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The Early Bird Gets the Wyrm: A Deep Dive into Wyrmspan

The Early Bird Gets the Wyrm: A Deep Dive into Wyrmspan

From the familiar fledglings of Wingspan to the whimsical wyrmlings of Wyrmspan, are YOU ready for one of 2024's hottest games of the year, or are you still dragon your feet? Here's everything you need to know about the successor to one of board gaming's most beloved titles in recent years, Wyrmspan.

From the Nest to The Best:

[Wingspan - Photograph by Fredrik Schulz]
Carl Sagan aptly noted, "You have to know the past to understand the present." To grasp why Wyrmspan is currently perched atop the current BGG charts, we must first revisit the #1 Board Game of 2019, Wingspan, by the same designer and publisher. 
[ Elizabeth Hargrave: Designer of Wingspan and Wyrmspan] 
Crafted by Elizabeth Hargrave and brought to life by Stonemaier Games, Wingspan swept through the board gaming community with its engaging engine-building mechanics, satisfying tableau progression, and a universally acclaimed aesthetic that captured the hearts of many. By 2022, Wingspan had nested in over 1.4 million homes worldwide, a testament to its widespread appeal and enduring charm. 


From the Best to The Next:

[Wyrmspan being played]

After Wingspan's sky-high success and a series of well-received expansions, it is now Wyrmspan’s time to take center stage, introducing fans of the original as well as newcomers alike to its beautifully crafted world. So, what's new, and what remains from its avian ancestor? At its core, the gameplay loop retains its familiar feel but introduces a slightly heightened complexity level. In Wyrmspan, players attract dragons to their caves, leveraging these mythical creatures' powers to amplify their actions and, if played wisely, rack up more of those sweet, sweet points!


[Cave Cards]

Unlike the straightforward placement in Wingspan, dragons in Wyrmspan require players first to excavate caves using cave cards. These cards not only add a fresh layer of strategic depth but also offer immediate benefits that can catalyze the rest of your actions. 

[Dragon hatchling cards]

Did I mention that there are babies now? Eggs no longer are just pilfered for points or spent for spots. Wyrmspan introduces dragon hatchling cards, transforming eggs from mere points into potential powerhouse dragons that can grow to grant you stronger effects and benefits if you are willing to invest the time and the resources.

[Dragon Guild System]

A significant departure from Wingspan is the introduction of the Dragon Guild System, replacing the random end-of-round bonuses with a more structured and strategic guild track. Players unanimously decide between one of four different guilds to use at the start of the game, each offering unique effects and bonuses for accomplishing specific tasks, thus fostering a new dimension of player interaction and competition. 

[Wingspan food dice tower] 

Perhaps most notably, Wyrmspan bids farewell to the random resource generation of the food dice, opting for a system that ensures players always have access to the  resources they need to thrive instead of relying solely on the avian demigods of our forefathers to bless us with the food tokens that we so desperately required. On top of that, no more bonus cards and no more action cubes. Better bonuses are built-in to the dragon cards themselves and action cubes have been replaced with a coin system that allows you to have more versatility with your turn as well as potentially gain more coins and even hold on to your coins to use in future turns which adds yet another layer of flexibility and strategic depth to each turn. 


From the Next to The Rest:

[ Read Watercolour Wings - More on the illustrator for Wyrmspan] 

As someone who enjoyed Wingspan but craved more depth, player interaction, and a more engaging theme, Wyrmspan seems like a dream come true. The elimination of the food dice alone is enough to pique my interest, but the addition of strategic  elements like the Dragon Guild System and the coin-based action economy suggests a game that's not only a worthy successor to Wingspan but could potentially soar to even greater heights. 


Are you ready to fight to become the best Dragonologist at your table?  

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