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Innovative strategy game Wingspan wins BGG's Best Solo Game Award 2019 (and all other awards)

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.


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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.


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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.

Wingspan Automa
The Automa mimics the behaviour of a human opponent. Here it's going for eggs in the final round.

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.


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Ehm. It takes half an hour at most. You'll have plenty of time left to do something fun.


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I won. Or lost. Depending which multiplier for the Automa I choose.


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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.


😴

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Zerbique
Zerbique
18 may 2020

When I have to vote for the BGG award thing, I sometimes happen to just vote for the games I know. So, it may well have happened that a lot of people voted for Wingspan solo, even though they did not play it solo, because it was the only game of the list they were familiar with.


That said, I have no opinion regarding Wingspan as I haven't tried nor plan to.


And I guess Athena analysis is also quite right (even though I would have expected Cartographers to fare better).

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Bram Kok
Bram Kok
06 may 2020

The Wingspan Automa made me realize that I didn't really like the game. Sure, I enjoy playing it with other people, but "other people" is the key factor there, not the game.

And I think that's what it does really well: Allowing people to play together. It's simple (and good looking) enough to get it to the table for non-gamers, while having enough to depth to keep the gamers engaged enough for a playthrough.


So this won't be the next Grail game, but it might become an interesting alternative to Catan & Carcassone.

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Athena
Athena
06 may 2020

I would expect Marvel Champions to win, it seems to me much better suited to solo play. The other nominees were not as strong, for various reasons.


Tainted Grail: a Kickstarter, not available in retail yet. Works great for solo, but some people hated it.

Lux Aeterna: I haven't seen it in the shops.

Pax Pamir: better as a multiplayer game.

Cloudspire: very expensive, only available through KS and Chip Theory.

Aerion: a good game, but not deserving an award.

Cartographers: a beat your own score, if I'm not mistaken.

The Lord of the Rings: app-based.

Twice as Clever: it's okay? (I am not familiar with it)


So yeah. Wingspan easily outran the other contestants.


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frankd9009
frankd9009
06 may 2020

I feel like "best solo game of the year," should be reserved for a game with solo play as its primary focus. I'm not that engaged with bgg, but I would hope that the description for the best solo game award would indicate that the game should be solo focused. Otherwise, you're just letting multiplayer focused people vote on a game that has a decent solo mode added on as an afterthought.

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JW
JW
06 may 2020

Well, "Best Solo Game" triggered me to be this grumpy.


I think the multiplayer game is much improved by the European Expansion. More varied end goals, more valid strategies. But even then it doesn't get to the table much at home or at the game club. It's alright, just not very engaging or exciting.


Anyway,


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