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Review of Wingspan

Posted Monday, 1-Jul-2019

In Wingspan, you must attract the best birds to your wildlife preserves, and create combinations to maximize your actions.

 

Contributed by Carol LaGrow

 

 

Wingspan, designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and published by Stonemaier Games (Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig, Euphoria, Scythe) is a game about collecting birds and creating combinations.

 

Wingspan box
Wingspan box

 

There are 170 bird cards, each beautifully illustrated, with facts about each bird. 26 bonus cards and 8 double-sided goal tiles add to the variable setup and replayability.

 

Setting up

Wingspan has high-quality components and thoughtful extras that are helpful and look great on the table. For example, the card display is a custom-designed tray that also has a base for storage.

 

Custom card tray
Custom card tray

 

The egg tokens are three-dimensional and durable.

 

Egg tokens
Egg tokens

 

The dice are full-sized, with artwork from the game. And, the thing that will perhaps get the most notice when you set up the game, the dice are rolled in a dice tower shaped like a birdfeeder.

 

Birdfeeder dice tower
Birdfeeder dice tower

 

Set up is pretty straight-forward, and doesn’t take much time. The dice are put into the dice tower, the food and egg tokens are placed within reach to create a supply, and three bird cards are put into the display.

 

Food tokens
Food tokens

 

The goal board has two sides, blue and green. The blue side allows players to directly score what they have achieved,

 

Blue side of goal board, with goal tokens
Blue side of the goal board

 

while the green side has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each goal.

 

Green side of the goal board, with goal tokens
Green side of the goal board

 

Once players decide which side to use, 4 goal tiles are randomly placed on the goal board.

The player boards are large and sturdy. They fold to fit back into the game box.

 

Player board, folded and open
Player board, folded and open

 

In addition to a player board, players receive the cubes in one color, 2 bonus cards, 5 bird cards, and a food token of each type.

 

Components given to each player
Components given to each player

 

The remaining bird and bonus cards stay on the table in facedown draw piles.

 

Playing Wingspan

Each turn, players choose from four actions:

-Add a bird

-Gather food

-Lay eggs

-Take bird cards

 

Players use one of their 8 cubes to perform an action. At the end of the round, players use one of their cubes to mark their points on the goal board. That means that in the second round, they will have 7 actions, in the third round, they will have 6 actions, and in the final round, they will have 5 actions.

 

Game in play
Game in play

 

Because the actions become more powerful, and they will also be using the abilities of previously played cards, while players will have fewer turns, they will be able to do more with each turn.

 

Adding a bird

Birds have food and habitat requirements, shown in the upper left of the card.

 

Bird cards and food tokens
Bird cards and food tokens

 

Bird cards give direct victory points at the end of the game, but can also help fulfill bonus cards, and goals on the goal board.

 

Gathering food

Food is needed to add birds to a player’s board, and may also be used to lay an extra egg when using certain action spaces.

 

Food in the birdfeeder
Food in the birdfeeder

 

Some birds also have an ability to store food on their card, which is worth victory points at the end of the game.

 

Laying eggs

Eggs on a bird card score victory points at the end of the game, and may be needed for bonus cards or goals on the goal card.

 

Eggs score points at the end of the game
Eggs score points at the end of the game

 

Eggs are also used to add bird cards to higher-level spaces on a player’s board.

 

Taking bird cards

Players are dealt 5 bird cards at the beginning of the game, and may choose to pay food to keep them, but more cards will be needed throughout the game.

 

Examples of bonus cards
Examples of bonus cards

 

Bird cards are mostly used to play them on a player’s board, but some actions spaces allow you to spend a card for an extra food die, some goals and bonus cards require them, and some birds allow you to tuck cards underneath to score points at the end of the game.

 

Scoring

At the end of the game, players receive victory points for the feather value on each bird card, any eggs and food on their bird cards, and any cards tucked under their bird cards.

 

First player marker and score sheet
First player marker and score sheet

 

Players also score points for satisfying bonus cards and end-of-round goals.

 

Comparing Wingspan

Because each player selects actions on their own player board, they do not have to compete for spots on a shared board like in Viticulture. Other players may affect your plans inasmuch as they may take a bird card that you have your eye on, or take the food that you were hoping for from the birdfeeder, but they can’t eat your bird cards like they can in Evolution: The Beginning.

 

Game in play
Game in play

 

Player interaction is relatively low. It can be nudged a little higher or a little lower depending on which side of the goal board you choose for a particular game.

 

Scoring cubes on the goal board
Scoring cubes on the goal board

 

Players who like to develop their own strategy and finesse their timing to maximize their actions will find a lot to like about Wingspan.

 

Buying Wingspan

Wingspan looks great on the table, and it’s no surprise that Beth Sobel is one of the illustrators. Beth has worked on such games as Arboretum, Herbaceous, Herbaceous Sprouts, Viticulture, and Tuscany.

 

Wingspan box
Wingspan box

 

Stonemaier Games is an experienced publisher, and it shows in their attention to detail. As a big-box game full of custom components, it retails for about $55. Its ease of teaching, solo option, and great replayability make it a good value.

 

 

Published by BoardGamePrices.com



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