Stats at a glance
Publisher: Stonemaier Games
Wingspan quickly became a worldwide hit and one of the most popular board games ever made. From the moment it came out, it was obvious that Wingspan was perfectly set up for new expansions like the European Expansion which brings dozens of species and more of that beautiful bird artwork!
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Table of Contents
Brief Overview of Wingspan: European Expansion
The European expansion is the first expansion for Wingspan, released in 2019, followed by the Oceania expansion in 2020. While the European and Oceania expansions do things similarly, the Asia expansion can be played as a standalone 1-2-player game or as an enhancement to the original game.
Whether it’s about seeing familiar bird species or learning about new ones, you’re going to love the European expansion. While it does bring minor enhancements, you should not expect significant gameplay changes from the expansion. For the most part, you’ll be playing the same game, freshened with new variations.
Unboxing Wingspan: European Expansion
The expansion includes the following components:
- 1 Rulebook
- 1 Reference Tile
- 1 Scorepad
- 1 Custom Tray With Lid
- 5 Goal Tiles
- 15 Egg Miniatures
- 38 Food Tokens
- 5 Bonus Cards
- 4 Automa Cards
- 81 Bird Cards
You’ll be happy to hear that the European Expansion components are built to the same quality as the original game. The highlights are naturally the bird cards, featuring amazing designs by the very talented art team.
The other standout component is the card tray. It’s surprisingly well designed for what it is, featuring indented designs at the bottom of the card trays and on the lid. All the pieces pack nicely in the rectangular box, but you’re likely going to keep it all in the original box, as components are meant to be mixed up.
How to Play Wingspan: European Expansion
Considering that we’re talking about an expansion, I’ll assume you already know how to play the core game. If not, check out our Wingspan review for a brief rundown of the rules and mechanics.
For starters, you’re supposed to mix all the cards, eggs, end-of-round goals, and food with the core game pieces. During the setup, place the reference tile near the goal mat. The game recommends the green side of the goal mat as it functions better with the newly added goals.
New Bird Powers
The new powers come with the teal-colored cards, which trigger after all turns have been resolved, but before the round scoring. These “round end” cards are activated in order of play and do not trigger the pink “once between turn” cards.
Minor Gameplay Changes
With the European expansion, some birds will feature an asterisk (*) in the cost field. These cards have an alternative cost which is explained in the card text. For example, some hunting & fishing power birds can be paid in cards instead of mice.
Some of the bonus cards from the original game have been revised to accommodate the new expansion keywords. I’ll grab these from the rulebook as it explains it the best:
- Cartographer (based on geography terms): Eurasian, European, Corsican, Moor
- Anatomist (based on body parts): back, leg, toe
- Photographer (based on colors): coal, grey, honey
New End-of-Round Goals
There are 10 end-of-round goals added with the expansion. With the new birds, goals make up for the most changes and refreshing content in the game:
- Food in supply
- Bird cards in hand
- Birds worth over 4 points
- Birds with no eggs
- Birds in 1 row
- Filled columns
- Brown powers
- White & no powers
- Birds with tucked cards
- Food cost of played birds
Pros & Cons
- Stays True to the Theme
- More Beautiful Artwork
It’s true of any game, but with Wingspan, the designers had to be really careful about the cohesion of the base game and the expansions. The look & feel of the game were always its main selling points, and an expansion that deviates even slightly could diminish the enjoyment.
I’m really satisfied with how the European expansion was handled. If you were to mix it in the box and show it to someone, they most likely wouldn’t know that there’s an expansion in the box. There are no out-of-place board modules and card designs. Everything fits together perfectly.
No matter how many times I talk about Wingspan, I’ll always compliment the art. The artists knocked it out of the park yet again, and the European birds are just as stunning as the core box birds.
- Gameplay Changes Are Minor
The European expansion adds a lot of new birds to the game, but there are no significant changes to the gameplay. This is completely fine if you play Wingspan regularly and still find it interesting, but if you were looking for a way to significantly boost replayability, this expansion may not be the answer.
Wingspan: European Expansion Review (TL;DR)
Wingspan: European Expansion is a beautiful addition to the base game. It doesn’t override or change the mechanics in a significant way, making it a great purchase whether you’ve been playing Wignspan a lot, or you’re getting into it right now.
Other Wingspan Expansions
Wingspan: Oceania Expansion
Wingspan: Nesting Box
Wingspan is a pretty, light game that goes well with family or friends not interested in more complicated games. It does a lot of things well, and I love it, but like Everdell, I only play it when others invite me to.
The European expansion brought more content and variety to the game, but it did not change the mechanics or make them more complex. In some ways, that’s a good thing, as many titles suffer from bloated mechanics as a result of multiple expansions. With Wingspan, adding the European expansion is so organic, that you could do it before playing the first base game for the first time.
The European expansion is not going to add a lot of replayability to the game. If you’re feeling tired of the base game, I don’t think you’ll get too much value out of the expansion.
However, if you’re fine with Wingspan as it is and just want to play more of it, then, by all means, get the European expansion! It’s very cheap for what it offers, which makes recommending it that much easier!
We hope you enjoyed our Wingspan: European Expansion review! Have you tried playing Wingspan with this expansion? We’d love to hear what you think! Drop a comment below and let us know how it played with your gaming group.
When I first got into the hobby some 10 years ago, my friend circles didn’t know that board games went further than Monopoly and Risk. Now everyone I’m close with is into board gaming and my collection really has something for everyone.
My favorite games are Terraforming Mars and Lords of Waterdeep and I’m a fan of Euro, strategy, and engine-building games in general. I also enjoy the Warhammer 40,000 universe, which pulled me into the miniature painting hobby.