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A major expansion to the award-winning cooperative settler-destruction strategy game!
A major expansion to the award-winning cooperative settler-destruction strategy game!
8,080 backers pledged $795,104 to help bring this project to life.

Discover the mysteries of the new island boards and setup!

Posted by GreaterThanGames (Creator)
Happy Halloween! We hope you have a spooktacular day! Now, let’s talk about all of the mysteries of the new island boards and setups!  
5 player
5 player

Adding a fifth board to the island provides a unique challenge in that (for the first time), the island can’t be fully symmetrical. This adds a layer of complexity to the game in that you’ll have areas of the island that are that are harder to reach (particularly for spirits with restrictive growth options like Keeper, Ocean, and Volcano), and you’ll have to coordinate with your fellow spirits to make sure that you are able to cover all the different pockets of the island. It also gives more potential for fast presence placement spirits (like Rampant Green) to reach a burnout stage, where they have cleared out their board (or have their area under control)… and can’t contribute in farther areas that may be getting really bad!  

While this does provide more complexity, it really allows a lot of spirits to shine in new and interesting ways. Spirits that can move about or provide range extension get to step into the light, and some underused special abilities (like Shadows Flicker’s ability to target from Dahan) get to rise to prominence as you can jump too far away portions of the island. Coordinate your presence placement carefully, or you’ll find that you’ve created an ever-expanding pocket of invaders that no one can address!  

Welcome to Crab Island!  

Crab Island
Crab Island

This is the “standard” 5 player island arrangement (though you can, of course, arrange it any way you want), and it has an excellent balance of interior lands vs. remote corners. You’ll have to coordinate to make sure that the “claws” stay clean, as it can be really easy for spirits starting on those boards to either dive for the center to try and help keep the interior clean, or to focus too heavily on their own lands to the detriment of elsewhere on the island (Wildfire is particularly susceptible to this). One thing you will HAVE to acknowledge is that no one spirit can take care of everything. Spirit Island has never been a game where a single player can run around doing all the things that need doing, and now there is even more territory to cover. Even Spirits that can place presence at long range, like Lightning, will have to make difficult choices about what they can cover, and you’ll have to rely on each other. Even Ocean will have to change tactics somewhat, in that there are too many coastlines to keep them all clear at once!  

Island Design

6 player Island
6 player Island

Let’s leave Crab Island behind us. It’s time to move on to the massive 6 player islands. As you can see, there are a LOT of different island configurations with 6 boards to use! We went through a bunch of ideas before coming up with the one below, but before diving into that, let’s take a second to talk about general tips for when you are making a large island map.  

  • In general, the more compact you make your island, the easier it is going to be to coordinate and cover all the different areas. The more strung out bits it has, the harder it is going to be, and the more you are going to have to rely on a single given spirit to keep a specific board clean! 
  • Depending on the level of challenge you are looking for, you can arrange the island in such a way that you can create safe zones in the interior that are going to be REALLY hard for the invaders to reach. The Star formation is especially good at showing this, in that if you can clear out the starting town and push out early explorers, you can make it VERY difficult for the invaders to reach the center of the island on some (if not all) of the boards. 
  •  Be VERY careful about corners (Star Island, again, is very good at showing this), in that corners far from the center of the board are prime candidates for the invaders to create horrifying pockets of blight and dense urban areas that can be extremely difficult to crack, particularly if one of your heavier hitters is on the opposite side of the island and can’t reach you. People who like to play support/fear spirits are going to have to be VERY careful about making sure that their allies can reach them in times of crisis! 

A Tale of Two Centers

Two Centers
Two Centers

This is the “Two Centers” island, the standard formation for 6 players, though the usual caveat about you being able to arrange it to your liking applies. While it appears more controllable at first glance, the fact that you have two central interiors means that you’ll have to be VERY careful to keep the invaders from getting too strong a hold on any one section of the island. Focus too carefully on one half of the island, and you’ll find that the invaders have established a foothold on the interior that will be difficult to eradicate. If they manage to blight the central bottleneck, you might even find yourself in a desperate rush to keep cascades from building up! Some spirits may find themselves cut off from the other half of the island because of incompatible land types, or may find that they’ve stretched themselves too thin to create sacred sites… especially once blight gets involved and Spirits start losing presence. 

Much like Crab Island, you’ll have to rely on each other to keep everything under control. With this much land to cover, rushing to “clear” a given part of the island isn’t nearly as useful since there are so many places for invaders to come from! Above all else, you’ll need to keep each other covered, keep each other’s strengths in mind, and (if you can’t take them out) keep the invaders clustered in manageable pockets. Keeping the central bottleneck clear will go a LONG way to keeping blight manageable (though you’ll have quite a bit to work with, with 6 players), but be prepared to temporarily sacrifice portions of the island if needed until you can come back to them. Or just shove all the bad things onto one board, then Cast It Down into the Briny. You’ve got plenty to work with. 

The Thematic Map


Finally, let’s talk about the Thematic Map. The new island boards will have the missing bits, so you’ll be able to make this thematic island by adding them onto the core game boards. The neoprene version has been updated from its former incarnation to be a bit lighter and easier to read, but the main thing to note about this map is that it is inherently unbalanced. 

All of the issues mentioned for 5 and 6 players are dialed up to 11 on this map! You’ve got clusters of the same land types, which can lead to invader growth explosions and restricted presence placement. You’ve got more lands, which can lead to spirits stalling out and being unable to reach or influence areas outside of their sphere of influence. You’ve got asymmetrical Dahan and Invader placement, so you can’t easily rely on Dahan counterattacks and predictable invader growth. Basically, you’ve got an island that will challenge you and your friends to pull out every trick, make some really hard choices, and maybe some desperate sacrifices! Have fun! 

Be sure to check in this Friday to learn all about the new adversaries of Jagged Earth!

ekster, Richard K Rademan, and 54 more people like this update.


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    1. Lael Smith on

      I don't like playing on the stylized board side because of how dark it is, is the new play mat playable with 3 or 5 players or do you need an even number?

    2. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      @Povilas Šimonis
      The playmat is now larger to be more accommodating. I can't guarantee that they match exactly, but they are DEFINITELY larger.

    3. Missing avatar

      R. Eric Reuss Collaborator on

      @Phillip Wilken Some of the Spirits will get highlighted after the campaign is completed - partly because it gives us something to post about on months where there's not really anything to talk about playtesting/production-wise, partly because it's nice to save some of the more exciting things to cover the gap-time between campaign and delivery... and because I only have so much time to write during the campaign, so some of the updates (like this one) need to be done by other people! :)

    4. Govind Krishna on

      Looks awesome, but doubt I would ever play this more than 4P

    5. Missing avatar

      Brendan Black on

      The 5 player and 6 player islands look cool but I doubt will be able to convince that many people to play unfortunately

    6. Missing avatar

      dyeung87 on

      @Phillip Wilken IIRC, they're going to do regular updates after the initial funding campaign ends until the expansion gets delivered. I know you're excited about the new spirits; I'm excited too, and I've already seen all of them! And if I'm right, the next spirit update will feature my personal favorite from playtesting.

    7. Missing avatar

      Phoenix Gruber on

      Oh no! One of my favorite things about the playmat is that you get little stylistic images of each of the spirits scattered around the island. Are those going away =( ?

    8. Missing avatar

      Pseudomonas on

      Are the boards on the playmat are the same size as the cardboard ones?

    9. Missing avatar

      Phillip Wilken on

      This is a really cool update. It helps to know what will be the challenges of a larger map, set up in different ways. I guess it never registered that with six tiles, my spirit won't be sure to have as good a grip on the island with its presence.
      I have to admit though, I'm a bit concerned. Friday has already been promised to be about adversaries, which means there are only six total days(Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays) before the kickstarter is over, but there are nine spirits who still have not been discussed. I know there is only so much content that can be placed in an update, so I'm fearful that some spirits might not get as much lime light as the previous three spirits discussed. Is the plan to have some spirits share a day, or possibly bump up the updates in the final week to one a day instead of every other day like it has previously been?

    10. GreaterThanGames 14-time creator on

      Excellent question! This response is from Chris Burton, our Lead Playtester.

      "You can't reach across it. It is supposed to represent a vast crater at the heart of the island ( that basically makes it impassible for all invaders and spirits. Feel free to come up with fun lore reasons for why even spirits steer clear of it- I like to think that it was the site of the death of one of the great spirits, and everything steers clear of the cursed, toxic crater."

    11. Chris on

      So many cool and interesting things that can happen. In particular, I love the Archipelago maps. They are slightly unique in that as long as you remember which oceans line up you can break them further apart for table spaces that aren't suited for your normal set-ups.

      I am curious about the 6-player map with the large hole in its center, this might have come up once before with Cast into the Briny Deep, but can spirits reach across this space or should we count powers along the edges of the lands to wrap around?

    12. Jesse Follin on

      I wasn't 100 percent in on the playmat but that does look very nice. You may have just twisted my arm enough. :D

      Lovely update!