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Adversaries are specific colonizing powers from the world of Spirit Island. Including an Adversary in a game is optional, but doing so adds an additional layer of depth and strategy to the game. Be sure to choose your foe before Setup begins, as some may change the rules of Setup.

The Adversary Panel specifies an Escalation Effect, which is performed when a Stage II Invader Card with a Escalation is resolved for the first time. Escalation Effects are also performed when Stage III Invader Cards are resolved for the first time when playing against two Adversaries. Some Adversaries also include additional loss conditions. These two rules are the "base level" (or, unofficially, "level 0") of an Adversary, providing a small difficulty boost. From there, each Adversary offers multiple increased difficulty levels, indicated by the number on the left. All listed game effects are cumulative: if you're fighting vs. Level 3, you also use the effects from Level 1 and Level 2. Some Adversaries modify the Invader Actions. There are Reminder Tiles to put below the Invader Action spaces on the Invader Board to remind you that the rules for those Actions are modified.

As the difficulty increases, reaching higher Terror Levels becomes harder. Each Level shows how many Fear Cards to use and how many cards go into the top/middle/bottom of the Fear Deck.

Combining Two Adversaries

Through conquest or marriage, one Adversary nation joins with another, shifting their society and how they approach colonization.

You can combine two Adversaries for a hybrid challenge, incorporating aspects of both. This can be fun for play variety, and is useful for experienced players wanting to only use the lower Levels of a new Adversary - you can combine it with a rules-light challenge like Brandenburg-Prussia to make up for the lower Difficulty.

Decide on two Adversaries, and a Level for each. Use all game changes from both of them, with the following exceptions:

  • Making the Fear Deck: For each Terror Level, use 3 Fear Cards (the base) plus the extra cards added or subtracted by each Adversary. (So if combining Adversaries with a 3/4/3 Fear Deck and a 4/4/4 Fear Deck, you'd end up with a 4/5/4 Fear Deck.)
  • Escalation Effects: Choose one Adversary to be leading; its Escalation Effect applies normally. The other Adversary is supporting and applies its Escalation Effect on all Stage III Invader Cards. (If the Escalation is specific to a terrain - as with France and Sweden - choose one of the terrains randomly.)
  • Making the Invader Deck: If both Adversaries modify the Invader Deck, first follow all of the instructions on the supporting Adversary, in order, and then follow all of the instructions on the leading Adversary, in order.
    • Follow instructions as much as you can, but if you encounter an impossible instruction, skip it.
    • If it is ever ambiguous which card you are supposed to remove, remove the top-most applicable card in the deck.
    • If it is ever ambiguous which card you are supposed to move, move the bottom-most applicable card in the deck.
    • Treat Brandenburg-Prussia's Level 2 effect as "Move the bottom-most Stage III card just below the bottom-most Stage I card."

The combined Difficulty of two Adversaries is said to be roughly equal to the higher of the two Difficulties plus 50-75% of the lower.

If combining with The Kingdom of Scotland: If the other Adversary's Setup instructions would add City to a Coastal land other than land #2, instead add the City to an adjacent Inland land.

If combining with The French Plantation Colony (at Level 2 or higher): Increase the pool of available Town by 1 per player for each level of the other Adversary being played.