Wingspan Casual Review & General Thoughts

Birds + Boardgame = FUN~

General Info

Release Date(s):
Steam: September 17, 2020
Switch: December 29, 2020
Xbox: June 17, 2021
Rating: E
Developer: Monster Couch, Stonemaier Games, indienova
Publisher: Monster Couch
Platform I Played On: PC (Steam)
Platform(s) Available On: PC, Xbox, Switch, Mobile
Genre(s): Boardgame, Strategy

Synapsis

Taken from Steam
Wingspan on Steam (steampowered.com)

Wingspan – Relaxing Strategy Card Game About Birds for 1 to 5 players.

The officially licensed digital adaptation of Wingspan, the winner of the prestigious 2019 Kennerspiel des Jahres board game award.

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats. Each habitat focuses on a key aspect of the growth of your preserves.

In Wingspan up to 5 players compete to build up their nature preserves in a limited number of turns. Each beautiful bird that you add to your preserve makes you better at laying eggs, drawing cards, or gathering food. Many of the 170 unique birds have powers that echo real life: your hawks will hunt, your pelicans will fish, and your geese will form a flock.

My Personal Highlights

>> Beautiful bird art

>> Reasonable playing time, limited rounds

>> Offline & online modes

>> Had decent tutorial

General Thoughts & Observations

I have always had an affinity for birds. When I saw that this game involved birds, I was extremely intrigued. I finally decided it was time to splurge and see what a game involving birds would entail. I was really impressed with the artwork and soundtrack which makes for a calm and casual gaming experience.

Wingspan is a game that you can casually play with AI or online. It is the digital verson of the physical boardgame which I am now very intrigued by 😃 I have played a few rounds with the AI and a few custom games with a combination of AI and friends or family.

The game plays as a tabletop game with rotating turns. Each round you have a few options of moves such as placing bird cards or gathering materials such as food, eggs, or more bird cards. Each bird card has a food requirement and as you progress in the game eggs become an additional requirement to place bird cards.

There are four rounds in total. The first round starts with eight moves and it decreases by one move each round. The end goal of the game is to have the most points that are determined by multiple criteria. A couple of the basic criteria for points include the bird cards numeric value or the amount of eggs played. In total there are eight different criteria for adding up the points at the end of the game. Having four rounds keeps the game at a reasonable timeframe and allows you to finish the game in one evening.

For newcomers to the game the tutorial explains the basic mechanics of the game. The tutorial was easy to understand and provided a good foundation of the game. From the tutorial you can figure out all the remaining mechanics with no issue. The only component that wasn’t fully explained was what some of the bird cards meant. There were a few cards that I simply just had to test out in a throwaway game to see what the card meant.

Once you get a few rounds under your belt, the game itself is quite relaxing and reasonably paced. The music coupled with bird calls is quite ambient and is nice when you are waiting for others to complete their turns. I love whenever you place a new bird card it gives a fun fact about the bird and includes one of its calls. These are small details that elevate this game from other digital forms of boardgames.

Would I Recommend?

I dabble in a few boardgame inspired games and this one is much more casual and reasonably paced. The fact that you can complete one game in an evening is appreciated, the game doesn’t overstay its welcome. The interface itself feels like a boardgame with all the mechanics and visuals taking after the physical version of Wingspan.

I love the ambience and artwork of the game. I like how you can see the various birds and get a fun fact and one of its calls. The background music is calming and is appropriate for the in-game aesthetics.

If you happen to like birds and games (particularly boardgames) this game should be a win-win. If you are not fond of playing online with strangers (or just don’t want to deal with real people) the AIs are quite fun to play against. I can honestly say that playing with five people might make the game significantly longer than against AI. So if you want a quick session, a game with five real-people would not be the smart choice.

I wouldn’t recommend this game if you aren’t fond of birds or boardgames. This game could be summarized with those two simple words: birds and boardgame. If either one of those words makes you skeptical or generally unappealing, I would say the game is probably not meant for you.

I would recommend the game if you like birds and boardgames. For newcomers the tutorial is a really good way to familiarize oneself to the game. Once you complete the tutorial you can play the game as much or little as you like. If you wanted something casual, this game fits that description. If anything discussed in this review or the game itself intrigues you, I’d say give this game a chance!

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