Druid City Games
BGS Logo.jpg

Board Game Spotlight

 

Spirits of the Forest - A Kickstarter Preview!

PUBLISHER: ThunderGryph Games
DESIGNER: Michael Schacht
PLAYERS: 1-4
TIME: 20 min

INTRODUCTION to spirits of the Forest

Shrouded in mystery, the forest awaits. Filled with life, it fascinates you. Drawing you in, you eagerly venture forth to gather the new life you’ve stumbled upon. The beautiful woodland is teeming with animals, plants, and sprites. You carefully study and select them, adding them to your mystical menagerie but watch out; your opponent’s attempt to gather the life of the forest as well and only one will emerge victorious!

From the Publisher - In Spirits of the Forest, players represent the four elements that nourish the forces of nature. Up to four players compete to acquire the most (of nine different) spirit symbols which are bound to a different element of nature. At the end of the game, players score nature points for each spirit (augmented by favor tokens) of which they have a majority. Whoever has the most nature points at the end of the game wins.

I received a prototype version of Spirits of the Forest. Components may not be final and are subject to change.

 The 9 spirits of the forest:  Branches, Moss, Dew Drops, Mushrooms, Flowers, Web Spiders, Fruits, Vines, and Leaves. 

The 9 spirits of the forest: Branches, Moss, Dew Drops, Mushrooms, Flowers, Web Spiders, Fruits, Vines, and Leaves. 

OVERALL GAMEPLAY

Spirits of the Forest is played over multiple turns. On each turn, a player will collect tiles, examine favor tokens, and place gemstones.

 

  In this example, you could choose between taking the 2 tiles in the yellow zone, or taking 1 of the 2 tiles in the blue zone.

In this example, you could choose between taking the 2 tiles in the yellow zone, or taking 1 of the 2 tiles in the blue zone.

Collect tiles

On each turn, a player will collect tiles from either of the two ends of the forest choosing one of the following two actions:

  • Take a tile of a color with TWO spirit symbols.
  • Take UP TO TWO tiles of the same color with only one spirit symbol.

After a player collects their spirit tile(s), they organize them by color faceup on top of each other, only showing the spirit symbol and power source icons.

Examine Favor Tokens

If a player collects a favor token, by taking a tile with a token on it, they secretly look at it. These tokens will augment their end game set collection scores, but beware, they do not count as an icon to save you from losing Nature Points if you did not accrue a particular spirit symbol.

Place Gemstones

Once a player has collected tiles, they may choose to place their gemstone on a spirit tile within the forest. Gemstones can be placed anywhere in the forest that does not already have a gemstone. If a player does not have any gemstones left to place, they may move one of theirs from one tile to another.

By placing a gemstone on a spirit tile, that player is attempting to reserve the tile for a future turn. If the player collects the reserved tile on a future turn, they also collect their gemstone and can place it again.

A player may collect a spirit tile with an opponent’s gemstone on it, but in doing so, they must also remove one of their own gemstones from the game. The opponent’s gemstone is returned to them. If all gemstones of a player have been removed from the game, they are unable to collect tiles with an opponent’s gemstone on it. (If collected, you can use a the "+" favor token to regain a lost gemstone.)

  In this example, the player collected 7 of 9 spirit icons and at least 1 of every power source (Sun, Moon, and Fire). If this player won every category in the above example, they would score, from left to right, 2+3+2+5+2+7+1 = 22 from Spirits. 3+2+3 = 8 from Power Sources. They did not collect 2 spirit icons, so they would lose 6 points, giving them an overall score of 24 nature points.

In this example, the player collected 7 of 9 spirit icons and at least 1 of every power source (Sun, Moon, and Fire). If this player won every category in the above example, they would score, from left to right, 2+3+2+5+2+7+1 = 22 from Spirits. 3+2+3 = 8 from Power Sources. They did not collect 2 spirit icons, so they would lose 6 points, giving them an overall score of 24 nature points.

End of the Game and Scoring

The game ends when the final spirit tile is collected. Players then reveal any favor tokens they’ve collected and determine how many nature points they score.

  • Spirits: The player with the most spirit symbols for a particular spirit scores nature points equal to the amount of symbols, for that spirit, the player collected. All other players score no points; only one player will score points per spirit. However, if there is a tie, both players are awarded nature points.
     
  • Power Sources: These are scored the same way as spirits. The player with the most power source icons scores points. If there is a tie, all tied players score points. 
     
  • If a player has no spirit tiles for a given spirit, or no power source icons of a given power source, deduct three nature points from that players score. i.e If you do not collect a branch or vines tile, you lose 6 points at the end of the game. Remember, favor tokens don’t save you!

The player with the most nature points, wins the game! In case of a tie, the player with the least number of tiles among all tied players, wins!

  Components not final.

Components not final.


WHAT MIGHT YOU LIKE?

  • Spirits of the Forest is an abstract strategy game!
     
  • The artwork, from Natalie Dombois, brings the woodland characters to life, and immerses players in a calm, serene experience.
     
  • The gemstones, for reserving tiles, offer an extra layer of strategy. However, unlike other games that offer reservation, it’s not a guarantee! Other players, if able or willing, can take the tile for themselves, but at a cost.
     
  • Spirits of the Forest plays very quickly, but offers a lot of fun and dynamic choices.
     
  • The game offers a challenging solo mode!


WHAT MIGHT YOU DISLIKE?

  • Spirits of the Forest is an abstract strategy game! Whoa, déjà vu, eh?  It’s important to remember that not all genres will work for everyone! Some players enjoy Abstract Strategy and others don’t. 
     
  • Spirits of the Forest falls in the filler category; it’s quick, and light. The game will play in ~10 minutes with 1-2 players and maybe 20 minutes with a full 4 players.
     
  • The minimalist artwork may not work for everyone.
     
  • Possibly scoring negative points at the end of the game may bother some gamers. 


FINAL THOUGHTS

Spirits of the Forest is a beautiful, light, and “thinky” abstract game. It blends simple rules and mechanics with set collection and tile drafting, and offers players tough decisions on how to maximize their end game scoring options. The set-up is easy, and because the game plays quickly, you can easily play Spirits of the Forest multiple times once it hits the table. Players will often want to immediately play again, trying to oust their last score and do better.

Spirits of the Forest offers more strategy than immediately meets the eye. The inclusion of the gemstones, and players decisions on drafting tiles to win majority of an icon adds a lot of player interaction for such a small box abstract game.

If you're scared to enter the woods, you can click the links below to check out the Kickstarter campaign and play the game on Tabletopia! Try it out before you pass it by; you will be pleasantly surprised! 

You will like this game if you enjoy: abstract strategy, set collection, beautiful artwork, and taking long walks under a midnight moon, exploring nature.

Spirits of the Forest launches on Kickstarter, Jan 2nd!

Don’t miss your opportunity to explore the forest; Pledge here!

I would like to take the time to mention that ThunderGryph partnered with Trees for the Future and they will plant a tree when you buy the game!

25398744_1857286944510547_8237955835638880981_n.png

 

Druid City Games and the Board Game Spotlight were paid to advertise, market and preview this game. Our opinions are our own and we remain objective as we play and preview our games for the board game community.  We reserve all rights to reject games that do not meet our standards.