Wingspan - A Five Second Board Game Review

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Wingspan

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Wingspan is a fairly straightforward engine building game, in which you play cards which help you get better resources, which let you play more cards all while scoring points along the way.  If that sounds boring, that’s because this isn’t a game that will sell itself on innovation.  Wingspan  intends to sell itself on production and execution. I am happy to report that both are incredibly well done.  There is a common sentiment that bad production can ruin a game, but good production won’t elevate a game. Wingspan would kindly like to disagree.  I normally wouldn’t spend much time on a game's look but Wingspan begs to be talked about in this regard. Virtually every element of the game is just gorgeous, including a linen-finished rule book which, while it certainly seems excessive, sure feels nice.  

The gameplay is also fantastic, satisfying on every level, with that terrific element of needing to properly manage your card flow whilst giving you enough cards to feel like you can properly maneuver through any situation.  I also would be remiss if I didn’t call out the nice thematic touches on just about everything. With just a card flip or dice roll, Wingspan makes the predators *feel* like predators. The random resource gathering mechanism feels like you are a bird foraging for your next meal.  

While a few plays have left me wondering if this game has the staying power to remain interesting through the 30th play, as eventually you will run through enough of the cards to see most of the strategies, I realize I don’t care because Wingspan is charming enough to have me excited for my next ten plays,


Mason Sokol
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Mason plays games and has opinions.

Articles by Mason Sokol

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ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #296119 26 Apr 2019 11:30
Wingspan is quite the phenomena. I think it's beauty and the fact that it's subject matter is not "nerdy" or "childish" gives it appeal beyond the usual hobby game demographic.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #296121 26 Apr 2019 11:34
I really like their presentation, too. The inclusion of science facts on each card was a great touch; as well as tying in each card's effect with what the species' natural behavior patterns are. It's a smart game. I'm not entirely sure that I need another engine builder, but I'd certainly like to try it a couple times.
Count Orlok's Avatar
Count Orlok replied the topic: #296124 26 Apr 2019 11:47
A mechanically pretty stripped-down game, but a great implementation of a subject the designer is clearly passionate about. I think more than anything else that passion comes across in the design, where every simple action is grounded in some factual grounding of the species. The art and the presentation are top notch and really cement the whole package. For the gamer who has played or seen everything with little interest in birds, there probably is much here to care for. If you love birds (as many of my friends and I do) and enjoy a light engine-builder this is well worth it.

I saw an eastern screech owl and some cedar waxwings on a walk the other day. It was pretty cool.
Vysetron's Avatar
Vysetron replied the topic: #296125 26 Apr 2019 12:01
I appreciate Wingspan more than I like it. As a game I think it's just OK. It really needs more card variety to stand toe to toe with games in its genre and the card effects aren't all that interesting.

What it's immensely successful at is being a game for the current market, who are looking for a game that reveals itself in roughly one play, looks nice, and has a pleasant theme presented well. Replayability and variability don't even enter the equation most of the time. It's an amazing production and that goes a really long way as long as the game isn't bad, and it's not. It just only has about as much meat on its bones as a sparrow.
MasonSokol's Avatar
MasonSokol replied the topic: #296138 26 Apr 2019 13:20

Vysetron wrote: I appreciate Wingspan more than I like it. As a game I think it's just OK. It really needs more card variety to stand toe to toe with games in its genre and the card effects aren't all that interesting.

What it's immensely successful at is being a game for the current market, who are looking for a game that reveals itself in roughly one play, looks nice, and has a pleasant theme presented well. Replayability and variability don't even enter the equation most of the time. It's an amazing production and that goes a really long way as long as the game isn't bad, and it's not. It just only has about as much meat on its bones as a sparrow.


Definitely agree, have a feeling this one will get regular expansions though and the puzzle might be smooth and interesting enough that I’ll be enraptured trying to perfect my play much like stone age has

im guessing that wont end up being the case and I’ll end up craving expansions but there are “low replayability” games like stone age that i could play forever
RolandHemisphere's Avatar
RolandHemisphere replied the topic: #296175 27 Apr 2019 18:28
After only a couple plays, Wingspan is sitting atop the Stonemaier pile for me. Unlike Scythe and Viticulture which are ponderous "race" games, this game can be played relatively quickly and it's lightness and simplicity is very... pleasant. It's lovely, a game perfectly suited to springtime. It's not flawless (bad card draws in the early games can hamper your progress) but the flaws are shaded be the beautiful production and it's plesant demeanor.

It's like an old friend has dropped by for a visit, unexpectedly, with a bottle of whiskey. Maybe it's not your favorite whiskey but that's not the most important part.
RobertB's Avatar
RobertB replied the topic: #296230 29 Apr 2019 11:48
I'm interested, but not $100 worth of interested. I'm waiting for the second printing I guess.
Jackwraith's Avatar
Jackwraith replied the topic: #296232 29 Apr 2019 12:29
Heh. Third printing. The second one apparently sold out in a few minutes.
ubarose's Avatar
ubarose replied the topic: #296263 29 Apr 2019 20:22
I heard that another shipment is expected in August.
WadeMonnig's Avatar
WadeMonnig replied the topic: #296265 29 Apr 2019 21:39
Third printing is due to hit stores in May. SM said they plan to have orders open from Their store in late July.
"Overall, the 3rd printing of Wingspan is relatively large. So if you don't need a copy soon, we encourage you to wait until May to buy a copy from your preferred retailer. The next time the game will be available to buy directly from Stonemaier Games is late July."