I've had a lot of success with the teaching philosophy where you explain as few rules as possible before starting the game, and explain the rest of the rules as they come up. They have to trust you to tell them about rules before they can feel like they've been screwed over by them, which you can do with enough practice, and is a bit easier in co-op games.

Trajector
Trajector's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Joined: Dec 13, 2014

Congrats on winning your first game! I'm not sure if you're interested in this, but here are some high-level strategies that I use:

  • Always try to blunt the effect of Ravages if you can. Ravage is where the Invaders make their progress toward winning, by placing Blight and destroying Presence. Ravage also does a lot of damage to the players' setup. When I say "blunt," I mean use all the tools at your disposal: damage, defend, push, or other effects. At the same time, don't sweat it too much if you can't stop every Ravage on the board - but keep in mind that if you are going to let one by, there is sometimes an advantage to picking a particular land. For example, remember that overkill damage doesn't do the Invaders any good, so it might be better to let a land with a pile of cities on it Ravage to free up spirits to handle smaller lands.
  • The next best thing to stopping a Ravage is, unsurprisingly, stopping a Build. Especially if you can do this in the Slow phase, destroying or pushing a new building right after the Invaders put it up. This is a key strategy for spirits that start with a lot of Slow powers. Remember that Push/Gather can be just as good as damage, since you can see the Invaders' "program," and remember the point about overkill above - Ameena also mentioned concentrating the Invaders.
  • Cut the Invaders' supply lines. What I mean here is, when you can, try to pick off Invader towns/cities that will let them spread more quickly into the interior of the island. The game is set up so that the first Explore targets every possible land. The sooner in the game you can get some lands that won't be explored, the sooner you can focus your attention on the more problematic areas. RySmith6 mentioned pushing lone explorers - that accomplishes this goal if you get them off of the next land to have a Build phase.
  • Don't get too wrapped up in the Spirits innate powers at the beginning of the game. Often, you have to wait to build up more card plays before those are useful. On the other hand, the Spirits' special rules are crucially useful right out of the gate - Rampant Green's ability to stop a Build or Ravage, Vital Strength's immediate passive Defend, and other such abilities can let you get ahead when you otherwise don't have a lot of energy or powers.

Of course, the tricky thing is that you can't do everything at once. You'll have to look at the game at each phase to decide where to concentrate!

Lorkenpeist
Lorkenpeist's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 10, 2018

The Girl With No Name wrote:

 

Lorkenpeist wrote:

 

 

The Girl With No Name wrote:

I was Green, and my friend was Sharp Claws.
 

 

You're playing with Sharp Fangs Begind the Leaves, from the Branch and Claw expansion?  Are you playing with all the bells and whistles, like events and tokens?  I highly recommend separating out the expansion until you have a somewhat solid grasp on the base game.  It sounds like you may be trying to learn too much at once.  How long you want to wait before adding the expansion back in is up to you, but my personal recommendation is to at least wait until you're able to win on basic difficulty more often than you lose.

 

You’d think that’d be the case, but the events and tokens actually helped us win. 

 

I'm not saying the expansion makes the game harder, just that it makes learning take much longer because there are so many more things to think about.  If you aren't winning consitently at the basic difficulty level, it probably means there are core strategies you haven't fully grasped yet.  With enough experience, you should eventually be able to win much more consistently, if not 100% of the time on easy difficulty.  If you find the game more fun with Branch and Claw, then by all means keep playing it, just be aware that the game may take significantly longer to get the hang of if you do.

MindWanderer
MindWanderer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 29, 2015

Oh yeah, I definitely agree the game is generally easier with Branch & Claw, especially for newer players, but IMHO that's a good reason *not* to play with it.

In the base game, the Blight cards are extremely punishing and you really, really want to avoid flipping them.  That's good practice for when things get harder and you can't avoid it anymore.

Also, the better you are, the worse Events are.  If you're already winning, then added randomness only hurts you, but if you're losing then they can provide "miracle saves".  But you should get used to playing when things are more predictable so that you get used to the flow of the Invader cards and anticipating the use of your Slow powers.  Events can muck that up, for better or worse, and the less predictable the flow is, the harder it is to grasp.


Sentinels Statistics Project -- Statistics updated daily!

Submit your games here!

Ameena
Ameena's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 15, 2012

Hmm, don't entirely agree with you on Events being nicer the better you are - if the Blight card has been flipped, some of the Blighted Island Events are horrible, like the "instantly destroy a bunch of Presence" one. Sometimes Events can sare you, though, like a timely Canny Defence in a Dahan-filled land that was about to Blight in an upcoming Ravage, or some Beasts generating Fear enough to earn a Fear card which similarly might help you out during the upcoming Invader actions. Sometimes the Events can screw you over, that's cetainly true. But sometimes they can save you ;).


I am the Wordweaver...

Basically, I like writing stuff ;)

pwatson1974
pwatson1974's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Feb 05, 2012

Ameena,

It's the opposite argument. If you're good, the more things go to plan the better it goes, so the randomnes of events will tend to disrupt your plans and thus make things worse.

If you're not good, the randomness is more likely to sdave you because your plan wasn't so good it would do it without the event, so the randomness is more helpful.

Events are never always helpful, some are just plain bad, as you say, but the better you play, the more likely they are to be disruptive to your plans, and hence negative.


G+ games: I am part of the 100%

grysqrl
grysqrl's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
ModeratorPlaytester
Joined: Sep 05, 2013

But if you're really good, you design your plans so they can potentially accommodate a wrench thrown in the works. The intention is for Events to be difficulty-neutral but to reduce the tendency toward AP by making elaborate, just-barely-works plans likely to go sideways (so you might as well just pick the most important goals and make sure those happen).

I highly recommend that new players not use anything from Branch and Claw until they are thoroughly comfortable with the base game and have a difficulty level where they can win most of the time. A big part of learning to play the game is understanding how the Invaders behave and anticipating their actions so you can prevent them. The materials in Branch & Claw do a lot to mess with Invader behavior, which makes it more difficult to learn. Here is a FAQ entry on the topic: https://querki.net/u/darker/spirit-island-faq/#!.7w4g8nx

Also, the base game Blight cards may seem brutal, but are actually pretty tame. Your blight pool is larger than playing without a Blight card and most spirits can usually handle losing a presence (or a power card) every turn. Losing presence may seem scary at first, but it's actually not that big of a problem most of the time.

Lorkenpeist
Lorkenpeist's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 10, 2018

grysqrl wrote:
Losing presence may seem scary at first, but it's actually not that big of a problem most of the time.

Agreed.  Since placing presence is really good, losing presence might sound equally bad at first.  But most of the benefit of adding presence is unlocking your presence tracks, with a smaller side benefit of better targeting.  So when you lose a presence, you're only losing a smaller portion of what the presence gained you in the first place.

MindWanderer
MindWanderer's picture
Offline
Last seen: 9 months 1 week ago
Playtester
Joined: Oct 29, 2015

Depends on the number of players and how early it happens.  Some of the B&C Blight cards can strike in round 2 or 3 and it's fine.  That's death with the original cards, especially in a 4-player game since you'll have extremely limited reach.


Sentinels Statistics Project -- Statistics updated daily!

Submit your games here!