Posted Monday, 1-Jul-2019
In Wingspan, you must attract the best birds to your wildlife preserves, and create combinations to maximize your actions.
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.
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.
The egg tokens are three-dimensional and durable.
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.
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.
The goal board has two sides, blue and green. The blue side allows players to directly score what they have achieved,
while the green side has 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place for each goal.
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.
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.
The remaining bird and bonus cards stay on the table in facedown draw piles.
Each turn, players choose from four actions:
-Add a bird
-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.
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 give direct victory points at the end of the game, but can also help fulfill bonus cards, and goals on the goal board.
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.
Some birds also have an ability to store food on their card, which is worth victory points at the end of the game.
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 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.
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.
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.
Players also score points for satisfying bonus cards and end-of-round goals.
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.
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.
Players who like to develop their own strategy and finesse their timing to maximize their actions will find a lot to like about 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.
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
A review of Bomb Squad Academy, a press your luck card game where you must have nerves of steel.
Kingdomino jumps on the roll & write party, Burgle Bros 2 slides into the vault, and some really exciting Kickstarter Projects in this week’s Board Game News Brief.