I ended up with 8 folks sitting at the table for #Wingspan. I seriously debated setting up a second table and running two games and then flipping tables.
I read a few folks on BGG had tried 6 players and said the downtime was just too much and this made me nervous. I wasn't sure if 8 people would feel too crowded and this made me nervous. I was feeling the trepidation. I did it anyway.
1. I have a 4x6 portable game table. It's flimsy but does the job and I had plenty of space.
2. I had extra boards from my original Wingspan prior to #Wingspan: Oceania Expansion so only three of us had to use the old boards.
3. All but one player at the table owned Wingspan and only 1 person had never played before and that person had played quite a few other games.
Only having the explain the #Wingspan: European Expansion and Oceania rules adjustments made the decision a little easier. Everyone picked up on those pretty easily and after that I was just hoping folks wouldn't take forever on their turns.
We started at 12:30 pm and finished at 3:15. Two hours and 45 minutes wasn't too bad for 8 players and it didn't feel like it took too long between turns. Folks played pretty fast and the rounds did not feel like they were dragging.
I wouldn't call it "ideal" but it wasn't bad either. If you played a pink power bird it was almost a guarantee it would trigger. Teal power birds were slightly easier to trigger as well and you generally gained a few extra food or eggs from other players' birds each round.
One downside at a larger table was not really being able to see across the table and know what every player was doing. I wouldn't say this mattered to anyone there that much but for some players, this could be a challenge.
I saw one negative comment on a 6 player game about the points taking a long time to calculate. We used a calculator and didn't find this to be an issue. The nectar took the longest to figure out and that didn't take too long.
Perhaps the pandemic background influences this but it was rather nice to be able to play a game with 8 people and just enjoy the process. We all wore masks and no one was eating (to limit taking masks off) and we were in my garage with a propane heater going. I think everyone felt safe enough and while wearing a mask is a necessary annoyance I provided tissues and water bottles and I think the experience outweighed the discomforts of being outside in the winter and mask-wearing.
If you've pondered playing with more than 5 players I'd say go for it. I think it was fun and allowed us to get some use out of the original boards. We did run out of nectar during the game and had to find a substitute but that wasn't too much trouble either.
What games have you played that you pushed over the normal player limit?