It’s a challenge to talk about a game expansion. It’s even more difficult to write an article about an expansion for a game I’ve never played. But when social media presented me with Spirits of the Forest, I couldn’t resist. The title, the artwork, the theme, and the poetic game description all drew me in. Just read this, and tell me you don’t want to learn more.
“Once an age, a mystical wind lifts the veil that separates the spiritual realm from our physical world. Whimsical seraphs, drawn to the vigor of an ancient forest, descend through the clouds, once again, to play their centennial game. This time, however, the moonlight beams reflecting on the foliage will draw the seraphs deep inside the forest, to get a glimpse of the unseen. An enchanted world brightened by a gleam of moonlight hiding the most ancient spirits in the dense forest waits to be discovered.”
The fantasy/nature theme, combined with the art style, is very serene. The description has an RPG vibe, but the game itself uses a card drafting, set collection mechanic based on matching symbols to collect spirits and energy. The Moonlight expansion adds more layers, including scenarios, a solitaire mode, and the option of playing either cooperatively or competitively. The developers are even working on a mobile app version of the game.
The Kickstarter campaign for Moonlight is short but intense. It only started on July 20th and has already amassed an impressive 260 thousand dollars (at the time of writing) on its way to an August 5th deadline. The thing I like the most about this campaign is that it has both a cardboard version and a wood version. That means that, if you are a fan of “deluxe versions”, you can get it right away. You don’t have to wait, hoping that the game becomes popular enough to warrant a premium release. It also has the base game bundled with the expansion, as a pledge level instead of an add-on. So you can Have It All,
There are four pledge levels for this campaign. There’s the cardboard edition of the Moonlight expansion for €15 (Euros). For €26, you can get the wooden edition of Moonlight. The first bundle pledge, including both the Spirit of the Forest base game and the Moonlight expansion in cardboard, is €30. Finally, the wooden edition of both game and expansion is worth €60. I mentioned that the base game isn’t an add-on, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t add-ons available. You can choose to get a limited edition “moonlight bit” (meeple) that is not only adorable but also changes the rules of the game. You can get the Moonlight Journal (scenario booklet) translated into languages other than English. You can get a mini-expansion, Arctic Wolf. You can even get the Creator Journal, a booklet that teaches you how to write your own game scenarios.
If you haven’t already guessed from the mention of Euros and languages, the creator of this game, Gonzalo Aguirre Bisi/Thundergryph Games, is based out of Spain. For a game coming out of Europe, the shipping rates are surprisingly reasonable. They have divided their shipping rates into four “zones”. Canada is in Zone B, the second least expensive, ranging between €14 and €20, depending on what you are getting (cardboard vs wood; expansion alone vs bundle). By comparison, Zone A, which includes the USA, the UK, and a large portion of Europe, is between €10 and €16. The most expensive shipping rate (the dreaded “rest of the world”) tops out at €34 – €40.