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This page serves as a reference page when looking for what a certain word or phrase means in the context of a game of Spirit Island.


Accelerate: Discard a card from the Invader Deck - the topmost card of the lowest Invader Stage still remaining therein. (If the deck is in order, this will simply be the top card of the deck, but if an Adversary has changed its ordering it may be deeper down.)
Action: A group of instructions performed together - e.g., everything done immediately by a Power Card (including any thresholds hit) is a single Action.
[Jagged Earth: p. 10, 24]
Add: To put onto the board from the supply.
Additional Cost: An extra cost to use a Power. Does not need to be paid until the Power is actually used. Each Repeat must pay the cost in order to work.
[Jagged Earth: p. 12]
Aided by (Element): The Energy cost of a Choice Event is reduced by 1 for having this Element, 2 for Discarding a Power Card from hand which grants this Element, or by 4 for Forgetting a Power Card (from hand, play, or discard) which grants this Element.
[Branch & Claw: p. 9; Jagged Earth: p. 13]
Adjacent land: Sharing a border or corner.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Adversary: A specific coloniser to fight against. Increases difficulty and changes how the game plays.
[Base Game: p. 22]
Among: In any or all of a set of lands. See Distribute for an example.
+Any: Any one element, chosen anew each turn. Once set for a turn, cannot be changed until the next turn.
[Base Game: p. 14]
Badlands (Token): Lands that are harder for humans to live in. Increases Damage to Invaders/Dahan by 1, once per Action.
[Jagged Earth: p. 8]
Basic Action: A non-triggered Action, e.g., a Spirit using a Power Card.
[Jagged Earth: p. 25]
Beasts (Token): Dangerous Beasts. Harms Invaders erratically.
[Branch & Claw: p. 10; Jagged Earth: p. 7]
Blight (Blight): A piece showing environmental/spiritual harm to the Island.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Blight Card: A card that holds the Blight pieces that are not on the Island. Starts off on the Healthy side, and may flip to the Blighted side during the course of the game.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Blighted Island: The Island becomes Blighted when all the Blight on the front of the Blight Card goes onto the board. If all Blight on the Blighted side runs out, the players lose.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Board: See Invader Board or Invader Board.
Bring: A piece which Brings another can take it with them when moving.
Build: An Invader Action. Adds a Town or City.
[Base Game: p. 10]
Card Plays: The number of Power Cards a Spirit may play each turn, determined by the highest revealed number on a Spirit's Presence Tracks.
[Base Game: p. 14]
Choice Event: An Event which offers the Spirits a choice of paths. The first choice is the default, if Spirits cannot agree.
[Branch & Claw: 9; Jagged Earth: p. 13]
City (City): A type of Invader pieces. Does 3 Damage, has 3 Health. Destroying a City causes 2 Fear.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Claim: Add to your Spirit panel permanently.
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Coastal land: A land readily accessible to ships, adjacent to the printed Ocean area.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Dahan (Dahan): A piece representing a clan/village of local islanders. Does 2 Damage, has 2 Health.
[Base Game: p. 16]
Dahan Event: The portion of an Event Card in which the Dahan act on their own.
[Branch & Claw: p. 8; Jagged Earth: p. 13]
Damage: Harm done to the Invaders, the land, or Dahan. Whenever a card doesn't specify, it always means "to Invaders". Damage equal to an Invader or Dahan's Health destroys it. Dealing 2 or more Damage to a land adds one Blight to the land.
[Base Game: p. 18]
Defend: Guard a land against the Invaders. Reduces the Damage done by the Invaders to the land and Dahan by the specified amount.
[Base Game: p. 18]
Destroy: The elimination of a game piece (Invaders, Dahan, Spirit Presence, Island Boards) by dealing Damage equivalent to the piece's Health. Some effects also destroy pieces regardless of Damage or Health. The Destroyed pieces are generally returned to the supply.
[Base Game: p. 13, 15, 18]
Destroyed Presence (Destroyed Presence): Presence that has been destroyed, removed, or replaced.
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Disease (Token): Illness and plague. Prevents the next Build Action in its land and is then Removed.
[Branch & Claw: p. 10; Jagged Earth: p. 7]
Distribute: Add the specified pieces in any arrangement to the lands specified. E.g.: "Distribute 3 Town among Coastal lands" could add 3 Towns to one Coastal land, or 2 to one land and 1 to another, or all 3 to different Coastal lands.
Does not participate in Ravage: Specifies pieces to be ignored during the Ravage Step and Ravage Actions.
[Jagged Earth: p. 14]
Downgrade: Replace with the next-smallest Invader. (Remove Explorer.)
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Durable (Invader): An Invader with extra Health equal to its base Health. "Destroy" effects instead deal Damage to pieces of that type equal to their base Health, though "Destroy All" works normally.
[Jagged Earth: p. 29]
Effect: The text instructions of a card or other game element.
Element: Affinity with an aspect of nature, usually granted by a Power Card. Lets you use threshold effects.
[Base Game: p. 16, 32]
Elemental Thresholds: See Threshold Effects.
Energy: Pays for Power Cards. Carries over from turn to turn.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Escalation Effect (Escalation): Something an Adversary does each time Exploring reveals an Invader Card with an Adversary icon on it. This icon appears only on Stage II cards.
[Base Game: p. 10, 22]
Event: An unforeseen development, resolved before Earned Fear Cards each Invader Phase after the first turn.
[Branch & Claw: p. 8; Jagged Earth: p. 12]
Exactly (Range) away: A land is exactly some Range if it is that Range, and there is no shorter path to that land.
Explore: An Invader Action. Adds Explorers to accessible lands.
[Base Game: p. 10]
Explorer (Explorer: A type of Invader piece. Does 1 Damage, has 1 Health.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Extra Invader Action: Invader Actions caused by Adversary effects, Events, Fear, Powers, a Scenario, or anything other than an Invader Card on one of the three Action Spaces on the Invader Board.[1]
[Branch & Claw: p. 15]
Fear: Fright done to Invaders. Advances Fear Markers, earning Fear Cards.
[Base Game: p. 12]
Fear Card: A card from the Fear Deck, earned by doing Fear to the Invaders. The Terror Level dividers are not Fear Cards.
[Base Game: p. 9, 12]
Fear Effect: Anything done by an earned Fear Card.
[Base Game: p. 12, 18]
Forget a Power Card: Permanently lose a Power Card from your hand, discard pile, or in play. Put it in the discard for its deck, or out of the game if it's Unique to your Spirit.
[Base Game: p. 18]
Gain a Power Card: In a normal game, draw four Minor Powers or four Major Powers and keep one. If using a Power Progression card, take your next Power Card. When you gain a Major Power by any means, you must Forget (lose) a Power Card.
[Base Game: p. 3, 18]
Gather: Move into a land from adjacent land(s).
[Base Game: p. 19]
Growth: The first part of the Spirit Phase. Lets you place Presence, gain new Powers, and Reclaim Power Cards from your discard pile.
[Base Game: p. 8, 14]
Health: How much Damage an Invader or Dahan can take before it is Destroyed.
[Base Game: p. 15, 16]
Healthy Island: The Island starts the game Healthy. It becomes Blighted when the first pool of Blight on the Blight Card is emptied and the card flips to the Blighted side.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Inland land: A land not adjacent to the printed Ocean area.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Innate Power: A Power printed on your Spirit Panel.
[Base Game: p. 14, 16]
Invader: A City, Town, or Explorer.
[Base Game: p. 9-11]
Invader Action: One Ravage, Build, or Explore in one land. Usually caused by cards on the Invader Board, but can also be caused by Adversary effects, Events, Fear, Powers, etc.
[Branch & Claw: p. 14; Jagged Earth: p. 27]
Invader Board: The board which governs the Actions of the Invaders, including places for the Invader Deck and each of their three Actions. Additionally, the Invader Board features the Fear Pool, the Fear Deck, and the Blight Space where a Blight Card is placed during Setup.
[Base Game: p. 6]
Invader Card: Card in the Invader Deck, indicating in which lands the Invaders will act. Divided into Stage I, Stage II, and Stage III.
[Base Game: p. 6]
Invader Stage: The Stage shown on the top card of the Invader Deck: I, II, or III. If playing against Brandenburg-Prussia 2+, treat the early Stage III Card as if it were Stage II.
[Branch & Claw: p. 8; Jagged Earth: p. 28]
Island: The entire playing area of the game comprised of one or more Island Boards.
[Base Game: p. 6-7, 13]
Island Board: An individual punchboard piece that comprises the Island. The reverse has a thematic map for more experienced players.
[Base Game: p. 6-7, 13]
Isolate: Represents a land hard to travel to, from, or through. Prevents Invader Explore Actions, and prevents Invader pieces (Explorer/Town/City) from using adjacencies unless you let them.
[Jagged Earth: p. 10]
Land: A bordered area on the island map (excluding Ocean). Whenever a land takes 2 Damage, you add a Blight to it.
[Base Game: p. 13, 16]
Land Health: The Land has a Health of 2. If it takes this much Damage in a single Action, you Add Blight.
[Nature Incarnate: p. 14]
Land Type: A description of what sort of land to act upon. This may be a terrain, Coastal/Inland, or a requirement for what's in/not in the land (e.g. "A land with Invaders").
[Base Game: p. 13, 16]
Land with (Piece): A land having at least one (Piece). See Piece.
Match: A land matches an Invader Card if it has a Land Type shown on the Invader Card.
Move: To put into a land from somewhere on the island, via Pushing, Gathering, or other means.
Ocean: Where the Invaders sail in. The stretch of Ocean on each Island Board determines which lands are Coastal. Oceans are not lands.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Origin: The land from which a Range is measured when targeting.
[Jagged Earth: p. 14]
Outnumber: A outnumbers B when there are more A than B. This is true in lands where there is no B, as long as there is at least one A. (For instance, "where Dahan outnumber Cities" is true in lands with no Cities, so long as there's 1 or more Dahan.)
Permanent Element: An element shown on a Presence Track, or an element given to a Spirit by a certain effect that lasts for the rest of the game.[2] While uncovered on a Presence Track, it gives an Element of that type.
[Base Game: p. 14]
Piece: Any physical game piece placed on the island except for players' Single-Turn Effect Markers. At this time, the normal pieces are: Dahan, Presence, Blight, all Invaders (Explorer/Town/City), and all Spirit tokens (Badlands/Beasts/Disease/Wilds/Strife). If a Scenario puts something else on the board (Scenario Markers, Element Markers, etc.) for a game effect (as opposed to, e.g., tracking extra Damage), those are then considered pieces.
Power: A Power Card or Innate Power.
[Base Game: p. 16]
Power Card: A Power on a card. May be a Minor Power, a Major Power, or a Unique Power.
[Base Game: p. 16]
Power Progression: A fixed sequence of Power Cards a Spirit gains instead of the usual "Draw 4, keep 1" from a Power Card Deck. Used in introductory games only.
[Base Game: p. 3, 6]
Prepare: Set next to your Spirit panel for future use.
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Presence (Presence): A piece showing where your Spirit lives in the land.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Push: Move to adjacent land(s).
[Base Game: p. 19]
Range: The maximum number of lands away you can use a Power or effect. You may always use a Power or effect at a shorter Range. Measured from your Presence unless otherwise specified. A Range of 0 means a land where you have Presence.
[Base Game: p. 16]
Ravage: An Invader Action. Invaders simultaneously deal Damage to the land and Dahan; surviving Dahan then fight back.
[Base Game: p. 9]
Reclaim: Return all (or the specified number) of your Power Cards to your hand. Unless otherwise specified, they come from your discard.
Reclaim One: Return one of your Power Cards to your hand. When revealed on a Presence Track, it may be done once per Spirit Phase, starting immediately.
[Base Game: p. 14]
Remove: Take off the board and return to the supply. Distinct from Destroy; Removing Invaders does not cause Fear.
[Base Game: p. 18]
Repeat: Use the text effects of a Power again. Doesn't grant additional Elements. When Repeating a Power, ignore any Repeat Effects.
[Base Game: p. 19]
Replace: Remove one piece and put another piece in its place.
[Base Game: p. 18]
Return Presence: Take Presence from the island and return it to a legal spot on your Presence tracks.
[Jagged Earth: p. 28]
Resolve: Perform the effects of an Action or other game item, process, or rule (e.g., "Resolve a Power", "Resolve an Invader Card"). Repeating a Power means Resolving it again. Same formal meaning as "use".
Sacred Site (Sacred Site): A land where a Spirit has 2 or more Presence.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Scenario: A situation providing alternate rules/victory conditions. Increases difficulty and changes how the game plays.
[Base Game: p. 23]
Showing Invader Card: An Invader Card that is face-up in any of the Invader Action spaces on the Invader Board, but not the discard (so you know the Invaders will act in that land type in the next Invader Phase).
Skip: When you would perform the specified Action, instead don't.
Skip one Invader Action: You don't need to choose which Action you're going to skip in advance. Once during this turn, when an Invader Action would happen in the affected land, you can skip it.
[Jagged Earth: p. 11]
Stage: See Invader Stage.
Strife (Token): Internal discord. Placed under an individual Invader (in target land), unlike other tokens. When an Invader with Strife deals Damage to Dahan and/or the land, that Damage is reduced to 0, and the Strife is then Removed.
[Branch & Claw: p. 11; Jagged Earth: p. 7]
Take: Put the top card of the specified Power Deck into your hand. Do not forget when taking a Major Power.
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Target: The land or Spirit a Power affects.
[Base Game: p. 16]
Target board: Shorthand for "the board containing target land".
Terrain: Jungle, Mountain, Sands, or Wetlands. Each land has one terrain.
[Base Game: p. 13]
Terror Level: A number from 1-3, representing how frightened the Invaders are. Sets the current Victory Condition.
[Base Game: p. 12]
Threshold Effects: Part of a Power's effects which depend on having certain Elements that turn.
[Base Game: p. 14]
Token Event: The portion of an Event Card with an effect centering around Beasts, Disease, or Strife tokens.
[Branch & Claw: p. 8; Jagged Earth: p. 13]
Town (Town): A type of Invader piece. Does 2 Damage, has 2 Health. Destroying a Town causes 1 Fear.
[Base Game: p. 15]
Triggered Action: An Action that happens because certain conditions were met (e.g., "after one of your Powers Removes Blight, Destroy 1 of your Presence").
[Jagged Earth: p. 25]
Type of Land: See Land Type.
Up To: May be zero. "Up to 3" means "0, 1, 2, or 3".
Upgrade: Replace with the next-largest Invader.
[Nature Incarnate: p. ??]
Use: Perform the effects of an Action or other game item, process, or rule. Repeating a Power means using it again. Same formal meaning as "resolve".
Wilds (Token): Dangerous wilderness. Prevents the next Explore Action in its land and is then Removed.
[Branch & Claw: p. 10; Jagged Earth: p. 7]
Your Land: A land with your Presence in it.
[Base Game: p. 13]

Deprecated Terminology

The following are terms that may appear on older game materials, but will not be used in future expansions.

Extra Invader Action: Invader Actions caused by Adversary effects, Events, Fear, Powers, a Scenario, or anything other than an Invader Card on one of the three Action Spaces on the Invader Board.[1]
[Branch & Claw: p. 15]
Normal Action: The normal Invader Actions taken each turn due to Invader Cards on one of the three Action spaces on the Invader Board. Does not include extra Actions from Events, Adversaries, Powers, etc.
[Branch & Claw: p. 15; Jagged Earth: p. 27]
Spirit Effects: Any Spirit Action or Choice Event option that the Spirits paid for.
[Branch & Claw: p. 9; Heart of the Wildfire's DESTRUCTIVE NATURE Special Rule]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Referred to as "Extra Action" in the Branch & Claw rulebook.
  2. For example, the second Choice Event on the Event Card "Lesser Spirits Imperiled" gives each Spirit 1 permanent Element for the rest of the game.