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3 Play: Wingspan

With so many games in our library and always a new one waiting to be learned, some of our favourites can end up being neglected and only played once. With that in mind, rather than rushing out to find new games all the time, we’re going to give some of them more of an in depth look by playing them three times in one week.

Let’s kick this off with a game so popular we had to buy three copies of it. I spent ages trying to think of a clever bird pun to lead into this but I just can’t, so without further ado, this week’s featured game is Wingspan.

What is it?

Winner of the 2019 Enthusiast’s Game of the Year, Wingspan is an engine building, bird collecting, game. Players take it in turns to do one of four actions: play a bird, collect food (needed to play birds), lay eggs (points and also needed to play birds) or draw more bird cards. Simple enough, but what makes this one really shine is that as you play birds you’re improving what each action can do. That, and your action supply is limited so you’ll need to use each turn efficiently if you want to win.

Why we love it

Like all good ‘engine builder’ style games, this one gives players the joy of starting small but letting you progress to an awesome combo-ing system. Whilst Wingspan doesn’t feel mechanically innovative, what it does do it meld together existing systems with a unique elegance. That’s not to mention the beautifully illustrated bird cards (there’s 170 of them and they’re all different), egg tokens which remind us of mini eggs, and the bird feeder themed dice tower.

Who’s it best for?

Whilst you definitely could play this if all you’ve ever played before is Monopoly, we’d recommend it more for people who have already played a couple of our light strategy games. It works well for families with a little bit of experience or for groups of adults. We’ve had fun playing this at 2 and 3 players, and it’s supposed to also be fun for 4 player. I can’t talk too much about the solo mode because I haven’t played it but Kris did and he enjoyed it. Whilst there’s end of round objectives to compete for, there isn’t much interaction in this one - you’ll mostly be doing your own thing with little chance to mess with other players - so one for you if you don’t like the meaner games. Playing with three players we found took around an hour and a half.

Loved it? Now try…

Ecos: First Continent - Another beautiful animal themed game with lots of strategy. Everdell - Stunning woodland themed game of collecting animals and engine building.

Azul: Summer Pavilion - Simpler abstract strategy game with nice chunky plastic pieces .

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