A card game about bird watching and collecting that is far more strategic than it looks.
Don't have time to read? Check out our How To Play video!
Designer Elizabeth Hargreaves has put together a game with a very peaceful theme, relaxing (and satisfying!) mechanics, and a startlingly competitive edge.
What’s great about Wingspan is how malleable it is as an experience. Beth Sobel’s art of some 300+ birds makes simply collecting the birds you love the most an extremely appealing venture. The mechanics of selecting the birds from your hand, or from a central reserve (similar to deckbuilders like Dominion and DC), are easy to understand even for people unfamiliar with board games.
In Wingspan, you’re building a tableau from your atrium. You have a player board with three distinct environments, and each bird has it’s home. As you add birds to your atrium, they’ll provide ‘powers’ that activate depending on the actions you take – such as feeding, drawing cards or laying eggs.
Sure, while ‘bird powers’ doesn’t really gel as a concept, it’s best to think of them as how each bird contributes to the ecosystem of the atrium you’re building. One of the things that makes the game so replayable is the millions of combinations of birds you can have in your atrium, and how each of those powers interacts.
If you like playing board games for strategy, it’s here that the core mechanics really come to life. If you’re familiar with other Stonemaier games like scythe or Tapestry, then you’ll know that engine building is a core theme – and something the designers often get very right.
Taking an action, such as laying eggs, and then triggering off a series of ‘bird powers’ which grant you exponential value is an extremely satisfying feeling – and one that is achieved by meticulous consideration of the cards in your hand, in the central reserve, and the actions of your opponents.
Like most other Stonemaier games, Wingspan includes a mode that allows you to play solo. Using the Automa system from their other titles, solo Wingspan can be an excellent challenge, a relaxing game of solitaire, or a great way to practice your strategy before game night – it really depends on what you want to get out of it.
The vast array of ways to experience this game is one of the reasons its so appealing to such a broad range of players.
No discussion of a Stonemaier game would be complete without mention of the stellar quality of their components. Most notably (outside of the return of Stonemaier plastic textured cards), the birdfeeder dace tower and pastel egg tokens are extremely aesthetically pleasing, and if you’re like me, please do your best to refrain from eating the eggs – they just look so delicious!
Wingspan, like most good games, is ideal for your regular board game night, family night, or for challenging yourself solo on your kitchen table. Be sure to check out our ‘How To Play’ video for more insight into this excellent game!
Wingspan available right now on the Good Games online store – and don’t forget, we have free shipping Australia-wide for orders over $100!