Iain
United Kingdom
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My Background: I’m a solo gamer who will try anything, but mostly tend towards medium/heavy Euro games. I have been gaming since 2016. While my opinions are often skewed towards the solitaire gamer; I do try to take a wider view of any game or expansion.

Opinion of the Base Game
As this is an expansion, it is worth noting my opinion of the base game as a frame for this review. Spirit Island is one of two games I currently rate as a 10/10. I love the decision making; the complexity; and the variability which comes from the range of spirits, adversaries and scenarios. It works brilliantly playing as a single spirit for a quicker game, or two spirits for a longer, deeper game. As of writing this review I have played the game 32 times.

Overview
This is a ‘mini’ expansion for the game Spirit Island, which comes with two spirits. As with the rest of the spirits, these provide a unique way to approach the game. They are compatible with the base game or the expansion, and work at any number of players.

They are currently available from Greater Than Games directly, or via the BGG Store. They retail for $10 plus shipping.

What You Get
In non-descript plastic wrap you will get two spirit boards and eight cards, giving all the components you need for two new spirits. There are no other additions to any part of the game. Given the typical mini-expansion in the $5-$10 price range is a handful of cards, in my opinion this represents good value for money.

How it Plays
The two spirits are considered ‘High Complexity’ (one says Medium on the final board, but the designer said they believe it should be High). Paraphrasing one of the developers, a High Complexity spirit includes the following:

Quote:
* Special rules dramatically change how the player interacts with the game.
* The spirit will almost certainly have a mechanical drawback.
* The spirit will probably not be allowed to interact with some section of the game the way most spirits do.
* Growth options may be strange and non-standard.
* Each power may not be consistently useful, nor obvious, but the effect will still generally do something useful by itself.


The description is entirely accurate for both these Spirits which means they should be reserved for players who understand the fundamentals of the game and either want more of a challenge, or are interested in exploring deeper elements of the game.

As a general overview of each spirit:
Heart of the Wildfire acts quickly, and causes more and more damage as they reveal more fire icons and place presence, however this comes with the cost that quite quickly this damage also blights the island. Eventually their innate power allows the removal of blight – however as some of their power cards rely on blight, there is a balance to try and achieve.


Image Credit: R. Eric Reuss


Serpent Slumbering Beneath the Island acts very slowly, in fact in the early game they are almost certainly the weakest spirit and mostly focus on energy generation and light support for other spirits. Their presence tracks are unique in that there is a point where both tracks must meet in order to progress – however past that point the spirit becomes extremely powerful. The most unique part of Serpent is that it must devour the present of other spirits in order to grow (or its own presence in a solo game).


Image Credit: R. Eric Reuss


Both of these spirits have their own uniqueness which makes them different from any other spirit in the game; this is certainly not just ‘more of the same’. They offer something to the more experienced player in terms of high complexity and high interaction with other spirits and the island itself.

Summary
I highly recommend this mini expansion to anyone who enjoys Spirit Island. They don't fundamentally alter any part of the game, and I wouldn’t say you need to be bored of what you have or already wanting more; they are a great addition just to expand the pool of spirits available. The expansion is great value for money, both in terms of the physical components you get for $10, and what they add to the game. Both of these spirits will be in my regular rotation. thumbsup
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Rasmus Helms
Denmark
Aalborg
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Great review! Already ordered the promo spirits, eagerly awaiting their arrival!

I have a question that somewhat relates to these two spirits, but more so perhaps to your experience with soloing in general.
I have had 10 plays of Spirit Island so far, and decided last time to try to solo with two spirits. I was overwhelmed! While I pulled through, I had a hard time grogging all the data of the two spirits. Did you find that it came easy controlling two spirits first time around, or is it something you need to ‘learn’?
Additionally, would you consider these spirits to be great both in games of ‘1 spirit solo games’ and games with multiple spirits?
 
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Dylan Thurston
United States
Ann Arbor
Michigan
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Rhiming in here...
RHelms wrote:
Additionally, would you consider these spirits to be great both in games of ‘1 spirit solo games’ and games with multiple spirits?
Both of these Spirits work fine in 1 spirit games. In a 1 spirit games, Serpent eats its own Presence in an Ouroboros way, and ends up powering itself up.
 
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Iain
United Kingdom
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RHelms wrote:
Did you find that it came easy controlling two spirits first time around, or is it something you need to ‘learn’?


Personally I'd played about 25 games before I tried two handed, though I know some people over on the 1 player guild started two handed and kept going from there. For me I wanted to win with each spirit before trying to multi hand it, which gave me the chance to explore the basics of each.
My only real advice playing two handed would be, get stuck in dealing with the starting lands rather than getting overwhlemed trying to figure out a long term plan. As you develop each spirit you'll start to come up with a plan based on the 'decks' you build for each of them.

I hope that helps.

RHelms wrote:
Additionally, would you consider these spirits to be great both in games of ‘1 spirit solo games’ and games with multiple spirits?


They work great 1 handed yeah! Both fun and presented a unique challenge.

Infact for me I think all the spirits work great solo. Granted some are tougher than others - e.g. Ocean's Hungry Grasp has a tough early game unable to touch inland but you can compensate with power cards
 
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Claudio Coppini
Germany
Frankfurt am Main
Hessen
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Great review!

I just got the promo spirits and tried both of them out solo (using only 1 spirit), and I can say that I really like them. It's amazing how thematic and different each of the spirit in this game is.
 
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