wingspan board game setup

Wingspan Solo Review

wingspan board game setup

Name: Wingspan

Year of Release: 2019

Player Count: 1 – 5 Players

Playing Time: 40 – 70 minutes

Designer: Elizabeth Hargrave

Publisher: Stonemaier Games

Primary Mechanisms: Engine Building, Resource Management, Hand Management

Weight (According to 2.45


In August of 2020, my wife and I celebrated our ten-year anniversary.  In any other year, I imagine we would have been able to put more time and resources into planning for our celebration but 2020 is the furthest thing from any normal year.  We were fortunate enough to be able to ask family to watch our three children and took a weekend to go to a local state park and stay in a cabin. 

The cabin was equipped with a huge screened in porch with a table big enough for playing board games.  We spent some wonderful time sitting on the porch, listening to the rain fall through the forest trees, and play some Wingspan.  Not only was I spending some wonderful time with the love of my life, but I think this is the moment she started to really enjoy Wingspan. 

So, in honor of that being my favorite gaming moment of 2020, here is a solo review for Wingspan.

wingspan board game on porch

Set Up and Rule Book 

Wingspan solo set up is quick and painless, and similar to the multiplayer version.  It took me around five minutes to be ready to play once I opened the box.  If you have any experience with previous Automa Factory variants, you will feel right at home with the Automa-Wingspan deck and how it operates.

My biggest gripe with the set up and rule book is for the players who might have never played a solo variant from Automa Factory (or any designer for that matter.)  When you first look over the Current Round Tracker Card or the End-of-Round Goal Scoring Card, it can come off as a jumbled mess.  Fortunately, the rule book is clearly laid out with multiple diagrams and pictures to help you navigate the different cards. 

One glaring issue with the solo rule book is that it makes no mention of how to set up your side of the solo experience; it only details the Automa side.  Maybe the authors assumed that the reader would know, but again, for a new person to gaming or solo gaming, this assumption might not be clear.  On top of this, a newer player who might not even remember how to set up the player side, now must reference the regular rule book and the Automa rule book.  I would have rather had a quick summary of the player set up re-printed in the Automa rule book to cut down on the need to reference multiple documents.


Coming from someone who is familiar with this game (in both its regular and solo variations) it plays in around thirty minutes.  To me, this is right in the sweet spot for solo gaming.  I prefer for my multiplayer games to last longer but when I am by myself, I find thirty minutes to be the perfect zone.  It’s not so short that I fail to gain any satisfaction from it but also not so long where my mind starts to wander off track and berate me for not doing all the things around the house that I should be doing.

Another advantage to the solo variation of Wingspan is that the Automa’s turns are completed in a flash.  Yes, the first few times you play, there might be some added time flipping through the rule book to double check the symbols and how to correctly align the cards depending on the round.  After you get this down though, you will be flying in no time, and yes, that pun was intended.  I cannot stress how much I appreciate a game where I can focus 95% of my time on my actions and decisions and not have to fiddle or fumble with a bunch of non-sense on the Automa side.

The Automa’s turn is made up of a set of actions that can be thought of as being in one of two camps.  The first are actions that limit the resources on the table available to you.  This can be in the form of taking food from the birdfeeder or depleting bird cards from the face-up selection.  The second camp are actions that give resources to the Automa that eventually turn into victory points in the end game.  These actions include awarding the Automa with eggs (many, many eggs, I might add) and face down bird cards.

While I enjoy the majority of how the Automa plays, I do not really care for how it handles the End-of-Round Goals.  Depending on the round and the goal, the Automa has a base amount of points it will score.  On top of this base score, sometimes Automa actions will require you to add one of the Automa’s colored cubes to the goal which will add to the goal score at the end of the round.  Much like in a multiplayer game, you are trying to have more of the specific thing outlined in the goal compared to the Automa’s base score plus the number of cubes it has. 

The problem with this is that some Automa actions ask you to remove the cube from the Automa’s side.  This is infuriating when you have been striving to win the goal (such as most eggs in the grasslands) and then the Automa draws three cards in a row that requires it to lose cubes.  I feel at that point that I wasted any turns that lead me to win the goal.  In a multiplayer game, it is a race to see who can complete the goals by the end of the round but in the solo version, if you win the goal or not, just seems left up to luck.

This is not the only strategic part of the game that I feel is lost in the solo game, though.  Any of your cards that have brown powers that typically help your opponent when activated, such as giving your opponent certain food or more bird cards, have absolutely no effect on the Automa.  In the multiplayer version, I like picking when I am going to activate certain rows to not help my opponents but that whole line of thinking can basically be ignored in the solo version.

General Thoughts

wingspan board game

Even with those last two negative thoughts above, I still really enjoy playing Wingspan solo.  I think mostly just because I like the base game.  I like the beautiful artwork.  I like the awesome birdfeeder dice tower.  I like chaining actions together to see what kind of combinations I can pull off.  Sure, I do not think it is near as strategic as when you play against a real-life opponent but most of the solo games I play rarely are.  I have played three times now and I have won twice and lost once.  Honestly, I could not really tell when I was going to win as I was sure I was going to win the one time I actually lost.  But regardless, I had fun playing this charming game.

Bonus: make sure if you have an Android phone to grab the free app “Wingsong.”  It allows you to scan the card with your phone and it will play an audio clip of that specific bird’s song!


Ratings are based on 5 main criteria: rulebook, setup, components, art & graphic design, and gameplay.  The first 4 criteria are rated 1 to 5 and the gameplay is rated 1 to 10.  These scores culminate in an “overall satisfaction” score that is rated from 1 to 10.  If the reviewed game has both a solo and multiplayer mode, I have assigned scores separately to give context to which mode we enjoy more.  


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Kristofer Solomon

Hey, everyone! I’m Kristofer Solomon and the creator of Board Game Breakdown. I’ve been playing board games since I was little, typically spending days on top of days playing Risk with kids from my neighborhood. As I moved into college, I started playing Magic: the Gathering with a group of guys and my love for board games slid to the wayside as I progressed into gulp adulthood (not to mention a long obsession with World of Warcraft.) Eventually, I fell back into the hobby in its current state when my wife (then girlfriend) bought me a copy of Ticket to Ride: Marklin Edition for my birthday in 2008. This simple to grasp, but strategic train game blew me away. I didn’t realize at the time that board games could be much more than your average game of Sorry or Trouble. We eventually got Catan, Small World, and other well-known titles and the rest is history.

I’m hopeful that the content of this website and its associated YouTube and Instagram channels can be informative to those who are either on the fence about getting a game, or maybe just looking for something new. About 50% of my gaming time is spent solo gaming so I enjoy touching on that subject when I discuss games as this is an area that is typically not focused on.

Thanks to all who spent even a minute perusing this site, it means a lot to me. Happy gaming!

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