The Definitive Wingspan Buyers Guide

Wingspan Board Game Buyers Guide

Wingspan Buyers Guide

As the World of Wingspan grows, there are ever-increasing ways to broaden your experience. In this guide, I hope to help those of you who are on the fence about what you need to play and how to best curate your Wingspan experience for your playgroup.

Wingspan Buyers Guide

How To Start Playing Wingspan

There are two different points of entry into the game of Wingspan. The Core Set and Wingspan Asia. Wingspan Core gets you started in a big way with 180 different bird cards, twenty-six bonus cards, and eight goal tiles.

Wingspan Asia is a smaller slice of the Wingspan experience with its 90 bird cards, 14 bonus cards, and six round goals. It brings a deeper two-player experience to the table with the amazing Duet Mode. This is the definitive two-player experience for Wingspan and should not be overlooked. Wingspan Asia brings flavor and influence from the European and Oceania expansions with its end-of-round teal powers and end-of-game yellow powers.

Wingspan Asia not only introduces an enhanced two-player experience through Duet Mode, but it introduces a six to seven-player experience through Flock Mode. This really turns Wingspan into a group experience and separates players into two groups with two players taking their turns simultaneously to help speed up play. You will need the Core Set in order to play flock mode, as Asia only comes with two-player boards and no round goals for standard play.

One slight negative of having Wingspan Asia alone is that you are locked into the two-player Duet Mode and its limited quantity of round goals (this may not be a problem for you if you never expect to play games with more than two players). There are no guarantees that this game mode will ever be expanded upon in the future and have more options added to it. In this regard, you would need to create your own goals or turn to the active Wingspan community for fan-made options if you want some more variety in your Duet Mode games.

Introducing Wingspan Expansions

The core set doesn’t need an expansion but really likes to have one in my opinion. The European Expansion does a great job of broadening the core experience of the game through its introduction of end-of-round teal powers and its exploration of new and unique bird powers.

Core plus the European Expansion is the definitive “classic” Wingspan experience and showcases what an excellent expansion can really do for a game. This makes sense given that the expansion is just more bird cards, more bonus cards, and more end-of-round goals.

The European Expansion introduces us to birds that steal an opponent’s food (don’t worry, stolen food gets replaced from the bird feeder) as well as birds that can tuck cards under not only themselves but other birds in their habitat. There are even predator birds that can be played without paying their food cost if you meet the unique conditions of their powers.

The Oceania Expansion really shakes up the game. A rebalanced board increases the strength of both the Forest and the Wetlands habitats while simultaneously reducing the strength of the Grasslands habitat. This is reinforced by the fact that none of the new round goals reward you for having eggs on your birds (just like the European Expansion). If you feel that “egg spam” strategies are overpowered or boring, Oceania is the expansion for you.

It also introduces a new wild food type with Nectar and can often become the new focal point of the game. Check out this section of our Wingspan Strategy Guide to learn more about nectar and its impact on the game. Game end yellow powers made their debut with the Wingspan Oceania Expansion. Some can feel a bit lackluster in practice and half of them (eight of sixteen) ironically lay a lot of eggs at the end of the game if you’ve set up your birds correctly.

Unlike the core set, I feel that Wingspan Asia needs an expansion to broaden out its smaller 90-card deck. This is largely due to bird powers that tuck or draw multiple cards from the deck at once. When two players both get these powers on the board and use them round after round, the 90-card deck doesn’t last long.

Core makes a very good expansion for Asia, as it bulks out the game with 180 cards, which feels like a welcome addition in practice. The core set also unlocks the ability to play Flock Mode if that interests you and your play group, since you will need the five additional player boards, the round goals, the round scoreboard, and the birdfeeder dice.

Wingspan For Solo Players

It should be noted that Wingspan and all of its expansions include a robust solo mode with many different variants. The Automa Factory has put in a lot of work to produce a solid solo experience for Wingspan players. Admittedly, I only play solo when utilizing the digital version of the game produced by Monster Couch. The app automates all of the Automa’s actions and I don’t have to deal with the physicality and the different rule set needed to make it function.

These things may not be an issue for you and rest assured, there is plenty of depth and replayability baked into Wingspan’s Automa. It is a strong opponent who can be scaled to score more or fewer points based on the level of challenge you are looking for.

Which Wingspan Expansion Is Best For You?

Wingspan is a phenomenal game and you cannot go wrong with anything you buy. I’m a hardcore fan, and anything Wingspan related has earned the status of “auto buy” from me. That being said, you may not be like me. Here are some quick key points to keep in mind if you are not yet a hardcore fan of Wingspan:

  • Wingspan Core plus the European Expansion will give you an incredible expansion of the core Wingspan experience and introduce you to end-of-round Teal powers.
  • Wingspan Core plus Wingspan Asia will give you the definitive two-player experience with Duet Mode and turn your game nights into a party with Flock Mode (something you would not be able to play with just Wingspan Asia alone). It also brings the flavor of the European and Oceania expansions with end-of-round teal powers and end-of-game yellow powers.
  • Wingspan Core plus the Oceania Expansion will shake up your Wingspan experience by rebalancing the habitats, introducing a new wild food type, and introducing you to end-of-game yellow powers.
  • If you don’t want your two-player games locked into Duet Mode every time with Wingspan Asia, you will need the core set of Wingspan for the end-of-round goals and its associated scoreboard. You could theoretically get around this by creating your own set of these components which shouldn’t take too much work.
  • If you just own Wingspan Asia, I would recommend expanding it with the core set of Wingspan before anything else due to the sheer volume of cards you will introduce into your game. You will also gain the ability to play Flock Mode.
  • Wingspan Asia will allow you to play and experience what Wingspan is for a cheaper price point than Wingspan Core.

Wingspan Expansions Ranked

Here is my personal ranking for Wingspan Expansions:

  1. Wingspan Asia
  2. Wingspan European Expansion
  3. Wingspan Oceania Expansion


I hope this Wingspan Buyers Guide was helpful and gave you some insight into what each expansion brings to the table. Let me know what your favorite combination of Wingspan Expansions are in the comments. As more expansions are released for the game I will be updating this guide so stay tuned for what’s next with Wingspan Expansion Four! If you want more in-depth thoughts on each expansion, check out my Wingspan Reviews Page!

(Main image taken from the Stonemaier Games Store. Become a Stonemaier Champion to receive big discounts!)


  1. Mel

    This is a great summary! I have all the Wingspan elements, and your suggestions are exactly what I would tell somebody else starting out. In fact I pull out Oceania now because I don’t like the nectar element. It is a bummer though because egg spam is a thing!

  2. Alexandra Pharmic

    A good guide, but I disagree that the core set should be a priority if you only own Wingspan Asia. The European Expansion + Oceania Expansion combo costs about as much as the core set and brings more to the table, and the Oceania boards feel so much better. We still don’t own the core set physically and don’t really miss it. The main drawback of this approach is that the average card is wordier because the core set has a lot of simple bird designs.

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