The designer and studio behind cooperative charmer Spirit Island have announced a new board game aimed at introducing new audiences to the core mechanics. Horizons of Spirit Island will be arriving on Target shelves in October of this year.
The news comes from publisher Greater Than Games, who explained that US-based retail chain Target reached out to them and expressed an interest in putting Spirit Island in their surprisingly robust tabletop section - the one caveat being that the existing board game designed by R. Eric Reuss was a bit too complex for their clientele.
“Of course, we said ‘absolutely not, we aren’t interested in simplifying the core mechanics of Spirit Island at any time’”, the publisher said. “We concluded that a new version of Spirit Island deserved to exist, one with components that were easier to print and fulfill and could be priced at a lower cost than the core game of Spirit Island.”
Horizons of Spirit Island comes from a team-up of Reuss and Christopher Badell, and the pair endeavoured to create a beginner’s version of the 2017 cooperative board game that is friendlier to both the mind and the wallet. Some big differences one will notice off the bat is that the plastic pieces for many of the components - Dahan huts, blight, Spirit influence, etc. - will be printed in punch-out cardboard as opposed to wood and plastic, which allows the board game to keep its price point low.
The roster of Spirits is also brand new and designed to aid in teaching the core mechanics to players who might be approaching Spirit Island for the first time. Horizons of Spirit Island will come with five choices that Greater Than Games claims will perform well alongside the other, more complicated deities released in the base game and its subsequent expansions while keeping the learning curve out of intimidating territory.
Existing fans should reportedly find Horizons of Spirit Island true to the original experience - players team up and combine their spiritual powers to stave off waves of colonisers seeking to invade and ultimately control the island. In doing so, they push out or kill the indigenous Dahan and corrupt the land with Blight. Allow too much of this deadly substance to build up and the game comes to a disastrous end. Spirit Island is loved for its tense tug-of-war power struggle and rewarding combo potential, and the publisher promises that feeling has been recreated in this new version.
The blog post shows off a peek at the new Spirits, all of which can be used in any other game in the series. Sun-Bright Whirlwind is a golden feline Spirit who specialises in scaring off Invaders before they have the chance to establish towns or cities, while Devouring Teeth Lurk Underfoot serves as a battering ram against established colonies. Fathomless Mud of the Swamp can delay build actions in the parts of the island with their influence and appropriately excels at redistributing those tokens across the map.
Those who prefer to win through amassing fear will like Eyes Watch from the Trees, a combinatory Spirit that spurs the Dahan to action and leaves fear in their wake. The last, Rising Heat of Stone and Sand, seems to adopt a slow burn strategy centred on ticking away at the Invaders health every turn.
Lucas Durham and Moro Rogers return as illustrators, though it’s not clear if they will be the only ones. Horizons of Spirit Island will be released in Target stores within the US in October 2022 and cost $30. The game will remain a Target exclusive for two years before becoming available in other locations. Spirit Island has developed an unintended legacy as a fantastic solo board game, and it will be interesting to see if Horizons folds that into its design.
Greater Than Games also announced that the next expansion for the original Spirit Island, Nature Incarnate, will be crowdfunding on Backerkit starting October 18th. The post did not reveal too much information beyond a look at the Ember-Eyed Behemoth art, but the publisher will reveal more “in the coming months.”