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Spirits of the forest review

Basic Overview

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

20 mins

Weight (according to Boardgame geek) : 1.29 / 5 (light)

My thoughts

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

Planet Review

Basic overview

Planet is an eye catching game where you create your own world by placing magnetic tiles onto a dodecahedron core. Each tile shows a combination of land types such as sand, grass, water, ice and earth.

You start the game by laying out a row of pentagon tiles in ten columns, each pile five high. You then place cards starting from the third stack, creating rows as shown above. Each player is then given a “natural habitat” card at random and keeps it hidden.

Each round, the first player takes the first stack of tiles, lays them out on the table and picks one. Each other player then takes a tile in clockwise order and the tiles that remain create a new stack at the end of the row (only creating two new stacks). From the third round onwards, players compete to earn the cards placed under the tiles. In order to gain a card you need to meet the card’s conditions (e.g. have the biggest continuous water region next to ice).

If no player can claim a card (or is tied for it) it will be added to the end column of cards so it can be claimed at the end of the game. If at the end of the game it still can’t be claimed, it’s removed from the game.

The game plays for twelve rounds and then you move on to scoring. Each player reveals their objective card to see to what extent they have completed it. Each player then gets one point for each matching animal of your “natural habitat” and two points each for all non-matching types.

The player with the most points wins. In the case of a draw, the player with the most animal cards wins.

Designer: Urtis Šulinskas

Artist: Sabrina Miramon

Publisher: blue orange games

2 – 4 players

Age 8+ 30 – 45 mins

Weight (according to BoardGameGeek) : 1.56 / 5 (Medium Light)

My thoughts

Planet is a very beautiful game. The artwork on the cards is great; each has a unique animal on and it is easy to see what environment they require.

The dodecahedron planet core is well made. It even comes with spare metal plates just in case any fall off. The magnetic tiles are well made and feel like they will last a long time. In all, it’s a well made game.

The game itself is a very basic design, but don’t let that fool you. There’s a lot of strategy and frustration, when you have a eye on a tile and someone takes it before you and you can’t be too sure what other people’s “natural habitat” is. In all, it’s a great game; easy to learn and to teach, it doesn’t take up lots of table space making it a perfect game if you’re looking for something you can take to a cafe or pub. I would definitely recommend this game for new and experienced players alike.

Meeples people’s circus rating8 out of 10