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Gameplay video

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Matchstickman
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Gameplay video

Who wants to see how Spirit Island plays through?

Rahdo Runs Through is a series of videos where Rahdo plays through a game on his own but representing multiple players. He usually has 3 videos in a series, an initial starting gameplay video, a video that plays a few more rounds after the first one and a video where he sums up his thoughts on the game.

You can watch Rahdo's videos here.


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Craig
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He did such a great job with that video, too. I wish I got to see him more often, but them's the breaks of his living in Malta. I'll have to shake his hand at Gen Con.


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phantaskippy
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Oh man I can't wait to get this game, and I'm increasingly glad that I decided to make this game the first time I would go for a high level pledge.

Mezike
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Thanks for the link! I'm super stoked for this game to arrive, even moreso than VIllains, or anything else for that matter. I have a feeling that >G are onto a smash hit here smiley

dpt
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Mezike wrote:
I have a feeling that >G are onto a smash hit here smiley
I sure hope so! In my playtesting games, it just gets better the more I play it.
phantaskippy
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I agree, this game has a special feel around it.  Just need to get it out there, I think it will grow.

arenson9
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Hmmm ... I wish I shared your optimism. Don't get me wrong, I LIKE Spirit Island. It's innovative and interesting. I fear, though, that it falls in a somewhat narrow band of brain power interest. It's complicated enough that you've really got to be in to deep thinking to like it, but the decision space becomes broad enough that you've also got to be copacetic with not being able to fully analyze the perfect move.

 

I think the people who like it are going to REALLY like it, but I don't expect it to have broad appeal. I would love to be wrong!

 

CAVEAT: Although I played Spirit Island half a dozen times or more, I did not play in the later stages of playtesting, so it may be that there's been shifts I'm not aware of.


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dpt
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Spirit Island is definitely not for everyone. Like you (@arenson9) said, you have to really like deep thinking to like it. (I've been playing with my mathematician friends, who by definition like deep thinking, so that has been working out!) But don't many of the most popular deep-thinking games share this feature that you can't fully analyze the perfect move? Maybe it's more about breadth of the decision-space, like the distinction between Chess and Go. Not that Spirit Island is much like either Chess or Go, but your range of possible actions is quite broad, broad enough that you will almost certainly not pick the "best" move (even aside from the random factors that the game throws at you).

One of the people I play with described a relevant realisation in the most recent game I played. He was playing Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds, a rather slow spirit, who in particular can't do a whole lot early game. But he said he reached a "Zen-like state" this game, where he didn't worry about whatever the invaders were going to do this turn, since it was just not his responsibility; he was doing whatever was best for the long game. Indeed, by the end of the game, the wrath of the Keeper was really coming down. In earlier games, he had been frustrated by dealing with slow powers, but got over it this time. (For reference, this was his third or fourth game overall.)

I wonder if the difficulty reaching this state is related to your concerns.

arenson9
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dpt wrote:

I wonder if the difficulty reaching this state is related to your concerns.

 

Indeed. I think you're spot on. In the context of Sentinel Tactics having trouble reaching an audience, and one suggestion being that if people  just play skirmishes five times they'll like them, I am concerned that Spirit Island will not get enough fans on their first play. I fear that if a game doesn't make you a fan on the first play, it's highly unlikely you'll give it a second one. There are just too many games out there.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

dpt
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A lot of effort went into making the first game experience for Spirit Island as smooth as possible, but I think the invader actions are unusual enough that it still takes a little bit for them to 'click'. The most enthusiastic player who's been playing with me told me that he wasn't so grabbed on his first game; only on his second game did he get into it. (And now he's really addicted!)

But then, Sentinels of the Multiverse was actually like that for me: I wasn't so taken my first game, but then my second game really hooked me. Sentinels is more generally accessible, however, and I've gotten many people excited on their first game.

If you look at the top 10 on BGG, how many of those are likely to hook players on their first play?

arenson9
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dpt wrote:

If you look at the top 10 on BGG, how many of those are likely to hook players on their first play?

  1. Pandemic Legacy: Season 1
  2. Twilight Struggle
  3. Terra Mystica
  4. Caverna: The Cave Farmers
  5. Through the Ages: A Story of Civilization
  6. Puerto Rico
  7. Agricola
  8. The Castles of Burgundy
  9. Mage Knight Board Game
  10. Star Wars: Imperial Assault

 

I am unfamiliar with 5, 9, and 10. For #1, I think it's fair to consider Pandemic itself. So, for the other seven, I think six of them are likely to hook players on their first play, with the exception being Twilight Struggle.

 


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel

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I honestly don't think that any of those are games that have a particular hook other than Imperial Assault because, well, Star Wars. You can see how people would just love the idea of it straight off the bat even if they weren't particularly keen on the gameplay (which is basically just Descent in fancy pants). The others are very much a love/hate thing, and if you are already into Eurogames then you'll certainly be more likely to love them; but that is kind of the BGG thing isn't it, hence why the top ten is so.... beige... I mean Caverna and Agricola are more or less exactly the same game which kind of cements the mindset at play here.

Going back to your earlier example Andy, how do you think most non-gamers would react to "well, here's this game about running a farm during the middle ages in Germany... or one about colonising Central America with African slaves... or, er, a dice game about trading goods in medieval France (apparently there aren't any commercial invoices required in this one though)" Compare that to "The cold war struggle between East and West.... tactical ground assaults in the Star Wars universe..." or even perhaps "Ancient native spirts rising up against colonialist powers" wink

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I have to agree with Mezike. A lot of people I told about the game seemed interested as soon as I mentioned that it was a game where you play as dieties and try to drive people off of your island/destroy them


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I would also argue that the BGG Top 10 is most likely not reflective of a game that "hooks" on the first play because the population who rates on BGG are not by and large casual gamers and will play games multiple times in many cases.  I will also agree with the previous posters that many of those games are no more likely than Spirit Island to hook someone on the first place, given that many of them have complexity of thought without perfect information (and with less engaging themes)

arenson9
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Mezike wrote:

 how do you think most non-gamers would react to "well, here's this game about running a farm during the middle ages in Germany... or one about colonising Central America with African slaves... or, er, a dice game about trading goods in medieval France (apparently there aren't any commercial invoices required in this one though)" Compare that to "The cold war struggle between East and West.... tactical ground assaults in the Star Wars universe..." or even perhaps "Ancient native spirts rising up against colonialist powers" wink

 

Ah ... I wasn't thinking in terms of getting someone excited about the game by describing it, but having people think the game is great after their first play.


Hi. My name's Andy. Feel free to call me Andy, since, ya know, that's my name. (he/him/his)

If I am not for myself, who will be for me? If not now, when? If I am for myself alone, what am I? -- Hillel