Wingspan

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Faustus5
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Wingspan

Postby Faustus5 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:06 pm

I don't think anyone here is big into the board game hobby, at least not as much as I am, but has anyone caught wind of this game?

Unlike other titles in the hobby, it's actually been getting some interesting press in terms of write-ups in venues like the New York Times and The Smithsonian, because it has an unusual theme (birds and bird-watching instead of the standard space/fantasy/Renaissance trading themes typical of the genre), and is the first time game design by a woman, females being very unrepresented in the hobby.

Well, people have been going just nuts over this thing. Reviews have been raving, print runs kept selling out which promoted the publisher to write an apology explaining the economics of board game design in the Boardgamegeek forums, and it was selling on Ebay for $1,000 for a time (this is a $40 game). It also just won the Kennerspiel des Jahres, which is sort of the board game equivalent of winning a Best Picture Oscar.

After I heard of the second printing being completed I monitored my go-to place for buying games online, refreshing every 20 minutes or so until I saw they had 50 copies available. Placed my order, took another look, and they were all gone. They lasted less than half an hour.

After one play through with my gaming group, everyone was in love with it, and it is the only game in months that makes it to the table with multiple plays every time we meet. One of my friends even bought his own copy and a 3D printer at the same time so he could make custom components for it. I've been in the hobby for most of my life and I've never seen such enthusiasm for a game before.

Just thought I'd throw it out there--from a lot of what I've encountered, this game is even winning a lot of people over who aren't normally into board games. Most of the folks here seem to have a bit of a geek side to them, so if you are one of them, check it out:

https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/266192/wingspan

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Gendo
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Re: Wingspan   Reply #1

Postby Gendo » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:52 pm

Yeah it's super popular among my group and at the local cons I've been to.

Here's a neat article about it: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/11/scie ... grave.html

I finally got a chance to play it a couple months ago. It was ok, but did not at all live up to the hype for me. I do want to give it another try though.

I had 2 main problems with the game:

1) It seems to focus super heavily on theme over mechanics. I get that some people are really into theme, but I'm not. For example, the idea of caching food and tucking other birds both seem to only exist to support the theme. For most other games, I would have just expected "take a [$VP]" rather than "tuck a bird" or "cache a berry" or "cache a fish". If you simply get 1 VP at the end of the game for each cached food and each tucked bird, just give me a VP token.

2) In my first game, I lost before the game began. This was my own fault... I chose to keep 3 birds that all had an expensive food cost; and so ended up spending my first few turns just getting more food and drawing more birds so that I could play something; while my opponents all played a bird on turn 1. While that's my own fault for making a bad decision, I don't feel like a game should be that punishing to a pre-round-one mistake. Other games that allow players to choose what resources they start with generally balance those choices so that you can't make a choice that will give you no chance of winning.

Faustus5
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Re: Wingspan   Reply #2

Postby Faustus5 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 6:14 pm

Gendo wrote:
I finally got a chance to play it a couple months ago. It was ok, but did not at all live up to the hype for me. I do want to give it another try though.


I was worried that this would be the response of my group, who can be pretty skeptical, but I lucked out. Do give it another try, though. It may grow on you!

Gendo wrote: I get that some people are really into theme, but I'm not.


She totally baked theme into the game. Apparently she had a huge spread sheet on the real life characteristics of all the birds in the game and tried as closely as she could to map them onto the properties and effects of each bird card.

What do you think of Reiner Knizia as a designer? I ask because he is all about mechanics first and the themes of his games are essentially (or could essentially be) just randomly tacked on after the thought. He's my favorite designer of all time. My group went nuts for his recent Quest for El Dorado, too.

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Gendo
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Re: Wingspan   Reply #3

Postby Gendo » Mon Aug 05, 2019 8:56 pm

I'm definitely a Knizia fan; there's been at least 3 times when I've suddenly realized that a game I've enjoyed for a long time is a Knizia game.

Like just now while looking up his list of games I leaned that he did Colossal Arena. But of his stuff that I've played, I'm a big fan of Ra, Tigris and Euphrates, and High Society.

Faustus5
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Re: Wingspan   Reply #4

Postby Faustus5 » Mon Aug 05, 2019 9:30 pm

Gendo wrote:I'm definitely a Knizia fan; there's been at least 3 times when I've suddenly realized that a game I've enjoyed for a long time is a Knizia game.

Like just now while looking up his list of games I leaned that he did Colossal Arena. But of his stuff that I've played, I'm a big fan of Ra, Tigris and Euphrates, and High Society.


None of my friends has Ra so we don't play that one, but Tigris & Euphrates and High Society have come to the table a lot. The group favorite is Modern Art. I'm on a winning streak with T & E, which surprises me because though I love this hobby, I'm not a very good player at anything.


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