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Subject: Game length? rss

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Alexandre Limoges
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To those in whom the will has turned and has denied itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky-ways — is nothing. [A.Schopenhauer]
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I am asking after a session yesterday with 4 players that we had to interrupt after about 3 hours. We were not even in the second part of the fear deck. Two players new to the game and some downtime due to one slow player, but still. As fun as it was, I am wondering if the game is really playable with 4, unless it's 4 very serious gamers keen on playing quickly (or maybe if you basically divide the island in 2 and have 2 players work together on each half).

Thanks!
 
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Justin S.
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That sounds like an anomaly to me, possibly one with 3 low fear spirits. Usually, I'd say the play time of 1/2 an hour per player sounds about right, although they certainly can go longer.
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Steve S
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That’s long. I have mostly played solo, but my teaching games (3-5 players) have been around 2-2.5 hours.

The biggest two pieces of advice I would have are:
1. When learning the game, don’t treat it as an intricate but solvable puzzle. Take actions with less thought, and see what happens when you do them. You’ll learn what works and what doesn’t, and that’s an important part of learning how to play.

2. There are usually three distinct stages of the game. First you are doing damage control and trying to prevent blight or invaders going crazy. You’re too weak to do too much. Next, you are starting to expand, but the invader problem is pretty big. This is the key stage. Finally, you have made it past the breaking point, and are just mopping them up. This may be tense in a couple lands, but most of your actions and income are big enough to handle them.
I find that only in the second of these stages is lots of communication necessary. In the early game, range of influence is limited enough, that most players are dealing with the 2 to 4 relevant territories on their board which are about to blight or build. You can discuss booms or occasional assists, but most of the time you arent in a position to do much for them that you don’t need to do for yourself. Then, as the game is wrapping up, there are typically multiple sufficient ways to deal with most places, and only some require that much planning.
Overall, most terms at the beginning and end of the game involves everyone quickly planning for their starting island board, with a couple quick confirmation that everyone is good. We would rather play in a third of the time, 90% efficiently.
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Joshua Simone [The Quasi Geek Dad]
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The problem is you can't really say a certain play time per player that is general, because when you add another player you also add more to the board, and more possible interactions. The good news is that I don't think adding a player adds too much time to the game. For instance the difference in time for a 2 player game to 3 players really only adds probably 20 more minutes. But going to a 4 player game it added much more time. The last 4 player game I played went about 3.5 hours and we ended up losing. Last 3 player game i played went just over 3 hours with one new player playing. Last two player game I played went just under 2 hours. So it is kind of all over the place. I guess you could say a good rule of thumb would be 45 min per player, but again depends on what type of spirits you are playing, skill of the players, and so on and so forth. Are you playing a scenario? are you playing a high difficulty invader? Too many variables to say.

I would say that a better gauge on how far along you were in the game would be how many more invader cards in the exploration deck were left? The amount of fear cards left isn't a good gauge on how far along you were as you could possibly just not been generating much fear.
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Andrés Santiago Pérez-Bergquist
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More players and harder adversaries add more time. For experienced players, I take 45-75 minutes for a solo game and my family takes 90-150 minutes for a four-player game, with level 2-3 adversaries at the bottom end of that and level 5-6 at the top of that.
 
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Michael Pureka

Massachusetts
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New players slow the game down a lot, and slow players need to realize that they shouldn't take forever.

The game is EXTREMELY playable with four - I've done four player games in two and a half hours even with one player who is constantly getting things wrong and having to rejigger, and in less time when people are paying attention and don't need to heavily retcon.

It helps to have someone who plays quickly and nudges the others along though. Four players all prone to infinite analysis will take forever.
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Jonathan Zev
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See also:

https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1938438/four-players-and-pl...
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Koen Pater
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My first two-player game lasted just over four hours (me already having played the game solo to get familiar with the rules).

When you start doing each player's turn cooperatively instead of simultaneously, things really slow down. We had a great time though!

 
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Joshua Simone [The Quasi Geek Dad]
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KPater wrote:
My first two-player game lasted just over four hours (me already having played the game solo to get familiar with the rules).

When you start doing each player's turn cooperatively instead of simultaneously, things really slow down. We had a great time though!



And that is what matters! Especially if you get chatty during the game.
Whenever I play with my programming friend the games take longer, he likes to maximize the cards we play and always tries to synergize even when the cards we have can't really do that. Add in a more difficult invader lvl and we have a two player game lasting about 3 hours... Usually I can do a 2 player game in 1.75 hours, but we usually don't do as well. laugh
 
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Koen Pater
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DeadMoney wrote:
KPater wrote:
My first two-player game lasted just over four hours (me already having played the game solo to get familiar with the rules).

When you start doing each player's turn cooperatively instead of simultaneously, things really slow down. We had a great time though!



And that is what matters! Especially if you get chatty during the game.
Whenever I play with my programming friend the games take longer, he likes to maximize the cards we play and always tries to synergize even when the cards we have can't really do that. Add in a more difficult invader lvl and we have a two player game lasting about 3 hours... Usually I can do a 2 player game in 1.75 hours, but we usually don't do as well. laugh

My girlfriend and I are both programmers, so I guess that explains our four hours then! 😀
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Alexandre Limoges
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To those in whom the will has turned and has denied itself, this our world, which is so real, with all its suns and milky-ways — is nothing. [A.Schopenhauer]
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Yes, it's the kind of game, I guess, that will have rather importance difference in terms of duration because from the middle to the end of the game, the number of options is incredibly high and those prone to analyzing everything can really bog down the game...

thanks
 
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chuck rowan
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4 players and 4 hours later bored to death. Game is ok but not worth the amount of time. We found most of the time spent in discussing what each player was doing that turn. We won but I probably won't play this one again. BTW I am a hard core historical gamer so long games are not unusual to me.
 
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Brian Blankstein
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crowan1978 wrote:
We found most of the time spent in discussing what each player was doing that turn.


Probably why it took so long. I find that discussion at the level of "This land is going to be a problem. I can take care of this ravage. Can anyone get two Dahan over here?" to be much more useful. It allows you to focus on the points of collaboration without having to micromanage everyone's turns.
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Michael Pureka

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crowan1978 wrote:
4 players and 4 hours later bored to death. Game is ok but not worth the amount of time. We found most of the time spent in discussing what each player was doing that turn.


Yeah, uh, why did you do that, exactly?
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M M

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Very much depends on how you play it, but four players slows the game down a whole lot. It takes a little over an hour with two (playing 'I'll handle this, can you handle that?' and 'If you push invaders here, they'll be dead').

With 4 players, explaining exactly what you're going to do will make the game unplayable. Played correctly, I'd say the game takes about 3 hours. When collaborating, the point is to figure out what you can handle and what you can't and communicate that information. Also, to inform people when you can do something that might be of use to them. There are moments when you want to discuss the overarching strategy - generating fear, making a last push for the victory condition, etc., but you never want to be discussing details.
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George Aristides
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Achire wrote:
Very much depends on how you play it, but four players slows the game down a whole lot. It takes a little over an hour with two (playing 'I'll handle this, can you handle that?' and 'If you push invaders here, they'll be dead').

With 4 players, explaining exactly what you're going to do will make the game unplayable. Played correctly, I'd say the game takes about 3 hours. When collaborating, the point is to figure out what you can handle and what you can't and communicate that information. Also, to inform people when you can do something that might be of use to them. There are moments when you want to discuss the overarching strategy - generating fear, making a last push for the victory condition, etc., but you never want to be discussing details.


I think difficulty is also a factor.
When playing with a difficult adversary, when the details of the strategy really matter, discussing about them is usually needed.

But if you have a lot of new players you should be playing an easier difficulty and not need to go through that much.
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Alex Martinez
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I've played Spirit Island quite a lot, and I've found that players that are obsessed with maximizing efficiency will always drag the game down.

On the flip side, players who can't stand the idea of just doing something small while gathering energy and preparing to act in later turns can also have this problem.

Still, I'm fortunate enough that I've never played with a group of these types of players and the game usually only takes 2 to 2 1/2 hours with four.

The game is very much designed so that spirits need not worry about maximum efficiency, especially at lower difficulty levels, but some players can't stand the idea of ever doing a less than ideal play.
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Dylan Thurston
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nobody82b wrote:
But if you have a lot of new players you should be playing an easier difficulty and not need to go through that much.
I occasionally encounter new players that want to consult on every decision. That really slows the game down, of course.
 
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