Wingspan, the charming bird-themed board game, has been racking up fans (and awards) since it debuted in 2019. Players love the detailed illustrations, challenging but not-too-hard game play, and unique theme. It's one of those hits that's brought a lot of new people into gaming, and that got us wondering: what other games like Wingspan might those folks love? We asked our Underdogs Games Advisors team, and they had some excellent suggestions, which we've rounded up here.
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Multiple people recommended this zoo building and conservation game. Angela G. says, “When I learned to play, I kept finding myself saying ‘Oh, like Wingspan.’ In Wingspan, you build your collection of birds and you get powers that help you as you progress. In Ark Nova, you build your zoo and get powers that help you as you progress.” Note that this one is longer than Wingspan, with a 90-150 minute playing time. (1-4 players, ages 12+)
This one also got multiple mentions when we asked for games like Wingspan. In the valley of Everdell, players help critters settle new territories and build new cities. This easy-to-learn tableau building and worker placement game features gorgeous artwork that nature lovers will enjoy. Like Wingspan, expect to spend about 40-80 minutes on a game. (1-4 players, ages 10+)
As any gardener already knows, keeping plants alive can definitely feel like a bit of a game, as you try to balance sunlight, water, and food. That’s exactly what you’ll do in Planted! Tammie M. just discovered this new game, and loves that it’s fun but not overly complex. Marketed as “a game of nature and nurture,” Planted challenges players to collect and care for houseplants, choosing from 42 varieties like philodendron, croton, fiddle leaf fig, and more. This game is a shorter one, taking only 20-30 minutes to play. (2-5 players, ages 10+)
Tammi M. also says that if you love nature and beautiful artwork, you'll want to try Meadow: "It's a little more complex than Wingspan, but not overly so." In this drafting game, you compete to build the most impressive collection of animal and plant life. Explore the Meadow, collect memories in your journal, and head to the campfire each night to share your experiences. Plan to spend an hour to an hour and a half on your adventure. (1-4 players, ages 10+)
Journey to the gorgeous Pacific Northwest in this tile-laying and token-drafting game. Study the environment and create the best habitats for the local wildlife. The mechanics of this award-winning game are simple to learn, and a game takes 30-45 minutes. (1-4 players, ages 10+)
We're thrilled that several folks recommended one of our own games for this category! Chris P. notes that it has "great art" like Wingspan, and the engine-building mechanics are somewhat similar. Travel the country, building pathways between the national parks along the way. Each card features beautiful art and fascinating facts about the parks. This is a terrific family game that takes 30-60 minutes to play. (2-5 players, ages 10+)
This unique and challenging game was created by Elizabeth Hargrave, who also created Wingspan. Players experience the life cycle of the migratory monarch butterfly. Head north each spring from Mexico, gathering flower tokens and breeding new generations. During the summer season, spread out to maximize your breeding abilities, then head back south in the fall. The charming artwork features the different monarch life stages. Expect a game to last 45-75 minutes. (2-5 players, ages 14+)
Have you ever dreamed of cultivating your own park or botanical garden? Arboretum gives you the chance to do just that! Draw and place cards to build a garden path, working to amass the highest number of points. Be careful with your discards, since other players can pick them up and add them to their own paths. The rules are simple to understand, but the strategy becomes increasingly complex as you master the game. (2-4 players, ages 8+)
Birds of Feather came out before Wingspan, back in 2015. It's a little hard to get your hands on now (try eBay for used copies), but the company just Kickstarted a new version called Birds of a Feather: Western North America, projected to release in October 2022. This quick and easy-to-learn card game is all about spotting birds in different habitats, trying to outsmart your opponents while you build the ultimate life lists! (1-7 players, ages 9+)
Enjoyed these board games like Wingspan? Check out our favorite Nature Board Games to Celebrate Your Love of Planet Earth!