Home Digital Board Game Reviews Wingspan: Oceania Expansion DLC Review

Wingspan: Oceania Expansion DLC Review

1649
0

Wingspan OceaniaIf the European Expansion wasn’t enough for you and you’re looking to enhance your Wingspan digital experience further, Oceania adds 95 bird cards, 5 bonus cards, 4 goal tiles, new player mats, and a new nectar food type.

Wingspan: Oceania Expansion is a DLC for the digital adaptation of Wingspan and is a tableau-building game for 1 to 5 players that takes about 60 minutes to play. The best experience is with 4 players for more opportunities to trigger card powers without adding much to overall time investment.

Expansion Overview:

The Oceania Expansion does not change the general structure of gameplay, though it does add one additional step to discard any unused nectar and a new player mat action called Reset. Nectar can be used during the game as a wild food and at game end, the player who has spent the most nectar tokens in each habitat receives 5 points with second place receiving 2 points or splitting points between tied players. Reset is found in the forest and wetland rows, allowing a player to discard one food to reset the birdfeeder or reset the bird tray, respectively. Other than those two additions, there are still four rounds with end-of-round scoring opportunities, and a diminishing number of actions every round to gain food, lay eggs, draw cards or play birds.

As the name suggests, birds from this expansion can be found in Oceania and feature a variety of new abilities, like game end powers, flightless birds, adjacency, and nectar-specific activations. For example, the Red-Winged Parrot, when activated, allows the player to give 1 nectar from their supply to another player. If they do, the player can lay 2 eggs on the parrot or gain 2 food dice from the birdfeeder.

Wingspan: Oceania
When played, the Masked Lapwing can help you gain a lot of new food types at once.

Game Experience with the Expansion:

The most exciting refresh to gameplay for me is the addition of Reset actions on the new player mats because it resolves my two biggest pain points in Wingspan. The ability to move the gameplay along in your favor instead of waiting for other players to make progress is a welcome change. The addition of this action is also useful for the new bonus cards which require you to seek out very specific bird cards by the end of the game, ranging from set collections to organizing wingspan values.

Bird cards with When activated “player to your right/left” powers encourage you to pay attention to other player’s tableaus, if that wasn’t something you normally did in your strategy with base Wingspan or European expansion. This gives you a natural reason to incorporate it into your Oceania strategy and serves as a reminder to check in regularly. There are also other direction-based bird cards, such as those that look at orthogonally-adjacent birds and consequently require the player to plan ahead in other habitats.

Wingspan: Oceania
This expansion comes with new player mats that have improved actions in each habitat.

Game end powers were useful for some last-minute victories, as many of the birds allow the player to perform standard actions like laying eggs or playing more bird cards. While this may seem impressive, if you can get your hands on bird cards that let you tuck cards from the deck, draw bonus cards, or even cache extra food then you have an even greater chance at a fun surprise for your opponents.

From a housekeeping perspective I had a hard time remembering to use nectar as a wild food because the habit I carried from previous iterations of Wingspan made me focus on having the exact food I needed. Luckily the digital expansion does come with a gentle reminder that nectar exists so that is definitely a benefit compared to playing the tabletop analog version. Having nectar-related activity on rails also applies to spending nectar in ways you may forget, like bird abilities or action upgrades.

Wingspan: Oceania
When played, Blyth’s Hornbill has a flocking power which tucks bird cards from the deck.

Consequently, with these new powers and resources I found that there wasn’t necessarily a need to build a strong engine. Individual birds in this expansion seem to stand on their own and can carry you if they sync up with the end-of-round goals well or if they encourage use of nectar. That said, the end of round goals in Oceania are quite funky, especially the No Goal tile which simply provides 1 more turn in the following rounds and can change the expected momentum.

I was hoping that the hard A.I. would give me as much of a challenge in this expansion as it did with the European but strangely that wasn’t the case. It may be that the new nectar and reset options were not intuitive in the existing programming model or perhaps Oceania itself is too complex for it to make powerful decisions.

Final Thoughts:

Oceania comes with exciting new actions and nectar as well as an updated digital app experience to make learning the expansion easier. This is for both those who are familiar with the base Wingspan game but haven’t tried an expansion DLC and those who feel they have outgrown the European expansion. Unfortunately, the A.I. opponents found in the base game did not rise to the occasion in this DLC and were not able to take full advantage of the new cards to challenge solo players.

Expansion BuyHits:
• Exciting refresh to the tableau actions
• New powers that interact with game state
• Adds anticipation for game end moves

Misses:
• Difficult to remember nectar
• Less emphasis on engine building
• End of round goals change momentum

Get Your Copy

Leave a Comment