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Subject: Struggling noob rss

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Robert Leonhard
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Got the base game and expansion. I set myself to playing solo without adversary or blight card and fixed on River Surges. Played three games so far and lost all three. I get the feeling that there is a "noob barrier" in this game, but I can't seem to break it.

In my last game, I thought I had figured it out. I reasoned that the single biggest key to winning is to advance the terror level. Otherwise, I would have to destroy everything. So, with only a few weak cards that generate fear, I hit upon the strategy of moving Dahan with River's Bounty, massing them on town/city locations, and destroying them to generate fear. It started to work, but I never reached the second terror level.

Eventually I snagged Nature's Resistance, which let me defend against blight, but I found myself forced into reclaiming cards every turn, preventing me from growing to allow more than 2 cards per turn. My energy level was high enough to sustain me, and I spent four turns or so using a combination of Nature's Resistance and Flash Floods.

But in the end, the enemy blighted me to defeat.

At this point, I am concluding one of two things:

1. You can't win solo with River Surges, or

2. I'm stupid.

Thoughts?
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Trevor Wilson
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Have you remembered to gain a Fear when destroying a town, and two Fear for a city? It sounds as if you might have forgotten, because if you are destroying them then you should be able to get through your Fear cards quicker.

If this isn't the case, maybe try a different Spirit to see if you can break the "barrier". I'm still new to the game myself and have only won a couple of times with quite a few losses - don't be disheartened and keep playing.
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Brian M
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The "key to winning" depends a lot on what you have available. Usually you are going to advance to at least terror level 2, but you can sometimes wipe out all the buildings at that point. We usually win by destroying all the cities at terror level 3.

But...usually focusing on destroying buildings will give you plenty of fear on the way.

Some things to check as far as "playing correctly":

1) You are just using 4 fear in the pool, correct?
2) During Build, you only build if the invaders have at least one piece in that region.

As far as strategy:

* Its good to stop the invaders from building up.
* Use cards that move invaders to move out of places where they would build.
* If you have a slow card that does some damage, you can use it to kill the new explorers to prevent a build next turn.
* A fast attack card lets you hit an area that will build or ravage in the same turn.
* Sometimes you just have to accept a blight instead of defending to give yourself a chance to grow.

While the game is quite intuitive once you know it, there are a lot of rules to learn so you might be misplaying a rule. Or you might just not have 'grokked' the overall strategy or the strategy of that spirit (I'm at around 100 plays and I'm still not quite sure how to use Shadows Flicker effectively!)

If you try again, maybe keep notes and give a good session report so we can see exactly what you are doing?

I hope you get to enjoy the game - it is awesome!
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Brian Blankstein
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River Surges in Sunlight is not a fear-heavy spirit. It is very effective at pushing the invaders around to keep them from building and it's decent at destroying invaders once you reach higher levels of your innate power, but it doesn't tend to generate a lot of fear.

A few suggestions to try:

1) In your last game, it sounds like you had plenty of energy, but couldn't play enough cards. If you find yourself in this situation, try gaining some major powers (if you're using a power progression, maybe try gaining powers the normal way). Major powers are more likely to be able to clear big clumps of invaders and some of them generate a lot of fear.

2) A common way to play River relies heavily on its innate power, which requires you to play a lot of cards. Try focusing on getting to the Reclaim One spot on your card plays track and you should be able to hit the second level of your innate most turns. Playing River this way doesn't generally require much energy.

3) Try playing some different spirits. They all have different strengths and seeing how another spirit plays might clue you into some strategies that would work well with River.
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Jonathan Zev
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Robert Leonhard wrote:


In my last game, I thought I had figured it out. I reasoned that the single biggest key to winning is to advance the terror level. Otherwise, I would have to destroy everything.


The Terror level tends to sort itself out when you start to reach the height of your power and wipe out entire armies at once.

I maintain that the key to winning is advancing your presence tracks as far as possible. In Spirit Island you start out in an okay position which rapidly goes downhill, and then you catch up, and your goal is to catch up as fast as possible.
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Dan Wendelin
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I also found it useful to use the variant beginner rule from the rule book giving an extra growth during setup until I got the hang of the game.
Playing solo with a single spirit is much more difficult than solo controlling two spirits because the powers frequently complement each other.
Finally, if you’re losing to blight, reread the rules for cascading blight and make sure you’re applying them correctly, as that was my problem my first couple losses.
 
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Robert Leonhard
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Thanks, all. In answer to your questions--I think I am playing the rules you mentioned correctly. I kept careful notes on my last game, and I rechecked each turn several times.

Reading your advice, I think I might try again with River Surges and look for opportunities to accept some blight early on so that I can increase presence and get more card plays. I think one key might be to get to where I can use Nature's Resistance, Flash Floods, and River's Bounty all in one turn. That should let me keep the Dahan active while also killing and defending enough.

I definitely did not get to use my innate powers enough. Have to work on that.
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Iain
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I've found river Surges a tougher starting spirit. Conversely I haven’t lost a game with the Thunder spirit: damage and little worry about fast slow

I’d also recommend trying others because it improves you view of each of their specialities. As pointed out above, river Surges is not a fear heavy spirit - try shadows flicker for that!

Best of luck
 
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George Aristides
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Robert Leonhard wrote:
Eventually I snagged Nature's Resistance, which let me defend against blight, but I found myself forced into reclaiming cards every turn, preventing me from growing to allow more than 2 cards per turn.


What exactly forced you to reclaim cards?

- Did you not have enough cards in your hand and kept running out? The solution to this is to pick growth options that give you more cards, and get minor powers so that you can go more turns without having to reclaim

- Did you reclaim while you still had cards in your hand? This is usually a very bad option for most spirits because reclaiming usually means you can't grow your presence as much.
You should aim to delay that reclaim (say, if you start with 4 cards, you can play two in the first round, then get a power and play two in the second round, then you are left with 1; don't reclaim if you can avoid it, get a 6th power card and play that with the one you've got).

- Did you feel you absolutely had to do the same combo each round to avoid taking a blight? That's a trap because invaders will get stronger and stronger and you will have to make sure you grow faster than them.

Overall, I have never had much difficulty when playing with first time players with adversaries up to level 2. If you are losing playing with no adversaries, you are probably doing some newbie mistakes that, with a few more games under your belt, you will realise and stop doing..


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Robert Leonhard
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Yes, I had to reclaim in order to prevent blight that would have lost the game. And I agree with you that it's a trap, because the enemy just gets stronger while I try to stick my fingers into the holes in the dike. I will try a different approach next time. I'm also convinced that I should try another spirit.
 
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Joshua Simone [The Quasi Geek Dad]
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I find that River is a great support, coming in and sweeping up the leftovers. I have not tried it solo. I might give it a go after your troubles.
 
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Jonathan Zev
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I've found that doing well with River solo requires learning to anticipate future threats far more than the other three starter spirits. Plan to use Wash Away and River's Innate on the newly generated explorers, even though you don't know exactly where they will be exploring.

One of the things that makes Spirit Island so tricky to master is that it's often more effective to prepare your powers to deal with threats that don't exist yet rather than the threats that are already present.
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Daniel Wilmer
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Losing due to blight usually means the invaders overran several turns before. As you logged all your turns have a look a few turns back to consider alternate plays. Preventing builds trumps preventing ravages.
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Robert Leonhard
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Just tried Lightning and got nowhere fast. Getting depressed.

What would really help a lot would be to see a detailed session report from a good solo player. Perhaps I'd see what I am not seeing so far.
 
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Jeff Dougan
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Robert Leonhard wrote:
Just tried Lightning and got nowhere fast. Getting depressed.

What would really help a lot would be to see a detailed session report from a good solo player. Perhaps I'd see what I am not seeing so far.


They aren't solo game, but have you looked at the PBF games that were played here?
 
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Iain
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There are a couple online on YouTube.

‘Slickerdrips’ has one. He makes a couple of goofs but gives a good idea of the gameplay and wins.
 
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George Aristides
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Gribbon wrote:
There are a couple online on YouTube.

‘Slickerdrips’ has one. He makes a couple of goofs but gives a good idea of the gameplay and wins.


Here are a few other good playthroughs.
If you've got tabletop simulator, I'd be happy to take you through a game and see if I can help out.








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Robert Leonhard
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Cool. Thanks. I'll do the research and see what I see.

This is embarrassing. I've written books on military strategy, and in my job I write about how to conduct an insurgency...

And I suck at it!
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Kyle Reeser
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If it makes you feel any better, I didn't win until my 5th attempt.

I think Spirit Island is just one of those games with sort of a steep learning curve. Hang in there; you'll find yourself winning the basic setup--probably on a regular basis--before you know it.

Then it'll be time to kick things up a notch with scenarios, adversaries, and/or higher-complexity spirits cool
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bort
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I've having the same problem. I've played a solo game, twice at 2p, then yesterday at 4p. And its been a loss every time, from running out of blight. I didn't have high hopes for the 4p game, with 3 players who had never played before. And I couldn't tell them how to win, because I don't know myself.

Just can't seem to keep the invaders from building up each turn. Sometimes we manage to play cards that hold up the advancing invaders, but not enough. And then those cards are used up until we reclaim.

Just not sure what to do - maybe we're not getting enough presense out on the board? Should we be more aggressive in gaining new powers?

I'm planning on running thru one of the walkthroughs posted here, to see how they do it, maybe that will help.

 
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Robert Leonhard
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I switched to 2-player solo, and I randomly selected the Earth and Lightning powers. Doing...okay for now. But it's stressful.
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Jeff Dougan
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OK, although I wouldn't be in a position to set it up for sure before tomorrow night... Kyle, bort, and Robert, would you guys like me to run a 3P PBF game for you? then, you could get some commentary from other people if you're uncertain about moves/strategy.
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Richard Johnson
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I also just started playing using Rivers solo and lost my first 4 games due to blight. Tonight though I found a strategy that worked for me and I easily won twice in a row. The key was to unlock the card plays presence track, especially the reclaim one card space. I was able to power my abilities easily with just +2 Energy for the first 4 rounds. Playing the card that lets you gather and add a Dahan and 1 energy helped in the early rounds.

I used a minor power heavy approach, where I would add 3 minors that gave me sun / water elements, and once I was able to play 4 cards a round I was using the level 2/3 innate ability almost every turn. This was where I screwed up in my first 4 games, when I would pick cards that sounded cool instead of focusing on using my innate abilities.

After the fourth/fifth round I added a major power, that let me generate damage, fear or both and was basically just mopping up the remaining towns/cities.

In general I also tried to keep the inland side of the board empty to limit the exploration on that side (the coast is much harder to defend as the explorers come regardless of town / cities there).

So long story short don’t give up, this is a complex game but it is worth it!
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Kyle Reeser
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jsdougan wrote:
OK, although I wouldn't be in a position to set it up for sure before tomorrow night... Kyle, bort, and Robert, would you guys like me to run a 3P PBF game for you? then, you could get some commentary from other people if you're uncertain about moves/strategy.


Oh, I'm doing fine with the game now; I even tried my hand at a couple of Difficulty 3 games yesterday and today, and won both without too much trouble. Thanks for the offer, though!
 
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Andy
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Some interest solo strategy thoughts - particularly for Lightning - here:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1942788/colins-consolidated...
 
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