Ancient Balinese legend describes a host of powerful spirits who help poor rice farmers achieve success. These farmers have long used a sophisticated irrigation system to organize rice cultivation by integrating religious devotion and social responsibility with traditional farming methods. Even modern farmers seek to placate the spirit world in their quest to produce an abundant harvest.
In Spirits of the Rice Paddy players compete against fellow rice farmers to construct and tend rice paddies. Livestock can be used to build walls and remove large rocks. They can eat harmful pests and fertilize the fledgling crops. Weeds must be kept at bay. And, most importantly, water must be conserved and released with the greatest of care. With a little luck, all that back-breaking labor will pay off in the end. The good news is that the spirits are eager to assist, granting many special abilities, blessings and magic. The farmer who produces the most rice over seven rounds wins!
We thankfully had several requests from industry professionals interested in an early glimpse of Spirits. Here's what they had to say!
Richard Ham, the illustrative reviewer and creator of Rahdo Runs Through played Spirits and called it "a perfect, wonderful farming simulation with a brilliant, engaging puzzle to solve..." and "one thing we don't see enough of in games - a really great sense of escalation."
Ryan LaFlamme of Cardboard Republic sat in a game of Spirits at Gen Con, and he also graciously agreed take a copy home to play. Here's his preview.
He also says that Spirits creates "a farming atmosphere with a flavor all its own."
Jason at Indie Cardboard graciously looked at Spirits. It wasn't quite his cup of tea, but the preview is quite informative.
G*M*S Magazine interviewed Philip about Spirits. Listen to it here.
Meeple Mechanic does a Foxhole Fiver with Philip duBarry.
Spirits of the Rice Paddy is a big game, Here's a breakdown of the components:
Additional components will be added to this list as stretch goals are met.
Spirits of the Rice Paddy is a medium to heavy Euro agriculture simulation. It is a worker placement game with several other interesting and complex elements.
What makes Spirits interesting to me, and the reason I decided to pick the game for publication is the interaction between Spirit cards and player order, which creates a unique puzzle for how each game is played.
Spirit cards dictate the order that players get the most precious commodity - water. Spirit cards with high numeric value are extremely powerful. Playing high-numbered cards grant tremendous powers BUT you'll get water after other players with lower-numbered Spirit cards.
Water is the most important commodity in the game - necessary to plant and grow rice. Players that don't get water risk wasting seasons without planting.
Each player has a market from which they can hire laborers and buy livestock. Laborers can build paddies and plant, weed and harvest them. Livestock (oxen) can build paddy walls and remove rocks from the field as well as remove pests and fertilize fields (ducks). Taxes apply when getting multiple items on a turn, so even though rice/money is tight it's important to get items early to avoid late-game taxes.
You can get more information about Spirits on the game's page at apegames.com.
Philip duBarry is the designer of Revolution!, Courtier, and several other board games and expansions. Philip has been playing and creating games since childhood and has done so on a professional basis for about the last six years.
Spirits has been in the works since 2010 and is perhaps his most heavily playtested game to date. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife and five (soon to be six!) children.
Friend and really smart guy Brendon Hall has built an online boardgaming engine that has worked really well for testing and playing Spirits of the Rice Paddy.
We'd like for you to play Spirits online with us so that you can learn about the game. To that end we're scheduling game nights with the designer, Philip duBarry. Watch the project post updates and this space for more information on the first game night!
If this project exceeds its $16000 funding goal, we'll upgrade items, and add new items to your pledge levels as the total reaches the indicated amounts.
Philip designed solo rules for Spirits of the Rice Paddy from the start. This stretch goal includes a new solo player board, rain cards and rules for solo play at no extra charge.
These components won't be available in the retail product - only as part of this Kickstarter and afterwards directly from APE Games at an additional cost.
This goal will be to upgrade the 80 wooden laborers in the game from standard meeples to more thematic rice farmer meeples, similar to this:
The game box, cards, die-cut tokens, player boards and main board are upgraded to have a linen-like finish.
We hate it on games when you jostle the board and pieces go everywhere. This stretch goal provides two-level player boards with 'grooves' for the paddy walls and market laborers and livestock. Table jostles will be no problem!
By popular request we're upgrading the green and black weed and pest cubes to actual meeple components!
Arcadia is APE's card game of building theme parks. Have you ever gone to an amusement park and thought that roller coaster would be so much better if they only added a couple corkscrews after that first drop? Well here's your chance to build a theme park for the ages!
Arcadia is a card game of building amusement parks for 2-4 players, aged 8+.
In Arcadia, players collect job and expert cards -
Then trade them in to build rides, midway games, food stands and shows of ever-increasing complexity.
There's more to it than that, so head to apegames.com to see more!
Arcadia will be published at the same time as Spirits. There are pledge levels here that let you add Arcadia at a discount.
We know there are a lot of tabletop game choices on Kickstarter, so why back Spirits?
For starters, APE Games really does need your help to ensure Spirits gets printed. This will be the most expensive game to print since Rolling Freight, so we can't do this without you!
Second, depending on stretch goals achieved, Spirits will cost at least $50 in stores, so you'll get a substantial discount off the retail price.
Also, assuming we hit the solo game stretch goal, the solo board and cards won't be available in stores.
As always, shipping in the U.S. is free, and reduced in the rest of the world. We'll ship from within Europe, Canada and of course, the U.S.
There are some other projects that you should check out on Kickstarter. One such project is Swinging Jivecat Voodoo Lounge. The art is awesome and... monkeys hung on martini glasses for scoring!
Cards contain recipes for drinks, and they made up a new 'Spirit' for our game!
Risks and challenges
APE Games has successfully run and delivered all of our Kickstarter projects. We have a dedicated staff that works year-round packing and shipping orders. We use fulfillment companies for shipping when we have a large number of orders to ship in a short period of time. Spirits of the Rice Paddy will use fulfillment for at least international shipping.
One concern is that shipping prices increase dramatically before we're able to get Spirits to backers. That would be unfortunately, but APE has cash reserves available for such situations.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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