I pull my binoculars up to my eyes…
Could it be?! A rare Brown-Headed Cowbird? Or just another game on the hype train?
1 – 5 Players | 40 – 70 Minutes | Designed by Elizabeth Hargrave
Wingspan has arguably been one of the most sought after games this year. Costs are exorbitant, and many have fallen prey to some pretty outrageous eBay deals.
So what is all the hype about? I got my hands on a copy, so let’s unbox!
The feeling of this box is special. It is one of the nicest textures I have felt on any of my games, so as a starting point, I am already very excited to open it up.
The cover artwork is simple, yet stunning. The colour scheme is muted, yet vibrant in parts, while still showing off the beautiful art style of the game. The white Wingspan heading is bold and eye catching, without detracting from large bird drawing on the front. My one criticism is I find that the font used for the designer/illustrators is reasonably hard to read in comparison to the otherwise very clear front cover.
The back does a good job of showing what the game is like when set up, as well as outlining what you will be doing throughout the game, with a components list added to the side. I feel like all the proper information is there, but the way that the back cover is laid out is not the most visually drawing as it could be. The alignment of text boxes is strange, as well as the multiple varying fonts used across back in various sizes. If I was not reading into it too much, it would be fine, but for a game which has put so much effort into the look, feel and quality of the components, the look of the back cover seems a bit of an oversight in my opinion.
Once the box lid is removed, you can see a handy packing guide is printed on the edge of the box. I love it when games include this, especially for more complex games with heaps of components. I feel like this game almost doesn’t need it, as I had no issues organising the box, but it is always a good thing to include in my opinion!
The game features 3 books – a rulebook, an appendix and an automa guide for playing solo. I can’t describe to you my instant love of the paper used to print these on! They are by far the most beautiful rule books I have ever felt as they are printed on a stunning linen finish paper.
The close up image below shows the texture of the paper, and how amazing the printing looks on it. If only you could feel it!
Each page is laid out super clearly, with easy to read text as well as gorgeous artwork. Most pages feature really handy notes, comments or tips about the game which are clearly shown in a nice paint brush stroke of colour.
The artwork throughout the entire book is flawless, and all 3 books are filled with gameplay imagery as well as beautiful birds randomly spread throughout. These are not required, and they do flesh out the books quite a bit, but they really add to the beauty of the game.
The. Quality. So I am sure you will agree that the general quality of games produced by Stonemaier games is exceptional, and Wingspan is no different. For a ‘retail’ version of the game, I feel like I am not missing out on any upgrades or getting an inferior product.
Even the tokens have that nice linen finish, making them seem like they are even better quality. The eggs are really cool and come in multiple different colours which is not required for gameplay purposes, but a fun addition. The dice are really large and wooden which I haven’t seen before, but they feel really nice to throw around and put into the bird feeder dice tower.
All of the cards in the game feature gorgeous artwork of different species of bird, as well as fun little facts about each different type. The graphic design is really clear, while still allowing the artwork to shine.
The cards come in their own handy Game Trayz storage box which also serves as a display for the ‘market’ of cards during the game.
A bird feeder?! Yes. A bird feeder dice tower. This is another example of going above and beyond what is required for a general retail release of a game. It is really nice quality and made from the same linen card as the tokens. It can be taken apart into 2 pieces to fit back into the box as well, which I love. I would be very annoyed if I had to assemble it every time!
The rest of the components are nice, but nothing too special. The coloured cubes could have been upgraded in my opinion as they seem very plain in comparison to all the effort that has gone into the rest of the components. I have seen people upgrading these to cute little bird houses in each player colour which is fun!
Rather than having 1 game board, each player receives their own individual player board. These can be folded in half for easy storage in the box, as they are actually quite large. The artwork is incorporated well into the overall board design without detracting or making it difficult to see anything. My only comment since playing this a few times, is that people seem to miss the egg payment spots at the top for the ‘play a bird’ action, as it is much smaller than the other action rows. Overall though, the boards serve their purpose well while still looking very eye catching.
I managed to get my hands on a retail version from the first print run for a reasonable price, however if you are trying to find a copy at the moment, it might be tough. As far as I know, there is currently a reprint underway which actually fixes a few misprints from the last print run. If you can hold out a few months, I would definitely recommend trying to get yourself a copy as it is quite an easy to learn game.
Overall, the quality is exceptional. I don’t think the game is worth the scalper price tag, so don’t feel pressured that you need to buy this game right this second. Definitely check it out if you have the opportunity though!
My favourite components would be the cute little eggs, the dice and the linen finish on the books/box. They all scream high quality!
My only complaint would be the coloured cubes. Yes they are totally fine, and serve their purpose well… but why were these overlooked?!