How to play Wingspan

How to Play Wingspan board game rules

Fast reference Wingspan board game rules. We cover the key instructions to get your game started quickly.


Players: 1 to 5 | Game duration from: 40 mins | Game Complexity:

Play Wingspan online

What is the object of the game Wingspan?

Wingspan 1

1 to 5 player game which revolves around bird collecting and growing your habitat. Discover and attract the best birds to your habitat, who contribute to powerful growth combinations in your habitat. You grow your habitat Gaining food, Laying eggs and Expanding your bird collection. The winner is the player with most points collected from birds, bonus cards, end-of-round goals, eggs, food and tucked birds.


Wingspan Game Setup

  1. Bird Cards – Shuffle bird cards, place deck to the bird tray and put 3 face-up bird cards onto the tray
    Wingspan bird cards
  2. Supply – Place all food and egg tokens in the supply
    Place bird cards on Wingspan Bird Tray
  3. Birdfeeder – Put food dice into the birdfeeder dice tower
    Wingspan goal board
  4. Goal Board – Choose the type of goals you wish to play with and place on table with side facing up
    • Green: More competitive game – Choose side that has 1st, 2nd and 3rd place for each goal
    • Blue:  Less competitive game – choose side that awards 1 point for each targeted item
      Wingspan 1
  5. Goal Tiles: Shuffle tiles without looking. Place 1 tile (random side up) on each of the 4 blank spaces on the goal board
    Wingspan goal tiles
  6. Bonus Cards: Shuffle bonus cards and place deck on table

Wingspan Player Setup

A) Each player gets:

  • 1 player mat
  • 8 action cubes of each colour
  • 2 random bonus cards
  • 5 random bird cards
  • 5 food tokens one of each type
  • Keep your hands hidden or public throughout the game

B) Keep up to 5 bird cards and discard others. Each bird card you keep, discard 1 food token (we suggest to keep the food token types that suit your bird card)

C) Keep 1 BONUS card and discard the rest. Look at your bonus and bird cards when deciding which to keep

D) Randomly select 1st player and give player 1st player token

How to play Wingspan - Learn how to setup Wingspan the board game

Step by Step Wingspan Gameplay

The following provides a step by step guide of Wingspan gameplay. Wingspan the board game is played over 4 rounds. In a round, each player take turns clockwise to use all available action cubes. During your turn, take one of theses actions:
1. Play a bird from your hand
2. Gain food and activate forest bird powers
3. Lay eggs and activate grassland bird powers
4. Draw bird cards and activate wetland bird powers

Total Time: 40 minutes

Play a bird from your hand

Place action cube on Play a Bird spot above where you will play the bird (there are 5 columns)
pay egg cost (if any), Column 1 has no cost, Column 2 and 3 have 1 cost and so on
Wingspan the board game - play a bird spot
Pay the bird’s food cost: Discard food tokens to the supply
If a bird’s food requirement is a WILD icon, you can use any 5 types of food for i
Wingspan type of food
Any 2 food tokens can be used as any 1 food token
Place bird on leftmost exposed slot in related habitat (each row on the mat represents a habitat) – see habitats below
how to play Wingspan the board game - different habitats
Move action cube to left side of Play A Bird row
If multiple habitat symbols shown on bird card, choose which habitat (row) to place it in
If bird has power “WHEN PLAYED”, you may use the power.
Activate forest bird power

Gain food and activate forest powers

Food is used to play Bird Cards. The dice in the birdfeeder shows which food you can gain.
Gaining food
Place action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in GAIN FOOD row on your mat.
Choose and remove die from birdfeeder and put on the table.
Gain a food token matching icon on the die and place next to your mat.
You always gain 1 food token per die.

Gaining extra food on Card to Food bonus slot
If the slot where you placed action cube shows Card to Food bonus conversion, you may discard only 1 bird card from hand to gain food.  When gaining extra food, choose among dice remaining in the birdfeeder.

 Activate any brown powers on your forest birds, right to left
Wingspan 2
Activate forest bird

Lay Eggs and Activate Grassland Bird Powers

To play bird cards, you need eggs. Each egg on bird cards on you player mat is worth 1 point at the end of the game.

Laying Eggs
Place action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in Lay Eggs row on your player mat, Lay amount of eggs shown on mat and gain egg tokens,
Place tokens on bird card that has not exceeded egg limit (shown on card).
Egg stays there for the rest of the game till discarded.
Eggs can be laid on any combination of birds or on 1 bird but each bird has egg limits, excess eggs are lost.

Food-egg-bonus conversion slot
If you place action cube on this slot, you may convert 1 food token to an additional egg

Activate any brown powers on your grassland birds, right to left.

Types of nests
Each bird has a nest icon and is important for end-of-round goals and bonus cards.
Star nests can match any other nest type of goals, bonus cards and bird powers.
bird nests wingspan board game
Star nest wing span board game
Nest type and Egg limit on bird card - Wingspan

Draw bird cards and Activate Wetland bird powers

Drawing cards
Place action cube in the leftmost exposed slot in Draw Cards row on your player mat draw number of cards shown on the slot
Egg-to-card bonus conversion slot
If you place action cube on this slot, you may convert 1 egg token from a bird on your mat to an additional card
Activate any brown powers on your wetland birds, right to left.
Managing bird deck
Face up cards on bird tray are not immediately refilled. Wait till the end of your turn before refilling
If bird deck is empty, reshuffle all discarded bird cards to form a new deck
End of each round, discard remaining face-up cards and replenish 3 new bird cards
Draw bird card row - Wingspan board game

Completion of round

The round is over when all players have placed their action cubes.
On completion of the round:
Remove action cubes from your mat.
Score end of round goal for most recent completed round.
Use 1 of your action cubes to mark score on the end-of-round goal.
You will have 1 few action cube to use the next round.
Discard all face-up bird cards on bird tray and restock bird cards from the deck
Next player (clockwise) takes 1st player token

End of Game and Winning

How to score in Wingspan the board game

When Round 4 ends, the game ends.
Use scorepad to tabulate:
Points for each face-up bird card on your mat (points on card)
Points for each bonus card (points on card)
Points for end-of-round goals (shown on goal board)
1 point for each: egg on a bird card, food token on a bird card, card tucked under a bird.
The player with most points wins. In cases of a tie, the player with most unused food tokens wins.


How to Play Wingspan and Review Videos

Related Board Games and Expansions

Wingspan 2

Wingspan: European Expansion

Complexity: EASY   Age Recommendation: 10+, # of Players: 1 to 5, Solo game mode: Yes Genre: Animals, Environmental, Expansion
Preview Product Rating Price
Stonemaier Games: Wingspan European Expansion Board Game Stonemaier Games: Wingspan European Expansion Board Game No ratings yet $25.00 $20.98
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