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Wingspan Two Player Review

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All board game reviews and ratings from “A Pair of Meeples” are entirely based on the game at two players. You can learn more about our rating system by clicking below.


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Ah, Wingspan.  A board game all about birds, lots of birds, and eggs, can’t forget about those. At least they left out the bird poop though.  One of the highest-praised games to come out in recent years and it has a lot of valid reasons for being so well-reviewed. I know this is going to ruffle some feathers, but for us, this game didn’t live up to those high praises, and no, it wasn’t because of my wife’s irrational fear of birds, even though she really is quite terrified of them. 

Wingspan Board Game Review

5.5 out of 10

Is Wingspan Good For Two Players? : It Depends

Wingspan is great for people new to the hobby or those who want to add a relaxing low interaction game to their collection, but others who already have a wide collection of games (especially those with similar mechanics), may find this game lacking. It is an easygoing game for those nights when you and your board gaming partner just want to chill out, collect some birds, lay some eggs and focus on your own actions and not have to worry about what another player is doing.

Theme: 8/10
Replayability: 7/10
Components: 9/10
Conflict: 2/10
Fun: 4/10

Husband's Rating
6 out of 10
Wife's Rating
5 out of 10

Pros

Amazing components and art

Simple rules and easy to play

Fairly Quick Playtime

Well balanced

Unique Non-nerdy theme

Cons

The game feels cut short

Very Low Player Interaction

Luck Dependent

Gameplay Experience:

This game has been on our wishlist for quite some time and we finally got around to adding it to our collection.  With so many positive and glowing reviews, it seemed like a no-brainer.  When it came in the mail and the box was opened, we were becoming even more optimistic about how much we were going to like the game as all the components were quite beautiful. 

The artwork was amazing, and we were even more amazed as we went through all the cards and found out every single card was unique, with its own bird, description, and characteristics.  The colorful eggs, birdhouse dice tower, player boards, food tokens, cards, and tray looked very enticing and lovely on the table.  I mean we were even admiring the nice paper used for the instructions, yeah we’re weird, we know.  It was easy to see a lot of work, time and love had been put into designing all the components for this game.

All this built up our excitement to play even more, so we got down to business and started a game.  All versions of this game come with the swift start promo pack which makes your first couple of moves for you so we didn’t worry too much about reading the manual as the first few turns teach you how to play. The gameplay was fairly quick to pick up from there and we were adding birds to our collection(a.k.a. Building our flock as we liked to say), feeding them, and getting lots of those pretty eggs for all our hard work.  

But we were doing this all alone, or in other words, I didn’t really care that my wife added an eastern bluebird to her collection, and she didn’t care the slightest when I put a turkey vulture in mine.  To be fair, some birds have abilities that play off of other players’ actions but we didn’t have any our first few games, and even when we have gotten them, the effects are not greatly significant, and sometimes the effects are just never triggered.

As the game continued and our bird collections grew, both of us started to feel more and more like we were retired, and bird watching was our new hobby. Our birds were finally starting to work cohesively together and we both had the most beautiful (and super random) flock of birds you probably have ever seen.  Turkey Vultures, Flamingos, Wood Ducks, and Owls were all in our various wildlife reserves.  We were adding eggs to each and every bird we could, and then… 

The game ended.  We had reached the last round and our bird collecting session was over.  We added up our scores with me being victorious(a very rare occurrence, but I think her fear of birds holds her back in this game from collecting the powerful ones) and then admired our mismatched jumble of bird species with all their colorful eggs. We couldn’t help but feel as if our session was ended quite abruptly, and had stopped just as we thought we had mastered our bird collecting.  

We started to think that maybe we’re just not good enough at the game yet and didn’t collect birds fast enough or collect the right type of birds to get time to enjoy the satisfying effects of our awesome bird collections.  So we played again, and again, and have played many more times since then and the ending still comes as abruptly as ever, with neither of us feeling that satisfaction at the end.  And this is where the main problem with the game lies, at least for us.

How To Play Wingspan with Two Players:

In Wingspan, you are basically trying to add birds to your collection that work together cohesively to provide you with more of a resource or other beneficial effects.  Players are dealt five birds and two end-game bonus cards to choose from and also receive 5 food tokens, a food token has to be discarded for each bird kept, and only one bonus card is kept.  After this, the game starts.

Wingspan Setup
Wingspan set up with five bird cards dealt to each player.

The game consists of four rounds with each round having an end-of-round objective that can give players additional points.  Each player starts with eight action cubes that will be used to mark each action taken.  Actions include adding birds to your collection, gaining food, gaining eggs, or drawing cards. 

All of these actions go together quite well and each is equally essential to your success as a bird collector. This is because each bird has food requirements in order to be added to your collection, and as your collection grows they also require eggs, and then eventually you will run out of birds to play requiring you to draw more cards.  

Each action space is represented by habitat on your player board.  As you add more birds to that habitat each time you take those actions thereafter it will become a more powerful version of that initial action you had at the beginning of the game. You will also receive any effects of previously played birds in that habitat when taking the action. 

For example, if you had four birds played in the woods habitat as seen below you would get to draw three food from the supply instead of the original one and then any birds in that habitat would be activated from right to left potentially providing you with additional benefits. So as the game progresses you can see how you can build your bird collection up in order so it can provide you with what you need.

Wingspan Example Board
Example of how more birds played in a habitat increase the benefits of that action.

The action of gaining food is where some minimal player action can occur.  The food supply is represented by five dice and players have the option of choosing the food of their choice from the face-up side of these dice when gathering food.  The catch is that the dice cannot be rerolled until all remaining dice are showing the same symbol, so what one player picks for food can greatly affect what’s available for the next player and if they will be able to reroll the dice.

This mechanism, while unique, negatively impacts the game at two players. This is because your opponents have a lot of control over the food supply, so depending on what they do, sometimes it may take two actions to even get the food you need. I know in many of our games we often ignore gathering food as long as we can so we don’t waste actions collecting what we don’t need, hoping the other player will waste their action and set up the food supply to be rerolled.

After each round is over and all players are out of action cubes, they will use a single cube to mark their score on the end of the round objectives sheet.  This is more meaningful than it appears because this means each new round you will have one less action available to you.  This is a pretty neat mechanic but if you haven’t gathered already, I think this is what causes this game to not be one of our favorites. 

Our opinions aside, this means as the game goes on you will probably have more and better actions you can take because of the birds and resources you have built/collected but you will be very limited in what you can get done, especially in that final round when you only have 5 actions.  That’s not a lot if you are out of bird cards, and food and have to spend two actions to just draw new cards to play and gain the food to feed them.

That’s it though, I mean quite oversimplified, but you basically have four simple actions that you can use to grow your bird collection while aiming to accomplish bonus cards and end-of-round goals.

Wingspan End Game
Another finished game of Wingspan

Conclusion:

Wingspan is a beautiful game with great components, a unique theme, and good mechanics but overall it just fell very flat for us.  You spend the entire game building your awesome bird collection, by yourself, very rarely interacting or caring about what the other player(s) are doing, and then right when you have a fun and exciting collection working for you, the game ends, right before you get to take full advantage of it.  We feel like this removes a lot of endgame enjoyment and leaves players feeling unsatisfied.  

I understand the reasoning for doing this though, as in other games often when you build a good engine the game can start to drag on, much longer than it should, and players who are in the lead just get further and further ahead. I still feel like the game does not let players enjoy what they built as much as it should though and could have potentially used another round or two, or more turns.  This would make the game a little longer and scores vary a little more, but the satisfaction of watching all your birds pop eggs out like there’s no tomorrow during an additional round would be worth it, at least we think so.

Some of the things we have issues with though might make it a great game for others. Low player interaction could always be a positive thing when you want to just chill and relax and do your own thing but still play a game together.  And the fact that the game doesn’t give you unlimited turns to enjoy the effects of your collection means the game can be finished in as little as half an hour, making it perfect for nights when you don’t have time to play something longer.  The game is also pretty straightforward and easy to teach making it great if you are new to board games or have non-board-gamers to play with.  

So overall I think we would say Wingspan is much better for people new to the hobby or those who want to add a relaxing low interaction game to their collection, but others who already have a wide collection of games (especially those with similar mechanics), may find this game lacking. We think there are many similar games out there that are more enjoyable and more fun to play than this one, that we will almost always choose to play instead.  That’s not to say Wingspan isn’t a great game, it actually is for certain people, but just not for us.

Is Wingspan Good For Two Players?:

Overall Wingspan does play okay with 2 players since the number of players doesn’t change the game significantly.  I think playing with lower player counts may make the game a little less exciting as it reduces the player interaction even more since your birds with in-between turn abilities won’t activate as often as they would when playing with more people.

Also the minimal player interaction there is in this game(i.e. the food supply) is negatively affected by having a lower player count since in a two-player game the food supply will not be rerolled as often.  Again though if you know what you’re getting from this game and think it’s something you would like, it is a great low-complexity game for those nights when you and your board gaming partner just want to relax and play a game where you can focus on your own actions and not worry about what the other is doing.  

I think Wingspan is a good game and does deserve a place in many people’s collections (including ours) but we will often choose to play something else over it just because we feel like we’re missing something after every game.  We always get it out thinking maybe it will be different that time we play, but it never is and we almost regret not choosing something else.  We do admit though that there are those times when Wingspan is perfect and provides that much-needed nice and relaxing break from other longer and more tense games we tend to favor playing. 

Pros

  • Amazing components and art
  • Simple rules and easy to play
  • Fairly Quick Playtime
  • Well balanced
  • Unique Non-nerdy theme

Cons

  • The game feels cut short
  • Very Low Player Interaction
  • Luck Dependent

We hope this Wingspan two player game review has helped you and if you are interested in buying a copy you can click the orange “Buy on Amazon” button.

Our reviews are not paid reviews, but some games are given to us, we do not let this affect our opinions in any way. This post may contain affiliate links so we might receive compensation if you sign up for or purchase products linked to. As an Amazon Associate, we can earn from qualifying purchases. This helps cover our site’s costs and allows us to continue reviewing games.


Wingspan Digital Editions

Play Wingspan Online

Wingspan is available to play online at BoardGameArena here, which is a great option for trying out the game before deciding if it’s worth it for you. There is also a version available on Steam that features local and online play.

Wingspan App

If you are more of a mobile board gamer, there is also a digital implementation of the game available for android and ios. This is a pretty good implementation of the game and is another great way to play it.

Wingspan Console Editions

Wingspan is one of the few board games to make its way to almost every console currently on the market. You can find Wingspan on Xbox and Nintendo Switch. These implementations of the game have also been well-received and highly rated.


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