Wingspan – Review

A review in hand is worth two in the card game.

History:

Wingspan is originally a popular board game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave. It is a strategy card game that features over 170 types of birds exclusively from the North American region where the player with the most points wins. The birds are only from North America because it was what the creator of the game was familiar with. Plans for expansion of birds have been requested by seasoned players in the video game but have not yet been implemented as of this time.  

To get a good feel of whether this game might tickle your fancy, let’s take a look at how it’s played. At first, Wingspan is a slightly daunting card game to someone who has never played before. You see birds, numbers, symbols, powers, etc., and have no idea what any of them mean in terms of the game.

The first thing you should do if you play the tutorial. The tutorial is absolutely necessary for beginners and probably should be viewed more than once to get a better understanding of the game. Luckily, the player can view each section individually after the first tutorial is finished because it is quite long.

This is Robin (person on far-right). She has a lot to say about the game. Pay attention because she will explain the ins and outs of Wingspan. You always can revisit here and probably will need to at least once.
The type of portraits one can choose to serve as your avatar; From birds to humans including Robin, the tutorial guide. Each player can be assigned a color, a portrait, as well as one background.

Settings:

Audio:

It is recommended to keep SFX and other nature noises at their default levels so you can enjoy the beautiful music the game has to offer.

Trivia activation settings can be toggled here as well.

Video:

The game can be played up to a 1920 x 1080 resolution on PC.

Game:

Wingspan offers various text languages available in English, Polish, German, French, Spanish, Portuguese (Brazil), Japanese, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Italian, and Korean. With voice-overs only in English, Polish, Chinese.

Animations and habitat descriptions can be turned off if one so chooses.

Some settings the game has to offer.

Gameplay:

The objective of Wingspan is to gain as many points as you can which is symbolized by a bird feather symbol but can be gathered several ways. You can get the amount listed on each bird card by playing the card. However, to play a bird card, food is first needed. To get food, you gather it by either utilizing the forest habitat, getting it through the bird-feeder via dice, or by activating special bird powers which the game will call “brown powers.” Be careful when committing to a decision because most of the time it is reversible.

Each turn the player or opponent can do one of four things:

-Play a bird card from your available cards in your hand on a habitat. There are three types of habitats: Forest, Grassland, Wetland.
-Gather food and/or activate forest bird powers.
-Lay eggs and/or activate grassland bird powers.
-Draw new bird cards and/or activate wetland bird powers.

The first turn with a quick side-guide that lets you know what you can do on the left, the remaining turn in the middle and the bird-feeder on the right with the types of food you can get as well as eggs.

You can also get points via:

-Laying eggs.
-Caching food on bird cards.
-Tucking cards behind other birds.
-End-of-round goals.

End-of-round goals with the first goal highlighted. Cursoring over the goals you don’t know about will tell you more information about it.

One to five players can play and are composed of either you the player, AI (difficulty can be adjusted from easy to hard), a friend, automa (a simulated opponent that is generally more difficult than AI. The difficulty here can be adjusted as well), or someone online. As stated before, Wingspan has a pretty big following so it shouldn’t be too hard to find an opponent.

Your opponents’ screen. Look at their screen every single turn to gain an advantage. The wingspan of each bird measured in cm plays into strategy as you can only do certain things or activate special brown powers based on their wingspan whether it is you or your opponent.
The Overview Menu lets you grasp what is going on all at once which can be opened at all times during the game.

For each new bird that you get, it can show up in the main menu. So for those who want to collect them all (no, not like that), a completionist aspect is implemented.

Overall, there are 170 bird cards with game information to unlock as well as real-life information for bird enthusiasts that can be accessed via the “birds” icon on the main menu. This is a good place to check the overall bird powers of each individual bird in the game as well.

Music:

Here is where Wingspan soars in my opinion. You could even say flies like an eagle. (I know, I know.) It has very smooth and calming music with some nature noises and bird sounds added in from the game to give extra ambiance. The tracks are limited in number but are decent enough that they make a good playlist to relax and play the game too because they really aren’t any duds in it.

Even you end up getting tired of the game or even disliking the whole game entirely, the soundtrack is definitely worth looking at. My hat off to Paweł Górniak, the composer, for a beautiful job. It is available on steam and is recommended. Extra tracks have been added to the soundtrack, will continue to update, and be available for free to those who have purchased the soundtrack.

Summary
Overall, if you are looking for a new kind of strategy card game, don't hate birds, and don't mind the initial confusion of trying to play and not knowing what to do, Wingspan is definitely worth a look. Like most decent card games, it can grow on you and become slightly addictive. Wingspan is no exception. It has a pretty big fan following offline via actual cards and online via PC or Nintendo Switch, so there shouldn't be a shortage of players to play with. Expansions for offline play are available and hopefully for soon for PC and Nintendo Switch.
Good
  • Advanced strategies available for veteran players
  • Beautiful soundtrack
  • Interesting facts about birds
  • Large fan following
Bad
  • Potentially steep learning curve
  • Automa difficulty can be brutal
  • The types of birds are limited to North America only with no expansion yet available for the video game
  • Not much in terms of extras rather than playing the card game
7.5
Good
Written by
Been playing games basically since before I could read and not just RPGs | Love the arts | Love a good story |

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