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Short Cut to Remote Gaming Forum (29 Aug 2020)

Since remote gaming has now become a significant part of how we play board games, we have added a short cut to this forum in the menu on the left.

From Tip to Tip-Taking Measure of Wingspan: A Wingspan Board Game Review

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16 Sep 2020 00:00 #314128 by WadeMonnig
As expected, it was a success at the table. It...

To half-quote another 2019 release, my picking up of Wingspan was “Inevitable.” Once my wife saw it online, she was enamored with it. And, in my typical chasing of the hotness, I fumbled into my FLGS halfway through 2020 and spotted it on the shelf. If you haven't heard, it has exceptional production, amazing components, and a mixture of engine and tableau building that makes it almost as pleasing to mind as it is to the eyes.

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16 Sep 2020 00:16 #314129 by Jackwraith
Yep. That's pretty much it. Looks great, plays easily... doesn't really do a whole lot. I mean, to each their own. If that's what people are into, go for it. I just like something with a little more dynamism in my games, in general, and engine builders, in specific (like, say, 51st State.) And I like it when there's more than one resource that matters.
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16 Sep 2020 09:35 #314146 by ubarose
I think "gamers" are having an issue wrapping their head around the fact that this is a very simple engine.

Food>Birds>Eggs

The round goals and card goals may inform some of your decisions, give you a little direction, and you can't ignore them entirely. However, you also can't let them distract you from your primary goal - produce the most eggs.
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16 Sep 2020 09:53 #314148 by jeb
I’m a little embarrassed that even this much ink gets spilled on how to play. The game is a beautiful, non-hostile gem. Not everyone on earth, and especially everyone in this house can do the space lasers, high drama, heart-pounding chit pull that we may favor. Some folks just want to make their own thing, at their own pace, and have a nice time doing it. You really can’t fuck someone over in WINGSPAN. That’s what we’re after sometimes. It’s like MACHI KORO, where we ban the purple buildings. We just want to play. There is enough drama in our lives, we don’t need to invent some more.
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16 Sep 2020 10:33 - 16 Sep 2020 10:34 #314152 by ubarose
@Jeb
I've been playing with my daughter, my neighbor and her daughter. We have a requisite bit of time that must be spent ohhing and ahhing when a particularly pretty bird comes out. And time at the end to admire what each other built.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 10:34 by ubarose.
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16 Sep 2020 10:59 - 16 Sep 2020 11:02 #314155 by Gary Sax
Good review, reflects most of my own feelings on it. It's a game that just sort of plays itself and is then over. My spouse bought this from theme alone, and by play five or six we had both settled on it being pretty boring.

The core of my issue is that there is *zero* drama in the game---I don't mean pulse pounding chit pulls or like "HAHA FUCK YOU" moments like a caricature of an ameritrash fan. Instead I just don't feel this game really has even any texture at all, in terms of ups and downs, gameplaywise. I literally cannot remember a single thing that happened in a game of Wingspan at the end of the game. I prefer games, even breezy simple ones, to have moves of varying importance or to be building to something that is different at the end than the beginning.

I compare this to a game of pretty similar weight and length, Roll for the Galaxy. Roll for the Galaxy has a few of those moments where you read the board state and take a gamble on what other people are doing. It doesn't have to be conflictual or anything like that to do this.

But as you say it's fine and I'm glad people like it or whatever. It's not a crusade for me. But I'd be glad to never play it again and play an equal weight, equally simple game that gives more.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 11:02 by Gary Sax.
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16 Sep 2020 11:25 #314157 by Shellhead
Maybe fans of Wingspan could pick up Through the Desert and combine the games, just so they can arrange the pretty pieces in pleasing patterns.
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16 Sep 2020 11:43 - 16 Sep 2020 11:47 #314158 by Matt Thrower

Shellhead wrote: Maybe fans of Wingspan could pick up Through the Desert and combine the games, just so they can arrange the pretty pieces in pleasing patterns.


Or you could combine it with another camel-based game and get Wyngspahan.

I like it. Shellie asked me to review it but I've actually been asked to write it up for T3 so I'm afraid it'll have to go there instead. Seems to have plenty of drama to me, you're always uncertain as to whether you'll get the food rolls you need or whether that dice'll be left by the time your turn comes round. You never know what birds cards you're going to get to work with. And it's a squeeze in the endgame to try and stay ahead of the competition in the time remaining.

There are few better engine building games, IMO, but like most folk here, engine building games are not really my thing. My biggest issue with it is simply that it takes too long and is a faff to set up. If it dusted in an hour, it'd see the table a lot more.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 11:47 by Matt Thrower.
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16 Sep 2020 12:03 #314159 by jeb
I feel like folks are mad that WINGSPAN is a massive hit and actually enjoyed by people. I love birds. Sibley's Guide is within arm reach as I type this. Everyone here that will play and adore a hex-and-chit about the west side of some hill on Sept 4th 1862 can probably understand how this might not appeal to everyone. Same thing goes for which particular flavor of wizard vampire runs the streets of Schenectady circa-1994.

WINGSPAN is a good game, well executed, about a topic adored by many. I am defensive about it because folks I respect seem so annoyed by it and I can't think why? Because it's more popular than it ~deserves~? Are we the tastemakers now?
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16 Sep 2020 12:33 - 16 Sep 2020 12:40 #314162 by ubarose
@Gary Sax
I'd never play Wingspan with just Al, or a table of experienced competitive gamers. It would be boring as hell, because so much of what needs to be done is rather obvious to us, and we could be playing something else.

I've been playing with two intermediate level gamers, my daughter and her friend, and I'm guessing Jeb is playing with his pile o' children. So I think we are just looking for more congenial games where we don't totally trounce our kids. I have beaten them every time we have played, but not by an enormously discouraging number of points. They now have the goal of beating me, and have been inching up on my score with every game. A couple more games and they will figure out it is all about the eggs, and then a few games after that they will figure out how to maximize those eggs while still being able to squeeze out a few extra points from the goals. Then we will all be on a level playing field. They will beat me a few times and then we will probably move on to a more challenging game (but return to Wingspan when we want to play something more relaxed).

I think that games like Wingspan and Pan Am are a new generation of games. Family games level the playing field between children and adults, who are at different stages of cognitive development. Whereas, these games level the playing field between players with the same cognitive abilities but different levels of experience. I think there is a need for these, as we now have, shall we call them "expert" or "advanced" gamers who have been playing worker placement, deck builders, networking, whatever games for 15 years, sitting down at the table with other adult, shall we call them "intermediate" level gamers, who have been playing Pandemic, Ticket to Ride, Catan and CAH for maybe 2 years.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 12:40 by ubarose.
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16 Sep 2020 12:44 #314164 by ubarose

Matt Thrower wrote: I've actually been asked to write it up for T3 .


T3 the magazine? Awesome! When it is published, start a new thread with a link so we can all head over and read it.
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16 Sep 2020 13:36 - 16 Sep 2020 13:40 #314166 by Gary Sax
Pan Am sounds vastly, vastly more interesting than Wingspan for the purposes of "intermediate" gaming, which I like as a concept as you've composed it. Catan, TTR, games like that still function in this niche for me and I certainly like them better than Wingspan.

That said, TO ME, I'd put Wingspan more in the category of "activity" games than an intermediate game by your definition. Wingspan fits into games that play themselves but have some pleasing aspect to them, so it's a group activity where you keep your hands busy with something physical between you but rarely need to think about it. Something like Machi Koro fits into this space, except I like Machi Koro a lot better for filling this niche. But people are going to differ on how light a game needs to be to reach the niche I'm talking about.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 13:40 by Gary Sax.
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16 Sep 2020 13:47 - 16 Sep 2020 13:52 #314167 by ubarose
Wingspan only seems that way to you because simple engine building is second nature to you. Zoe still ends up with a shit load of un-played birds in her hand and a pile of unused food, which she has wasted turns collecting instead of doing things that will improve her engine or set her up to score points. It all hasn't clicked with her yet. It's still a challenge to her to identify and play to the primary objective.

Excuse the pun, but a lot of these types of games is about learning that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So figure out how to optimize what's in the hand, rather than wasting turns digging for that perfect combo.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 13:52 by ubarose.
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16 Sep 2020 15:05 #314172 by RobertB

ubarose wrote: Wingspan only seems that way to you because simple engine building is second nature to you. Zoe still ends up with a shit load of un-played birds in her hand and a pile of unused food, which she has wasted turns collecting instead of doing things that will improve her engine or set her up to score points. It all hasn't clicked with her yet. It's still a challenge to her to identify and play to the primary objective.

Excuse the pun, but a lot of these types of games is about learning that a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush. So figure out how to optimize what's in the hand, rather than wasting turns digging for that perfect combo.

Yep. I had to nag my daughter a little bit about not spending a lot of time digging for something in particular; that you have to get the most from the cards in hand. I know that if we're into round 2 and I haven't come up with a halfway decent plan for points, then I'm dead.

When the players get good in Wingspan, I think it can be a runaway with the right cards at the start, but in general it turns into players trying to not waste turns. You can get a lot of 73-71-70 sorts of games.
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16 Sep 2020 15:34 - 16 Sep 2020 15:36 #314173 by ubarose
@RobertB

I agree. Players with the same level of experience and skill tend to cluster within a 5 point spread, and those 1-5 points can usually be attributed to luck of the draw.

What I'm seeing is that any game has a maximum number of points if someone plays a perfect game, and a minimum number of "give me" points that a person can score even if they just flail through and play procedurally without totally fucking up. The minimum and maximum depend upon player count, what goals come out, and how many cards that gift things to other players are in play. However, that minimum and maximum are always within 20-25 points of each other. Assuming no one can play a perfect game, and no one is a total flailer, and that there is a bit of a swing due to the luck of the draw, what you usually get is the inexperienced players clustering together about 10-15 points below the experienced players' cluster. That's not overwhelmingly discouraging. As more games are played, the experienced players' scores don't get better, because of that max points ceiling, but the less experienced players' scores quickly creep up and close the gap.

And yes, there is always the possibility that you will have a game where someone pulls a way awesome combo on the first draw and runs away with it, and someone else can never get anything going, but those games are rare.
Last edit: 16 Sep 2020 15:36 by ubarose.

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