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New board game from Scythe and Wingspan makers trades doves for dragons

Wingspan designer Elizabeth Hargrave helped develop Wyrmspan's high-fantasy alternative to her popular avian engine-builder.

Screenshot from Wyrmspan board game announcement trailer
Image credit: Stonemaier Games

If you love the mechanics of Wingspan but wish those wimpy birds had more scales and fire breathing, publisher Stonemaier Games is planning to deliver your dream board game later this season. Wyrmspan remixes its predecessor’s foundation before adding some new mechanics and a whole hoard of dragons.

The cheekily named title was designed by Apiary creator Connie Vogelmann with Hargrave plying her own expertise as a developer. Those who already know how to play Wingspan will have a leg up, as Vogelmann retained much of the original game’s engine-building and competitive tableau goals. A press release from Stonemaier claims Wyrmspan will be “a step up in complexity”, though, and it boasts several new gameplay elements not included in Hargrave’s 2019 design.

Specifically, one to five players will excavate spaces in three main areas - Crimson Cavern, Golden Grotto and Amethyst Abyss - and play cave cards on those positions before they house dragons. Cave cards open up “when played” benefits and other bonuses, along with creating habitats for beasties of all sizes - Wyrmspan contains 183 unique dragons from hatchlings to truly ancient specimens.

Wyrmspan's announcement trailer on YouTubeWatch on YouTube

Once a cave has been excavated and a dragon enticed to live within its confines, players can send adventurers to explore for resources, meet end-of-round objectives and gain notoriety with the Dragon Guild (similar to the Carbon Track from Hargrave’s recent Undergrove board game). One of four different guilds will be in play for each 90-minute session, each offering different rewards and bonuses as players gain more esteem. They will also compete for goal tiles that score points for different objectives at the end of the round, 10 in total awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Like with Wingspan, players will begin with their leftmost board space already excavated and ready for a dragon, but delving further will require resources and some time. And don’t worry - those little egg tokens that look suspiciously tasty are still around. Wyrmspan’s ovoids trade pastels for luminescent speckles and bright hues befitting the mythical critters growing inside.

Wyrmspan is illustrated by Clémentine Campardou, who previously worked on Pencil First Games’ Floriferous and Delicious. As a standalone board game, it won’t be compatible with Wingspan or any of its expansions. It will include a reportedly robust solo mode designed by Automa Factory, so lonely hatchers rejoice.

Screenshot from Wyrmspan board game announcement trailer
Image credit: Stonemaier Games

You won’t have to wait long to get your talons around Wyrmspan, as Stonemaier plans to launch the board game on its website on January 31st. It will immediately ship throughout February, and the publisher is expecting a wider launch in local game stores and other retail locations around late March.

More information can be found on Stonemaier’s website, including some designer diaries from Vogelmann that will be periodically updated throughout January. Wingspan managed to become one of the most popular non-Milton Bradley board games, outselling Stonemaier’s own Scythe and attaining a cultural penetration usually reserved for Monopoly and Catan.

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