Books Gaming GeekDad Approved Tabletop Games

When Bird Collecting Meets Engine Building, The Results Are Very Good

Wingspan game
Studying Time: 10 minutes

Wingspan game

What Is Wingspan?

Wingspan is a aggressive bird-collection, engine-building recreation for 1-5 gamers. The recreation, the most recent from Stonemaier Video games, is meant for gamers aged 10 years and up and performs in 40-70 minutes, relying in your participant rely.

Wingspan Elements

Within the field, you’ll discover:

  • A rulebook
  • An appendix
  • A second rulebook and sixteen playing cards to control Automa play
  • 1 objective board
  • 1 fowl tray
  • 5 participant mats
  • A birdfeeder cube tower
  • A scorepad
  • 170 hen playing cards
  • 26 bonus playing cards
  • 75 egg tokens
  • 5 customized picket cube
  • 40 participant motion cubes (eight every in 5 colours)
  • 103 meals tokens (21 grain, 21 mice, 21 fish, 21 worm, 19 berries)
  • eight double-sided aim tiles
  • A primary participant token

Wingspan action cubes

Earlier than starting on the elements, you’ll acknowledge that this can be a beautiful recreation, simply probably the most engaging of all the Stonemaier Video games so far. Each single fowl card is totally different, with a singular illustration for each chook. Moreover, every card consists of its genus and species, habitat, meals requirement, wingspan size, nest sort, egg capability — all pretty true to life — and VP the hen is value, any particular powers, in addition to some trivial sort of data. (Whereas a number of the birds might be discovered elsewhere across the globe, these on this recreation are primarily North American birds. It is sensible, thematically, however Stonemaier has already stated they could acquire birds from different areas in future expansions.)

There’s a variety of info on every card, however it’s introduced in a method that doesn’t really feel overwhelming in any respect. They’re a pleasure to take a look at and, in a approach, it looks like perusing an Audubon area information. If there’s any grievance, it’s that the backs are symmetrical of their design in order that there’s no straightforward solution to inform which finish is the highest of a card.

Wingspan is GeekDad Permitted!

The participant mats current a stunning tableau for gamers. Every folds in half and is printed with a leather-looking texture, which creates a sensation of a portfolio you may take with you into the sector, to take notes whereas fowl watching. Open the mat up and place it in entrance of you and there’s a lovely, virtually pastoral setting: a small physique of water on the entrance, receding to grasslands, with forests and hills within the distance. These symbolize the three habitats of Wingspan. Printed over this panorama are icons and a grid, which assist with play. Extra on that within the subsequent part.

The fowl tray is ideal. When the sport shouldn’t be in use, it’s residence for the hen and bonus playing cards. Throughout play, it permits presentation for the playing cards, which may be drawn. Its prime is adorned with a chook in flight and inside, in three wells, are abbreviated representations of the cardboard backs, so you recognize the place to retailer your playing cards.

The objective board, objective tiles, and bonus playing cards all present finish of recreation scoring. The aim board has two sides, one for simpler play and one other for superior play. The tiles are additionally double-sided, so that every recreation will really feel very totally different. The objective playing cards are merely textual content with some icons. They’ve very intelligent titles.

Wingspan cards

The picket, six-sided cube can be just like these of you who performed Charterstone (learn our evaluate). These 5, similar cube, every face a kind of meals, are a bit lighter in wooden colour and a tiny bit smaller than the die in Charterstone. In any other case, they’re fairly comparable. For those who have been paying consideration earlier, you’d know that there are 5 meals varieties to go on this D6. The open face is crammed with an both/or icon for worms or grain, the most typical meals varieties on fowl playing cards.

These cube shall be tossed right into a cardboard cube tower, common to seem like a mixture fowl home and feeder. It’s cute and positively provides to the theme and performs in addition to you’d anticipate from a cardboard cube tower, which is, to say, somewhat bit awkwardly. Regardless of, bonus factors for staying on theme and including an “extra” to the sport.

When a participant takes a die from the birdfeeder, they set the die apart and take a consultant cardboard token as an alternative. They’re small, dime-sized, and double-sided. They work fantastic, however I’m positive somebody will provide you with some 3D tokens to take their place. Which may current some issues since Wingspan ships with out an insert. On the aspect of the underside half of the field is a schematic displaying learn how to repack the sport — and every part matches fairly neatly, with meals tokens discovering a house in a few plastic bins, which include the sport.


Additionally in plastic bins are the sport’s egg tokens. These 3D, pastel coloured tokens are enjoyable and positive to get consideration when the sport is on the desk — they’re little eggs, in any case! They arrive in 5 colours, which is irrelevant to gameplay, as they’re interchangeable. Nevertheless, I do look ahead to seeing somebody inventive paint them to seem much more lifelike.

It’s value mentioning that the rulebooks and appendix are additionally fairly to take a look at and completely luxurious to carry, printed on some seemingly magical linen paper that Stonemaier has found; it’s the identical paper as was utilized in Between Two Castles of Mad King Ludwig (learn our evaluation). The first participant token options the Scissor-Tailed Flycatcher that’s on the duvet of the field. Lastly, the motion cubes are merely picket cubes. All in all, it’s very top-notch, the identical top quality you will see that in all Stonemaier video games.

Tips on how to Play Wingspan


Bird playing cards must be shuffled and positioned face down by the hen tray, the place three playing cards are positioned face up. Meals tokens and eggs are positioned within the middle of the desk, together with the cube tower. Toss the cube and shuffle the bonus playing cards and also you’re virtually there. Select a aspect of the objective board (one aspect is extra aggressive)and place tiles for every of the 4 objectives.

Everybody will get a participant mat, 5 random chook playing cards, two bonus playing cards, motion cubes of their chosen colour, and one meals token of every sort. Gamers should now take a look at the top of recreation objectives, their very own bonus playing cards, and the hen playing cards they’ve ben dealt. Now’s the time to start formulating a technique. Assume shortly, since you should discard one of many bonus playing cards earlier than play begins. You’ll be able to maintain as lots of your birds playing cards as you’d like, however you should discard a meals token for every one you retain.

Select a primary participant and also you’re prepared to start.

Wingspan board gameSetup for a 3 participant recreation


Wingspan is performed over 4 rounds with a reducing variety of actions every spherical. There are 4 totally different actions a participant can tackle their flip and an motion could be repeated throughout every spherical. You’ll be able to study the sport right here or within the rulebook or on web page 2 of the appendix is a household pleasant, step-by-step walkthrough. It’s a neat choice.

The participant mat is split into three fundamental rows for the actions of gaining meals, laying eggs, and drawing playing cards, and a fourth, slender row for enjoying birds. The rows additionally characterize the habitats, with meals within the forest, eggs within the grassland and playing cards within the water. That’s actually the sport: enjoying a hen out of your hand to your participant mat, gaining meals, laying eggs, and drawing chook playing cards. Easy, proper? Properly, it’s truly an excellent deal extra concerned than these actions make appear.

Wingspan birdhouse

Enjoying a hen works somewhat in a different way than the opposite actions, so it is going to be addressed first. A participant ought to evaluation the hen card they want to play. Think about the habitat the fowl is match for, within the higher left of the hen card. Some birds could be positioned in a number of habitats, so the participant should determine. Subsequent, the participant has to ensure they’ve sufficient meals tokens to cowl the chook’s meals requirement, which is slightly below the habitat on the chook card. These thought-about, the participant ought to place an motion dice on the “play a bird” row on the very prime. Playing cards should all the time be positioned within the leftmost open spot of a habitat. As spots refill within the rows under, gamers should additionally pay an egg value to fill in spots alongside the additional columns.

There are three different actions a participant might take they usually work a bit in another way than putting a fowl. To take meals, lay eggs, or draw playing cards, a participant locations an motion dice on the leftmost open spot on that row. As gamers play birds and push that leftmost open spot additional out, the advantages turn into higher. Moreover, after taking the motion on the open spot, the participant then strikes the motion dice left, stopping on any fowl playing cards with a brown band itemizing a profit. Gamers optionally take the profit earlier than shifting the motion dice to different birds, taking their actions, earlier than leaving the dice on the far left of their boards.

Wingspan bird cardsSome chook playing cards.

It’s value noting that not all hen playing cards have a brown motion. Some playing cards have a white background with textual content that grants a profit when the cardboard is first performed and others have a pink band that provides a profit when one other participant’s motion triggers the pink band.

Whereas gamers should all the time place their motion cubes on the leftmost area, at the start of the sport, that is the place the poorest payoffs reside. To get the great rewards, you have to play hen playing cards to cowl the straightforward actions. However the hen playing cards have habitat and meals necessities, which aren’t all the time straightforward to fill. Meals is scarce and the cube faces don’t all the time cooperate together with your wants. (Any two meals tokens could also be spent as a wild meals token, fortunately.) Bird playing cards in your hand might not match up together with your finish of recreation bonus playing cards or the objectives within the middle of the desk. Too typically, you could end up considering “I really need one more turn.”

Wingspan board gameSimpler finish recreation objectives …

On the finish of every spherical, after everybody has performed all of their cubes, the aim card is consulted and outcomes tallied. Objectives embrace issues like complete birds in a sure habitat or eggs in a sure sort of nest or habitat. An motion dice is taken from every participant to attain that spherical’s aim and so every spherical, gamers have one much less motion to take.

The revealed hen playing cards on the tray are discarded and changed, the primary participant token is rotated and the subsequent spherical begins.

On the finish of the sport, factors are scored for VP on hen playing cards which were performed to every participant’s mat, any bonus card scoring, and factors on the objective board. Moreover, gamers earn a single level for eggs on their participant boards, meals cached on playing cards, and playing cards tucked underneath different playing cards … which brings up the most effective elements of Wingspan, the chook powers.

Wingspan board game… and a extra aggressive model.

As talked about, when the brown bands activate, sure birds train sure powers. These differ between gaining additional meals within the type of tokens or, true to nature, different birds. Different birds have egg, flocking, fishing, or card-drawing powers. Many of those powers are consultant of birds’ actual behaviors. As an example, contemplate brood parasitic birds like cowbirds and a few cuckoos. In actual life, they may lay their eggs in one other species’ nest and that chook will hatch and lift the hen. Within the recreation, the fowl playing cards for the cuckoo and cowbird permit gamers to put an egg on one other chook’s nest. One other instance is that of ravens and crows, who’re opportunistic feeders, stealing from different birds. Within the recreation, when activated, a participant can discard an egg from one other fowl’s nest on their mat to realize 2 meals from the availability. (As a caveat, playing cards meant to be tucked can wreak havoc in your participant mat, knocking over eggs and shifting playing cards. We home-ruled this by tucking beneath the participant mat as an alternative.)

There are numerous, many different examples, however these are emblematic. The powers are the perfect a part of the sport, supplying you with additional choices as you construct your engine, however they’re additionally brilliantly executed in being consultant of actual chook conduct. Some actual thought and arduous work went into making Wingspan not solely enjoyable to play however correct.

Wingspan board gameA potential endgame board.

Why You Ought to Play Wingspan

Right here’s the one factor I need to say about Wingspan: It’s my favourite recreation I’ve performed up to now yr. Perhaps longer. Since my second or third play of Wingspan, I haven’t actually needed to play a lot else. It’s beautiful and enjoyable and each play leaves me wanting extra. There are such a lot of playing cards with totally different talents and powers, it’s all the time difficult to attempt to construct up totally different habitats for various advantages, to satisfy private and common objectives.

I really like that opening rounds have weaker actions, earlier than you begin including birds to your mat, however gamers are allowed to take extra actions. And, as the sport attracts to an in depth and actions are extra highly effective, gamers are held up by having fewer actions obtainable to take. It presents some actual challenges and, as I discussed earlier than, video games typically finish with an exclamation of needing “one more turn!”

The elements are wonderful and the playing cards, particularly, are very pleasurable to learn and admire and the hen powers are correct to most of the birds. A variety of work went into the sport, which is much more spectacular when you think about that is designer Elizabeth Hargrave’s first revealed recreation. She is certainly a designer to maintain your eye on. It’s in all probability additionally value mentioning that on this male-dominated pastime, Hargrave’s illustrators for Wingspan are Natalia Rojas, Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, and Beth Sobel, making Wingspan an all-female design staff.

Wingspan player matsThe participant mats.

I requested Jamey Stegmaier at Stonemaier Video games about what drew him to Wingspan and to take an opportunity on a first-time designer. He stated “In my relatively short time as a professional designer and publisher, I’ve learned that it isn’t easy to create dozens and dozens of unique cards. And it’s even more difficult for those cards to have mechanisms that match the theme of each individual card. So when I saw that Elizabeth had accomplished that with over 100 bird cards (170 in the final version), I knew there was something special about the game and about the designer.”

When prompted additional, Stegmaier added, “It just felt good to look at the birds I had collected during the game—there was something satisfying and pleasant about it. Last, it was clear that Elizabeth had playtested the game a ton and was open to constructive feedback so the game could fully reach its potential.”

That dedication is obvious within the completed product, which is implausible. I feel Wingspan bears some resemblance to a different of my favourite video games of the previous few years, Terraforming Mars. Actually, Stonemaier attracts the identical parallels of their lead-up advertising. I’ve performed that recreation rather a lot. Whereas each video games contain loads of playing cards, engine constructing to work towards private and group objectives, and shopping for playing cards throughout setup, I can say that they’re solely totally different affairs. Wingspan is perhaps only a tiny bit lighter in recreation weight. It has extra complicated objectives however easier actions — which is definitely refreshing. Particularly when enjoying with expansions like Colonies and Venus Rising, Terraforming Mars is beginning to really feel like there’s an excessive amount of tacked on. Wingspan doesn’t endure from that “complexity for complexity’s sake” and it’s 100 occasions prettier to take a look at. Plus, Wingspan virtually all the time performs in beneath an hour, so I can get extra individuals fascinated about enjoying it. (I nonetheless love Terraforming Mars, although!)

Wingspan board gameDecide a colour.

Wingspan has another factor going for it, its theme. There aren’t many hen video games on the market and none accomplished in addition to this one. What’s extra, because of its mechanics, it’s very household pleasant — aggressive however not combative — and there’s a good chance gamers will study one thing whereas enjoying. What extra might you ask for?

I’ve almost two dozen performs underneath my belt already and haven’t misplaced any curiosity in Wingspan. I anticipate enjoying this lovely, uniquely-themed, fun-to-play recreation for a very long time to return. I think you might prefer it, too.

Wingspan shall be obtainable by means of retailers in March for $55. Stonemaier Champions can obtain the sport this month (delivery begins at the moment!) and for a reduction ($49) when you order by way of January eight.

Wingspan board gameA person named Algernon in Saint Denis can pay you handsomely for these.

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Disclosure: This recreation got here is a part of my private assortment.

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