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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • If you love Wingspan and want a more challenging experience
  • Lots of replayability
  • Very thematic
  • Gorgeous artwork

Might Not Like

  • Quite similar to Wingspan in many ways
  • Can be hard to dig through the massive deck of cards
  • Theme theme can be divisive
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Wyrmspan – Review

WYRMSPAN

Enter The Dragon…

If you have any knowledge of the board game hobby, it is impossible to have missed the impact of 2019’s Wingspan. Not only was it the launch pad for Elizabeth Hargrave but also kickstarted the theme of the natural world which has become one of the most dominant themes in the last few years. It has sold over two million copies, has a plethora of expansions with more to come and has even appeared on Coronation Street! Does it get bigger than that?! Well, Stonemaier Games know a hit when they have one. Having released the sequel to their second best selling game, Scythe, last year, their announcement for a Wingspan sibling was probably inevitable. Designed by Connie Vogelmann, who had recently published their first game, Apiary, with Stonemaier and developed by Hargrave herself, Wyrmspan was hatched.

The question was simple, what if instead of the natural world we know, we visit a fantastical world but treated with the same delicate love of nature that Wingspan has. The idea was to take the DNA of the winged giant and push it into a slightly more challenging game that might appeal as the next step for new gamers. It also offered the opportunity to explore elements of the original Wingspan base game and develop areas they have since learned from.

Excavating caves…

Over four rounds, there are three core actions that can be taken during the game, each costing a minimum of a silver coin. The coins here work, not like currency as we know it but like action tokens. You will start each round with a guaranteed six but there are ways to both increase and decrease your supply leading to an asynchronous round of actions. On your player board you will see three caves, with their entrances on the left and then delving deeper towards the right. The key strategy of Wyrmspan is to fill these caves with dragons that will give you rewards every time you visit them. However in order to play dragons, you first need to excavate the caves and make them habitable for your scaly friends. This, your first action, excavate, will allow you to place a cave card from your hand, onto your player board, filling left to right and gaining an immediate benefit for doing so.

Enticing Dragons…

As suggested by the title, the game is all about wyrms, dragons and other similar mythical creatures and the game does not disappoint on that front. With 183 dragon cards, all with completely unique creatures on them, there is such a diverse array of creatures to discover. Each dragon is catagorised in a number of different ways from size to temperament and all over end game points as well as abilities. In order to place a dragon card you must entice them into a pre-excavated cave but spending the required resources. Each dragon will also have a preference as to what cave they would like to live in. Some will offer immediate one off effects, some in between rounds or during end game scoring but the majority will reward you every time you explore their caves. The other type of dragon is a hatchling. Completely new to Wyrmspan is the idea of a baby creature. They will always need an egg and milk to be placed and offer ongoing exploration rewards until they are fully grown and then offer a one off powerful bonus.

There is a great synergy between cards and you can really develop your engine to work well but with so many cards in the deck, it can sometimes feel like digging for that one resource type you need or one benefit that would really add to your engine. And sometimes, you just can’t find that card!

WYRMSPAN

Exploring Caves and impressing the Guild…

The final piece of the action puzzle is exploration. By spending a coin (and sometimes eggs) you can send your exploring meeple through a cave of your choice. Moving left to right you collect a mix of resources and cards. However you can only delve as far as you have dragons and so the more you add to the player board, the bigger the reward when you explore. The other new element to Wyrmspan is the addition of the Dragon Guilds. Whenever you pass the guild symbol on your exploration or by playing cards, you will move your piece around a rondel, collecting rewards as you go. There are four guilds on the box and each one offers a mix of additional powerful bonuses you get by traveling further around the rondel and really encourage you to impress the guild with your findings. I love this addition. The timing of when to take guild actions is vital in your gameplay and those one-off bonuses can be huge!

The look of this production is gorgeous. Sumptuous watercolours make up the whole look by Clementine Campardou which gives it a real feel of an explorer’s journal. The only thing missing is a good insert which is something we have grown to expect from someone like Stonemaier. But this is pretty easily resolved with plastic baggies. There are also metal coins and wooden resources available as an optional extra.

If you love Wingspan then Wyrmspan will certainly scratch similar itches, whilst also pushing you with its slightly more complex gameplay. But if you didn’t get on with the former then the latter might well be a better fit as it gets rid of the randomness and adds a lot more control. Whatever your experience with its older sister, I can highly recommend spreading your wings and exploring the land of the dragons, you just don’t know what treasures you might find!

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • If you love Wingspan and want a more challenging experience
  • Lots of replayability
  • Very thematic
  • Gorgeous artwork

Might not like

  • Quite similar to Wingspan in many ways
  • Can be hard to dig through the massive deck of cards
  • Theme theme can be divisive

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