For most games of Spirit Island, Setup proceeds as below. However, when setting up Spirit Island using an Adversary and/or Scenario, select them first, as they can change how the game is set up.
To set up the Invader Board:
- Place the Invader Board on one side of the play area.
- Put 4 Fear Markers per player into the Fear Pool.
- Shuffle the Fear Cards and put 9 on the Fear Deck space. Place the "Terror Level 3" divider 3 cards from the bottom and the "Terror Level 2" divider 3 cards above that, so the deck is divided into 3 groups of 3 cards each.
- Make the Invader Deck and put it on the Invader Board on the Explore Action Space.
The Invader Deck is 12 cards:
- 3 Stage I cards on top, then
- 4 Stage II cards, then
- 5 Stage III cards on the bottom
- Take a random Blight Card and place it on top of the Blight Space on the board, "Healthy Island" side up, without looking at the back. If you are not using a Blight Card, use the Blight instructions printed on the Invader Board instead. Place the shown amount of Blight onto the card.
The Island and Supply
To set up the Island:
- Randomly pick one Island Board per player and arrange them to form the Island
- Populate the Island Boards with Invaders, Dahan, and Blight (from the box, not the Blight Card) as indicated by the icons in each land.
To set up the Supply:
- Shuffle the Minor and Major Power Decks. Put them near the board with room for each deck to have a discard pile.
- Put the Energy, Cities, Towns, Explorers, and the Dahan near the board. Make sure all players can reach them; you may need multiple piles.
This expansion includes two additional Island Boards, to add variety and allow games with up to 6 players. Underneath the board letter on the new boards is a smaller crossed-out letter: board E shows "no B" and board F shows "no D". You may wish to avoid using that pairing of boards in games with 4 or fewer Island Boards: it will concentrate some terrains as good (those starting without //) and others as bad, which can skew Difficulty depending on Invader Cards drawn. If you consider island variety more important than the potential for swinginess, ignore this advisory and use whatever boards you like! (See Island for standard layouts for 5 and 6 players)
Each player takes all Spirit Presence and Single-Turn Effect Markers of one color, then chooses a Spirit by taking a Spirit Panel and its four Unique Power Cards, which is their starting hand. New players should choose a low-complexity Spirit and take its Power Progression Card, as described in First-Time Players.
Each player starts on a different Island Board and follows Setup instructions on the back of their Spirit Panel. This always includes putting Presence into one or more lands on their starting board; some Spirits have additional instructions. (Once the game begins, Spirits are not restricted to play only on their starting board. Presence and Powers may be placed or used on any board.) Players then flip their Spirit Panels and place all remaining Presence onto the dashed circles on their Presence Tracks. The leftmost numbers with solid circles remain uncovered.
Invaders' Starting Action
To finalize the Setup, the Invaders take an initial Action. Reveal the top card of the Invader Deck. The Invaders Explore in that land type (see Explore, page 10). Then place that card face-up in the 'Build' Action Space.
Setup Changes (JE)
Starting Presence on Thematic Boards: Sometimes, a Spirit's Setup instructions won't work for all 6 Thematic Boards - not just ambiguity (which you decide), but, e.g., "place your in a land with " on a board with no , or "place your in Terrain A next to Terrain B" where there's no such pairing. You can either (a) not start that Spirit on that board, or (b) follow the instructions as best you can – if it tells you to place , do so, choosing freely when no land(s) match the criteria given. Feel free to use what you think would be most thematic as a guide.
Setup Changes (BC)
- Add the extension to the Invader Board
- Put the Beasts , Wilds , Disease , and Strife tokens in the corresponding areas on the Invader Board extension.
- Shuffle the Event Deck and put it on the Events space on the Invader Board extension. Playing with a Blight Card is now required rather than optional. (The Event Deck depends on using one.)
- During Setup, put one and one on each Island Board. The goes in the lowest-numbered land with no printed Setup icons; the goes in land #2 (with the City).
Short on Space? If your table doesn't have space for the Invader Board extension, put the Event Deck near the Earned Fear stack, so you remember to do it first.