Birds are creatures both majestic and mysterious, covering swathes of land and folklore, and Wingspan: European Expansion’s birds are no different. This is the first expansion in Elizabeth Hargrave and Stonemaier Games’ Wingspan, which you may recall, we reviewed last year in a feature-length article.
Wingspan: European Expansion brings to the table many small additions, including 81 new bird cards based on the majestic species found in the European continent with powers of their own. Here’s what we found interesting:
Module 1 — 81 new bird cards with new powers
The birds of Europe bump up the bird card count to 251 cards. With the original base game, most birds only had brown powers (activated via gameplay), with a few having pink (once between turns) or single-use powers. European Expansion introduces a new type of power — Round End, which are marked on cards in teal.
These cards are only resolved in player order when all players have taken their turns and a round has ended but before any scoring is done. It is possible to rack up multiple round end cards, and they can be resolved in any order. Admittedly, it was a little confusing at first, but I soon got into it.
Not only that, some bird cards can have their food costs mitigated with cards in their hand. This particular power got me out of many a tight situation and is very useful should you not have the necessary foods needed for the bird you want to play.
Module 2 — Five new bonus cards & goal tiles
With new birds, that means more bird names. Three of the five new bonus cards accommodate the ever-expanding world of Wingspan, with one of the cards covering geographical terms, aptly named Cartographer.
The brand new end-of-round goal tiles add more variability to the game by introducing goals that are not solely tied to bird count or egg count. My personal favourite is the “Birds With Tucked Cards,” which calculates and scores based on the number of tucked cards a player has in the round.
This is perfect for those who run the predator or flocking engine (eg. The Ruff card allows you to tuck up to three cards from your hand behind it, though you have to draw one card for each card tucked) to rack up tucked cards for points.
Module 3 — Updated scorepad & four new Automa cards
Building off of the scorepad of the base game, the scorepad of European Expansion comes with a double-sided face — one each for multiplayer and Automa. The Automa scorepad now has a distinct separation from the player’s score, removing any confusion.
Automa, designed by David Studley, comes with two Automa-only bonus cards as well another pair of end-of-round goal-scoring cards. The bonus cards give you an option to either draw from the main bonus deck or use one of these cards.
End-of-round goal-scoring cards simply add base values for the Automa when scoring the new goal tiles added in this particular expansion. I consider this particular addition to be most welcome for single players, as it gives a baseline for the new goals whilst maintaining the overall structure seamlessly.
Module 4 — Additional components
Adorable, multicoloured eggs that were included in Wingspan were a huge draw for me, but the additional 15 purple egg miniatures sealed the deal. Made with the same care and quality of the previous game, these eggs add a nice pop of extra colour to your gameplay.
Also included were 38 additional food tokens and an end of round reference tile The custom purple tray with lid came in the same shade of purple as the eggs and made for a sight to behold.
At the time of writing this review, I’ve played Wingspan another 5 times least and it still holds the same charm for me the first day I played it. European Expansion only makes it better.