Wingspan Review - Flock and Roll (Shut Up & Sit Down) - YouTube

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5 months ago

I think Quinns nailed it perfectly in this review.  I do like Wingspan, or at least the elements of wingspan, it's a pretty game, it's got an interesting and different theme, it has mechanics in it that I enjoy.  BUT...I also feel like the game is playing me more than I am playing the game.  Often times winning and losing just comes down to if you drew the correct cards at the beginning or not.  The rest of the game is just dumb luck that all the cards after that happened to line up perfectly to your initial strategy.  This shows up in the scoring where one game you score 55 and the next you score 95.  You didn't learn anything new, no new mechanic was added, you just got lucky that everything worked together better this time.  And that's not even taking in to account the fact that even when the elements of the game do line up for you the other players are taking the food or cards you wanted.  Also, I feel like there are only a couple of real scoring strats to this game, eggs on cards, cards under cards(and this only when its a guarantee) and high point birds.  I have never really gotten anywhere with food on cards, the bonus cards at the end are a total crap shoot, and while the round bonus is good you don't really have control over it...(score for birds in the woods-but I didn't get any birds in the woods in the first round).

My son is very frustrated with the game for all the same reasons.  He sees my engine flying along and he cant get a single card he needs...he doesn't get the bonuses, so he tries for high point birds or just dumping eggs on at the end...it's very difficult to adapt and win in this game.

Having said all that I still have fun with the game and I understand the appeal...but it really shows how much the wow factor (components) of a game matter.  I don't think this would be nearly the success it is without that.

5 months ago

I can see what you mean about the game playing you rather than the other way around, although that isn't that unusual if you think about games such as #Ticket To Ride or #Carcassonne where you kind of just follow where the game takes you. Neither get anywhere near top of my list but can be a nice relaxing option if your brain is fried

5 months ago

To some extent those games also rely on a bit of luck as well...but I don't feel they have the swinginess wingspan has.  Probably due to the engine building.

5 months ago

Ha, just watched this. I'm not surprised about his opinion. The randomness is a common complaint among gamers. Counter-point: my wife loves it, and so do all of the friends I've played it with, and that's hard to argue with. I'm by far the most deeply entrenched in the "board game community" or whatever, but they all enjoy games - they're not "gateway level." I like Wingspan a lot - I think there's a sizeable niche that Quinns doesn't acknowledge: people who want a little bit more game than a "gateway" game, don't mind that it's got elements of luck, and like it because it's pretty.

5 months ago

I think that's very true, there is obviously a market for this both inside and outside community of dedicated board gamers. Although I have found that because of the randomness it can leave people prone to a little AP as there is no clear way ahead some of the time. It also doesn't have any catch-up mechanics, if you get a good starting hand and get a little engine up and running it is very hard for others to stop you unless you draw/roll very badly after that as you are likely to drawing more cards, taking more food so you are more likely to have and be able to play the ideal bird which lets you draw more cards etc.

5 months ago

I've read about people house ruling drafting the opening hand, so that's an option if it bothers you, I guess.

5 months ago

This is a great idea!

5 months ago

It doesn't bother me so much, I like the game for what it is. Not enough to ever buy it more myself but I would happily sit and play it whenever someone brings it

5 months ago

I agree, kinda. This fits a similar niche as Terraforming Mars, but prettier.

On the other hand, I already have so many medium-weight "gateway" games in my collection, and I don't particularly feel like I needed another.

I don't necessarily take Quinn's criticism as luck is bad, but that luck is poorly used in this game.

5 months ago

Yeah that's fair. I don't mind it too much in this game, but if it were a more serious or longer game, I'd mind it more.

Supporter5 months ago

I’m going to check this out. We like wingspan and I find I’ve liked a lot of games that SUSD hasn’t like ld as well as the ones they have liked. So their negative reviews haven’t really factored into my purchases. Maybe I’m just easy to please? 

Supporter5 months ago

Always love their reviews! Quinns makes some great points and brings up issues that I never really thought too much about.

I do have to say though, that I personally think Wingspan is a great "gateway" (or a "gateway+") game, at least more than he makes it out to be. I also don't quite get how he makes it seem like it's a nightmare to teach to beginners. It's one of those games where most people at the table seem to "get" the game at least after the 1st round. I'm surprised not by his criticism/why he dislikes the game, but I am surprised that he doesn't seem to recognize the impact this game has had on board gaming as a whole, an aspect that SUSD tends to typically highlight. At least based on my limited knowledge, this game seems to have introduced the hobby to many non-gamers among your friends and families, and especially to the bird enthusiasts who are delighted by the theme. And while the thematic ties aren't as clearly visible sometimes, I feel like it does its job better than some other games out there and makes it an appealing experience for people who come into this with a bias toward the hobby because of past experiences.

Still, a very fun review as always.

Supporter5 months ago

I literally laughed out loud at Bird Girth. The word play that SU&SD come up with is amazing. 

5 months ago

Definitely the most entertaining reviews I watch, they walk an excellent line of humor and sincerity, and have a clear love of games. Plus I love their focus on how it feels to play a game as well as the mechanics/artwork.

5 months ago

It's hard to put my finger exactly why I never care for Stonemeier games - it's super unusual that I can have identical feelings about an entire publisher's catalog. I get the impression that they start on artwork and production *before* they start production. They publish attractive games with good ideas. But they can never bring themselves to cut things or remove fluff. Their games are such pleasant things that never really challenge or reward me.

But my wife loves them, so I continue to play them anyway.

Holy crap, is Stonemeier the British television of board gaming?

5 months ago

lol, with 3 games in the top 10 on BGA and several in the top 100 on BGG, you're in small company not liking ANY of them!

5 months ago

Sure. Avatar was one of the most successful movies of all time and I didn't care for it. People love British TV. I fully admit my tastes may be out of whack. 

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