An overview of Wingspan

Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games.

In Wingspan, you are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

  • Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
  • Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
  • Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

Core mechanics: Engine-building with cards

What your board might look like in Wingspan

How you win in Wingspan

The winning player has the most points after 4 rounds. Tally up points for the following and determine the winner:

  • Points based on bird cards played on your tableau
  • Points for bonus card(s) accomplished
  • Points for end-of-round goals
  • 1 point for each:
    • Egg on a bird card
    • Food token cached on a bird card
    • Card tucked under a bird card

In case of a tie, the number of unused food tokens serve as tiebreaker. All tied players share the victory if the game is still tied.

Is it hard to learn?

The Wingspan rulebook is well-organized and easy to follow. You can learn how to play the game after reading through 10 pages of rules accompanied by plenty of visual cues and breathing space between text. Alternatively, you can use the Quick-Reference Guide if you want to learn the game in real-time.

Veteran gamers will find it relatively easy to learn and teach. New gamers may feel that it’s more complex than what they’re used to. When it comes to learning the actual strategy, the game will likely “click” for the majority of the players by the time your group finishes the 1st Round.

Due to the game’s simple turn structure and types of actions available, you’ll quickly pick up on how the game works by watching your friends play. So while you may not be playing optimally or finding the best combos to pull off, you’ll likely feel comfortable by the start of Round 2. 

For those who’ve played Stonemaier Games’ Viticulture: Essential Edition, Wingspan is less complex than Viticulture in terms of strategy elements and has fewer rules to memorize. If you have detailed questions about the game, you’ll likely find an answer within this comprehensive FAQ put together by Stonemaier Games.

Is Wingspan a good game for 2 players?

When playing with 2 players, pink bird powers won’t activate as frequently. This is because these powers only trigger if a criteria is met during an opponent’s turn (e.g. get “X” benefit when another player does “Y” action). There will also be less competition for valuable birds cards or for the food dice from the birdfeeder.

Wingspan is a relatively low interaction game. This means that the gameplay won’t feel much different at low or high player counts and makes for an easily scalable game. So if you love Wingspan at high player counts, you’ll love it at 2-player count as well. On the other hand, if you’re someone who prefers highly interactive games where your actions directly impact another player’s strategies, you should try it out before making the purchase.

Does Wingspan come with a single-player solo mode?

As with most Stonemaier Games titles, Wingspan comes with a separate set of rules for the Automa, an AI opponent that simulates playing against a human opponent. This game was rated #13 on “2020 People’s Choice Top 200 Solo Games.”

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