Stonemaier Games Reveals Wingspan Asia Expansion Rulebook, Box, and 13 New Bird Cards
Elizabeth Hargrave Tweets About Wingsplain’s Asia Expansion Coverage
White-Headed Duck breaks the mold for what traditional bonus card birds can do. In an evolution of the Core Set When Played power, you can look at three new bonus cards (instead of two) and keep one. This power is attached to a decent-sized bird worth four points, along with a three-egg nest. With a wild food symbol in its cost (of only two food), it synergizes perfectly with Omnivore Specialist, gaining an instant two points.
Coincidentally enough, this is the same power as the Red-Crowned Crane Chinese Promo. I’d rate White-Headed Duck as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Violet Cuckoo continues the trend set by Asian Koel, allowing you to lay up to (only) two eggs over the qualifying bird’s nest size. Although this bird is restricted to the Forest habitat, it is worth one more point than Asian Koel. These new pink-powered egg layers are demonstrating an evolution of their Core Set equivalents, such as Bronzed Cowbird.
I’d rate Violet Cuckoo as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List.
Teal powers confirmed for Wingspan Asia Expansion! This bird is all about egg banking. Over the course of a game, the maximum number of eggs Bearded Reedling can lay is eight. Make sure you have a way to spend a couple of those eggs so you can reap the full benefit of this power.
The Wetlands restriction on this bird feels kind of awkward. This isn’t the best bird to play in the first column of your Wetlands to get your card drawing started, but that’s probably the best position for this bird to get the most out of its power. If this bird is your only Wetlands bird by round two and you laid two eggs with its power at the end of round one, you’ve got some extra eggs to discard for extra cards with future Draw Cards actions.
I’d rate Bearded Reedling as Underused Tier on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Yellow powers confirmed for Wingspan Asia Expansion! Quite frankly, this is a pretty cool bird! Copying a bonus card is a unique new effect for Wingspan.
The more bonus cards that your opponent has, the better Greater Adjuntant will be. Since this bird targets the player to your left, it may not be as great in games with higher player counts. Having Omnivore Specialist makes this expensive four-point bird more palatable.
I’d rate Greater Adjuntant as Tier 2 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Baya Weaver is a new Tuck/Lay bird that can “mass tuck” under itself. Wetlands engines are going to love this card. A star nest is just icing on the cake.
Its nest is limited to three eggs which isn’t terrible and pairs well with the bonus conversions on columns two, four, and six on the Core Set mats. This bird is expensive, but it’s worth the cost for its tremendous point-scoring potential. It’s like Maned Duck but for egg production.
I’d rate Baya Weaver as Tier 0 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
It looks like we get some new dice-rolling predators in the Wingspan Asia Expansion. Jamey mentioned “push your luck” powers in the latest live stream, and this is an example of that. For the mathematics behind this card’s power, I consulted my good friend “A-Team (Salrantol)” from the Tournament Discord server. Here’s what he has to say about this power:
“You’ll only fail on all 3 dice 29.6% of the time. [3 dice per roll]
So your expected return on the first roll is 70.3% × 1 – 29.6% × 0 = .703 points.
Expected return of 2nd roll is 70.3% × 1 – 29.6% × 1 = .407 points.
Expected return of 3rd roll is 70.3% × 1 – 29.6% × 2 = .111 points.
You’re only 34.8% likely to get all 3 points, but that’s better odds × points than any existing bird, including an auto-cache bird. This is a bird that is going to be very frustrating. Because the odds say it’s best to roll all three, but it’s not going to work out for you most of the time. I’m still going to stop once I have 1 [successful cache].
Stop after 1 is another argument you could make. Because you’re looking at a 49.5% of 2 points vs. a 50.5% of -1 points. Which is still an expected return of .486 points, so you should keep going, but vs. a sure thing? But if you stop after 2, you’re looking at a 70.4% chance of 1 more point vs. a 29.6% chance of -2, which has an expected return of .111 points.
From that perspective, continuing to roll after the first one has a slightly lower expected return than a base game predator cache bird with 4 dice outside the bird feeder. With the roll once strategy, you’re basically getting a good tuck predator in terms of expected return. The roll twice strategy is slightly worse than a chickadee, and less consistent. Rolling three times is like a poor man’s Red-Legged Partridge, but on a 6 point body for the same amount of food.”
Like most birds of prey, this bird benefits greatly from the bonus cards Falconer and Rodentologist.
I’d rate Brahminy Kite as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Yellow Bittern is an interesting new card drawing bird. It only lets you draw the middle card from the bird tray. I’m a little surprised that this bird is worth zero points.
It’s getting you a guaranteed extra card every activation, but there’s no control over what that card is. I guess that’s a bit like drawing a card blind from the top of the deck with Mallard. Then again, seeing that middle card might cause you to draw cards when you normally weren’t going to. Information is power.
I’d rate Yellow Bittern as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Brown Shrike feels like a middle-of-the-road bird. It’s six points with a three-egg nest, and it costs two food. It’s restricted to the Grasslands, but stacking point-scoring birds in your Grasslands is usually a good strategy most of the time.
Caching from your personal supply can be tricky unless you are nearing the end of the game and have no use for those extra worms. Your opponents get to benefit from this opportunity as well, so tactical use of the Shrike will be the name of the game. This bird could combo well with European Bee-Eater and Indigo Bunting. Rodentologist beefs this bird up to an eight-point play which is really good.
I’d rate Brown Shrike as Tier 2 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Azure Tit is a classic food-gaining bird. Its power is flexible, and it’s well worth the two food cost. This is a great early game Forest bird. A four-egg nest is just a bonus.
I’d rate Azure Tit as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
When I first saw Eurasian Eagle-Owl, my first thought was, “Black Jack Owl.” This is another “press your luck” predator power, and it’s a pretty cool spin for the predator archetype of birds.
There are several big birds out there that will bust you on the first draw, but the odds are in your favor that you will succeed on that draw. Without digging into the math, this feels like a pretty consistent point-scoring bird that can be played into your Forest or Grasslands. Like most birds of prey, this bird benefits greatly from the bonus cards Falconer and Rodentologist.
I’d rate Eurasian Eagle-Owl as Tier 2 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Little Egret is another interesting and cheap card-drawing bird. All players get a card from the top of the deck, but your opponents can only keep it if it can live in the Wetlands. This is kind of scary, actually, as many top tier cards can be played in the Wetlands, such as Common Raven, Franklin’s Gull, Killdeer, Bonelli’s Eagle, and White Stork.
If you have Rodentologist, Little Egret becomes a very solid play in the early game. Hopefully, it helps you more than it helps your opponents.
I’d rate Little Egret as Tier 2 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
This brown power reads: “Each player may roll any 1 [die] and gain that food from the supply.”
Olive-Backed Sunbird is basically a Hummingbird with a Star Nest, which is pretty great. It can’t be played into the Wetlands, though. Your food gain is more random as well since you are rolling a die and not choosing one.
I’d rate Olive-Backed Sunbird as Tier 1 on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Common Tailor bird introduces us to a new word in Wingspan. Contiguous means anything that is touching, next to, or together in sequence. The rule book doesn’t appear to explain how this applies to Wingspan, but I suspect that “a contiguous group of birds” means birds across your columns and rows that are adjacent to each other.
This game end egg laying power asks you to arrange certain nest types adjacent to each other, so strategic placement is key. Aggressive egg spam strategies may not get much from this power as nest space will be tight.
At this time, it’s hard to tell how impactful this power will be. It’s attached to a low-point bird with a small nest, so it won’t be that useful while it waits to use its power. Star nests will play a large part in chaining together your nests (makes sense for a “tailor bird”), so the Common Tailorbird itself could serve as a key link in your nest chain. That seems pretty thematic!
I’d rate Common Tailorbird as Underplayed Tier on our Wingspan Bird Card Tier List
Here’s an image of the new player mat from the Wingspan Asia Expansion:
The full Wingspan Asia Expansion Rulebook can be found for free HERE.
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Indian Peafowl Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Red-Crowned Crane Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Green Bee-Eater Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Red Junglefowl Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Desert Finch Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Great Hornbill Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia and the Sri Lanka Frogmouth Reveal
See what we think about Wingspan Asia, the Asian Koel, and the Rose-Ringed Parakeet
*Lengthy comment alert* (my initial thoughts on this expansion)
Pros – Great artwork, new birds, new powers, new bonus cards, able to play w/ 6-7 players now, and the new duet 1v1 mechanic. I’m almost exclusively a 1v1 player, so definitely excited to try out the duet mode. Seems like it will make playing birds more fun. I could go on and on about the great things to look forward to, but since most of the comments online already highlight these things, I digress to the “negative nancy” cons that I haven’t seen as much.
These are personal opinions, and I’m hoping Asia releases and blows all of these doubts or questions out of the water.
Cons – No new power colors. I get you don’t want to “break the game” or mess up the balance of the power colors already in place. To have new powers for each of the continents released would be very difficult I assume. However, with the european and oceania expansions having new powers, I can’t help but be slightly disappointed that there isn’t a new power color to consider in this expansion. Even just a small twist to the game would’ve been interesting–to say “Asia brought in the purple power that lets you reset the bird tray twice or pick a card from an opponent” for example. Hopefully the new bird powers can make up for it. Not a deal breaker, but the previous two expansions got my hopes up.
I think flock mode will be a little anticlimactic for most. Of course the 6 or 7 player game nights will be ideal for this, or perhaps a large family. But of all the wingspan players out there, aren’t the majority of games 2-4 players anyways? Just a personal opinion being mostly a 1v1 player, but are there really a group of 6 people willing to play all the time? Although the addition of players is definitely an accomplishment without adding game time, I’m not sure this new feature should be advertised as the “game-changer” it comes across as. I think those large games are still minority and flock mode will not be utilized much across the fan base.
What happened to the nectar?! Flashback to Oceania expansion. They make a huge deal about adding nectar to the game. Several birds require the resource to play, it’s added to your starting hand, you can reset the tray/birdfeeder, and its added scoring to the game. It was a big deal. Yes, the addition of nectar may have been polarizing to some, but I appreciated the new mechanics it brought and strategies that came with it.
Then fast forward to Asia, and it’s like we disregard the previous expansion that we’ve gotten used to. The board doesn’t include nectar. The scorecard doesn’t include nectar. And the duet map does not include any nectar icons. The answers I’ve seen to this are “you can add nectar scoring manually or there’s a downloadable score sheet. And you can just flip the board back over to the other side for nectar.” Using oceania score sheets and flipping the playmat to the Oceania artwork takes away from the Asia experience, am I wrong? Feels like a duet map without nectar disregards nectar -__- Are there not any Asia birds that eat nectar? Short story long, I’m a player that likes to play with all the cards and mechanics included. I don’t separate expansions or make house rules. I like to play expansions that do not take away from what has been previously made or established. And all-in-all, with the duet mode being advertised as the new standard for 1v1, it feels like Oceania was not incorporated, and we have to pick and choose which to play.
Along with that pick and choose, duet mode has it’s own EOR goals. So forget all the goals previous that we’ve given you or come to like, use these instead :/
Again, these are all personal opinions and I would love to debate. A facebook comment on the online group just didn’t seem like the right place to post this novel. All in all, I’m much more excited about the game than it sounds. New birds, powers, and bonus cards will be enough for me. I just hadn’t seen some of my cons/concerns posted anywhere and wondered if anyone else felt the same.
Thanks for this well though thought out post, Kyle. Let me address some of your points.
No New Power Colors: I think we’ve all gotten accustomed to seeing a new power color with each set. I think plenty of us were guessing that we would see Red Powers with AE. BUT I think that expanding our roster of Teal and Yellow powers is still a great way of EXPANDING Wingspan and I can’t wait to see what is in store with these new cards. As the game grows, I’m sure its becoming increasingly more difficult to identify good timing for a new power type. One cool suggestion I’ve seen someone propose is something like the opposite of a Pink Power. A power that triggers on your turn when you do something specific. We’re actually kind of getting that with Duet Mode, where you get to place a Duet Token when you play a bird.
Flock Mode: I don’t think I’m going to have a lot of situations where I participate in Flock Mode, although I could see it happening at my friend’s house, he has a lot of kids. We have played 5 player there in the past. Elizabeth has stated that she got inspiration for this Mode from the various postings she’s seen online where people add a 6th player to the game. It seems like an interesting way to include the people who attempt to play this way already. She’s even taken measures to try and help speed up gameplay. I guess time will tell how popular this Mode becomes.
Nectar/Disregarding Previous Expansions: I think Australia might have a disproportionate amount of animals that rely on nectar as a food source compared to the rest of the world. This is why Elizabeth made this a key feature of the Oceania Expansion. I think this is covered in the OE rulebook. Asia probably has a lot less birds that rely on nectar. From a game design standpoint, they probably want to have a clear line of demarcation between each of their expansions. I know Jamey has stated in the past that part of their core design philosophy is that they assume that people only have the Core Set. They don’t make their games assuming you buy everything. I think that getting a double sided mat in AE is a nice nod to the people who already have OE (and these mats are required to allow OE owners to participate in Flock Mode if they want to). AE does not need OE to function, which is probably what they were shooting for. Neither Teal nor Yellow powers need a specific expansion to function, which is probably why they were included in AE.
Duet and Flocking modes and all AE bird/bonus cards can all be played with OE incorporated. You are just going to use the Duet Round Goals though for that game mode. To me, it doesn’t seem like you are missing out on much by mixing everything together.
I think the lack of Nectar comes from this expansion also being a stand alone game that can be played without the pieces from the other expansions (or with any combination if those expansions.)
It should be noted that the boards in this expansion are two-sided. The other side does have the Oceania version of the board.
Also, my family 100% will use Flock Mode. While we do typically play 4-5 players, our family game night is two grandparents with their three adult sons. If the spouses or girlfriends of the sons ever play, we have to set aside Wingspan for a game that can support the whole group of 7.
Appreciate the response. Feel free to delete my previous comment if it clutters the site.
Flock mode and no power color isn’t a huge deal. And you’ve made me feel better about the nectar situation. It makes sense they don’t base an expansion off of another expansion like OE. I was under the opposing assumption that all previous expansions were accepted as standard play, whereas you’re saying it’s more of a “branching out to distinguish” type of expansion. I guess in a perfect world, I wanted the nectar option playmat with the Asia artwork combining the two. Hopefully, like you said, the all-in-one gameplay won’t miss out on much besides differing goals w/ duet mode.
Again, I’m very excited as well. I know this game is well thought out by Elizabeth and I only post because we enjoy it and care!
Keep it up with the site! I’m sure we’ll play via discord.
“Black Jack Owl” is getting underestimated with a Tier 2 ranking in my opinion, particularly considering the Brahminy Kite got a Tier 1 ranking (or maybe the kite is a little overrated).
The Eagle Owl is 2 rats (same cost as PFalcon, but 1 point less) with a power that 1) has a higher base rate of success compared to PFlacon, which already has a higher rate than most predator birds [first card pull equates to wingspan <110 vs <100], 2) has a higher max point/activation potential (vs most predator birds), and 3) has a push your luck power that is not 100% dependent on random chance, as you can base your decision to look at subsequent cards based on the wingspan of prior birds (did you draw a * bird? probably best to draw another; did you draw a 109 cm bird? probably want to stop.)
Meanwhile, the kite is 3 food (although the extra worm is “easier” to get than a fish/rat), is only worth 2 points more (slightly above average expected points for a piece of food), and the push your luck power is completely random chance.
Anyways, just my 2 cents.
Thanks for commenting. Recently I updated my tier list to include all of the Asia Expansion and some of my early assessments changed since I first wrote about the spoiled birds. I still have the Eagle Owl at Tier 2 (higher than Peregrine) but have moved the Kite to “Underused Tier”. Time will tell how effective the Eagle-Owl will be.