Full disclosure: I was sent a prototype of some aspects of the Jagged Earth expansion by Greater Than Games to try out for this preview.
The Jagged Earth campaign will run until November 16, 2018 and can be found here.
What is Jagged Earth about?
Jagged Earth is the second expansion for Spirit Island, which is one of my absolute favorite board games and which I reviewed last year. If you have not yet played Spirit Island, you should—it's a game in which you (and possibly friends) are island spirits who are helping your native people, the Dahan, fight back against European invaders who are seeking to colonize your island and plunder its natural resources.
The Jagged Earth expansion adds several new spirits to the game, as well as new aspect cards that allow you to swap out innate powers and special rules of spirits you already have from the base game, meaning you can play spirits you know and love, but with some fun strategic change-ups. You'll also receive new scenarios and new adversaries to pit yourself against, as well as enough island tiles to accommodate more players and to try new island configurations. In other words, it's a lot more Spirit Island goodness, and if that's your kind of thing, it looks like this expansion will make you very, very happy.
What I like about Jagged Earth
I love what Jagged Earth represents about Spirit Island--that such a strategically challenging game still has room to grow and ways to surprise me. Spirit Island is one of my very few five-star games on this website, and an expansion that will keep extending the fun for me is more than welcome. I particularly like that there are both new spirits altogether and new ways to play old spirits—the puzzle of figuring out how best to deploy spirit powers is what makes Spirit Island so fascinating to play.
Possible Concerns about Jagged Earth
I am a solo gamer, and one thing I like about Spirit Island is that it's possible either to play as a solo spirit or to control multiple spirits yourself. Many of the new powers, as well as the new spirits that have been sent to previewers so far, seem like they will play much better as part of a cooperative game with more than one spirit. I don't mind playing Spirit Island two-handed—in fact, I generally think it's better that way—but sometimes I only have enough brainpower to control a single spirit, and with so many cooperative powers in this new expansion, it might not become one that I pull out for pure solo play. That's not a serious problem, and it will in no way prevent me from enjoying Spirit Island and its expansions in their entirety. But if you are a "pure" solo player, what I've seen of this expansion so far may not float your boat.
Should I back it?
I intend to out of sheer love for and loyalty to Spirit Island, because it's really one of "my" games. However, if you don't have $60 this month and need to wait, I wouldn't panic. Games from Greater Than Games inevitably make it to retail, and you will eventually be able to pick this expansion up after it goes out to backers and hits wider distribution. If you love Spirit Island and aren't obsessed with promos, this expansion will almost certainly make you happy—but you can get it on your own timeline.