Spirit Island Components (Kamio)

Spirit Island – Defend Your Island Home

In Spirit Island, you are a spirit protector of a secluded island inhabited by native islanders. Invading colonists now threaten your tranquil island as they expand across the terrain, leaving pollution in their wake. It’s up to you to use your elemental powers to terrorize and destroy the invaders from Spirit Island.

Spirit Island Description

Continuing from the previous blog post, we island hop from the trials of Friday and Robinson Crusoe on their island to yet another mysterious island – Spirit Island!

This game’s objective contrasts with the typical colonization goal; your mission is to protect the island from invading colonizers. You play the role of powerful spirits dedicated to safeguarding your island and its indigenous people, known as the Dahan, from these invaders.

Spirit Island, designed by R. Eric Reuss, shot up to the number two spot in the 2018 solo rankings a year after its release. It’s been the #1 solo game ever since, five years and counting.

This cooperative board game is for 1-4 players, up to 6 with an expansion. As a solo gamer, you can play true solo with just one spirit or take on a multi-handed challenge with multiple spirits.


Spirit Island now offers a variety of expansions – Branch & Claw, Jagged Earth, Feather & Flame, and Nature Incarnate. However, I’ve only been able to play the base Spirit Island game. Actually, I started with Horizons of Spirit Island. So, this post will be my first impression.

Game Components

Spirit Island’s game components provide solid quality. Wooden tokens represent island defenders and the Dahan, while plastic miniatures portray the European invaders and blight. The choice of white plastic for the invaders and wood for the native inhabitants is thematically fitting.

Optional upgrades to enhance your game are an official Deluxe Invader board to accommodate more card decks, Premium Token Packs with wooden silkscreen tokens, and Premium Foil Spirit Panels.

Spirit Island with upgraded components (Kamio)
Spirit Island – Defend Your Island Home 11

Of course, the third-party market also has tons of inserts, accessories and tokens for you to choose from. You’ll see in my photos that I’ve blinged my Spirit Island out plenty with official and third-party upgrades.

Base game component list:

  • Invader Board – stores Fear tokens, Fear Deck, Terror Level, Blight, and Invader actions
  • 4 Modular Island Boards – one per player in a game, double-sided with basic and thematic side
  • 8 Spirit Panels – 4 Low, 2 Moderate and 2 High complexities
  • 36 Dahan wooden huts – the native inhabitants you’ll want to protect
  • Invaders – plastic white intruders you’ll need to destroy
    • 20 Cities – 3 health / does 3 damage
    • 32 Towns – 2 health / does 2 damage
    • 40 Explorers – 1 health / does 1 damage
  • 38 Blight plus 2 Blight Cards – plastic gray toxic mounds that cause harm to the Island
  • 54 Spirit Presence wooden tokens (13 each of 4 colors – Red, Yellow, Blue and Purple)
    • 12 Single-turn effect cardboard marker tokens (3 of each in 4 colors to help identify your defense and other powers)
  • 32 Energy cardboard coins – 20 1-energy, 12 3-energy
  • 20 Fear Markers – tracks your fear generated, a good thing
  • 15 Fear Cards with 2 Terror Level Dividers
  • 15 small Invader Cards – separated into 3 levels, representing where the Invaders Ravage, Build and Explore
  • Power Cards – 22 Major Power and 36 Minor Power cards
  • 32 Unique Power Cards – 4 for each spirit, this will be your spirit’s starting hand
  • For newbies: 8 Player Aid cards and 4 Power Progression Cards (to help you learn the game)
  • 3 Adversary Panels and 3 Adversary Reminder Tiles
  • 4 Scenario Panels

Spirit Island Game Theme and Artwork

As I pointed out earlier, the components align nicely with the game’s theme regarding natives versus invaders. Each spirit has its unique artistic depiction. Each card also tells us the artist behind the graphic, which is pretty cool. Here are all the Spirit Island spirits for the base game – view their panel, artwork, and four unique cards.

The map boards function effectively, although I found the reverse side of the maps, which presents a more realistic and thematic map, somewhat perplexing at first glance. With more gameplay on that side, it will become less confusing to me.

The rulebook has several pages depicting the story’s lore with full-page images.

First Solo Games

So far, I’ve had the chance to play Spirit Island over a dozen times, primarily true solo with a few two-player games. I started out playing multi-handed, which I prefer, as it’s fun to have the different spirits interact with each other, but it does increase the challenge and time.

Each spirit is labeled with its Complexity level (Low, Moderate, High) and Summary of Powers – Offense, Control, Fear, Defense and Utility, so choosing spirits that might go well together is easy.

Spirit Island Solo setup (Kamio)

All the mechanisms contribute to the theme, almost amazingly so. Your spirit slowly grows in power while the invaders relentlessly permeate the land. The Dahan are helpful allies, so you’ll want to do your best to protect them. The more you destroy the invader settlements, the more Fear is generated, providing a random helpful benefit.

My favorite mechanism was generating Fear, which is helpful in “scaring” the invaders; it’s always fun to flip over those Fear cards earned and see the reward.

Watching out for the correct symbols to make the most of my Innate Powers is also challenging. Making the right Growth choices for the turn and unveiling the right Presence at the right time all add to the fun and challenge of the game.

Playing Beginning Level

So far, I have won most “beginner” games (those without Adversaries and Scenarios), but I’m driven to continue playing through another round and thoroughly smash those invaders.

The solo game plays the same as a multi-player game; you play on one map tile. Use the cards for use on others on yourself. Playing multiple spirits may double the playtime, but it also offers a rewarding and appropriately challenging experience.

Instead of relying on each spirit’s suggested Power Progression decks, I now choose my own Minor/Major power cards. Additionally, I incorporate the two Blight cards, which seems absurd to shuffle just two cards to choose one for the current game.

Next Moves

I look forward to trying the Adversaries and Scenarios and will return with another post once I play the game and its expansions more.

My stats so far: 17 plays, 81% win rate. I’ve also played a few Horizons of Spirit Island and app games, but I didn’t count these here.

There are some updated rules; I suggest checking the Spirit Island FAQ to see all the revised rules, errata, and other helpful advice.

Spirit Island Game – Final Thoughts

Unsurprisingly, I consider this a winner and a must-have for a solo player collection – it plays well solo or with friends. You’ll encounter intriguing decisions seamlessly integrated into the theme at every turn.

Also, the base game offers replayability by mixing up the spirits and adding Adversaries and Scenarios. With four expansions already out, offering more spirits and more unique mechanisms, the game has fantastic replay value.

What Spirit Island expansion is your must-have? Which spirits are your favorites?

2 responses to “Spirit Island – Defend Your Island Home”

  1. Hamster Baconface Avatar
    Hamster Baconface

    If you’re going to use just 1 expansion I think it’s got to be Jagged Earth. It comes with event cards (originally introduced in Branch and Claw expansion, but this one contains enough to use the mechanic regardless), a nice variety of spirits many of which are very cool, the extra island boards for if you want to play with 4+ spirits, and all the types of tokens you could want. The one downside is that it introduces badlands, which are probably the most confusing mechanic for newer players.

    Frankly though all the expansions are worth having, with the possible exception of feather and flame. I’m particularly partial to the spirits (and aspects!) added in the newest expansion, Nature Incarnate myself.

    1. kamio Avatar

      I definitely will play all expansions. There are just so many games to play now that I feel compelled to review solo games! But once I do, I’ll go through them all in the order they were released. I’m a thorough person that way.

      To be honest, I’m kinda waiting for Nature Incarnate to ship (I pre-ordered on Miniature Market), as I also ordered the Token Set #2 that I can’t wait to use with Spirit Island games.

      Thank you so much for being the first to comment on my blog!

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