Spirits of the forest is a very beautiful set collection game. In the game, you represent one of the four elements that nourish the the forces of nature. You are trying to collect the nine spirits that are represented in the tiles.
You start the game by shuffling, then laying out the 48 tiles face up in a grid of four high by twelve across. You then shuffle the fourteen favour tokens face down and place eight of them onto the tiles (as shown in picture below). Any unused tokens are returned to the box without looking at them.
Each player is then given gem stones; three in a two player game or two in a three/four player game. The gem stones are used to reserve a tile that you want. If a player takes a tile with your gemstone on it, it will cost them one of their gemstones and it is removed from the game.
The game is played over multiple rounds; on your turn you choose to take either one or two tiles of the same colour, so long as your tiles do not have more than two spirit icons. Tiles are only taken from either end of the grid. When you receive a favour token look at it but keep it hidden, it might be used for final scoring or it may have a special power that you can use during a later turn.
When all the tiles are collected, it is time for final scoring. Each player counts how many of each spirit type they have (including favor tokens); the player with the most of a spirit type is the only one to score, they receive points for how many they have. If players draw, no one scores. If a player has none of a spirit type, they pay a five points penalty.
Across all the tiles there are scattered power sources (sun, moon and fire). These are scored in the same way but the penalty is only three points for players that don’t have any. The winner is the person with the most points. If there is a tie, the player with the least tiles wins the game.
Designer: Michael Schacht
Artist: Natalie Dombois
Publisher: ThunderGryph Games
1 – 4 players
Weight (according to Boardgame geek) : 1.29 / 5 (light)
For a very basic game, this has definitely a lot to like about it. I personally got the kickstarter edition of the game, so it has tonnes of extras and I’ve not even tried half of them yet. My version didn’t come with gems, it came with element stones and my tiles and tokens are printed on wood instead of card. Not only are they nice to look at but they also have a good tactile quality to them.
I’d agree with the BoardgameGeek weight analysis. This is a light game. The favour tokens do add a level of the unknown but the bulk of any strategy lies in offsetting the risk that your opponent(s) will take any tiles you have your eye on before you can claim it yourself.
I have to say I really enjoy the game. I’ve only played it as a two player but I have enjoyed every game. In my eyes, it’s a perfect filler game; if you have ten minutes to spare in-between longer games it’s perfect.
The artwork of the game is stunning. From the box to all the tiles, it looks like you would expect of a Studio Ghibli movie. It definitely makes people notice when it’s all set up on the table; a real eye pleaser.
Meeples People’s Circus rating 7 out of 10