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  #1  
Old 10-09-2017, 08:30 PM
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Default Let's play Spirit Island


Spirit Island is a cooperative board game wherein you control a nature spirit attempting to repel invading colonists and cause them to abandon the island. What better way could there be to celebrate Columbus Day?

The game plays 1 to 4. I will be playing, so we have three open seats. Here's our cast of friendly ghosts:


Lightning's Swift Strike makes things go boom!


Vital Spirit of the Earth is ridiculously great at defense, but it's got a very slow start. I played as this thing once, and I won!


River Surges in Sunlight enjoys pushing things around, which is more helpful than it sounds. I played as this thing on my first game, and I won!


Shadows Flicker Like Flame is a spooky ghost! I played as this thing recently, and I lost miserably! (But don't let that stop you.)


A Spread of Rampant Green is an angry plant. That doesn't sound great, but apparently it is pretty great!


Thunderspeaker likes making the island's inhabitants stronger, which is always helpful.


Ocean's Hungry Grasp turns the oceans from board fluff to a gameplay element. It struggles to do much away from the oceans, though.


Bringer of Dreams and Nightmares is even spookier than Shadows Flicker Like Flame, and even worse at actually killing things!


Okay but how do you play it geez

Um so it's like this pretty much

Mostly you choose how you grow your spirit's powers, then you play cards, then you resolve things, wash rinse repeat. I mean there's a little more to it, but the rest is just details, and we'll get to those later.

You win if you drive off the colonists, which usually involves some combination of destroying buildings and freaking them right the heck out, but then destroying buildings also gives them a good scare. You lose if the island gets too dirty, a spirit gets wiped off the board, or you take way too long. Mostly, you lose that first way.


Which spirit should I pick, though

If you haven't played the game before, you're best off picking one of the Low-complexity spirits: instead of choosing which powers to gain, these allow you to gain powers in a set order that synergizes with your abilities. You can use a Low-complexity spirit and still gain powers from the deck instead, but I really recommend going with the baked-in progression for your first game.

I'll pick my spirit last, so the only hard guideline is don't pick a spirit that's been picked.

GOOD LUCK
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  #2  
Old 10-09-2017, 08:41 PM
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aturtledoesbite aturtledoesbite is offline
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DID I HEAR SPOOKY GHOST

I WANT THE SPOOKY GHOST
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Old 10-09-2017, 08:45 PM
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Gimme a plant, nerd.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:17 PM
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In if I can.
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Old 10-09-2017, 09:27 PM
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But where are the cool expansion and promo spirits?

I want Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves.
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Old 10-09-2017, 10:11 PM
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Originally Posted by DemoWeasel View Post
But where are the cool expansion and promo spirits?

I want Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves.
Keeper of the Forbidden Wilds, Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island. *chefkiss*
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  #7  
Old 10-10-2017, 07:03 AM
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Originally Posted by DemoWeasel View Post
But where are the cool expansion and promo spirits?

I want Sharp Fangs Behind the Leaves.
The TTS mod, which I'm running this with, has the expansion stuff, but I haven't read the expansion rules. It's got a bunch of bits in a game that already has a bunch of bits. I imagine that's why they released them as an expansion rather than packing it into the base game...

FL: You need to tell me which spirit you want!
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Old 10-10-2017, 08:37 AM
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I'll be an alternate!
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Old 10-10-2017, 10:04 AM
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Meanwhile

Let's take a closer look at the two spirits that have been picked.


This is what the other side of the spirit card looks like. At the start of the game, your Presence discs will cover up all but the two leftmost circles. When you add a Presence, you take it from this board, revealing a new space.

Shadows Flicker Like Flame starts out with 0 Energy/turn and 1 card play. It has three options for Growth, shown at the top of the card:
  • Reclaim Cards + Gain Power Card. Power cards you play are discarded, gone forever until you reclaim them. Every spirit (so far) has a Reclaim option; in this case, it's bundled with Gain Power Card, which lets you learn a new power.
  • Gain Power Card + Add a Presence (1). In addition to gaining a new power, you can place a new Presence disc on the board no more than 1 region away from one of your existing Presence.
  • Add a Presence (3) + Energy +3. Pretty self-explanatory. You get 3 extra energy (used to pay for powers), and you can place a new Presence up to 3 regions away from an existing Presence. That's an excellent range; most spirits can't extend that far.

Once you take a Presence from your card, you get the newly-uncovered bonus. For example, if you chose to add Presence two rounds in a row and picked the top row both times, you would get 1 Energy/turn on the first turn and 3 Energy/turn on the second (for a total of 3, not 4 -- the bonuses are not generally cumulative). Sometimes, removing a disc doesn't result in any increase, like when Shadows goes from 3 -> 3 card plays.

What else can Shadows Flicker Like Flame do? Well, it's got the special rule Shadows of the Dahan and the innate power Darkness Swallows the Unwary. Shadows of the Dahan allows it to ignore a power card's normal range, as long as the destination has some of the indigenous Dahan, and Darkness Swallows the Unwary does... stuff. We'll get to that later. For now, notice that it has three tiers with increasing requirements.


A Spread of Rampant Green is a medium-complexity spirit, and so there's a bit more to unpack here. First, the Growth options are fairly straightforward, except that no matter which of the three options is chosen, you also add a Presence to a Jungle or Wetland region at up to two distance. This means you're always putting out one or two presence per turn, so you'll grow very quickly. Very apt for a spirit that's all about wild growth.

A Spread of Rampant Green has two special rules and two innate powers. Let's check out the rules first. Choke the Land with Green allows you to prevent certain invader actions by removing Presence from that region. The double-Presence icon means what you think it does. When you have two Presence in the same region, that region is considered your "sacred site." Some powers, such as All-Enveloping Green, must originate from one of your sacred sites. Steady Regeneration allows you to keep growing once all the Presence discs are off your player board (something most spirits don't need to worry about).

Again, we'll return to talk about the Innate Powers in a bit. Notice, though, that the Plant icon required by these powers is supplied by some of the spaces on the Presence track. Also notice that these powers have different speeds: Creepers Tear Into Mortar is slow (turtle-speed), and All-Enveloping Green is fast (bird-speed).



Fast powers resolve basically immediately, while slow powers only take effect after the invader phase.

Speaking of powers, let's look at our spirits' starting power cards. Every spirit has four.



Here's what to look for on a power card:
  • On the top left of the card is the energy cost. Concealing Shadows costs nothing to play (but remember that you have a limited number of card plays per turn).
  • On the left side of the card are the elements it provides. You'll usually use these to enable your Innate Powers. Elements are never consumed -- they're just prerequisites -- but nor do they accumulate from round to round.
  • In the middle of the card, you'll see the speed, range, and target. Concealing Shadows is a fast power that has zero range -- you have to target a region where you have Presence. (But remember Shadows's special power.) Mantle of Dread is a slow power that targets another player.

Concealing Shadows generates 1 Fear and prevents Dahan in the targeted region from taking damage -- a very good effect.

Favors Called Due pulls in up to 4 Dahan from regions adjacent to the target region. (They don't have to come from the same region.) If there are now more Dahan tokens than Invader tokens, you generate 3 Fear.

Mantle of Dread generates 2 Fear, and the targeted player chooses one of their lands (i.e. one where they have Presence) and may move an Explorer and a Town from that land to an adjacent land (not necessarily the same destination for both).

Crops Wither and Fade generates 2 Fear, and it downgrades a Town into an Explorer or a City into a Town. This is the closest thing Shadows has to direct offense until it can afford the second level of its innate power.

All of these cards have low energy costs, and Shadows Flicker Like Flame has decent energy ramping, so you'd want to aim for slightly more expensive powers when learning new ones. (But this is only something you worry about when you're not using the preset power decks.)



As for A Spread of Rampant Green: Overgrow in a Night either adds a Presence or generates 3 Fear in a region where you have Presence and Invaders.

Gift of Proliferation makes another player (not yourself) add a Presence to the board.

Fields Choked with Growth pushes 1 Town or 3 Dahan.

Stem the Flow of Fresh Water damages a Town or City. If the targeted land is Mountain or Sands, it damages every Town or City instead. As free cards go, this is really good, but it can't destroy anything on its own, and all damage is wiped at the end of each round.

A Spread of Rampant Green has some tough decisions right out of the gate with a spread of energy costs and low innate energy generation. Do you take +3 Energy and learn a new power? Do you put down two Presence and take an extra card play? Either way, you have very little board control during the first round.
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  #10  
Old 10-10-2017, 11:00 AM
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Lightning bird please!
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  #11  
Old 10-10-2017, 11:56 AM
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OK, let's check out Thunderbird!



No, not that one...



Excellent. Lightning's Swift Strike has good options for getting Presence on the board and gaining energy. Its biggest drawback in that area is that it can only learn new powers by reclaiming cards -- but even just gaining a power and +1 energy isn't too bad, so you can think of the reclaim as a bonus if it helps.

Its presence tracks are pretty amazing. This bird can throw down cards like no other. Its energy ramping isn't amazing, but since it can get plenty of energy through growth alone, it shouldn't be too limited by energy. Instead, it'll be more limited by the number of cards it has -- but then, we talked about the reclaim option, which suddenly sounds much better given how often you'll need to do it.

Swiftness of Lightning allows you to turn your slow powers into fast powers for each [Air] element you play. All four of Lightning's Swift Strike's starting powers have that element, meaning everything can be fast if you want it to. (But there's value in waiting for the invaders to do their thing, so sometimes, you won't want to use this.)

Thundering Destruction is a very high-end innate. You will need all of those card plays if you want to get the maximum effect from it, but that maximum effect can destroy three Cities. That's really good.



Lightning's Boon makes other players fast. Nearly all direct offense powers are slow, so if you need invaders dead now, this is good.

Shatter Homesteads generates 1 Fear and destroys a Town. No frills and a little pricey, but it's got good range.

Harbingers of the Lightning allows you to push some Dahan and generates 1 Fear if you pushed them into a land with a Town or City.

Raging Storm hits all Invaders (Explorers, Towns, or Cities) in one land. We talked about how a single damage is less good for Towns or Cities on its own, but this clears out every Explorer, which is good. The energy cost on this card is less good.




I will be Thunderspeaker. Like our previous spirit, Thunderspeaker only gains power when reclaiming cards, but it gets two of them, which is pretty nice. It can also grow Presence quickly as long as it's growing into Dahan territory, and it has an excellent energy boost that also lets it grow into any adjacent region.

Thunderspeaker's Presence tracks are a little odd. It has a lot of elements on its energy track (and little actual energy generation), and it has a symbol we haven't seen before on its card track. "Reclaim One" allows you to reclaim a single card each round at any time.

As for special rules, Ally of the Dahan allows Thunderspeaker to move its Presence when the Dahan move, but Sworn to Victory destroys Thunderspeaker's Presence anywhere the Dahan are killed.

Like our other medium-complexity spirit, Thunderspeaker also has two innate powers. Gather the Warriors... gathers the warriors. Depending on how many [Air] and [Sun] you have, it can do a lot of moving: it can gather Dahan from all adjacent regions, then it can push them into any adjacent regions, effectively moving them two spaces, and possibly at fast speed. Lead the Furious Assault allows the Dahan to go on the offensive, directly destroying Towns and Cities. The stages on innate powers are cumulative, so at the highest level, you would destroy 1 Town per 2 Dahan and 1 City per 3 Dahan.



Words of Warning defends against 3 Invader damage, and it allows the Dahan to counterattack before they get wiped out. This makes them much more effective, and we'll get to how that works in the next post.

Manifestation of Power and Glory generates 1 Fear, then it causes each Dahan to deal 1 damage per Thunderspeaker Presence in their land. Usually, you don't have any reason to pile up Presence in a single land, but this is an exception.

Sudden Ambush lets you pull in 1 Dahan before causing each Dahan to destroy an Explorer. Destroying Explorers at fast speed is very good.

Voice of Thunder lets you push up to 4 Dahan or generate 2 Fear if Invaders are present. Not a terribly exciting card, but the price is right.


COMING SOON: Getting the actual game started
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  #12  
Old 10-10-2017, 12:20 PM
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I will be Thunderspeaker.
That would have been my choice with this comp, too. Manifestation of Power and Glory + Lightning's Boon is a lot of damage in a hurry, plus every spirit has starting cards that effect Dahan. :]
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Old 10-10-2017, 12:29 PM
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If you guys don't mind color commentary from the peanut gallery...

One thing I love about the game is how each spirit's growth options really embrace the feel of it. Lightning's growth options really feel like a fire - burning steadily, creeping forward, and then jumping and intensifying. It's also worth noting that it can Lightning's Boon itself. Not too useful with its starting hand, but potentially handy if it gets bad drafts when gaining power cards. However, as Mogri said, fast isn't always better!
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Egarwaen View Post
If you guys don't mind color commentary from the peanut gallery...
Yes, please!

Welcome to Spirit Island



Here's a quick look at our island. Clockwise from the top left, we have A Spread of Rampant Green, Thunderspeaker, Lightning's Swift Strike, and Shadows Flicker Like Flame. Although we start out on our respective boards, we can (and often should) expand to the far reaches of the island.

The beige circles are the Dahan huts. The Dahan oppose the invaders as well, but they are technically orthogonal to our win condition: we'd be just as happy with a completely depopulated island.

The white structures are the invaders' Towns and Cities. If you look extra-closely, you can see that each board has one Town (with two buildings) and one City (with three buildings). Towns and Cities have 2 and 3 health, respectively, and destroying them generates 1 and 2 Fear, respectively.

On each board, you might also be able to make out a metallic circle. This is Blight. Right now, we have 8 Blight in our Blight pool (not pictured). If that runs out, the pool will be refilled, and we will incur penalties each round. If it runs out after that, we lose the game immediately.

If you were playing the game normally, you'd usually stack the Presence discs within a region. I separated them because it was impossible to see the stacked yellow discs.


Getting started

Now that the game is set up, the first action in the game comes from the invaders, who will Explore. We flip the top card of the invader deck:



It's Sands. That means that we place an Explorer on every Sands region on the board that either A) is coastal or B) contains or is adjacent to a City/Town.



Like so. At the start of the game, every region on the board either contains or is adjacent to a City/Town. This is bad. We'll want to reduce the invaders' reach as quickly as possible.



We place the card we just drew in the Build spot. When the invader phase comes up again...



...they will try to Ravage, then Build, then Explore. Because there's no card under Ravage, they'll skip that this turn.

We just did Explore: flip over a card and place Explorers. In those same regions, they will next try to Build. Every matching land that has any Invader (i.e. Explorer, Town, or City) gets a new structure. This is always a Town unless the land already has more Towns than Cities, in which case it's a City. We can prevent them from Building by ensuring nothing is in that land -- usually easier said than done.

The turn after they Build in a land, they will Ravage that land. Count the total Invader strength (1 for Explorer, 2 for Town, 3 for City -- same as their health), subtract any Defend effects, and deal the remainder in damage to the land and the Dahan. If the land takes at least 2 damage, it gets a Blight marker. Dahan huts have 2 health each, and Invaders will always destroy as many as they can -- they don't spread the damage if they can help it. Then, the Dahan fight back: each Dahan deals 2 damage to the Invaders, which we can choose how to distribute.

Although Ravaging is the largest source of Blight, it also represents an opportunity to leverage the Dahan in removing Invaders. If Ravage is prevented in a land for any reason, the Dahan will not attack the Invaders.

After the invaders do their thing, we move all cards one spot to the left. The card in the Ravage slot is discarded, the card in the Build slot moves to Ravage, and the card we just drew moves to Build.


In other words

The invaders just Explored the Sands, and this round, they'll Build there. Now, it's our turn. Spirits act simultaneously. Choose your Growth option. If you aren't gaining a new Power card, you might as well choose what you're going to play, too. Remember, you'll need enough energy to pay for it, and any energy you don't spend will get rolled over to spend next round.

You should now know everything you need to play the game, although I've left out some specifics such as how gaining Power cards works. If you have any questions, this is a good time to ask them (even if you're not one of our spirits).
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:29 PM
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Oh also: I mentioned that when invaders deal at least 2 damage to the land, you add a Blight token. Besides that, they also destroy one Presence from each spirit in that land, if any.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:43 PM
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I'm going for +1 presence and card play. I want to set up enough to be able to throw down an upgraded version of the building-buster power.

Oh wait, I can't do upgraded Creepermortarbuster. Oh well, I can still mostly make that work.
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Old 10-10-2017, 01:51 PM
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I think I'll use the +3 Energy/Presence at Range 3 growth option. Gonna put the presence at A4 (the sands tile with Blight) from my card plays track.

From there, the cards I'll play are:
Favors Called Due on D7, gathering a Dahan hut from D1 and D5
Mantle of Dread on...I dunno, who wants to push invaders around this turn?

And if I'm not mistaken, that gives me the elements needed to use my Innate Power, so let's pull that Explorer on D4 into D6.

I think everything here's valid?
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:02 PM
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Oh right, resolving all my garbage.

Presence on A3 and A5. That lets me establish a sacred site, I think. Pulling both from my Energy track so as to get access to dem plants.

Gift of Proliferation on Shadows Flicker Like Flame, as they seem to have the slowest progression.

I'll also play Stem the Flow of Fresh Water, which should give me enough elements to use both of my base powers.

Since both slow powers I have resolve after other shenanigans happen, I'll save them for later. I do have a Defend 2 from All-Encompassing Green: would that be best aimed at A7 or A8, do you think?
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:08 PM
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yay proliferating

i'll pull that one from my energy track and slap it down on D5 to make a second sacred site
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:24 PM
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Looks very interesting. Good luck spirits!
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:42 PM
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Mantle of Dread would be great as a fast power to prevent a Build action somewhere.

As for me, I will grow by placing two Presence from my energy track onto the board: C3 and B7. I'll spend that energy to play Sudden Ambush, pulling the Dahan and Presence from B7 to B5 and destroying the Explorer there.
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Old 10-10-2017, 02:51 PM
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Mogri would you mind playing your turn first so I get a better feel for what it is Spirits can do and what they have at the very beginning?
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mogri View Post
Mantle of Dread would be great as a fast power to prevent a Build action somewhere.
wouldn't it

EDIT: also

Quote:
Originally Posted by Falselogic View Post
Mogri would you mind playing your turn first so I get a better feel for what it is Spirits can do and what they have at the very beginning?
that was his first turn above your post
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:09 PM
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Pence and I will judge every single one of your moves from afar.
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Falselogic View Post
Mogri would you mind playing your turn first so I get a better feel for what it is Spirits can do and what they have at the very beginning?
Turtle is correct, but just to clarify: You start with zero energy and all four of your spirit's Power cards. You have Presence on the board -- how much varies from spirit to spirit, but in your case you have two Presence on the Sands at C6. You currently generate 1 energy per turn, but you will want to use your Growth to create more so that you can play more cards.

If left unchecked, the Explorer in your land will build a Town this turn, and they'll Ravage for 3 damage next turn, causing Blight and destroying one of your Presence. Destroyed Presence doesn't go back onto your board, but you still want to avoid that. A slow Shatter Homesteads would destroy that town this turn, or you could play it at fast speed next turn for the same effect. Raging Storm would also wipe out the Explorer, and although it's a more expensive method, it would be a great move if there were any chance that the invaders were going to explore Sands again this turn. (That's not possible this turn because of how the invader deck is set up.)
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Old 10-10-2017, 03:21 PM
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Important note that Mogri's mentioned, but it may have gotten lost:

Unused energy is retained from turn to turn. Getting more energy than you use this turn usually isn't optimal, but also doesn't hose you, and you can build up over time.
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Old 10-10-2017, 04:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aturtledoesbite View Post
that was his first turn above your post
He posted while I was writing my own post or obviously I wouldn't have asked him!

I know this comes as a surprise to some of you but I do know how to read.
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  #28  
Old 10-10-2017, 06:26 PM
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Quote:
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I'll also play Stem the Flow of Fresh Water, which should give me enough elements to use both of my base powers.

Since both slow powers I have resolve after other shenanigans happen, I'll save them for later. I do have a Defend 2 from All-Encompassing Green: would that be best aimed at A7 or A8, do you think?
Hey, I just noticed this. Defend won't do a thing this turn, since there's no Ravage step. If this changes your play, let me know -- with the bonus [Plant] from your energy track, you can activate Creepers Tear Into Mortar with just Gift of Proliferation. It might still be worthwhile to play Stem the Flow of Fresh Water, though, since that plus your innate power damage will finish off a Town.

Anyway, while we're waiting, let's talk about acquiring powers.



There are two kinds of power cards: Minor Powers and Major Powers. You can choose to draw from either deck when you gain a power. Aside from the obvious, there's one notable difference between the two: when you acquire a Major Power, you must then remove one of your power cards from play (possibly the one you just got). Major Powers are really strong, of course, but you'll usually want to pick up at least one Minor Power first even if you find yourself swimming in energy.

Whichever deck you pick, draw four cards, keep one, and discard the rest. When picking a power, you should watch not only the card's effects and energy cost but also the elements it provides. You can't get the higher-level effects of your innate powers without more matching elements (another good reason not to jump right into the Major Power deck).



Of course, ignore all that if you're playing with the preset progression decks. For Shadows Flicker Like Flame, the first card up is Dark and Tangled Woods, while Lightning's Swift Strike will acquire Delusions of Danger first.

Dark and Tangled Woods is a very good card in Mountain or Jungle terrain and decidedly less good otherwise. Delusions of Danger is unimpressive at first glance, but a fast Explorer push is a very nice effect. (Let's ignore that Lightning's Swift Strike could make this power fast anyway.) Both cards provide helpful elements for their respective spirits. Handy!

All of the preset progression decks follow the same pattern: minor, minor, Major, minor, Major, minor, minor. If for some reason you end up gaining more than seven power cards over the course of the game, you can follow the usual method.


FL: if there's anything else you're unclear about, let us know. You don't want to reclaim cards this turn, but either of your other Growth options is a good pick.
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  #29  
Old 10-10-2017, 07:09 PM
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Falselogic Falselogic is online now
Threadcromantosaurus Rex
 
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Am I missing something? How come some of the spirits have icons on their presence tracks of different colors. But my character doesn't?

It doesn't seem like I can do anything without them so I'm not sure how I got about getting purple or orange tokens in order to do the other stuff on my cards.

I really feel like I missed a post somewhere because everyone seems really clear on this and I'm just scratching my head.

Gerad, if you already got this groked, perhaps you should play instead?
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  #30  
Old 10-10-2017, 07:19 PM
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Kalir Kalir is online now
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I still want to bust up a town, I think. The lack of defense will hurt, but I'm planning on getting a new card next turn, so I might be able to do some defense anyway.
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