rice farming in a box

Spirits of the Rice Paddy

Ancient Balinese legend describes a host of powerful spirits who help poor rice farmers achieve success. These farmers have long used a sophisticated irrigation system to organize rice cultivation by integrating religious devotion and social responsibility with traditional farming methods. Even modern farmers seek to placate the spirit world in their quest to produce an abundant harvest.


Spirits of the Rice Paddy contains a wealth of components, including:




Full-color, easy-to-read rulebook. Download the rules here.



Main Board

Track turns, shows rice gained when harvesting and display rain for the current season.


Player Boards

Each player has a board which contains their field. Use walls and gates to partition the field into paddies. Player boards also contain the market and farm actions area.


Setup Cards

Each player is dealt a random setup card which tells him where to add rocks to his field, and what assets to begin the game with.


Rain Cards

One rain card is revealed each turn and placed on the main board. It shows the amount of water available that turn and whether weeds or pests invade paddies.


Spirit Cards

Spirit cards give players abilities. Low-numbered spirit cards have weaker abilities, but get the precious water before players with higher-numbered cards.


Achievement Tiles

At the end of each turn, players may take one achievement tile each, as they complete the goals on the tiles. Achievement tiles provide valuable rice.



Water is tracked in players’ paddies using water discs. Only a limited number of discs are available each turn, as indicated on the rain card.


Magic Water

Magic water is always present in a paddy hex, and counts as either being present or not present, as desired by the player.


Round Tracker

Marks the current draft or game round.



Each field starts with 4 rocks, as shown on the setup cards. Rocks must be removed by livestock before paddies can be built there. Rocks are wooden pieces in the game.



Walls are built by laborers or livestock and separate fields into manageable paddies. Walls are wooden pieces in the game.



Each paddy has one entry and one exit gate that are used to flow water through the paddy. Gates are wooden pieces in the game.



Players start with 10 laborers and can hire more from their markets. Laborers plant, weed, harvest and build walls. Laborers are wooden pieces in the game.



Livestock serve a vital role. Oxen dig up rocks and build walls while ducks rid the paddy of pests and fertilize.



Weeds clog fields and reduce the rice produced at harvest. Laborers can clear weeds if there is no water in the paddy. Weeds are wooden pieces in the game.



Like weeds, pests reduce the rice harvested. Pests can be eliminated by livestock (ducks) if there is no water in the paddy. Pests are wooden pieces in the game.



Livestock can leave fertilizer in fields with no water that are planted, but not fully grown. This increases the rice yield. Fertilizer are wooden pieces in the game.


Plant/Grow Tokens

These tokens are placed Plant side up when a field is planted. A planted paddy with water will automatically grow.


Rice Tokens

Rice is gained by harvesting paddies, collecting achievements and from some of the Spirit cards. Rice buys livestock and hires laborers from the market. The player with the most rice wins!


In Spirits of the Rice Paddy players must compete with fellow rice farmers to construct and tend rice paddies. Oxen can build walls and remove large rocks. Ducks can be employed to eat harmful pests and fertilize the fledgling crops. Weeds must be kept at bay. And, most importantly, water must be conserved and released with the greatest of care.

With a little luck, all that back-breaking labor will pay off in the end. The good news is that the spirits are eager to assist, granting many special abilities, blessings and magic. The farmer who produces the most rice over seven rounds wins the game.

Rahdo Runs Through Spirits

Reviewer Richard Ham gives his impressions of Spirits of the Rice Paddy after playing a pre-production copy.

...a wonderful, perfect farming simulation!

Rahdo Runs Through

A very interesting and intricate puzzle!

Rahdo Runs Through



Designer Philip duBarry

Philip duBarry is the designer of Revolution!, Courtier, and several other board games and expansions. Philip has been playing and creating games since childhood and has done so on a professional basis for about the last six years.

Spirits has been in the works since 2010 and is perhaps his most heavily playtested game to date. He lives in Cincinnati with his wife and six children.

Players, Ages  & Time

Spirits can be played by 2-4 players, ages 13+. It can be played in about 90 minutes. Buy the game from APE Games and get special cards and a board to play the game solo!

  • 2-4 players

  • ages 13+

  • 90 minutes

Spirits News

Meeple Realty building a Spirits insert

| Spirits of the Rice Paddy | No Comments
Meeple Realty showed us a prototype of their Spirits of the Rice Paddy game insert. This one's pretty darned cool - even though it's not yet finished! The middle picture…