Author Topic: Wingspan by Stonemaier Games  (Read 543 times)

Huw the Poo

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on: May 27, 2022, 05:25:02 AM
I originally had this on Steam and loved it so I thought I'd buy the physical game to play with my family. I love it, for many reasons. I'll try (and probably fail) to explain why.

In summary, it's a game about populating three habitats with birds, feeding them, and hatching eggs, all in the pursuit of points. The winner of the game at the end of four rounds is the person with the most points, which is simple enough. The meat of the game is how you accumulate those points. There are many ways of doing so. From a limited hand, you play birds into habitats if you have enough (and the right types) food to play them. Once played, you can "lay eggs" on them which further boosts their value. Each round has a certain number of action points, and you spend those points either playing or drawing birds, laying eggs, or obtaining food from the randomised feeder. All of this earns you points at the end of the game, but you also draw bonus cards (e.g. have as many birds with a certain type of nest as you can) and the four rounds themselves have goals that play out in a similar way, e.g. have as many eggs on grassland-dwelling birds as you can. You're always thinking about how to efficiently score the most points, and which goals to discard.

So what's so great about it? Two things: design, and design.

To explain. The aesthetic design of the game is extraordinary. I'm not the world's biggest board game player but I've never seen presentation like this. The boards, cards, eggs, in fact every single piece included in the game is just sumptuously designed. It's a beautiful game to play. And this carries through to build quality too - all the components are of the highest quality, there's no skimping here. The eggs feel good in your hand, anything made from card is thick and high quality card, the feeder itself is a little masterpiece of ingenuity, making rolling dice to randomise available food a genuine joy and really easy.

Then there's the design of the gameplay itself. It's quite clear that a TON of thought has been put into this. Everything makes sense, and everything's done to speed the game along and help you keep track of everything. As an example, you have little cubes that represent your action points. The rules are very clear that whenever you use an action, you put the cube onto the far right of whichever track you have chosen. Thus, as you activate each thing along the track you're always moving your cube to the left, making it trivial to keep track of what's happening, whether the action is over, and even keeps a historical record of what you've done this round.

I'm probably not explaining it very well, but believe me when I say it's clever. The designers really have thought of everything, and although the boards and rules look daunting at first, after a game or two it becomes very easy to play.

There are even two options for scoring. There's a more competitive option which awards first, second and third place for each round, or a less competitive option where all players score points based on how well they've met the goal of the round.

Anyway, to summarise it's a beautiful, clever, incredibly well designed game that's going to be in circulation in my house for a long time to come. It's quite possibly my favourite board game. Oh, and you can play solo too!

Boardgamegeek link



bob48

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Reply #1 on: May 27, 2022, 06:13:15 AM
Interesting, Huw. I've looked at this a lot of times and found it to be fascinating in concept. One day I may have get it, although I think I would prefer the physical copy.

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Huw the Poo

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Reply #2 on: May 27, 2022, 06:30:17 AM
Yeah definitely go the physical route Bob. The only advantage of playing on Steam is the cards are animated and the birds are vocal, but even so I still prefer sitting around a table with wife+kids.



bob48

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Reply #3 on: May 27, 2022, 06:31:50 AM
Thanks, Huw. One of my thoughts is that it may be interesting to our granddaughter, who will be 9 next month.

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TTC

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Reply #4 on: May 27, 2022, 10:02:52 AM
I have played Wingspan a few times with some good friends.

I don't love it but see why people do. And if I played enough I could certainly appreciate even more of the nuances of the game.

I have a low bar for liking a boardgame (if I am playing with good friends I can like almost anything), but I high bar for loving games.



Bison

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Reply #5 on: May 29, 2022, 06:06:16 PM
It's one of my daughter's favorite games. Easy rules. No, take that or confrontation. Nice components in the physical copy. I enjoy it because it is time spent with the family.




Huw the Poo

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Reply #6 on: May 29, 2022, 06:28:49 PM
No, take that or confrontation.

Oh yes I forgot to mention that, it's one of the best things about the game. There's virtually no way to annoy another player at all. Maybe if you somehow knew which food someone wants you could take it first, but that would probably be detrimental to your own game.



BanzaiCat

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Reply #7 on: May 31, 2022, 10:00:53 AM
I have Wingspan as well; it's a lot of fun. I haven't played it in over a year but it's good either with other folks, or for solo play too.



bayonetbrant

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Reply #8 on: May 31, 2022, 11:39:32 AM
One of my thoughts is that it may be interesting to our granddaughter, who will be 9 next month.

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Yskonyn

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Reply #9 on: July 27, 2022, 04:50:56 PM
Another endorsement from me for this game!

We have all expansions as well and play it often. It's a great, great game that also plays fairly quickly AND is quick to setup as well.