There are so many great board games out there right now, and one of my favorite solo challenges is Wingspan by Elizabeth Hargrave, published by Stonemaier Games. I’ve already written an extensive review about the cardboard copy of the game, which you can find here.
Just recently, the Wingspan European Expansion was added to the Wingspan Digital app, meaning that you can expand your
field sky of birds to have even more fun! Now, I’ve already written at-length about the various Wingspan expansions, so I don’t really want to rehash all of that right now. I mainly want to provide an overview and discuss the European Expansion implementation.
I answer all of these questions, and more! So, let’s check out my review of the European Expansion for the Wingspan Digital app!
Wingspan: Additions from the European Expansion
Let’s just start off with a quick overview of what the Wingspan European Expansion brings to the table. The primary reason you would want to pick up this expansion is to give yourself access to even more bird cards. Base Wingspan is equipped with 170 bird cards, and the European Expansion brings that total up to 251 cards. This will add some variability to your games, even though you likely aren’t cycling through that entire deck in a normal game.
Additionally, there are 5 new bonus cards and 5 goal tiles that will get mixed in with the rest. Again, it’s nice to add some more options to the game, especially if you play frequently. I know that I sometimes get tired of seeing the same ‘birds in the water habitat’ scoring goal tile, and now I see it less often.
The last change that the Wingpsan European Expansion makes is the addition of a new mechanic. The teal Round End abilities on birds trigger at the end of each round. Play one of these in Round 1 and you’ll get that benefit 4 times over the course of the game. These can be really powerful effects that let you exchange food for tucked cards, gain a bunch of food from the birdfeeder, or even allow birds to count twice towards an applicable round-end goal.
Wingspan European Expansion: Things You Miss Out On
Compared to the physical version of the Wingspan European Expansion, there are really only two things that you’ll be missing out on that aren’t included in the digital version.
First, you won’t get the delightful little purple eggs! When you gain eggs in digital Wingspan, they’re all the same yellowish-egg icon. It’s actually a shame because the table presence really comes from the pastel eggs in conjunction with the dice tower. It seems like a fairly easy iconography change to put a random color for each egg as you gain it.
And obviously the purple card tray isn’t shown anywhere in the digital Wingspan version. This is really just a nitpicky point because there isn’t any sort of tray; it’s not needed and would clutter up the space. In all, I just wanted to emphasize the main differences between the physical and digital versions of the Wingspan European Expansion.
Maybe the worst thing that you miss out on that you can’t do in the digital version of the Wingspan European Expansion is that you can’t play with just the European Expansion. If you only try to select those cards in the settings, you get a warning that you don’t have enough cards to play. I have a hunch that this is mostly tied to the bonus cards and goal tiles, since you’d only have 5 of each. But, it would be really nice to really sink your beak into the European Expansion by only using those specific cards.
Wingspan European Expansion: The Best Parts
If you’re not well-versed in all of the additions of the Wingspan European Expansion – even though you are because you’re reading this article – there’s a nice new tutorial that will walk you through the changes when you first load up the game again. My only issue with this is that I couldn’t find a way to just play that portion of the tutorial without walking through the entire tutorial for the base game. But having that in the game is huge because it’s easy to forget about what gets added when you have a digital pile of 250 cards.
Another nice thing is that anytime you come across something with from the Wingspan European Expansion, it will be marked in the upper left corner with a purple banner. What I appreciate about this is that I consider the European Expansion cards to have more interesting abilities. Especially when you first start playing with the expansion, you’ll be itching to get some of the new cards in play. And now you don’t have to squint to figure out which ones were added!
One of the best parts of playing Wingspan digitally is getting the bird facts voiceover and the ambient bird calls in the app. That’s something that you can only get playing the physical version if you download the Wingsong app. All of the new birds get their own facts, which turns every game of Wingspan into a learning opportunity!
The European Expansion also gives you some more options for player interaction in the form of stealing food from other players. What?! Stealing?! Not in my games! What sets the European Expansion apart from other take-that mechanics, however, is that the player getting stolen from gets to take a dice from the feeder. Even though they may lose a food that they really needed, there is a chance that they could gain that right back anyways. Or, at a bare minimum, they aren’t losing a food piece.
Digital Wingspan European Expansion: Soaring to New Heights!
Overall, when you add in the recent base game changes that improved the Automa AI with the Wingspan European Expansion, you get what I really want out of an expansion: more of the same. If you’re a big fan of Wingspan and find that you want a little more variety in your games, then the Wingspan European Expansion is a worthwhile addition for you.
Go check out the Wingspan European Expansion, now available on Steam!
Disclaimer: Nerds on Earth was provided a digital key for the Wingspan European Expansion on Steam from Monster Couch in exchange for an honest review.