The results are in for the best new games of the year, as voted for in the Annual Golden Geek Awards on BoardGameGeek. Wingspan is Board game of the Year, and winner in the Best Artwork/Presentation, Best Card Game, Best Expansion, Best Family Game, Most Innovative Game, Best Strategy Game and Best Solo Game categories. People forgot to nominate it for Best Thematic Game (you have owls catching mice etc.) and Best 2-Player Game (it's as good 2-player as it is solo). But that's just a small blemish on this fantastic score.
The artwork and presentation are great. It looks so nice, everybody is willing to play this game at least once.
But the problem is in playing.
I mean, it's alright. It's no Race for the Galaxy, or Terraforming Mars. "Best Strategy Game"? You're going to need a little luck of the draw and the roll of the dice for any strategy to work. It's very light in this regard. And where's the innovation? Wingspan has the most logged plays on BGG in 2019, and it has been rising up the ranks all year. So "Most Popular Game" - yes. But it's because of artwork and ease of play. So "Best Family game", sure. Even then we don't pick it often at my home. I like tableau builders, I like euros, hell, I like birds. But this game does not excite me at all. Other games are simply more clever and fun.
And for playing solo, there are definitely way better games. It has an Automa, that is praised because it mimics another player so well. But there's not much player interaction in the multiplayer game! Yes, people take some cards and some food. So does the bot. People score some points every round. So does the bot. But it isn't hard to beat because it's playing "smart". It's hard to beat because it will score points in a certain range. If you're a good player you can set a higher multiplier on its base score and try to beat it again. Basically, this is dressed up beat-your-own-score.
Our editor-in-chief asked me to play the game again solitaire today for a report. Publish now it's hot. What shall I say. It's pleasant. The illustrations are nice to look at.
Ehm. It takes half an hour at most. You'll have plenty of time left to do something fun.
I won. Or lost. Depending which multiplier for the Automa I choose.
Stonemaier should have made an Angry Birds expansion available for download in these #stayathome times. They could have won in the Best Print & Play and Best Wargame categories as well.