Board Game Players Are Obsessed With Wingspan—And So Are We

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Is the Wingspan board game worth the hype? Over 7,000 Amazon reviewers think so. Here's what you need to know about the popular birding game.

wingspan board gameCourtesy Lori Vanover
Wingspan is a bird-themed board game

Wingspan is one of the most popular tabletop board games on Amazon, with over 7,000 reviews and 4.8 out of 5 stars at the time of publishing. The game has sold more than 1 million units worldwide. As if those stats aren’t impressive enough, the Wingspan board game is currently on sale for an additional $9 off!)

Jamey Stegmaier, who runs the day-to-day operations of tabletop game publishing company Stonemaier Games, told Birds & Blooms, “Wingspan features 180 unique bird cards, each illustrated by hand and designed based on the unique characteristics of the bird (and accompanied by bird facts on each card). Despite having that many cards, a turn of the game is distilled down to one of four choices: Do you play a bird, gain food, lay eggs, or gain more bird cards?”

Interested in adding adding Wingspan to your rotation for family game night? It makes a great gift for bird lovers. Here’s everything you need to know about this bestselling board game.

What is Wingspan?

wingspanCourtesy Lori Vanover
Game board with food tokens and bird cards

Wingspan is a bird-themed tabletop board game for 1 to 5 players. The game was designed by Elizabeth Hargrave. Each bird card includes information about the species’ habitat, preferred foods, type of nest, number of eggs laid, and more. There are tokens for five kinds of food (fish, rodents, seeds, worms and berries), wooden dice, and small wooden eggs in pretty colors. The dice tower is designed to look like an adorable little bird house. 

Pros

  • Beautiful design (we love the bird illustrations!)
  • Expert reviewed facts about birds
  • Short playing time (40 to 70 minutes)

Cons

Wingspan dice towerCourtesy Lori Vanover
The Wingspan dice tower looks like a bird house
  • There’s a learning curve, but a swift-start guide is provided for new players.
  • The cardboard dice tower was a bit tricky to put together (I damaged part of the cardboard while bending it into shape). Some players recommend this upgraded plastic tower available on Etsy.

How to Play the Wingspan Board Game

wingspanCourtesy Lori Vanover
Eggs on bird cards

Before playing the Wingspan board game for the first time, I highly recommend that you watch a video to become more familiar with the game pieces and game play strategies. As someone with very little tabletop game experience, I will admit to feeling confused in the beginning. However, the second time I played, it was much easier for me.

Every copy of Wingspan includes a “swift-start guide.” If you’re playing for the first time, just follow the steps on this guide. It will walk you through your first few turns, after which you’ll know how to play. I found this guide to be very helpful. If you’re a beginner like me, read the instructions closely and and take it slow.

Jamey says, “When you’re playing Wingspan for the first few times, I find it helpful to pick something that excites you and focus on it, even if you don’t win. For example, if you see a bird you like, go through the steps necessary to play that bird: Gain the bird card, gain the food necessary to play it, and play it. That bird may then have an ability that gives you an idea of what to do next. Focus on what’s fun for you as you become comfortable with the game.”

A complete game has four rounds, with a different group goal for each round, as well as personal goals that you can work toward. The winner is the player with the most combined points at the end of game play (bird cards, eggs, and food, plus the goals).

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The Best Wingspan Board Game User Reviews

Image000000Courtesy Carol Johnson
The game is designed for 1 to 5 players

Verified Amazon purchaser Jason Klueber says
, “Everything about this game is, in a word, luxurious. The component quality is absolutely amazing from the cards through the surprisingly substantial egg minis down to the manual itself. A lot of care was taken to make this game a tactile delight, and it shows. Both (my wife and I) had an enormous amount of fun playing the game and are looking forward to more rounds going forward.”

Brittany Leigh writes, “Aside from the well thought out gameplay, the game is beautiful. Even the texture of the rule book is astonishingly pleasing. The play boards have a nice feel, the cards are sturdy, the pastel eggs are delightful. My favorite design aspect of the game is the wooden dice and rolling them in the birdhouse. If you’re trying to learn about birds, you most definitely can, you just have to give yourself time to play a little bit slower. There are pithy facts on each card, an accurate and well-illustrated image, a mini map, and a proportionate idea of how many eggs each species of bird could lay in a year.”

Mary Simonitch says, “The artwork is fantastic, and the bird information on the cards is great. It has a learning curve, but that should be expected with a game that is built on strategy, not complete luck.”

Where to Buy Wingspan

wingspan board gameCourtesy Carol Johnson
Even cats love Wingspan

The Wingspan board game is sold at Target, Amazon, and Kohl’s. The regular price for the basic game is $60, with expansions available for European and Oceania birds. You can also order additional speckled eggs and upgrade to wooden food tokens.

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Lori Vanover
Lori Vanover is the senior digital editor for Birds & Blooms. She has a bachelor's degree in agricultural and environmental communications from the University of Illinois. Lori enjoys growing vegetables and flowers for pollinators in her backyard gardens. She also is an avid bird-watcher.