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Subject: Favorite Spirit card? rss

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Gretchen Fontenay
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I'm curious- what's your favorite spirit card?

Mine have to be the two that give you magic water- #6 Secret Well and #13 Secret Spring. Because if you have magic water then you don't have to worry about releasing it and flooding it and you can remove pests and harvest without loosing your water.
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Josh Zscheile
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Hmm, I found Magic Water mostly rather useless, because one of it rarely gives you anything worthwhile.
I like the one that doubles all the bonuses of other each-round spirit cards the most - this can be outright broken with the right cards.
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Mathis Lurtz
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It very much depends on the setup card i draw. If that gives me some starting animals or cash, i do enjoy playing with the "mean" place pests and weeds spirits, but if not, cash or animals from cards are a much welcome compensation
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Shawn Macleod
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As you might suspect, a game like Spirits takes years to develop to ensure game balance and to ensure it provides a play experience that is consistent with the designer's vision. A foundational objective during development was to ensure there was no a dominant strategy that would surface post production. Simply put, we didn't want a "Halifax Hammer" to be discovered. This drove a long development life cycle with visits to multiple game groups all over the country to evaluate different play styles and tendencies.

This process was an emotional rollercoaster with regular debates on card balance. As we worked our way through this process we knew that no matter how perfectly balanced the game would eventually become there would always be debate among players. We were comfortable with the eventual reality that people would question game balance. We were comfortable because we knew that we were doing everything we could to ensure gameplay would be balanced.

That said, my greatest enjoyment during the development process was discovering all the different paths to victory. Personally, I played hundreds of games with suboptimal drafts of cards to determine if there was a path to victory. Having played this game more than anyone I could always find a path to victory no matter what my initial draft of spirit cards left me.

In the end, there was a common strategy that surfaced. A player should do whatever they can in the first few rounds of the game to ensure you can get on pace to collect as many as two additional resources a turn. This is what a player should keep in mind while drafting spirit cards. As you know, income (rice) to purchase resources can come from harvesting and achievements. It also comes from spirit cards. Therefore, my favorite card changes from draft turn to draft turn as my challenge to collect up to two resources per turn unfolds. As one user pointed out your setup card provides you some initial information as to how you should draft.

I've been reluctant to share any strategies in this forum, because I feel the best part of Spirits is the replayability and discovery of how to evolve your strategy given a series of events/circumstances. Aside from trying to obtain two resources per turn I will leave you with a few other tips.

1. Obtaining two resources per turn for the first few rounds is my priority. I don't worry much about being last in turn order to receive water. If it looks like I will be highly dependent on achievements to gain rice/income to execute my resource strategy, then I hope for the spirit card that allows me to select achievements first.
2. After the second draft I worry about water. My second draft is all about scoring points and ensuring I don't get screwed out of water. This may require me to shift my focus to lower spirit card values. In the second round I also begin to calculate (turn to turn) how many resources I will need to plant, harvest, and weed on the final turns. I want to score big on that final harvest.
3. Water management. I try to build my paddies in such a way that from turn to turn I can manage water within in my own paddy to ensure my biggest paddy gets filled when I need it to. I also always ensure I have enough smaller paddies to break up my water just in case water starts to run short. I don't want to get left with nothing to plant/grow because I only have large paddies. Typically, my largest paddy is at the bottom of my paddy (as the water flows).
4. Pest and Weeds are nothing to me. Because I am generating sufficient resources each turn I don't have much problem weeding or removing pests. I believe these cards are overvalued by many players because its seems like a viable strategy to slow down your opponent. This isn't necessarily the case because there are far better cards to draft that will have a bigger impact on your score. In general, you should focus on getting cards that help you "break the rules" of planting/growing/harvesting and scoring rice. Focusing on cards that don't while others do puts you at a disadvantage. That is one of the main reasons why the pests and weeds cards have such low spirit card values.

I apologize for the long winded answer to the user's question. I don't really have a favorite spirit card because from game to game a new favorite emerges.
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Gretchen Fontenay
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macleodsr wrote:
As you might suspect, a game like Spirits takes years to develop to ensure game balance and to ensure it provides a play experience that is consistent with the designer's vision. A foundational objective during development was to ensure there was no a dominant strategy that would surface post production. Simply put, we didn't want a "Halifax Hammer" to be discovered. This drove a long development life cycle with visits to multiple game groups all over the country to evaluate different play styles and tendencies.

This process was an emotional rollercoaster with regular debates on card balance. As we worked our way through this process we knew that no matter how perfectly balanced the game would eventually become there would always be debate among players. We were comfortable with the eventual reality that people would question game balance. We were comfortable because we knew that we were doing everything we could to ensure gameplay would be balanced.

That said, my greatest enjoyment during the development process was discovering all the different paths to victory. Personally, I played hundreds of games with suboptimal drafts of cards to determine if there was a path to victory. Having played this game more than anyone I could always find a path to victory no matter what my initial draft of spirit cards left me.

In the end, there was a common strategy that surfaced. A player should do whatever they can in the first few rounds of the game to ensure you can get on pace to collect as many as two additional resources a turn. This is what a player should keep in mind while drafting spirit cards. As you know, income (rice) to purchase resources can come from harvesting and achievements. It also comes from spirit cards. Therefore, my favorite card changes from draft turn to draft turn as my challenge to collect up to two resources per turn unfolds. As one user pointed out your setup card provides you some initial information as to how you should draft.

I've been reluctant to share any strategies in this forum, because I feel the best part of Spirits is the replayability and discovery of how to evolve your strategy given a series of events/circumstances. Aside from trying to obtain two resources per turn I will leave you with a few other tips.

1. Obtaining two resources per turn for the first few rounds is my priority. I don't worry much about being last in turn order to receive water. If it looks like I will be highly dependent on achievements to gain rice/income to execute my resource strategy, then I hope for the spirit card that allows me to select achievements first.
2. After the second draft I worry about water. My second draft is all about scoring points and ensuring I don't get screwed out of water. This may require me to shift my focus to lower spirit card values. In the second round I also begin to calculate (turn to turn) how many resources I will need to plant, harvest, and weed on the final turns. I want to score big on that final harvest.
3. Water management. I try to build my paddies in such a way that from turn to turn I can manage water within in my own paddy to ensure my biggest paddy gets filled when I need it to. I also always ensure I have enough smaller paddies to break up my water just in case water starts to run short. I don't want to get left with nothing to plant/grow because I only have large paddies. Typically, my largest paddy is at the bottom of my paddy (as the water flows).
4. Pest and Weeds are nothing to me. Because I am generating sufficient resources each turn I don't have much problem weeding or removing pests. I believe these cards are overvalued by many players because its seems like a viable strategy to slow down your opponent. This isn't necessarily the case because there are far better cards to draft that will have a bigger impact on your score. In general, you should focus on getting cards that help you "break the rules" of planting/growing/harvesting and scoring rice. Focusing on cards that don't while others do puts you at a disadvantage. That is one of the main reasons why the pests and weeds cards have such low spirit card values.

I apologize for the long winded answer to the user's question. I don't really have a favorite spirit card because from game to game a new favorite emerges.


I have to say, I love long winded answers!

I was not commenting that any one card is better than another- they all have some pretty potent uses when used corrctly- I'm just asking which ones people like. I happen to like the Magic water because it's pretty- no better reason than that- although I will draft other cards instead depending on what I'm planning.
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Shawn Macleod
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I wasn't suggesting anyone is questioning the balance in this thread. I also don't mean to suggest there is any community doubt on the balance. I simply wanted to share some thoughts from development. I loved working on Spirits and your post inspired me to share.

Magic water is an interesting mechanic. Typically I use it for my larger paddies. That may not seem intuitive, but i find this approach provides more flexibility with water management in the long game. One of the downsides of using magic water is that you cannot hoard water from players downstream.
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Gretchen Fontenay
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macleodsr wrote:
I wasn't suggesting anyone is questioning the balance in this thread. I also don't mean to suggest there is any community doubt on the balance. I simply wanted to share some thoughts from development. I loved working on Spirits and your post inspired me to share.

Magic water is an interesting mechanic. Typically I use it for my larger paddies. That may not seem intuitive, but i find this approach provides more flexibility with water management in the long game. One of the downsides of using magic water is that you cannot hoard water from players downstream.


I would not have thought about that- I've always played solo!

Thank you for sharing- I love hearing the back story of games I love and, by the way, I think you (collective you) have created a lovely game and I am enjoying playing it a great deal!
 
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Philip duBarry
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What Shawn said--he is a rice-growing machine!
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