One of my favorite pastimes is playing board games. I absolutely adore gathering with friends and spending time together over a good tabletop game. This past weekend, my husband’s best friend, Brad, brought his copy of Wingspan with him from Kansas.
Before I go any further, I just want to say that this is not going to be a regurgitation of technical specs and details of the game. I feel like Stonemaier Games really did a wonderful job of providing that information on their own website. If you want to know more about the construction of the game or what’s included in the box, you can visit their website. They also provide videos with the game rules, an unboxing video (if you’re into that kind of thing, no judgment), and a game trailer. See the link below:
https://stonemaiergames.com/games/wingspan (NOT AN AFFILIATE LINK)
Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game. Wingspan can be played with 1 to 5 players. That’s right. This game comes with the mechanics to play it by yourself, and that is pretty epic. An average game lasts between 45 minutes to an hour and a half. The recommended age for Wingspan is 10 and up.
My first impression was immediate excitement. The overall construction of the game is absolutely stellar. Not one element of the game pieces felt cheap or rushed. As Brad unboxed the game for setup, I was drawn in by the beautiful color palette. The artwork on the bird cards is phenomenal.
This is the kind of game you treat with respect and love. If you decide to purchase a copy, treat her with love. Keep the beers, Hot Cheetos, and greasy foods away from her. Respect the craftsmanship, y’all.
Again, I am not going to go into a long, drawn out explanation of game mechanics and strategy. I will briefly give an overview, though.
Each player is given this beautiful game mat. You will play your cards on this mat. The far left column is the action column. It describes the actions you can choose from on your turn. You can play a bird, gain a food, lay eggs, or draw bird cards. Across the top of the mat going left to right, you can see the cost, in eggs, to play a bird in each in respective column. You will notice the more birds you play in each row, the cost to play a bird increases.
There are various ways to earn points which makes strategy a must. You can earn points from bonus objectives, points from eggs, points from the value of your birds, points for achieving goals, points collected from triggered bird abilities, and points for the number of birds you have in play. I am sure I am forgetting some. Again, if you want the full run down of the rules, Wingspan’s website has you covered.
This is not a game, in my opinion, where you can steamroll your opponents each and every time. There are enough variables to keep each game, and strategy, unique.
There are three habitats in your aviary (game mat). In the upper left hand corner of the bird card, it indicates which of the habitats you can place your bird. Below the habitat symbols are the food costs to play that card. On the left hand side under the habitat/cost, from top to bottom, is the value of the bird, the type of nest it uses, and the amount of eggs its nest can hold. In the brown band is the bird’s ability. For this particular bird, it can “eat” cards. Again, this goes into strategy. For each bird it eats, it results in points at the end of the game. The stats on each bird affect your overall points in some way, so you have to pay close attention to the details.
With the game, you get this awesome dice tower. Brad expressed that his favorite part of the dice tower is you can super glue the top pieces together and it still fits in the box fully assembled. That way, each time you play, you can just fit the top half and the bottom half together quickly. The wooden dice are fun. They’re just fun. I loved them.
Again, I could write more about how to play the game, but Wingspan does a great job on their video. I just wanted to give you an idea of what you can expect. This is not going to be a game where you can easily predict who will win. In our last game, I was 100% sure that I was beat. My husband was an egg laying fool. He had all his birds with maxed, or almost maxed, with eggs. However, all his bird were low value birds. Brad also had many eggs, but did not have as many birds on his board. Instead, he had a bird that “ate” other birds and was using that to earn to points. I had played very high value birds, won two of my three bonus objectives, and one of the higher scoring goals. On its face, it looked like my husband would win. It wasn’t until we started adding the other scoring elements that I ended up taking the lead in the end. It was very exciting!
I was really blown away by this game. I am, by no means, a tabletop elitist or a tabletop connoisseur. As a filthy casual, my enjoyment comes from the content and how much fun I had playing it. Casey and I immediately fell in love with the game. Some of the highlights:
- Beautiful artwork
- Sturdy construction
- The cards didn’t feel cheap
- Beautiful game mats
- That dice tower is clutch
- Wooden dice are a nice touch
- Food tiles were nice
- Game mechanics were fun
- We were able to catch on pretty quickly even though me and Casey’s eyes glazed over when Brad tried to explain the rules (I recommend watching the video!)
- Those bird cards…
Final verdict: CASUAL APPROVED
Should you want to pick up a copy, the official retail release date is March 8th and direct sales show an April release date. For those of you who might not have a tabletop shop locally, there are a few third-party sellers on Amazon with pre-order opportunities, but at a much higher MSRP. If you want to go ahead and take advantage of the available pre-order opportunities on Amazon, please consider using my affiliate link: https://bit.ly/2Fd3N5S (AFFILIATE LINK).
**I did not receive any compensation for this review.