Wingspan Game Review

Wingspan Game Review

Wingspan Game Review

Want details on how Wingspan plays? Check out the Game Overview. Want to know what we think of this game – keep reading below.

Stonemaier Games has a created some great games over the past few years. Viticulture, Scythe, and Charterstone to name a few. We’re going to review one of their classic games. Wingspan!

The Game – Wingspan

In Wingspan, you are competing against your fellow players as bird enthusiasts to create the best bird habitats you can. You are trying to lay down bird cards from your hand onto a player mat to score points. Points are calculated at the end of the game. Each bird card can be placed in one of 3 habitats on the board that are based on where the actual bird species lives and through the order of cards you place in each habitat, you can create powerful combos to score points. This is primarily a game for 2 – 5 players and can be played in 40-70 min for ages 14 & up. There is a solo mode included in the game using the Automa Factory cards.

Game Components

The components that come with Wingspan are pretty cool! The bird cards have amazing bird portraits and are beautifully designed. The birds illustrations that adorn the cards are so beautiful. Elizabeth Hargrave and the team of designers have really outdone themselves. The game comes with a custom set of wooden dice and a dice tower. These are of good quality. We have found the dice tower to be a little temperamental, you need to be careful how you put it together and handle it. We do love that the dice tower looks like a bird feeder! The food tokens are also of a high quality as are the miniature eggs. When we first saw them, we thought of Cadbury’s Mini Eggs, but alas they aren’t filled with chocolate (I guess you could swap them for mini eggs, but they might melt and mess up the board!) Finally, the player mats just look cool! On one side is the three rows of illustrated habitats and the other side looks like a leather bound folder. The attention to detail in the design of the game is really nice to see.

Game Setup

The game does take a few minutes to get setup the first time. Maybe 10 minutes at most. The first time construction of the Bird Feeder dice tower was probably the trickiest part. Future set up for games is quick and easy, just shuffle the deck of bird cards, deal the cards and hand out food tokens and you are ready to play. We have added the a game box organizer, it really helps with speedy setup, we just take out the trays and boxes and we’re ready to play.

During setup, shuffle the decks of cards and tile then lay everything out within easy reach of all players. Toss the five food dice in the bird feeder, this is the starting food available. Determine how you will score the game, the goal board is double sided, green for direct competition (ranking players 1st, 2nd and 3rd) or blue for a less competitive point counting approach. Randomly select 4 goal tiles, one for each round of the game and place them on the goal board. We love the ability to easily vary the way the game is scored and the random goal selection, it keeps the game fresh and new every time we play.

Each player takes a player mat, 8 action cubes of their chosen color, 2 bonus cards, 5 bird cards and 5 food tokens (one of each type). Players then discard a combination of bird cards and food tokens until they have a combined 5 left (3 cards, 2 tokens or 1 card, 4 tokens – or any other combination). Players also discard one of the bonus cards.

Game Play

Game play is really interesting in this game. While you are competing against your fellow players, the competition isn’t direct and head to head. For the majority of the game, you are focused on your own board and the moves and choices you can make. From time to time, you’ll look over at the other boards, but unless you are really good at math – it is not easy to tell what score they have, and when you have no idea what their secret card their score feels like a secret too!

When we play it often feels like a meditation on creating habitats filled with birds that can work with each other to score more points. Other players can not directly affect your board, so you don’t need to be on alert and defensive, however some bird cards allow your opponent to take actions when you perform a specific action. So it is good to keep an eye on the birds they are laying down and how your actions might benefit them.

What really make this game a challenge is that it is part luck of the cards and part strategy of what you’ll do with those cards. You know the goals and the scoring potential of your secret card, you plan out a clear strategy that you are sure will win you the game, however if you don’t pull the cards you need or roll the right food on the dice to be able to get those cards on the mat, you’re simply out of luck!

Although if it all goes your way… In a game we played recently I got a second bonus halfway through the game and it just happened I was already setup to score big with it! Needless to say I won that game with a huge margin and SheHawk was not very happy!

This is a fun game to play. The engine building aspect is also great. Each bird has an ability that is activated either one time when it is played, or when another player completes a specific action, or when other birds are played in its habitat. It is a lot of fun to create those bird combos to score the most points. We also love that the abilities are related to the attributes of the bird, for example flocking birds gather companions, predatory birds hunt but are only successful if their target is the right size.

Overall Impressions

Wingspan is a great game to pull out when we want to play something more relaxed (without the pressures of battling for your characters life or spying to save the world). The game is fun and relaxing. There really isn’t a lot of stress in it. We even put on the soundtrack to the Digital Wingspan to add to the atmosphere as we play. We really love this game and it’s something we play often. The rules aren’t too intense, and the game components are beautifully designed.

Our biggest issue with the game is the randomness and lack of control a player can have. But overall the theme and the beauty of the game helps compensate for that.

We want to end with a quick shout out to the Art Designers Beth Sobel, Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo who created all the bird portraits on the cards and the box art. Their artwork is actually for sale on their website, Red and Blue Designs, if you want to grab some Wingspan inspiration for your wall!

We Love

  • The artwork – the bird portraits are amazing and game artwork overall is beautiful. Not surprising we like this aspect we are Detective HAWK afterall
  • The game play is fun and relaxing and a really nice way to spend time with family and friends
  • The challenge of creating the best habitat keeps us coming back for more

Could be better

  • Keeping track of the overall scoring during gameplay is a bit difficult. For a competitive game it is hard to know what you need to do to win.
  • Randomness – Special cards and goals are know but you have to rely of luck of the draw and roll to play out your potentially winning strategy.

We really enjoy this game and we want to share it with you! Use this coupon in our store to take 20% off your cart if it includes the Wingspan game or any expansion!