Creating a Wildlife Sanctuary in Wingspan

One of my best friends told me about this board game that she liked. She played it at a friend’s party and raved about it. I love playing new board games and find it easy to play the same board games repeatedly. The game my friend was describing is called Wingspan. She loved it so much that she bought her copy and brought it over for a board game night. Wingspan was a fun game to learn and I would definitely be interested in playing the game again in the future.

[Image shows a game board for Wing Span. There are three rows. Beginning of the three rows, there's an action. The first row it says "Gain Food" The second row it says "Lay eggs" The third row is a little cut off but it says "Draw Bird Cards"]

The objective of Wingspan is to create a wildlife sanctuary and to score the most points in a series of rounds. Each player has their own board where various bird cards are played. In addition, players have their objective cards. Their objective cards help score points at the end of the game. For example, my objective was to have birds and predators of a particular nest type. Therefore, as I was playing bird cards, I played cards with the nest type chosen in the objective. For each turn, there are a few actions. Playing a bird card, gathering food, laying eggs, and drawing bird cards. Bird cards are a must because that’s how the sanctuary is built. In order to play bird cards, there are certain food costs to do so. That’s why gathering food is essential. Laying eggs helps to earn points toward the end of the game. Finally, if a player doesn’t have any bird cards in their hand, they may need to draw a bird card from either three displayed cards or a random card from the deck.

As Wingspan was being explained to me, I felt myself catching on pretty quickly. I liked the various bird cards and on each bird card, there was a fact about that species. Our group got into a routine where whenever we played a bird card, we read that particular fact on the card. Another component that I liked was the birdhouse. There’s a birdhouse model where the food dice are rolled into. I thought that was a nice touch to the feel of the game. Certain birds allowed players to re-roll food dice, so I found myself rolling the dice fairly often.

Another thing that I liked about Wingspan was how it wasn’t aimed at being cutthroat. Playing a game like Settlers of Catan, there are multiple opportunities to try and screw over other players by cutting off a road or food supply. In Wingspan, it’s more driven by independent goals, so players aren’t trying to cut off each other, but instead, focus on their individual sanctuary. I don’t mind playing Settlers of Catan every now and then, but I have to be in the mood for it. Wingspan feels more independently driven which I found that I appreciated.

In the end, I ended up in second place which wasn’t too bad. I was only three points away from winning the game. It’s interesting because it can be tough to tell who is leading in the game. I didn’t have as many birds in play as everyone else, but I ended up laying a lot of eggs which added up in points. I think it helps keep interest in the game because anyone can come back and win even if their board is drastically different from another player.

Wingspan is a great game to introduce to friends or family who may not play a lot of board games. It isn’t complicated and the game doesn’t take forever to complete. Now that I know how to play, I think it would take way less time to play through if I did play Wingspan again. Wingspan was fun and I hope my friend brings the game again to our future board game nights.

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