A Bird Themed Engine Builder: Wingspan REVIEW

By Christopher Guyton | February 14th, 2019 | Categories: Board Game Reviews, Board Games, Product Review

Looking for an aesthetically stunning game that’s sure to land on the table every game night? Then you should really take a look at Wingspan!

Wingspan is a 1-5 player game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and published by Stonemaier Games. A typical game will take about one hour.

Wingspan: $55.00 (Pre-order)

Get yours for less at Miniature Market


Wingspan is a competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game from Stonemaier Games.

You are bird enthusiasts – researchers, birdwatchers, ornithologists, and collectors – seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your aviary. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). These habitats focus on several key aspects of growth:

• Gain food tokens via custom dice in a birdfeeder dice tower
• Lay eggs using egg miniatures in a variety of colors
• Draw from hundreds of unique bird cards and play them

The winner is the player with the most points after 4 rounds.

Ages: 10+
Players: 1-5
Game Length: 40-70 minutes

A Bird-Themed Engine Builder: Wingspan REVIEW

Wingspan is a wonderful game where you are trying to attract various birds to your nature preserve. There are four basic actions you can perform to achieve this goal.

Play a bird: play a bird card from your hand into the matching habitat it lives in. Some birds can live is multiple habitats.


Gain Food:  Take food from the bird feeder. You may pick any of the dice and take a good token of the matching symbol. If at any point all the dice are the same face, you can re-roll all five dice and choose from the new results.

Lay eggs: Take egg tokens and place them on any of your birds that have space in their nest.

Draw cards: Draw cards from either the face-up display or blind draw from the deck.


Each player starts with eight action cubes. At the end of the round players score the randomly chosen bonus. This bonus is marked and tracked with one of the eight cubes thereby reducing the following round’s action total. This creates a tighter gameplay each round, making every action really count.

At the start of each game all players are given a choice of one of two random end game bonus cards. Then everyone takes one each of the five different food tokens. You will also draw five bird cards and decide how many to keep. Each bird you keep will cost one of the initial five food tokens. So if you want all five birds then you start with no food, for example.


There are 170 different bird cards in Wingspan each with unique and beautiful artwork. The player boards are divided into the four sections of the actions described earlier. You take the leftmost column’s action of each row. Each action’s consecutive columns get stronger as you fill the rows with birds. So, the more birds in say, the gain food row, the more food tokens you get. Then you move the cube to the left one space at a time. This triggers each bird’s activation abilities. Some birds only have one time, when played effects. Others will have abilities that only trigger when other players take a specific action.

Each bird has the same basic outline. Habitat, food requirements, victory point value, nest type, nest egg capacity, ability if any, and of course wingspan.


As you play birds you spend the required food and eggs if played into the second column or beyond. You then see which habitat they belong in. This can be the Forest, grasslands, or wetlands. Some birds are flexible and can live in more than one habitat.

After four rounds, with a random bonus tile scored for each, the player with the most points wins.


Wingspan is a lovely game. Unfortunately, this game is not due to hit retail until mid-March. I’ve had the awesome opportunity to own this game very early from being a Stonemaier Champion. This a subscription service of sorts that supports the company and grants its members some really cool benefits. Stonemaier games is one of the best publishers out there and they really take care to make quality products. Not to mention Jamey Stegmaier is one of the most accessible creators out there. Typically if you have a question or concern he’s on top of it with an answer right away. Naturally, anytime they publish a new game I take notice.


The component quality of Wingspan is top notch.  The dice are rolled in this cool birdhouse dice tower. And the egg tokens are beautiful 3-D eggs of various colors. The colors are just for variety and not gameplay, which works great for the colorblind. The artwork is simply phenomenal. Each bird is just beautiful and drawn with colored pencils. The art team consists of a very talented group of women, Ana Maria Martinez Jaramillo, Natalia Rojas, and Beth Sobel. Another small note is the rule book. The quality paper they used is very satisfying.

I cannot recommend this game enough. For the past few weeks, Wingspan has hit the table each game night. Each time we play it’s met with high praise and enjoyment. Once this game is widely available you definitely need to check it out.

board game wrapper

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About the Author: Christopher Guyton

When not driving forklifts for a living Chris can be found pushing cubes and chucking dice at Gamer’s Guild in Spring Lake, NC
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