Wingspan is one of the highest selling modern board games. It is a feast for the eyes and the relatively straightforward play style means that it almost has universal appeal. It is a beautifully crafted game designed by Elizabeth Hargreaves, and published by Stonemaier Games. There is a number of Wingspan Expansion for you!
During this game you are collecting bird cards in your hand, gaining food and once you have the right food for a birdie in your hand you can coax it down to live in your habitat. These nested birds will not only be a location to store egg points, but they will also give you end game points and usually an in-game special ability too. This is a smooth engine builder game which has a lot of staying power on our table, and this is really upgraded with the available expansions.
For Those Who Love Bird Watching In Europe
Now, it is not always that I advocate for “British this, and British that”, however, in this scenario, there is nothing better than getting a few more birds you recognise in your game. Sure the bald eagle is cool and all, but what about the common tits? Where are the plethora of tits that we see in the English Country Garden in that monster deck of birdie cards? Will the Zatu editor let me get away with my other two favourite almost rude bird names, the peckers of course are up there, and the blue-footed booby of course. Double entendres aside, I have news for you, the greats of Europe are in this expansion. The European Expansion adds European birds. That part is of course straight forward, but it also adds some new round goal tiles and end game scoring objectives too. We also introduce the teal power cards which give you round end game effects on your bird cards too. Getting a teal card down early can really help secure you some sweet points and perhaps even the victory.
The European Wingspan Expansion will really appeal to you if you want to shake up your bird cards with a few cards that contain birds you can see when you look out your window. The expansion also comes with a new purple bird card nesting box too which will help you keep your plethora of birdies in order inside the box. Although this is a pretty big box I have found that with a bit of cajoling it is more than possible to combine this into your base game and store everything in the same box.
For Those Who Want To Disrupt The Egg Gain Game
Now, as with many games, there are those who wish to break the game. They take great pleasure in finding a strategy that is not in the spirit of the game, but does allow you to more often than not score very highly. In Scrabble, these people close out the board, in Viticulture, they refuse to make wine and instead get points for visitors alone, in Bohnanza or Catan they refuse to negotiate. We all know one of these players. Well in Wingspan, most likely they spend the last quarter, perhaps even half the game simply getting eggs every turn. It is dull to watch, surely it must be dull to play like that, but annoyingly, it is effective.
Now if you want to stop this, then introduce the Oceania Expansion. This, like its European sibling, does bring in birds from that region which are exciting and have new exciting end-of-game powers. But crucially it also brings in a new wild resource (nectar). There are new player boards, and each time you use nectar to pay the food cost for a bird card, you place the nectar into that habitat on your player board. At the end of the game, there is a scoring for the majority within each habitat. This can actually cause the swing to be enough to negate the egg collectors. They need to be more dynamic with this combination of nectar and the new birds. The nectar can be collected from the dice tower as normal, there is a new set of dice for you to replace the base game ones with. But at the end of each round any unused nectar is lost. It really is a use it or lose it scenario which will really shake up the way you plan a round.
For Those Who Play High Or Low Player Count Games
Wingspan for me is mostly a multiplayer solitaire game, what someone else is doing does affect me in that they might take the food or die that I want, but for the most part, they are not overly changing my whole game strategy. I love Wingspan, and so I really enjoy sharing it with new people. It goes over well every time and so now I have lots of people who always want to hop in on a game, which means high player count games are common. At higher player counts, the game lasts quite a while, but Flock Mode which was introduced in Wingspan Asia, allows two people to be taking their turn at any one time. Suddenly the downtime in the game is halved, and this for me is a big deal. This expansion contains everything that you require to have two bird displays and dice pools available. If you, like me, find yourself wishing that a Wingspan game could be played a bit quicker, then get yourself this expansion to check out the flock mode.
At the other end of the scale though, we are a two player family and so we play most often at two. Wingspan original is really good at two, it plays quickly and it feels just like the higher player count games, but perhaps reducing the efficacy of the pink bird powers. So when Stonemaier said that they were releasing a two player variant in Wingspan Asia, I initially thought there was no need for it. Wingspan is already great at two. However, the Duet board really makes the two player experience even better. In ways that I didn’t even imagine before playing.
Each time that you place a bird card into your habitat, you are also able to place one of your pieces onto the central Duet board on a space with a characteristic matching the bird played. You must place it into the matching habitat, and then also onto a space matching perhaps the wingspan or the food they eat or the nest type. In this way, you can gain more end game points by having the largest connected network, these are important in round end bonus scoring, and occasionally you will gain a bonus for placing your token on a space. I have found that adding in Duet really changes the way that you play cards down and the order as you try to maximise your presence on the Duet board to get in there on the round end bonuses.
Finally, I need to point out that this is a standalone-expansion, so you can just buy this box and have everything that you need in order to get a two player game of Wingspan going. There have been a few changes to get everything that you need into the smaller box, which means instead of a dice tower you instead have a dice platter with beautiful artwork. There has also been a drive to remove plastic from the game, so the bird display is now a cardboard board, and the famous egg miniatures are now painted wood. These wooden eggs will be replacing all the plastic ones throughout all base games so you may find you already have these if you have a new copy of the base game.
For Those Who Like To Future Proof
If you are an all-in kind of gamer, the person who likes to catch ‘em all, then storage solutions will appeal. Fear not, with all this Wingspan content, it was essential that Stonemaier Games got a solution together for us to store it all. This is where the Nesting Box enters the arena. This is the ultimate solution for storing all your birdies from all the expansion past and future (yes I said there are more birdies on the horizon). Within this box you can organise everything in precisely “your way” to facilitate quick and personalised setup all from the one box. I will also inform you that for those of you that are beholden to keeping your board games in Kallax shelving, this does fit into a cube. I am a “use the shelves we already have” kind of girl, so this is of no consequence to my own shelves, but perhaps it is key in the decision making for you.
For Those Who Love The Pretties
If you’re attracted to Wingspan, and you play it a lot, I do not believe that it is possible that you do not enjoy the aesthetic of the game. The beautiful artwork is one thing, the cute facts too, but the eggs. Who does not love handling those eggs. Now we sometimes play “the egg game” in our group, where eggs are points at the end so you want a lot of them. As such we need loads of egg miniatures for our high player count games, and we have now added the speckled eggs to our Wingspan collection. These are possibly truer to life than the original ones, but regardless they are amazing to play with and if you are wanting a little bit more pizazz to your game, then why not ‘bling’ it up by adding these?
Hopefully that whistle stop tour has given you food for thought on which Wingspan expansions are most suited for you, or your fellow gamers. As ever if you have any comments on these, we love to hear them.