Get into…Wingspan overview
‘You are bird enthusiasts – researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors – seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:
-Gain food tokens via custom dice in a bird feeder dice tower
-Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colours
-Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them
The winner is the player with the most points accumulated from birds, bonus cards, end of round goals, eggs, cached food and tucked birds.’
Get into Wingspan gameplay:
The game is played over 4 rounds each culminating in a different end of round goal win condition. On your turn as stated earlier, you can either play a bird card, gain food tokens, lay eggs or draw more bird cards. You will want to do everything but this game has you choosing which action is more pertinent to you at this moment. Placing birds starts by costing you nothing but the more birds you place out in your tableau, the more expensive they become – costing you eggs. Food tokens are needed to attract birds to your park. Each bird has its preferred food type which is denoted at the top left of the card. Some birds will only eat a particular type of food, others will choose between a range of food. You can create wild food by paying 2 foods of the same type. Some goal conditions will require eggs to be laid by certain birds or for certain nests to contain certain eggs. Last but not least, drawing birds is essential as you progress through the game, you may only start with 2/3 birds so you will definitely want to attract more as the game goes on. This constant battle between needing resources and paying to place birds will have your brain in a frazzle and gets you thinking several steps ahead to find the ultimate path to victory.
3 words to describe this game: variety, twitching, beauty
Get into…Wingspan components:
I rulebook,1 appendix,1 Automatic rulebook – the rule books for this game are really straight forward and simple to understand. I love that this game comes with some additional player cards and starting information to allow you to teach this game to newbies really easily. We used this to help us with our first game. It essentially was a walkthrough of a couple of turns for each player but enabled you to have a go at trying all the action spaces, understanding how they work and it was just enough to feel confident that you could continue with the game. For our second and subsequent games, we did not use these starting cards and instructions but I think if we were going to teach it to friends or family then we most certainly would get them out again
1 goal board: This is a board which holds the goal tiles. What we loved about this is that there is a competitive side and a slightly less competitive side. It’s all to do with how many points you are awarded for completing tiles but the nice thing was that when you play as 2, you have the option to have the end game scoring be slightly closer if you use a particular side which worked better for us. Of course, if you are playing with more than two people then the more competitive side might be more appropriate. The options on which side you want to use suited us and it made a nice change to be able to choose between them
1 bird tray: This is a plastic tray which holds the cards for storage but also is used to display birds in game. It’s neat in that it secures the card for storage. It doesn’t necessarily add anything to the gameplay but as with most Stonemaier games – aesthetics are good.
5 player mats: Personally I love these player mats. They are folded in two but the attention to detail is sublime. I love that the back of the player mats almost look like leather giving the impression of it being a leather bound journal of some sort. The symbology is clear on the player mats and it is fairly easy to understand what you an achieve by going to the different spaces once you understand the action selection mechanism
1 bird feeder dice tower: Aesthetically, this looks amazing set out on the table. It is easy to fit together and stores easily in the box when taken apart – which is not something that could be said for the likes of the Everdell tree. I am a little worried about how long the bird feeder will last. Is it sturdy enough to be taken in and out of the box and assembled? I’m not sure, but for now it adds to the feeling and theme of the game and I love it.
1 score pad: does what it says – gives you the ability to complete end game scoring – again very intuitive and clear as to the elements you need to score at the end of the game
170 bird cards: what a great variety of cards. It means that gameplay is always fresh as you won’t see the same birds coming out time after time. The cards are easy to read and follow and beautiful artwork.
16 Automa cards: for solo play – can’t comment on how well these work as haven’t played solo yet
75 egg miniatures: the cutest eggs, that stand up and everything. Ok at first I wasn’t struck on some of the more garish colours but these are so tactile and a lovely addition to the game.
5 custom wooden dice: I love these wooden dice. Obviously they are just dice but they are in keeping with the theme and again are great from a tactile perspective. Really easy to read the symbols. Look great on the table and in the bird feeder.
40 wooden action cubes: these are in player colours and denote the amount of turns in a round. Each player starts of with 10 but then at the end of the round, will have to assign one to the end of round goal, leaving you with 9 turns for the next round. This continues each round, dropping a turn each time until the end of the game.
103 food tokens
8 goal tiles: these denote different end of round goal conditions, symbology is straightforward and it is easy to understand what you are looking at
Get into…Wingspan overall thoughts:
To be honest with you, Wingspan was never really on my radar. I dismissed it out of hand as I am not interested in birds and the theme just never appealed to me. Ever since, I have been in the hobby of collecting, reviewing and playing board games, I have heard about Wingspan and often thought – I wonder what all the fuss is about. I had talked myself into it just being one of those games that has been hyped up but something just kept me coming back to the fact that I probably needed to try it.
When the opportunity arose, I decided to check it out and I am really glad I did. My first play through left me thinking it was ok and I could see its appeal but I couldn’t fully comprehend why so many people love this game. For me, having experienced the other Stonemaier games – I love Viticulture and Scythe – I just felt a little underwhelmed. I could see it was a solid game but I didn’t buy into it.
I played it again and again and then something started to click. I started to see why there is so much interest in this game. First of all, I would say one of the outstanding features of this game is accessibility. You can pick this up and with a couple of turns, you get it. It’s intuitive and it makes sense and it looks beautiful. Ok, I’m never going to be an ornithologist or a bird watcher but I can appreciate the level of research and attention to detail that has gone into this game. The artwork is incredible and the fact that even the amount of eggs a bird can hold on its card is directly linked to a real life fact about the breeding profile. This kind of detail in a board game is for me amazing. The components are well put together and a visual treat for the eyes. It’s a relatively short play time which means you can play a couple of games back to back and/or include it in your games night without it taking the whole night and for this reason, it has gone up in my estimation. I am beginning to see its appeal and it has turned my head. I’m excited to play more games of this beautiful engine building game and who knows I might just purchase the European birds expansion – see told you I’d changed my opinion! Definitely one to try – don’t dismiss it like me. It’s staying for sure!