Wingspan Review – with Tom Vasel

[Music] and now it’s time for another diced our review with Tom vassal hey folks I’m Tom vassal and today we’re taking a look at wingspan from Stone mire games now of course this game is going to have a lot of excitement behind it because stomer games are some of the most popular games that come out each year I mean sigh then vide culture are two of the most popular board games of all time and this one here had a lot of hype behind it a lot of people are excited about it it has this bird theme which some people may like or not like my father loved watching Birds when we were a kid we lived in Pennsylvania we went to the John Audubon Park and learned about who John Audubon was and the guy went and we looked through binoculars at birds and I was never really that fascinated by the whole subject that was kind of like there’s a bird yay but my father did impress upon me this appreciation of just how many birds there are this wingspan game is an engine building style game where you’re going to get different birds and use these birds to get points in various ways let’s take a look [Music] each player is gonna have their own player board here and they’re gonna get eight cubes of one of the colors in the game players are also going to start there’s five different types of food so you’re going to start with one of each of the five types of food and you’re going to draw a handful of bird cards so you’re gonna get five bird cards as well as a couple bonus cards players are going to pick and decide how many other bonus card their bird cards they want to keep you and keep as many bird cards as you want but for each one that you keep you have to discard one of your starting food and you’ll also pick one of these bonus cards which are going to give you endgame bonuses so for example birds that can only live in the water if you have three to four those at the end of the game you get three points if you have five you get seven points now let’s take a look at the birds themselves each bird is gonna be worth a certain number of points at the end of the game this one here happens to be worth seven points each bird has a specific type of nest if there’s a star that’s basically a wild nest they have a number of eggs that they can hold on them eggs on birds at the end of the game are going to be worth a point for each egg on that bird they also have some special abilities that might happen when you play the bird when you activate the bird or when someone else does something it shows you in the world where it lives that doesn’t really pertain to the game and then the wingspan of the bird is on the bottom also at the top it shows you what habitat they live in some birds can only live in one habitat others can live in a variety of habitats and the food you need to get the bird out these are all pretty expensive birds they require this one requires two grain it’s when there’s a fish plus a wild food this is two fish plus I wrote it and the birds have different costs some of them are cheaper there’s even a couple birds that are free so players are gonna pick this starting stuff that they have to get going then starting with the start player each player is going to take in action and you’re gonna go around table taking in action you’ll use these cubes to mark the actions that you take there are four different actions play bird game food lay eggs or draw bird cards when you take a specific action when you take one of these three main actions you are going to place the cube on the most empty leftmost space so as the game goes by and you are playing more birds into these spots that space will get better as time goes by what are these spaces do well the top one gaining food this lets me take a dye out of the birdhouse dice tower and take one of the food that’s shown on that die so again there’s five food this one lets me take a grain or a a bug so maybe I’ll take the bug food and then it comes out if at any point the birdhouse is empty Yuri roll the dice if they’re all showing the same food you can reroll them once and even if there’s just one die in there to get something different if you so desire so as this goes by you’re gonna be able to take more dice to get more food and here you can discard a bird card from your hand to get more food this action here lets you lay eggs you just take eggs and the color of the eggs does not matter they’re all pretty much the same and you’ll put them on birds that you have out there of course respecting the bird limit each bird can only have so many eggs on it down here you’re gonna draw more bird cards you can draw from the three face up ones that are next to the board or you can draw from the top of the deck cards replace at the end of your turn the you can spend eggs here to draw more cards just like you could spend well resource of your choice they put more eggs out and that’s pretty much the three basic actions but then there’s the top action here which is playing a bird when you play a bird you put it in the column of the bird that you are going to play so maybe my first bird here I want to put out this American oyster catcher it’s going to cost me two bugs so I spend those two bugs and this can only be placed in the water so I put it down into water region this says when I play it draw bird cards equal to the number of players plus one starting with you and proceeding clockwise each player selects one of those cards and place in their hand you get the extra card fantastic and it’s also worth five points at the end of the game and it makes my draw bird card actions better as I place this one so playing a bird the next time I play a bird in the water thing though it’s gonna also cost an egg which I’ll need to take off one of my bird cards out there so if I want to play this Great Egret I would need to pay the two fish I wrote it and an egg to be able to put a card in that row so the farther over the more eggs they’re gonna cost after you’re done taking an action you’ll take the cube there and just put it over here that they’ve been used and each player is gonna get eight actions as you take actions when you take it action for example if this Swainson Hawk here is in this row and I take the egg action you’ll then activate all the different basically when activated actions on your Birds and it tells you that right here so you can remember this says when activated look at a bird card from the deck if the wingspan is under 75 centimeters tuck it under this card so I might draw this one this is 53 centimeters so I tuck it underneath this card cards that are tucked under birds at the end of the game are gonna be worth a point other birds will allow you to put food on them which at the end of the game will be worth one point so players are going to take these eight actions at the end of a round players are going to look at a bonus board here this bonus board is going to have some tiles randomly placed on at the beginning of the game and you’re gonna use one of two sides so in round one each player is gonna count how many eggs they have in those kind of in that kind of territory here in the grasslands and you can if I have let’s say three of them I’ll get three points I’ll put one of my cubes here everyone’s gonna put a cube somewhere on this sheet which is going to be point at the end of the game it also subtracts the number of cubes you have so in round two you only have seven cubes in round three you have six etc you can also use the other side of this board which is a little bit more competition and instead of counting how many you have whoever has the most is gonna go to first place second place third place etc after the end of a round you’ll discard the birds that are in the face-up thing put new ones out and you’ll start again after four rounds the game ends and you’re gonna add up your points points are simply you get points for the birds you get points for your bonus cards if you fulfilled them or not some birds give you opportunity to get more bonus cards as the game goes by you’ll get points for these end of round goals and then eggs on cards food on cards and tucked cards underneath the different birds will score you one point each whoever has the most points is the winner of the game the components for this game are fantastic almost the point of extremities here you have the rule book which has linen finish I think you can spill water on the rule book and so you have this very nice rule book here which very clearly explains how to play the game the there’s another rule book there’s actually two more there’s one here that shows you how to play the solo player game if you want to play that and then the appendix which is just basically explains everything in each of the cards very clearly in case you’re wondering about how a certain bird works speaking of birds this is the neatest part of the game there is literally every single different bird that you can imagine I think maybe there’s I mean I know there’s a lot more birds in the world than there in these cards but every single card is different and each card has different stats on it they have some little flavor text to show where they live most of the birds are North American birds so this makes me think of course that expansions are gonna show birds from other parts of the world the artwork is fine it reminds me of John Audubon’s drawings of birds and it just man this is fantastic the cards are really good quality the dice is good quality the eggs are neat different colors could be confusing and they really do look like candy the tokens here are great the birdhouse is a really neat device the problem I have with the birdhouse is the only negative thing about this one is you can’t drop the dice in the top they have to be dropped in the back which can make it awkward for some players depending on where you’re sitting at the table this is great to put the cards on the cards are stored in here it snaps together really easy and the bonus cards are a little boring the score pad is a little boring and I wish these were like bird tokens rather than the cubes but I’m really kind of nitpicking at this point the board’s the player boards themselves fold up like this it’s honestly a fantastic production [Music] I think I should start out by just making the simple observation that this game is amazing it really is I’ve played it quite a bit I’ve taught it even more than that the the the popularity of this game there’s been a few people who have said it’s okay that is the worst comments I’ve heard about the game for the most part people like it if you like engine building style games if you like race for the Galaxy or gizmos this game is very similar to those in many regards so first of all I like the diversity of the game I like the theme you know like I said the beginning I’m not a huge bird watcher but I appreciate a theme that’s different than everything else and the artwork and production values bring this theme into this game which is fantastic I like the fact that every single bird is different so that being said the rest of the game you have four actions to pick on your turn you’re going to sit there and go which of these actions is great obviously you want to put Birds out but you’ll find out you’ll run out of food pretty quickly you then have to determine kind of what track do you want to go down do you want to get a lot of birds out that are just worth big points that’s a very valid strategy if you want to get Birds out and then fill them up with eggs or get a bird when you tuck the cars underneath the bird that’s like a flock of birds and we get some of those that just start tucking cards like a crazy person do you want to get a nice engine going well you know fill up the bottom row and just start drawing as a lot of cards and then putting them out or filling up that top road where you can just get lots of food and be able to fill maybe all your birds and then looking at the goals themselves and going for them now the the end of game goal card this card right here this may be the weakest part of the game especially if you use the blue side there’s the confrontational non-confrontational now confrontational isn’t really confrontational right it’s just who has the most of something you’re not really getting in each other’s face about that there’s really no direct interaction in this game so I don’t mind this the other side which gives you a point for each one sometimes at the end of the game a few of these goals everyone has you know it’s like birds in the blue area and everyone has three or four of them and they don’t really feel like they make a big difference here while having the most feels a little bit better and so I would always use that side if I can help it and again it’s not a bad part of the game it’s just the least interesting part I also found it funny that this game is like these beautiful scoring production and then a really boring scoring thing not a big deal you’re just writing down the scores but the game looks fantastic it’s fun to manipulate and put the eggs out and it’s every game of this is going to be different you’re going to get a different hand of bird cards every time I think there’s like 160 different cards in this game and that’s a ton I mean every time I’ll draw my initial hand and you’ll say well I want to keep all these birds wait I can’t do that because then I won’t start with any food so do I keep just one bird card and that bird card is a water card so on my first turn I’m gonna be able to put it out and then I have a lot of food leftover but then I can immediately use my next action to draw more cards and hopefully be able to play one of those and draw more cards and go that route or maybe I’m gonna keep a lot of birds and I got one of those predator birds that doesn’t require much food at all or no food I’ll get that one out and start working on eggs it’s it’s more tactical than strategic like you don’t go into a game knowing what you’re going to do the whole game you might you know manipulate and change what you’re going to do as time goes by and I really appreciate that you draw your initial 5 bird cards and your 2 bonus cards and you can look at them both deciding what you want to do and then you kind of focus on that path the game is not long it says 40 to 70 minutes an hour seems very reasonable for this game it surely can be lengthened by someone who has analysis paralysis but for the most part I’ve seen games of us move very quickly it goes to 5 players 5 is okay I think it works really well with 2 3 4 I haven’t played the autumn of the thing but I’m sure a lot of people will enjoy that because stomer games is a really good job at making their games have a very good solo variant to them amazing production all-round this game is fantastic I want to like make some sort of platitude best game of the year but you know considering it’s the first week of the year but I will make the call that at the end of the year this game is going to be on many people’s top 10 of the year it’s really that good it’s a fantastic production highly recommend it from me wingspan taste our judgment excellent [Music] [Music]

74 thoughts on “Wingspan Review – with Tom Vasel

  1. Is this only going to be published with American species? British species would be quite different…

  2. Really a missed opportunity in not giving this game a Seal of Eggcellence

  3. I have no allegiance to Stonemaier Games, but it just makes me happy to see them put out quality games. One after another.

  4. Definitely on my wish list. Didn't think something with a bird theme would entice me but this one does and from a great pedigree of games. Viticulture and Scythe.

  5. I've never seen a rulebook with linen finish, I cannot even imagine how that would feel.

  6. I’m debating pre order from Stonemeier for January or wait until March from CoolStuff

  7. I'm still not sure about the weight of this game. Would it work as a family game? The rules seem a bit much at first, but watching through the video, it's actually not that complex. It feels similar to something like Evolution: Climate in terms of complexity..

  8. As a birdwatcher myself, I appreciate the adherence to reality. The birds are true to life and it appears that the habitat requirements, food, and stats of the birds are based on the real bird's preferences.

  9. man these cube placement games. They look so boring. This one with it's art and theme is a real snooze.

  10. My dad and I are birdwatchers, he's not big on board games but will play one with me now and then, I think he'd love this one I hope we can play it together! Also so happy to see a female designer, I don't see many come up and it looks like Elizabeth Hargrave hit it out of the park with this one

  11. Is putting cards under a bird to simulate a flock? Since it picked on smaller birds I assumed your bird was eating them! 🥺

  12. Kind of concerning he spends so much of his praise on the production values of the game. Yeah good production is nice but I'd like that to be 10% of the praise not 2/3 of the praise.

    I also am not sure what this game does differently than other engine builders other than having birds as the theme.

  13. I love the production value, but watching how this game is played just makes me want to go and play Terraforming Mars instead.

  14. Estimated release March 8? Seems like we're a bit early for this hype train.

  15. I was sceptical because I do not really care for the theme, but the game seems really fun from what I've seen. Gonna pick this up at some point this year for sure, thanks for the review. 🙂

  16. If a theme like running a vineyard can be made into an excellent game, then perhaps a theme like birds can do the same.
    Stonemeyer keeps pulling off what seems impossible.

  17. "there is no direct interaction in this game"… Since when it became totally acceptable to release games (and rate them excellent) that don't have any meaningful player interaction? /s

  18. What's the brand/name of the plastic containers you're using to hold the eggs and tokens? Would love to get a few of those and don't believe I've seen them before.

  19. I was hoping for more flying bird mechanics. Almost pick-up and deliver style maybe? I just think the theme isnt super neccessary. It could be any theme? I know I'm gunna buy this anyways because I'm a huge fan of Stonemeir games and love animal themes soo much. Just have really high expectations and hope the game lives up to the hype when I finally try it.

  20. This review hurts me. I played this one a couple of weeks back. It was boring, and it felt like none of my decisions had any real meaning.

    And that dice tower? Sure, it looks nice, but the functionality was poor. I have no problem with components that look nice, but when that gets in the way of functionality, I get annoyed.

  21. Tom, can you mention if the trays and box will fit sleeved cards? I always premium sleeve my cards and I hate it when a great insert is made to only fit unsleeved cards.

  22. Birds… a game about birds. I’ll pick this up the day I retire… at 65

  23. Theme is very boring. Artwork is ok but not great. Get food with dice rolls and draw top card to get birds? Come on. Can't you think something better.

  24. Being good solo will put it at the top of my wish list. Based on how good Scythe is, they probably nailed solo play in this one too.

  25. I ordered it for my wife who is a big bird watcher and loves to play games! Perfect for her birthday on January 31! Good overview and review!

  26. Amazing? Not, its a solitaire game with little to no player interaction. I found myself playing by myself the whole game not caring whatsoever what my opponents were doing and even when I did, there was nothing I could do about it. Production quality is I think pretty standard in terms of most games I buy, mostly cardboard with some upgraded components. The eggs are nice but the dice tower is awkward to use and the dice are absolutely terrible. Wooden dice? In the 4 or 5 times this has been played they're already starting to look black (darker) from the dirt and germs on peoples hands and they just don't feel so great, weight wise. The bird cards are all nice but the bonus cards are very plain. The card holder is supposed to hold sleeved cards but it doesn't, I can't get mine to close. I'll be selling my copy, I like Stonemaier Games but this was a disappointment.

  27. This game looks so boring. I own every Stonemaier game, but I actually think I'll pass on this one.

  28. The cards are pretty bland. I feel a like blue fade would of made them loom a whole lot better.

  29. I really like the fact that you can actually learn the names of the birds without being an educational game

  30. If he wanted to have scrambled eggs that bad he could have just opened a few chicken eggs instead of smashing all those little bird's eggs with a hammer. The work he will have to get all the shell pieces out of it.

  31. I really hope the retail version will not have the bird tower. Seems unwieldy and unnecessary. Also doubt that many of the high quality stuff will make it to retail.

  32. Eggcellent game! Jumped right up to #1 on my favorites list and I can't see it moving anytime soon. But hey, if someone wants to publish a game I like even better than this, please do!

  33. Played this one tonight and really enjoyed it! Very creative and unique themed game. The amount of work that went into this game is mind blowing!

  34. Does anyone else watch Dice Tower videos EXCLUSIVELY at 2x speed? Too much content to watch at regular speed, and Tom and the gang are a little draggy without the speed boost…ENORMOUS fan, but gotta have the speed shoes on! 😛

  35. I'm so glad you gave this a very positive review. I was looking forward to this game.
    Now I'm very comfortable buying this game.

  36. WARNING: The game has 20 wrong printed cards and errors in the rule book. Just check "cassins finch" und "cassins sparrow".

  37. WIngspan has now been written about in today's NYTimes, with the headline "She Invented a Board Game With Scientific Integrity. It’s Taking Off."

  38. Just a little correction: You do not wipe all the birds at the end of a round. Only the 3 face up one you can draw from.

  39. No offence to the reviewers but am I the only one who thinks this game looks so boring? I was never able to finish a video tutorial about wingspan without sliding into a coma. Why would I collect eggs when I can save the world from zombies or Cthulhu?

  40. Tom should have mentioned that the goal board is so thin and flimsy that I first thought it was part of the scoring pad that tore off. So disappointed with this as it did not meet my eggspectations as all the other components are eggcelent!

  41. Played this game twice: absolutely bored with it. Totally overrated.

  42. Who is the stylist of this show??! Who is it???! I want to call the police and this is not the first time!

  43. @TheDiceTower great review, thanks. What token boxes do you use? I'm looking for good ones

  44. Anyone consider enhancing player interaction by including an option to trade birds (either directly or using food) with other players?

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