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Wingspan companion book turns birdwatching into a game

Ornithology in the outdoors.

Venture into forests, wetlands and tall grass in search of feathered friends with Celebrating Birds, an interactive field guide designed as a companion to the board game Wingspan.

Featuring artwork from the beloved family board game, Celebrating Birds looks to educate its readers on the various species of birdlife included in Wingspan. Focusing on the North American species found in the core game, Celebrating Birds contains a step-by-step guide to observing winged beasts in the wild with accurate descriptions provided by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. Using the guide, players can collect points by discovering evidence of nests, habitats and potentially spotting the very birds themselves.

Celebrating Birds features larger illustrations of the 170 birds included in Wingspan, with artists Natalia Rojas and Ana Maria Martinez - who both worked on the original game - collaborating once again to create more detailed images of birdlife. An additional 11 bird illustrations by Rojas and Martinez, including species that cannot be found in Wingspan, are also featured in the book.

Wingspan is a board game that has players competing against one another to attract bird species to their different habitats and have those avian visitors lay eggs there. Each round, one to five players take turns to collect food, gather new bird cards, play cards in their appropriate habitats and have those birds lay eggs. Each bird is worth a certain amount of points, with some cards granting players additional points depending on which birds they have in their habitats.

Eggs are worth points on their own, and players can attempt to earn additional points each round by fulfilling the requirements of a random bonus. For example, having a certain type of bird lay eggs in that round. Once players have completed all three rounds, they tally up their total scores - whichever player has the most points is the game’s winner.

Elizabeth Hargrave - a passionate advocate for ornithology and the preservation of nature - is the creator behind Wingspan, as well as last year’s board game about migrating Monarch Butterflies called Mariposas.

Wingspan currently has two expansions, with its latest being the Oceanic Expansion released in 2020, which covers species of birdlife populating the Oceanic continent and features brand new player boards. A newsletter from publisher Stonemaier Games revealed that another expansion for the game will be coming out this year which could possibly focus on birdlife found in another continent.

Celebrating Birds will be released by publisher HarperCollins in hardcover on April 6th at a retail price of $29.99 (£22). The guide will also be released in audio form on the same date for $17.99 (£13).

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Alex Meehan

Staff Writer, Dicebreaker

Alex’s journey to Dicebreaker began with writing insightful video game coverage for outlets such as Kotaku, Waypoint and PC Gamer. Her unique approach to analysing pop culture and knack for witty storytelling finally secured her a forever home producing news, features and reviews with the Dicebreaker team. She’s also obsessed with playing Vampire: The Masquerade, and won’t stop talking about it.

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