Wingspan is a relaxing and clever strategy game with a colorful and vivid bird theme, a relaxing soundtrack, and well-oiled game mechanics.
Any bird-lover knows that dedication is crucial to tracking their winged fellows in their natural habitat. In Wingspan, you’ll attract birds to your preserves and utilize their special traits to help advance in this relaxing strategy game.
To put it in more technical terms, it is an engine-building card game that is a real hoot to play.
Wingspan is a well-made digital adaptation of a renowned tabletop sensation released in 2019. Wingspan the board game won over 10 awards, including the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres board game award.
As this is a board game at its core, it is no shock that it suits multiple players: 1-5 players, to be exact. Each one will compete with the others to collect as many victory points as they can. Victory points are gained in various ways, from attracting birds to your preserves to scoring personal and general goals.
Wingspan’s tutorial is comprehensive, tells you about everything you need to know, and still doesn’t take too long. Of course, if you have played it before, you’ll be glad to know that the same rules apply in this digital version as well, so you can just dive in.
The game is divided into 4 rounds, with a decreasing number of player turns. In your turn, you can choose to perform only one action: attract a bird, take food from the bird feeder, lay eggs, or draw more bird cards from the deck.
Attracting birds is probably the most critical action you need to take. To do so, you must fulfill certain conditions such as paying its food cost. Playing a bird card helps you improve your preserves’ actions. More importantly, they have their own abilities that can trigger when initiating their preserve action.
This is where the “engine” flies in. By carefully placing your flocks and murders across your preserves, you will gain more from any other regular action. You can also chain-trigger bird abilities to maximize your advantage over your rivals. Of course, your opponents will not sit idly by but will do the exact same thing.
Birds of a Feather Flock Together
In Wingspan, you can play online with friends or other players who purchased the game, or use Steam’s Remote Play function to play with those who didn’t. Of course, you can choose to play locally with both friends and AI’s. The game AI is pretty good and can give you a run for your money if you don’t pay attention.
The digital adaptation does a great job of taking all the calculations and tracking off of your wings. You’ll be able to see your rivals’ preserves as you wish and get bottom-line notifications about their actions once they finish their turns. You won’t need to have an eagle eye to see other player’s preserves, and you can even use the overview button to see your board from the bird’s view. Together with no setup and disassembly time, playing Wingspan digitally makes you feel free as a bird.
Wingspan has another play mode, called the Automa. It is the game’s solo variant where you play against the Automa, an automated bird with a unique playstyle, huge advantages, and some drawbacks. This game mode is challenging and has three difficulty levels to test your bird-watching skills. Though it is designed as a solo variant, you can join a game with other players and the Automa AI.
Alive and Beaking
Wingspan is not an ugly duckling by any means – it is beautiful from the very beginning. To begin with, the bird cards look amazing and come to life with new, lively animations. Every part of the board delightfully fits the game’s theme. In addition, card descriptions and in-game notifications are clear and easy to read.
Another great addition is the bird voices. Each bird you play will sound its voice together with its animation, making it feel more alive. Every new bird you play comes with a short narrated description and will be added to your bird archive.
The sound effects are really well done, but the soundtrack takes the cake. The music is very relaxing and creates a gentle atmosphere that suits Wingspan completely.
If you’re wondering, the European Expansion is not a part of the game, but developer Monster Couch plans to add it and other future expansions later. Additionally, Wingspan will be ported for Nintendo Switch as well in the future, with cross-platform features.
Wingspan has scored many victory points with me, and I enjoyed learning, playing, and even just watching it. It is an excellent digital adaptation that’ll make you spread your wings and glide on its chill winds.
Developer: Monster Couch
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Release Date: Sep. 17, 2020
Genre: Card, Strategy
Available On: PC
Reviewed On: PC
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