Wingspan Asia Duet Mode
Wingspan Asia introduced Duet Mode, an enhanced two player experience for Wingspan. The key differences are that the standard end of round goals and board are replaced by the Duet end of round goals and the Duet Map. The fuel for this gameplay are the Duet Tokens, the black and white yin/yang tokens. The game starts with each player placing one of these tokens on each empty space of their player mat. When you play a bird, you take the duet token from that space and immediately place it on a corresponding place on the Duet Map. This takes place even before the bird power activates.
A space on the Duet Map corresponds with the bird you played through its “general qualities,” that is, its nest type, the food in its cost, its wingspan, its habitat, or its beak direction. For example, if you play Snow Bunting into your Wetlands, you could place that Duet Token on one of several spaces in the corresponding blue Wetlands section of the Duet Map. Any space with a seed, cavity nest, invertebrate, or beak pointing left icon are all viable targets for your token.
This adds an extra layer of strategic depth to the two player experience in Wingspan. There are some spaces on the Duet Map that reward extra food, cards, or eggs and these extra resources can be used to accelerate your early game in very meaningful ways. Of key importance are the spaces indicated by the red and black arrows in the image below. These spaces work together particularly well by giving you access to a lot of extra food and cards in a fairly close group (excluding the one black arrow space at the bottom).
The red arrows indicate two spaces that give you food and two spaces that can give you a card. These four spaces are clustered very close together and can really jump start your early game. The free food could result in your first two Forest birds costing zero total net food (if each one only costs a single food). There are a lot of highly effective Forest birds that eat worms and/or have a cavity or star nest.
The free card could result in playing an impactful card drawing bird into your Wetlands that replaces itself in your hand when you play it! There are many highly effective card drawing Wetland birds that eat fish and/or have a platform nest or star nest. These four spaces working together plus one more contiguous space makes for a highly effective early game and give you a firm foundation for final scoring with Duet Tokens. Both the red arrow and the black arrow spaces are highly desirable for the purposes of early game acceleration and work especially well together.
The pink arrow spaces behave in a similar manner but they trade one food for one egg from playing a Grasslands bird. More often than not, your early game benefits the most from establishing strong food gaining from your Forest and strong card drawing from your Wetlands. Early game egg production isn’t nearly as important due to generally limited nest capacity and a cheaper egg cost to play birds into columns two and three.
This is why I feel that the red and black arrow spaces tend to be more valuable in the early game than the pink, blue, and orange arrow spaces. Regardless, the pink arrow spaces work together to form a very solid core of contiguous tokens that provide a balance of resources that can greatly help your early game as well.
It should be noted that you are at the mercy of the birds you actually have access to, so you will not be able to secure these spaces in the most optimal way some of the time, but being aware of highly impactful birds and what spaces on the Duet Map are optimal at each stage of the game will go a long way to giving you an edge over your opponent.
The extra eggs generated by the blue arrow spaces can help you quickly build out and establish your Grasslands engine without actually having to take the Lay Eggs action in order to play birds into columns two and three. This can be a huge benefit in those games where you have a clear Grassland focus from access to birds like Killdeer, Barn Swallow, Common Raven, and birds that behave like them. Time has proven that late game egg spam engines are more often than not the most consistent way to win a game.
The card and egg generated by the orange arrow spaces fall behind as a general focus because they are not clustered together with other resources in a significant way. They are separated from the nearest food resource by three spaces and the nearest card resource by two spaces. They can work together most effectively with the blue arrow spaces as a part of Grasslands development, forming a snake-like line of contiguous grouping and fueling more bird plays by delaying the need for the lay egg action.
Wingspan Asia Duet Mode End of Round Goals
Winning round goals is far more impactful when playing Duet Mode than when you are playing standard Wingspan. This is because the end of round scoring is “winner take all” in Duet Mode. All the points go to the person who wins the goal and the other person gets zero points! Ties result in both players getting the full points, as opposed to the point splitting method used in standard Wingspan. Combined with the “Duet Tokens In Largest Contiguous Group” scoring category on the score sheet, this adds much more weight and importance to the “map control” aspect of Duet Mode. Ignore these points at your own peril.
Wingspan Asia Duet Mode High Impact Play Examples
- Play American Oystercatcher, placing your Duet Token on the space for a Wetland bird with a beak pointing right, then netting three cards from a five point bird that only costs two food.
- Play Bonelli’s Eagle into your Forest, placing your Duet Token on the space for a Forest bird with a beak pointing left, then netting a huge amount of points plus one food from a bird that cost zero food to play. You could also play the eagle into your Wetlands, placing your Duet Token on the space for a Wetland bird with a platform nest, giving you a card back after tucking three.
- Play Ruddy Duck, placing your Duet Token on either the space for a Wetland bird with a platform nest or with a beak pointing to the right. This highly impactful card drawing power has drawn a card to replace itself in your hand.
- Play Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher, placing your Duet Token on the space for a worm eating bird or a bird with a beak pointing to the left. This highly effective food gaining bird has cost you a net of zero food.
More Wingspan Asia Content
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Some images may be taken from Wingsearch and Rule Pop, which are public Wingspan resources.