What are the basic rules and mechanics of Wingspan?

"Wingspan," a board game designed by Elizabeth Hargrave and published by Stonemaier Games, offers players an immersive and strategic experience centered around birdwatching and conservation. The game's rules and mechanics are designed to simulate the activities of bird enthusiasts as they attract and care for a variety of bird species in their wildlife preserves.

Here's an overview of the basic rules and mechanics of "Wingspan":

Game Setup:

  1. Each player receives a personal player board representing their wildlife preserve, where they will attract and house birds.
  2. Players receive a starting hand of bird cards, food tokens, and egg tokens, as indicated by their player mat.
  3. Random goal tiles and bonus cards are placed on the table for end-of-round scoring and additional objectives.

Gameplay Rounds:

  1. Action Selection: On a player's turn, they choose one of four available actions by placing their cube on a corresponding action space on their player board. The actions include gaining food, drawing bird cards, laying eggs, and playing birds.
  2. Gathering Food: To perform the Gather Food action, players choose one of the dice in the birdfeeder (a dice tower), which determines the type and amount of food they receive. Food is essential for activating bird abilities and laying eggs.
  3. Drawing Bird Cards: The Draw Bird Cards action allows players to draw new bird cards from the deck. Each bird card features a unique species, artwork, habitat, food requirements, abilities, and point values.
  4. Laying Eggs: Players can spend food to lay eggs on bird cards in their aviary. Eggs are valuable for end-of-round scoring and triggering bird abilities.
  5. Playing Birds: Players can spend food and eggs to play bird cards from their hand to their aviary. Birds must be placed in habitats that match their requirements. Played birds contribute to a player's overall score through their abilities, end-of-round scoring, and end-of-game objectives.

End of Round: At the end of each round, players perform several steps:

  1. Check Goals: Players compare their achievements with the goals for the round and score points accordingly.
  2. Lay Eggs: Players can spend eggs to lay additional eggs on bird cards.
  3. Draw Bird Cards: Players receive new bird cards based on their player mat's draw value.
  4. Prepare for the Next Round: The birdfeeder is refilled with dice, and a new round begins.

End of Game: After four rounds, the game concludes with a final scoring phase. Players tally points from bird cards, eggs, bonus cards, and end-of-round scoring. Points are also earned from achieving objectives on goal tiles and fulfilling personal bonus cards. The player with the highest total score wins the game.

Solo Mode and Automa: "Wingspan" includes a solo mode in which players compete against an AI-controlled automa. The automa follows a set of rules to simulate the actions of an opponent, providing a challenging and engaging solo experience.

In summary, "Wingspan" combines thematic elements of birdwatching with strategic gameplay mechanics. Players manage their resources, attract birds, and lay eggs to accumulate points through end-of-round and end-of-game scoring. The game's elegant and accessible mechanics make it suitable for both casual and experienced gamers, while the depth of strategy and the array of unique bird abilities ensure that each playthrough offers a different and rewarding experience.