Wondering what the best Wingspan European Expansion cards are? After hundreds of hours of gameplay, we list our top 10 Wingspan European Expansion cards below. But first, a little about the expansion itself for those that may be new here…
Released on November 29, 2019, the European Expansion adds 81 beautiful birds from Europe to the game. (When we say beautiful, we mean it; the artwork is stunning!) It is the first expansion to the Wingspan board game, the second being the Oceania Expansion.
Exciting new features in this expansion include:
- 81 European Bird Cards with New Abilities
- 4 Automa Cards
- 5 New Bonus Cards
- 5 New End-of-Round Goal Tiles
- 15 Purple Egg Miniatures
- 38 Food Tokens
- Colorful New Scorepad: Multi-Player and Single Player Scoring
- Additional Storage Tray
All the new Wingspan goodies work with the base game and all future expansions.
Here are our Top 10 Wingspan European Expansion Cards
10. Common Cuckoo
This pink powered egg layer is a bird of a different feather than the ones introduced in the Wingspan Core Set. It can lay eggs on both cup nests and ground nests. As always, star nests are valid targets as well. This adds much more versatility and opportunity in which to use this bird’s power. Its two invertebrate cost makes a little slow out of the gate in the early game, but the payoff is often worth it, especially if your opponent is showing some Grasslands development. The added flexibility of living in either the Forest or the Grasslands is always welcome.
9. Common Nightingale
Cut from the same cloth as the Core Set Hummingbirds, Common Nightingale is an amazing early game food accelerator. Its cheap and flexible food cost combined with its versatile habitat placement make it a great option for Grassland and Wetland focused engines that look to minimize their Forest investment. A three point value combined with a four egg nest is just added value to a great power. The real drawback associated with this bird is that it will also give the selected food type to all of your opponents as well, so using this bird’s power is a lesson in risk vs. reward.
8. Common Chiffchaff
This incredible “mass tucking” bird is hit or miss depending on what type of food and egg support you can give it in the Wetlands. Birds that can draw multiple cards also make great companions for Common Chiffchaff and its ravenous power. If you are able to give this bird the proper support in the Wetlands, it can become a monstrous point scoring engine that can run away with a game.
There will also be niche moments where you might have a surplus of cards in your hand while also having a well developed Forest engine. Playing Common Chiffchaff into your Forest is a great way to convert excess cards into points in the mid to late game while also generating food and possibly more points through caching effects from your other birds. Like Common Nightingale, this bird is cheap and flexible with a respectable point value and nest size for its cost of a single food.
7. Mute Swan
Mute Swan is similar to Common Chiffchaff in that it lets you convert a large volume of cards into points. At three times the food cost, it can be harder to get this bird down and properly supported before it can take flight. On the plus side, it reimburses one of the cards you tuck by letting you draw one new card. This feature, along with tucking two less cards, allows it to pair much more effectively with birds that repeat powers, as you will end up burning through your hand at a much slower rate.
6. Black Headed Gull (BHG)
Image taken from Wingsearch.
This infamous Gull is a great way to produce food for your Wetland engine while also harassing your opponent at the same time. This “stealing power” is the closest thing we get to direct attacks against opponents in Wingspan and I hope it stays that way, quite frankly.
BHG is an anomaly among the birds with stealing powers. The food you steal goes to your personal supply for future use instead of being cached on the Gull. All of the other stealing birds must cache the the stolen food.
BHG can be so effective at harassing players and producing food that some players in the tournament community have suggested that it should be house ruled along with The Power Four. This would prevent it from being played before the start of Round 2 in competitive play.
5. Audouin’s Gull (AG)
Image taken from Wingsearch.
Another powerful Gull makes the list! AG allows you to draw two cards from the deck, keep one, and tuck one. This is a great way to see more cards in the early game and score more points on top of it. In some ways, AG could be considered an “evolution” of birds such as Ruddy Duck from the Core Set. Instead of discarding one card, you get to score a point instead. The real “drawback” of AG in this comparison is that it cannot draw cards from the tray, so anything good there will have to be picked up before you activate this power.
4. Snow Bunting
Snow Bunting best bunting? This pink powered bird is a great way to flat out shut down the point scoring potential of an opposing predator bird. Any point scoring/card drawing effect of an opposing tuck/draw bird, such as Barn Swallow, will essentially be a net wash for an opponent that employs them, as Snow Bunting will give you the same effect. Just make sure to have a card in hand in order to take advantage of this effect.
In the early days of the European Expansion, I underestimated not only this bird’s ability to passively score points, but also its ability to passively cycle large volumes of cards. Card cycling (tuck/draw) is one of the most powerful effects in Wingspan and this makes Ruff one of the most powerful birds in the game. I think it is currently the strongest Teal Power in the game.
If utilized to its maximum effect, Ruff could be worth up to fourteen points by the end of the game (counting its two feather points), and it will let you look at up to nine extra cards by the start of round four. Ruff is easy to play and as long as you keep three cards in hand, you will be seeing more options and scoring more points just by having this bird on your board. I can’t understate how great this card can be.
2. White Stork
White Stork is another bird that flew under my radar for a while. With its expensive food cost of three food and its small nest size of two eggs, it can be hard to utilize this bird effectively in the early game. However, if you support it properly with a companion bird with a larger nest, White Stork will allow you to draw cards while laying eggs effectively and we have to look no further than Franklin’s Gull and Killdeer to understand how powerful that effect is.
The fact that White Stork is an eight point bomb on top of it’s ability to draw cards from the Grasslands is truly mind blowing. It is so effective that some vocal players in the tournament community have called for this bird to be house ruled along with The Power Four.
1. Bonelli’s Eagle/Eastern Imperial Eagle
These big eagles are so similar I decided it would be a tie on this list because in many ways, they are equally powerful. Bonelli’s Eagle is objectively the better bird, since it can be played in any habitat and it hits the board scoring one more feather point, but Eastern Imperial Eagle is no slouch either. It may be restricted to the Grasslands and score one less point, but its nest can hold one more egg than Bonelli’s Eagle.
I wrote about these two birds at length in my article, “Discover What Makes A Top Tier Bird Card In Wingspan,” so I won’t repeat too much of that here. The fact of the matter is that you will always want to see both of these birds before your game ends, no matter what type of engine you’ve built. Conversely, you never want your opponents to see these cards. That’s how powerful they are and that’s why they are number one on this list.
That’s my top 10 cards from the Wingspan European Expansion; what are yours? Let us know in the comments!