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Subject: What new things would you like to see in a Wingspan expansion? rss

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Elizabeth Hargrave
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I'm in brainstorming mode as I think about the big picture of having committed to do one Wingspan expansion for each continent. The first one is planned for later this year, but that leaves several more to go!

I'm not interested in attack-style/"take that" mechanics.

I also asked this question on the Wingspan Facebook page, if you want to see what people are suggesting there: https://www.facebook.com/groups/wingspanboardgame/permalink/...
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J. @kinson
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Grant
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You have four rounds. Maybe adding "seasonal" mechanics for Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter for each round that affect bird location or production of their engine (maybe even require additional food to keep like storing up food for winter).

I've heard suggestions for having number of eggs create different abilities on bird production that sounds cool. That would make laying eggs have a more interesting meta, but also may make laying eggs too powerful.


BTW: Kudos for designing a really cool game that's been a hit with my family so far!



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Mike Beiter
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Egg snatching!!!!!! devil
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Dan Lee
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Hello. I recently purchased the game and have played it only 4 or 5 times so far, so please keep that in mind as I offer my input. I love the game: the components, the theme, the mechanics, the art (I also am not interested in any "take that" mechanics). The only concern I have is the tendency toward an "egg grab" in the last couple or few turns. I have no suggestions on how to "fix" this, or even if it needs a fix (again, I'm new to the game and may be missing some better late game strategy). Thank you for a great game.
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Jimmy Pattaya
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You have a winning formula right now --- so please do not introduce new rules that will change the basic game design. I am only interested in seeing new birds from all the different regions and habitats of the world.

I would definitely be interested in getting new birds from North America to double or even triple the current count. I think I will probably be in the minority on this. I am an experienced birder, so that definitely influences my opinion. Also, I'm sure I play the solo game differently than anyone else.

I have added House Rules to my Wingspan solo play which allow me to keep a "Life List" of over 700 North American species. I use the 170 birds currently in the game as placeholders for common, uncommon & even potentially rare species (by using a 20 sided die). To find something truly rare, I need to roll a 20 on a 20 sided die. The birds included in the Wingspan universe are found on each birding trip on a roll of 1 to 6. Other common & uncommon species are between 7 and 19. I have a system to potentially give me 12 to 20 birds in each game I play. However, I must defeat the AI to actually put a reasonable percentage of these birds on my permanent Life List (depending on the margin of victory or defeat, and whether I'm playing on Easy or Normal mode). I use a chart I developed that gives me the percentage at the end of the game. The rationale is that the birds which I do not place on my list were unable to be verified with photos. This keeps me interested in every solo play --- and I alternate between Easy and Normal modes. I mark the actual date of discovery of each new species as well as its level of rarity on my comprehensive Checklist of all North American species.

I don't really care if you give birds in the expansions new powers or not. There is probably a limit to what you can create without seriously affecting thematic elements.
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J Kaemmer
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Hey Elizabeth! Great game btw, congratulations on the success and thank you for such a sublime piece of my collection!

I've had a few thoughts on Wingspan I'd like to share, since you're asking...

One thing that would be really neat would be if you introduced one or two new mechanics per expansion so they each felt different and added some tactical variety. It's tough because multiple expansions will dilute the pool of cards, so any cohesive flavor is tenuous but you can point to individual card mechanics and say "hey! that mechanic's unique to asian birds!" or something. Hopefully a given mechanic wouldn't be terribly unbalanced, though.

Ideas:

-Cards with cheap costs, high points, that leave your board after a condition is met so you have to actively maintain them. Maybe endangered species that start with eggs, lose eggs each time they are activated, and are discarded if they run out?

-Cards that search for things and add them to your hand (predators that draw until you find a card of a certain wingspan?). This might add some control back to a game where the pool is too large. You could also have them search for birds that eat a given food type, which would be more strategic, but I'm not sure how to justify it thematically.

-Scavenger birds that let you go through the discard. Again, more strategic control.

-Cards that piggyback off/borrow from adjacent players? Symbiotic/flocking characteristics in birds, I guess. Like "When Activated: copy a wetland power from one of your neighbors". Add a little more interaction that people are asking for, without "take-that".

-In a similar vein, cards that grow in strength depending on how many birds are in a given habitat, across all players (neighbors only?). This adds some interactivity and might cause players to change their strategy to not actively feed the strategy of another player who uses one.

-More Bonus cards, of course. Maybe focused on set collection regarding continents? More ways to manipulate your hand of cards would be nice, too.

-New VP source? Something beside your board that you collect?

-What about something where you're inspecting other players' hands? It adds an illusory amount of interaction, but still gives the feeling. It gives info, but doesn't change too much in a meaningful way. Imagine a bird with a unique mating ritual, "When Activated: randomly select a card from a player of your choice. If it can live in the wetland habitat, lay 2 eggs." This card has some fun gambling and prediction and organically incentivizes people not to hold onto birds of that type, boom player interaction without bad feelings... Or what about a bird known for large flocks that reveals a player's hand and they gain food equal to birds of a certain size or lower?

... well that's already a lot of stuff. I might come back later with more though!
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Mal Hobbs
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I expect many would love to see this fan made expansion by smobolob commercialised:
https://boardgamegeek.com/thread/2159560/fan-made-european-e...

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Brian McCue
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Elizabeth--

First, thank you for contacting us here and asking for our views.

Second, here's my uninformed view. Yes, more birds! Gamers like expansions with more of whatever the game is about, but in this case we also have the birder mentality, which also always wants more. (I've been a serious gamer for over 50 years and a casual birder for about twelve, so I've seen more games than birds.) So yes, the Venn Diagram says more birds by all means.

Third, I agree with those who suggest a go-slow approach to more rules--not "No New Rules" (read my beak?) but go slow. Rules you wanted all along but didn't fit or were too hard--yes. Rules that make sense in terms of a new continent's worth of birds, but not in North America so they weren't included in the base game--yes. (I'm not sure what that would be, but you are the bird expert and I'm still learning to tell all the wrens apart.) More rules for the sake of more rules--let's not; we've got plenty of other games for that.

My inflation-adjusted $0.02.
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Bruce Bacher
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Perhaps some bonus power cards drawn at the beginning of the game, or earned in some way, such as:
+1 food each time you get food from the feeder
+1 egg each time you lay eggs
+1 card when you get cards
-1 food needed to play a bird in the forest zone
(etc. for the other zones)

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Frank Hamrick
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My thoughts are simple:
1. I’m perfectly happy with the game as is.
2. But would love more bird sets, as you are doing. If a bird set offers a new mechanic, add it - but don’t do this just so you can add a new mechanic!
3. So I’m excited to simply order new decks of Birds, and perhaps a couple of new bonus cards that are unique to the continent.
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J H
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While not changing the rules, a way of playing that would make the game last longer please. I always feel like I am rushing instead of wallowing in joy
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Tom -
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An expansion that dealt with the issue of loosing habitats, such as deforestation, would be interesting. Cards could be used to cover habitat spaces and they could have positive and/or negative effects. Additionally, it would be neat to see specific bird types that could adapt to the the lost habitat spaces.
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J Kaemmer
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Ok, I'm back already!

These suggestions are split between Bird Powers and New game mechanics:

Bird Powers

-Investment/Count down. Birds that give you bonuses if a threshold is reached. e.g. Once Between Turns: If opponent plays a bird in the forest habitat, lay cache a seed on this card. You may discard 3 seeds off this card to play a bird for free (or alternatively if 5 or more seeds on this card, it is worth double VP). You could swap it to make it a countdown, instead, where it starts with stuff and gets a bonus if it runs out. More indirect interaction.

-push your luck. Greedy birds, hoarders, etc. "When played: draw as many cards as you like. If any drawn cards have a wingspan over x, you must stop drawing immediately and discard all of your cards" or "When played: draw as many cards as you like. If any drawn cards have a wingspan over x, you must stop drawing immediately, and your turn ends. If you stop drawing and have no cards of wingspan x or greater, gain food equal to the number of cards drawn. Discard all cards drawn this turn." I like these abilities because it gets other people interested in your turn. There's stakes to it, more "story" to push your luck mechanics than just moving cubes.

-Overspending. Cards that when played have a second higher cost for a better ability/vp. Alternatively, a play ability that you can spend a bunch of stuff on to get a return on. e.g. "When Played: you may spend any two food to draw a card. Repeat this as many times as you like." This helps people 'cash out' big at the end in different ways, and use up stockpiles of unnecessary resources (cars/food tokens).

-Sets/Trick Taking. OR what about a card that is worth big VP... but only if they meet the requirements "This bird is worth 10 vp if you have the most total wingspan in the Forest habitat" You could even go crazy and make it not necessarily go to the person who played it "This bird is worth 10 vp for the player with the most total wingspan in Forest." Good card late game, risky in the early game. similarly you can have a card that scales VP based on number of cards in a habitat. These might encourage a little hate drafting interaction.

-Betting. Cards that let you wager on the outcome of a card flip. "when Played: bet any number of food tokens. Draw a card, if it can live in the wetland habitat, lay as many eggs as you bet. Otherwise, lose all of the wagered tokens." Again, adds stakes to a turn so people are engaged in other players' stuff.

-Swapping Cards. Cards that can be played over the top of other cards, or cards that return previously played cards to your hand. New type of combo mechanic. Might be difficult to balance, but I think we've all been in a place hating how full our boards are when we still have good stuff in our hands.

-Late Game Cards. Perhaps they ignore the egg cost of the column, scale a play bonus off of the round number, or have better returns based on the egg cost of the column they're in. These cards are big payouts you can build up to them or maybe as a reasonable alternative to laying eggs in the last turn.

New Mechanics
Wingspan is fairly lean mechanically, and nobody likes expansion creep and bloat. That said, there's still a little room for some non-disruptive mechanical additions.

-bonus season/weather die. Extra die rolled with the food dice, or based on certain bird powers (migratory?). When rolled the active player gets a bonus like:
1)Spring, lay egg in your leftmost prairie slot (if able)
2)Winter, return a bird to your hand and gain food equal to its cost
3)Fall, move a bird from the rightmost slot to another rightmost slot (if able)
4)Summer, gain food equal to the egg cost on your rightmost card in the forest habitat.

something like that, I was imagining it a little like Takenoko where it had a variant on existing actions with 1 or 2 unique abilities that you'd want to stretch for. I like it tied to rolling the food dice, just to give a little bump to that habitat.

-Area Control/Majority. Imagine something akin to the Tuscany expansion, with its area control. The areas could be continents. When playing a bird, you look at its territory and place a marker on one of continents touched by the area. First time you put a marker someplace, you get a bonus. End of game, majority gets another bonus (vp). Fairly clean to implement, encourages some card diversity, educational, and a neat tie in to part of the card graphics not used currently. This might need to come in a later expansion or as part of a multiple continent expansion to accommodate, however.

-Scenarios. These are cards revealed at the start of the game and they change a fundamental rule or cause things to be reevaluated, like the Evolution:Climate kickstarter expansion. Imagine a "Drought" scenario that causes wetlands cards to cost one egg more to play, or a "Mating Season" where flocking cards get to tuck an extra card this game. I guess you could do a new one each round, but I think it's easier to to do just one rules tweak a game so as to keep the knowledge overhead low. You don't want to confuse grandma.
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/|\ Roland /|\
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Hatchery - A sideboard mechanism that replaces the 1:1 point per egg at end of game.

As a Lay Eggs action, you can optionally instead deliver eggs to your hatchery from your bird cards (1:1 Lay -> Deliver). Eggs now only score if you have filled different sections of the hatchery worth points related to the difficulty of filling them.

Hatchery sections:
4 of all one color
1 of each color
Scores 0 unless you have at least 6/12/24 in this section
etc etc

I am also taking some inspiration from Imhotep, which has fantastic scoring mechanisms.

Chicks
Baby birds hatched from eggs could do something cool but require food resources. Like place an egg on a hatchling card/space to unlock a special power, but only of it's fed.
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Dan Winnowski
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A mechanic that's opposite of the pink cards... "if no one else does _______ between your turns you get to do _______." Eg. if no one else hunts, you hunt. The pink card abilities are much better in 5p game compared to 2p so this helps balance it out.

I'd also like to see a 5th round.
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Peter Stein
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Tanks.

Definitely needs tanks.
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Corey Fry
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I personally think that one expansion per continent is a little too much Wingspan. I like it as a light game, but that many expansions feels like it'd bloat the game, since I see the main perk of Wingspan being the straightforward gameplay. But it seems that's already decided on and I'm generally less excited about expansions than the typical BGG user so take my opinion with the appropriate amount of salt.

#1. Something to reduce variance in starting hands. Wingspan is a light and relatively fast game so I'm fine with variance, but when a player gets only expensive cards and scoring cards in their opening hand vs things that let them develop their engine it just feels bad. Another option is some catchup mechanic (e.g. player with fewest birds gets a food/card between rounds) but that might be a little heavy handed and would be gamed.

#2. Something that interacts with cached food or flocking birds. Right now these are mechanically just "score a point". Having some mechanic where you can use the cached food or tucked cards would help these feel different.

#3. Could have a "when you play another bird in this habitat" category of cards. Maybe it's too weak of an effect, but might help make some of the expensive birds with no abilities more appealing. Or could have a "future birds in this habitat cost 1 less food/egg".

#4. Abilities that clear the bird card tray, similar to the automa's ability. Maybe "refresh the card tray, and then draw 1". This helps everyone see more cards from the deck. Downside is it might slow the game down with the player looking at all their new options.

Thanks for reaching out for feedback! Hope you find some ideas here that resonate with you.
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Phil Hendrickson
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I agree with comments above that expansions sometimes add too many new rules. However, there is one thing that gets frustrating at times: the inability to change the available birds on display. It would be great to find a way to allow a player to flush and refill the display of bird cards: perhaps by paying an egg.

This could be a new rule, along the lines of re-rolling the dice when they all show the same face. "Whenever a player is able to take a card, they may pay an egg to empty and refill the display." Or it could simply be a bird power.

Simplicity is a strength of this game. Don't lose sight of that simply due to the peer pressure of us hobbyists.
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James Clarke
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elizharg wrote:
I'm in brainstorming mode as I think about the big picture of having committed to do one Wingspan expansion for each continent.


If I may say so, it does seem to be a massive undertaking to commit to more than one expansion at any given time.

Having said that, has it yet been established how each new deck of continental birds will be integrated with the base game? i.e....
#1 New bird deck to be stand-alone and replace other decks, or
#2 New bird deck to be added to other decks

I assumed it would be difficult to mix up foreign birds with the NA birds, without discrediting the scientific grounding of the game. For this reason, I had anticipated that future variations of Wingspan would be continent specific stand alone games, rather than expansions.

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Des Lee
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Lots of good suggestions here. I'd be interested to see if there's a way that you could implement simultaneous play. Downtime is really the only reason that I avoid 5p (and remain wary of 4p) and if an elegant way could be found to deal with this, I'd like that.
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Caroline Black
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Migrating birds you play them but they migrate after one round. They are cheaper to place and have some sort of powerful bonus.

Chicks/hatching an alternative path to victory utilising your existing birds to hatch out new ones.

Variable set up cards each playing randomly picks a set up card which gives them extra food and/or a played bird card or pink power. So they can get their engine going faster.

More end game bonus cardsfor greater replay-ability.

egg coloursbonus for collecting eggs of certain colours.

Another habitat like urban birds.

Great Game by the way. I’d really like some promo cards like extinct birds.


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Des Lee
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Highland Cow wrote:

I assumed it would be difficult to mix up foreign birds with the NA birds, without discrediting the scientific grounding of the game. For this reason, I had anticipated that future variations of Wingspan would be continent specific stand alone games, rather than expansions.



I would prefer to have a separate deck for each continent to be honest, adding more and more cards just dilutes the mix of the original deck so I'd prefer each deck to be as well balanced and designed as the original. You could probably use most of the original components with each deck, maybe with extra tokens where necessary.

Of course, there would be nothing stopping you from just mixing up all the cards if you want.
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Ryan Davis
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Highland Cow wrote:

If I may say so, it does seem to be a massive undertaking to commit to more than one expansion at any given time.

Having said that, has it yet been established how each new deck of continental birds will be integrated with the base game? i.e....
#1 New bird deck to be stand-alone and replace other decks, or
#2 New bird deck to be added to other decks

I assumed it would be difficult to mix up foreign birds with the NA birds, without discrediting the scientific grounding of the game. For this reason, I had anticipated that future variations of Wingspan would be continent specific stand alone games, rather than expansions.


I thought I remembered reading that the expansions (European birds for example) would be used by themselves, and the original deck of North American birds would be set aside if you play with Europe. This would let any new mechanisms or powers not get diluted. Of course, I can't remember WHERE I read this...it just stuck with me when I did
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Michael Palmer
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If you want to prevent "expansion bloat" could have cards only expansions of new Continents that replace the core NA birds. Then have alternate rules to combine certain types of birds together that are together in the world. Suggested combinations of cards sets, per se.

Maybe a new habitat board as well, as in covers one area that isn't as prominent there or in addition above or below the core game boards.

I'd love to see a fix to the OP core cards (Killdeer, Franklin’s Gull, Chihuahuan Raven, and Common Raven) or if combining new cards into core set of cards more cards that are this strong to balance them.

I'd love to see predators that can eat/replace/tuck your own birds and get a white (immediate effect only) bird out of a habitat. New mechanic for this could be similar to:
- When played this bird tucks an active bird in your habitat and takes it's spot. As an icon like predator or something, then it can have a Brown Pink or new color ability.

I'd love to see a new color for abilities in addition to Pink and Brown.

I'd like to see an anthem effect that gives buffs to ALL birds with certain requirements, ehrm a Static Ability that gives bonuses to other birds with a certain requirement:

All birds with 1 or more cached seeds gain an extra VP at end of game.
All birds with <30cm Wingspan gain: "When activated cache an invertebrate from the supply on this card."
All birds with no Static abilities gain: "When Activated tuck a card from controllers hand." (might be considered take that, could clean it up)

Some quick ideas I had.
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Squeak 'n' Squawk
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Millet, you say? Where?
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Parrotlets
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