If you wandered into a board game store in 2019, the likelihood is that Wingspan would have been recommended to you. It was everywhere, and it inevitably became the awards darling of that year, winning at the Golden Geek Awards, Deutscher Spiele and more.  

Stonemaier Games enrolled Monster Couch, perhaps best known for Thea: The Awakening, to bring it to PC and console audiences. It’s been on other systems for a few months now, but we have it in our Xbox mitts today. Hoorah!

There’s a fair chance that you’re uninitiated, so Wingspan is best described as a bird-watching game. You are collecting birds and gaining points for the best ones, but those birds cost food and eggs, so you’ll have to be managing your resource stockpiles too. Birds have their own abilities, so once they hit the board, they’re combining with each other in fantastic ways, filling your pockets with eggs and food, among other things. 

We’ve been in Wingspan’s clutches for the last week, and we can say with certainty that it’s a fantastic board game, improved by being on Xbox. Read our review for the full lowdown.

It’s a generous package, with the ability to play solo against AI bots, all configurable in terms of difficulty, or against other players. You can play in real-time online, or you can play a version where you send players your turn, and wait for them to take days or weeks to reply. It’s a play-by-post kind of thing, and it’s a cracking addition. 

You can also play in an Automa mode, where you fight an AI that, rather than playing the game against you, acts like a pace-setter, giving you a running total of points that you have to beat. Keeping up with it on the hardest difficulties is a real challenge. 

Perhaps most impressive of all is the presentation. Rather than just port the board game directly, this is loaded with bird facts, dawn choruses and bird animations, making the whole game feel alive. It’s clearly a labour of love.

Features include:

  • Relaxing strategy card game where your goal is to discover and attract the best birds.
  • Single player and multiplayer modes for up to five players.
  • Based on the award winning, competitive, medium-weight, card-driven, engine-building board game.
  • Hundreds of unique, animated birds with their real life sound recordings.
  • Multiple ways to accumulate points with birds, bonus cards and end-of-round goals.

Wingspan is out now on Xbox One and Xbox Series X|S and starts at £16.74 from the Xbox Store. It’s also out on Switch and PC. 

Game Description:

You are bird enthusiasts—researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats. Each habitat focuses on a key aspect of the growth of your preserves. In Wingspan up to 5 players compete to build up their nature preserves in a limited number of turns. Each beautiful bird that you add to your preserve makes you better at laying eggs, drawing cards, or gathering food. Many of the 170 unique birds have powers that echo real life: your hawks will hunt, your pelicans will fish, and your geese will form a flock.

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