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Last game you bought?


Not really a game, but I bought Journal 29 this week. I’d describe it as an escape room sample book. Every page is a completely different form of escape room style puzzle - I could definitely see someone who designs escape rooms using it for inspiration. Most are pretty simple but I’d say about 1 in 4 stopped me in my tracks for a bit. Took me ~5-6 hours to complete all 63 puzzles, so that’s a decent time out of £12 (though some of that was in DIYing parts so I didn’t have to write in the book). I found it a lot more inventive and satisfying than the Unlock or Exit series.

And by the end I think I’ve had my fill of this kind of game. They’re fun, but once you’ve understood the systems behind them they become a bit too rote and procedural for me.

Having fun lending it for friends at work now!

(Oh and there are definitely some puzzles in the book that are broken. One puzzle has a straight up error, while two puzzles suffer from low resolution copy. A massive shame considering how important presentation is to this sort of game. Also the book encourages using online resources throughout, but once or twice I managed to Google an answer when there was actually a system to working it out as a puzzle that I only realised later.)


I purchased / pre-purchased / sacrificed some bits to the electro gods for a copy of Wingspan and even signed up to be a ‘Champion’ to get it sooner. I get the feeling that Stonemaier Games are divisive for some but I like the aesthetics and haven’t been let down so far (Scythe and Charterstone).
I also ended up kickstarting Tainted Grail and Chai so it’s been a month for me.


I had basically written off Wingspan based on the theme, but the reviews have been SO good, I can’t completely ignore it. Also, while I think its probably a bit heavy for us (my GF and I) right now, the theme and production might be enough to get her into it.
I also have zero experience with Stonemaier games. I’ve been thinking of grabbing Viticulture EE for awhile now, for the same reasons as Wingspan, but haven’t taken the plunge. Also, while I want to love Scythe, I don’t know if its for me. Basically, I’m not sure I can get past the conflict between what the game is (an engine building Euro with some elements of “dudes on a map”), and the game I want it to be (a combat heavy area control game with diesel punk mechs). This is partially due to the production/theme of the game, and the SU&SD review.


To me wingspan seems like a real mixed bag. It has a theme which is utterly fabulous and a production that smashes it out the park. But the broad appeal of the theme and look seems completely counter to the crunchi mathiness of the game. So much text all over the place!


Theme is also transported by text, you know? :wink:
(in this case more so than in other imo).


It is true I may get a feel of the nature of a duck through the drawing of one card compared to a wren through drawing two cards and discarding one.


Much of the gameplay relevant text on the cards is also based on real life info about the relevant bird, e.g. habitat, food, number of eggs…
So this is really a game where I don’t think your criticisms really fit that much.


Turned up to my friends gaming night and they gave me…



My wife and I find Flashpoint Fire Rescue hitting the table more often than Pandemic. I was surprised by that at first but I really do think I like its type of random more than Pandemic’s


Yeah I agree. I like birds. I love any theme that isn’t the usual high fantasy, Lovecraft, zombie, trading, war (etc) clichés. Wingspan just looks like a dull tableau builder. But clearly something is in the game that is greater than the sum of its parts. The Dice Tower review was really surprising to me - Tom couldn’t sound less impressed with every part of the run through, then in the summary said it was a definite contender for one of the top games of the year!

For me, the aesthetics are what really grinds my gears with this game. There are cries of ‘great production values’, but how?! The birds are cubes! The cards are well drawn, but almost completely absent of any design. I know I’m probably in the minority, but a picture with softened borders on a white card with a bunch of text in a bland font is pretty amateurish. That’s what I’d expect from an WIP prototype where the art just arrived the week before but they haven’t had time to finalise the fully integrated design. The eggs are nice, but that’s just one small part of the game. They could have dived fully into the textbook birdwatchers book aesthetic, but stopped at the art.

But hey, it’s Stonemeier.


Bookmarked will do


It’s almost a trope to say ‘Stonemaier productions are off the charts!’ much like ‘Terraboring Mars component quality is bad’.


I don’t know, I find that reaction a bit childish.
Art is highly subjective, but it’s a simple fact a lot of people really like Stonemaier’s artwork/art design.
I’m not sure it’s ‘hype’, or people influenced by the opinion of others, that seems like a too simple explanation that sounds a bit like sour grapes to me.

These are some cards from Wingspan, I personally like the clean look.


I wouldn’t go that far. I do think there is a vocal bunch who like to show off any game that doesn’t go mini crazy and shows a modicum of effort in components as ‘this is how high quality production should look!’. But in that regard, I’d sooner refer to Eagle Griffon Games or the Brass reprints. The attention to detail in those games in every part of production is impressive (no one makes game boxes like EGG!). The likes of Wingspan and Everdell have a few tactile components and suddenly it’s the second coming (though Everdell’s art is pretty neat).


Yeah, there’s nothing wrong about the layout, there’s just nothing creative about them. They’re standard, they’re functional, they work.

Also, those cards look different to the cards in the dice tower review (those were all white?). Maybe that review copy wasn’t quite the final retail release?


The sense I got from the production is that they’re aiming for that premium mass price of about £40 (at least that’s the price on thirsty Meeple a) rather than the big boy 60+. My guess is they had probabaly four or five things they really really wanted (eg custom game tray that acts as a pass around table for cards, bird table, 150 unique birds and multi colour eggs) and went low on things that they had to to get what they wanted in the price.

Certainly the eggs and feeder are things that will catch eyes at conventions while a bird meeple may not.


I don’t know, I would assume Jamey sent out final copies?
As Tom says in the review, it’s about most of the components, though, not only the cards or the eggs.
The game comes with a game trayz insert, and there are rather a lot of nice touches (e.g. the card holder shown above.
The general design is so good that the bland parts (scoring cards, bonus tiles) stand out all the more, like Tom mentioned in the review.

Here’s another picture, sorry for flooding the thread with them, but I think they’re good to see for yourselves if you like the design.


I’d be interested to try it out, there’s clearly some magic between the lines. It’s difficult to show off what makes a game work when so much depends on card effects and those interactions. Showing steps of play doesn’t display those parts of a game.


To be honest, after reading the rules I wasn’t really interested, it sounded just too light, especially when they compare it to Terraforming Mars themselves.
But after reading the rave reviews and seeing Tom’s video one I tend to think that you’re right, and the meat of the gameplay resides mainly in the (interaction of the) bird cards (which you don’t get to know much about in the rules/videos).
Indeed, I read that what made Jamey consider the game for publishing was the fact that the author made 120+ cards with unique rules/abilities, and that it worked.
So I’ll probably buy it blindly anyway once the German version is released, but would like to try it out to ‘feel’ what makes the game work before.


Haha That doesn’t surprise me. ‘The Viticulture Effect’.