Wingspan - Stonemaier Games - $55
Game title: Wingspan
Game description: Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games. You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions)
Wingspan. There’s been a lot of hype behind Stonemaier’s latest game, and also a bit of controversy. It’s beautifully illustrated, yet unassuming box doesn’t give much away other than the fact that the game is about birds. It’s a theme we don’t often see in board games and one that might very interesting to many at first glance. Does Wingspan live up to the hype?
Engaging Engine Building
Game Trayz included
Bird theme may not appeal to everyone
Full Wingspan Review
Wingspan. There’s been a lot of hype behind Stonemaier’s latest game, and also a bit of controversy. It’s beautifully illustrated, yet unassuming box doesn’t give much away other than the fact that the game is about birds. It’s a theme we don’t often see in board games and one that might not seem very interesting to many at first glance. Does Wingspan live up to the hype?
I’m not ashamed to admit that I had no interest in Wingspan when it was first announced. Even when the initial posts starting dropping saying how great the game was it still took some time for me to really become curious. By the time I was, it was too late. The game was sold out everywhere and was awaiting a 2nd and 3rd print run. Then Jamey Stegmaier emailed me to see if I would be interested in a Wingspan review copy. Score.
Wingspan is visually stunning both inside and out. The minimal box cover is striking, while the inclusion of Game Trayz inside the box is the perfect compliment to the beautifully illustrated cards, colorful wooden eggs, and cardboard, birdhouse styled dice tower. The over-sized player boards contain both a wonderful artistic representation of 3 different habitats and well as clear and appealing iconography.
Upon reading the rules for the first time I was even more excited to get the game to the table and quickly wrangled two of my sons into playing with me. One of them, my 13-year-old, is a huge bird fan, so it didn’t take too much convincing. The rules provided in the box were expertly written, laid out, and contained little factoids sprinkled throughout. It didn’t take long for us to be up and running.
Mechanically, Wingspan is just as beautiful as its components. It’s an engine building game where you play birds to different habits by feeding them resources, and sometimes using collected eggs. These birds are then used to score more points, gain more resources, and to lay more eggs. The better your engine, the more points you’re going to rack up by the end of the game.
Each round you get a certain number of actions to take. This can be gathering resources, placing a bird, laying eggs, etc… Each round that goes by leaves you with one less action than the last. This means you’d better have a tight plan in order to still be able to produce points by the end of the game or you’ll be in trouble. It’s a mechanic that I really dig.
The dice in Wingspan also serve a much different purpose than initially thought they would. At the start of the game, you roll them through the tower, dictating what the starting resources available to be taken are. Once each die is snatched up they’re rolled through the tower again to reveal a new set of available resources. It’s a little bit of randomness that adds a bit of the unknown to the game, but not enough so that it could really screw a player over.
Wingspan has quickly become a favorite in our house, especially with my older son who loves the field-guide worthy bird illustrations and interesting bird facts on every card. Even if you’re not into the whole bird theme, I highly recommend giving the game a shot. It’s so well thought out and wonderfully produced that it shouldn’t be passed up.
A copy of Wingspan was provided free for review by Stonemaier Games
Media personality Rob Kalajian has been a staple in the board game world for many years. As a former writer for Purple Pawn and the owner of A Pawn’s Perspective, Rob focuses on board game reviews, events, and news. A self-proclaimed geek, Rob loves all things toys and games and even helps raise his four kids in his spare time.