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WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion Review


I would argue that WINGSPAN should be medically prescribed. It’s so ridiculously therapeutic, a relaxant that rids me of my problems through its downy-soft piano soundtrack, fluttering sound effects, and complete lack of any pressures or time limits. If I feel my temper beginning to rise, I turn on WINGSPAN, play a couple of spoonbills and it all goes away. 

WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion couldn’t have arrived at a better time. I was recovering from COVID, and I couldn’t relax thanks to various aches and pains. Huzzah for WINGSPAN! The Oceania Expansion was the medication that got me through. 

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Wingspan is back, playing with Galahs

Like the European Expansion, the Oceania Expansion represents a multitude of things. It’s a flock of nearly 100 new birds for a start, bolstering the game deck. As these are birds from Oceania, you can probably already guess a few: there’s the flightless kiwi, the (flaming) galah, kookaburras and various emus and cassowaries. These aren’t birds that you will spot by looking out the window (at least, if you’re in the UK like us), but they’re suitably wide-ranging and intriguing, each introduced with a trivia snippet when you play them for the first time. 

New birds mean new effects, and we could fill the review with describing each one. As you can probably tell from our examples, flightless birds are now a thing, and their wingspans are effectively win conditions. If you have cards that benefit small-winged birds or big-winged birds, then a flightless bird will count as both. There are lyrebirds that copy the brown effects from other players, while blackbirds and a couple of others can span two spaces rather than the usual one, allowing you to unlock better benefits slightly earlier than before, but with the trade-off that they’re utterly vanilla.

It’s not only the birds that get a bolster. There are new Bonus cards, often leveraging the new mechanics on the cards, including whether the birds’ beaks are pointing left or right. There are also new round types, including a kind of ‘null’ round, where there are no rewards for specific nests or eggs on particular birds. Instead, the null rounds give you extra turns. We found them to be perfect for getting all-time high scores, finally making some of the original WINGSPAN achievements possible.

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You’ll want to play your cards right

Which is a neat segue into WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion’s new achievements. As with the European Expansion, there are a bevy of new challenges to complete, and these are still some of the best-designed achievements you will find in any game. I love how WINGSPAN’s achievements push you to play differently, to pull off seemingly impossible feats. And while you’re chasing them, you’re passively, slowly, completing the pokedex-like achievement where you play every bird in the expansion. 

The award for best addition, however, goes to the new food type: nectar. At first, it doesn’t seem particularly exciting. Nectar is a wildcard – a food type of your choosing. But WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion doesn’t just leave it at that. It gives you a single nectar at the start of the game, so your options are immediately more open (higher scores are more possible with this expansion). Some birds can only be summoned with nectar. But while these all seem like positives, nectar is wiped at the end of each round. If you don’t spend the nectar, it will evaporate out of your resource bank on round-end. 

Suddenly, there’s an internalised time limit. Nectar is undoubtedly better than any other food type, but it expires, so you’re planning the remaining turns in the finest detail. But what makes it so glorious is that – suddenly – the more outlandish tactics are now viable. The best birds require the most finicky food types, but with the right amount of planning, nectar can make them eminently playable. 

We found that we got into fewer holes, too. It’s all too common in WINGSPAN to get yourself into a dead-end where you have to waste valuable turns to get one egg, card or food type, just so that you can play an early bird. But a starting nectar every game, and the widespread availability of nectar, means that dead-ends happen far less frequently. Suddenly, WINGSPAN becomes a whole lot more welcoming, a whole lot more fun. 

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If you like Wingspan, the Oceania Expansion is a must

Nectar doesn’t just sit there as a vestigial addition that doesn’t quite integrate into the game. A  new board type ensures that nectar is factored into how you purchase cards, eggs and food. In each region, the second and fourth slot has new rules applied, meaning that you can spend nectar to bolster what you’re getting. It’s this sense of exhaustiveness, that everything has been thought about, as well as a determination to improve the base elements of WINGSPAN, that makes the Oceania Expansion so dapper. 

We keep examining it, looking for flaws, and can’t find a single one. Sure, there are things that we’d like the broader WINGSPAN digital edition to offer – a campaign, some challenges, maybe some puzzle-based scenarios – but as a single expansion to the game, this little WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion package has everything that a budding Chris Packham could want. Frankly, we were smitten.


  • Nearly 100 new birds
  • Virtually every aspect of the game has been added to
  • Nectar changes things up dramatically
  • Still as soothing as ever
  • Well-designed achievements to chase
  • Could still do with meaty single player content
  • Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Monster Couch
  • Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One
  • Release date and price - 12 December 2023 | £9.29
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<b>Pros:</b> <ul> <li>Nearly 100 new birds</li> <li>Virtually every aspect of the game has been added to</li> <li>Nectar changes things up dramatically</li> <li>Still as soothing as ever</li> <li>Well-designed achievements to chase</li> </ul> <b>Cons:</b> <ul> <li>Could still do with meaty single player content</li> </ul> <b>Info:</b> <ul> <li>Massive thanks for the free copy of the game, Monster Couch</li> <li>Formats - Xbox Series X|S (review), Xbox One <li>Release date and price - 12 December 2023 | £9.29</li> </ul>WINGSPAN: Oceania Expansion Review
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