5 Board Games Like Wingspan you’ll want to play next

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Wingspan is an engine building game with beautiful artwork. It also has a fantastic solo mode that will allow you to play on your own. The theme of having a reserve that you are also trying to attract birds to is fun and interesting.

If you love Wingspan and want to find something similar to play then this article is for you. Wingspan is a unique game in its theme but I have pulled together 5 games that are either animal focused or have similar game mechanics.

5 Board Games Like Wingspan

Table of Contents

  1. Everdell
  2. Dominion
  3. Gizmos
  4. Photosynthesis
  5. Terraforming Mars
  6. Conclusion

Everdell

Everdell was released in 2018 by Starling Games and is probably the closest in this list to Wingspan. In fact I put the two games together in a head to head in my article Wingspan vs Everdell.

PlayersAgePlaytime (m)
1-413+40-80

This game is for 2-4 players and is set in the lovely valley of Everdell. It is slightly different in that it has a worker placement to gain resources. You can then spend those resources to buy cards to gain points. There is also an element of engine building as you gain cards.

The game is set over 4 seasons and your goal is to develop your animal city by playing the cards from your hand. The game has an amazing board with a fantastic 3D tree. The tree holds some cards and some of your meeples.

You start with 2 critter meeples that you can place on the board. The 3D tree has three seasons depicted on one of the levels. There are more meeples in each season. 

Once you have placed all your meeples the season is over and you will move to the next season where more meeples are released. This will allow you to do more worker placement.

Everdell is a great alternative to Wingspan with cute animals, engine building and worker placement. This is a great game to play with a fantastic theme. The build quality is great and there is plenty of replayability with lots of cards to play with.

Dominion

Released in 2008 by Rio Grande Games, Dominion is a game for 2-4 players.Your goal is to build your province to be the greatest in the land. Like Wingspan it is a deck building game.

PlayersAgePlaytime (m)
2-413+30

Each player starts off a deck of 3 estates cards and 7 copper treasure cards. You then draw 5 cards from the top of this shuffled deck into your hand. Each turn you must discard all the cards in your hand whether you have used them or not.

On the table will be an array of treasure, estate, and kingdom cards. These are laid out in decks of type so that you can draw one and represent the kingdoms. You can use the cards in your hand to buy a card from the table. You may want to increase the treasure in your deck, add an action, or increase your victory points with an estate card.

A turn has three phases. The first allows you to play one action card from your hand. This may allow you to attack your opponents, or gain a card up to a value. It may even give you a choice like to immediately draw another card, use another action, buy an additional card, or give you +1 coins.

The second is the buy phase which allows you to spend any cards in your hand to buy another card from the table. Finally the third phase is the cleanup. You now discard your whole hand and draw 5 more from your deck ready to go again.

If your deck runs out then simply shuffle the discards and then place them down as a new deck. In this way you can build up your deck.

This game is fairly simple to pick up and learn but has some great strategy in it. Each game takes around 30 minutes to play. So it is a great filler game or one to play multiple games with.

Gizmos

Similar to Dominion in that it is relatively easy to learn but deceptively harder to play. Gizmos is a draughting and engine building game for 2-4 players. You are entering a science fair and must create the most fantastic gizmos to earn victory points and win the fair.

PlayersAgePlaytime (m)
2-414+40-50

There are a number of victory point tokens on which you can collect in order to win. Along with these the gizmos you build will also provide victory points.

The game comes with 52 energy spheres (small marbles) of various colors. It also has a neat energy dispenser which will dispense a row of energy marbles. You can pick any of these spheres on view and place them in your energy storage circle.

An energy storage ring is given to each player along with a player dashboard. The dashboard will tell you how many spheres, files, and research you can hold at the start.

Finally you have a pool of gizmos in 3 levels on the table in a display area. These are the gizmos you can build.

In each turn you can file, pick, build or research. As there are limits to how many items of each you can hold you must manage the resources and plan your actions accordingly.

As you build gizmos then they are placed under their respective action e.g. upgrade, converter, file, pick, or build. The game ends once a player has built their 4th level III gizmo or their 16 built in total.

The great thing about this game is that you can chain gizmos together to make fantastic combos. As an example, I may take a pick action and that will trigger a number of gizmos.

This game takes about 40-50 minutes to play and you will love building the best engine you can out of the myriad different options. Will you win the science fai? You’ll need to be clever in your selection of gizmos you build then.

Photosynthesis

In this delightful game we are getting back to nature and that is where the similarities with Wingspan end. The game is for 2-4 players and age 10 up so is a good choice as a family game.

PlayersAgePlaytime (m)
2-410+30-60

A board represents a forest in which you are a variety of tree that is seeking to grow and spread. To do this you require sunlight and this is depicted by a sun that will move around the board casting its light over trees.

Each round the players will gain light points from trees that are in the sun that they can spend on actions. These actions may be to grow a tree or plant a seed. Some of your trees and seeds will be locked on your player board that you can release into the available area using sunlight points.

When a seed or tree grows it is replaced by the next biggest tree. The tree that has been removed will then go back onto the player mat where it is locked. You will need to pay the sunlight to move it back into the available area if you want to use it again.

As the sun moves around the edge of the board it casts light in a direction down the rows. Each tree will have a shadow depending on its size. If the tree overshadows another tree of equal or smaller size then the tree in shadow will not gain sunlight points. Any tree in shadow but is larger than the tree casting the shadow will still gain sunlight points.

In this way you build up sunlight points and seek to overshadow the other variety of trees. Once you have the largest tree then you can pay sunlight to convert it to victory points, placing the victory point token on the board where the 

The game lasts for 3 full rotations of the sun around the board. Once complete you add up the scores and the player with the highest score wins.

This is a great little game that will have you thinking ahead and working out which trees you need to overshadow your opponents whilst keeping yours in the sunlight.

Terraforming Mars

This last game in my list sneaks in there as you are terraforming a whole planet! The game does add plant life and animals but perhaps that is a bit tentative?

PlayersAgePlaytime (m)
1-512+120

Anyway, whereas the previous game was a good family game, this one is definitely more for the older gamer. There is also a great solo mode in this game and it is in my 20 Best Solo Board Games 2022 at number 6.

You play a corporation whose goal is to terraform Mars over several generations. In order to do this you must raise the temperature and oxygen levels.

The game is a card management and engine building game. You must manage your resources in order to achieve this.

The board represents the surface of Mars with hexagonal spaces on which you can lay water, plants, animals, and cities. The game is not a very interactive game as you will be working on your strategy and so your focus will be on how well you are doing.

At the beginning of the game you will get to choose a corporation. Each corporation has strengths and weaknesses and you will need to alter your strategy depending on which one you have.

This leads onto the game’s strategy. This is a superb game for strategy and there are many strategies that you can choose in order to try and win. You win by gaining the most terraforming rating. At the end of the game you will take all the victory points you have scored and add them to your terraforming score. The person with the most at the end wins the game.

This game uses cards that will allow you to take actions to further your goal. There are a ton of cards in this game and all of them are unique. That will mean it is rare for the same cards to be used in two games. This leads to a real variety of gameplay and the player having to adjust their strategy depending on their draw.

There are also numerous expansions for this game and I describe the best ones to get in my article Best Terraforming Mars Expansions | Ranked And Recommended.

This is the most complex game to learn in this list and for good reason. There is a lot to it. If you are looking for a big game with lots of strategy then this one would be a good choice.

Conclusion

So that is my list of 5 board games like Wingspan. There is a good variety for you to choose from. From the beautifully made critter based Everdell through Dominion where you must build your Kingdoms. To the science fair gizmo building game and finally the big Terraforming Mars game which says exactly what it is on the tin.

I hope you find something here that will keep you engaged and happy for many hours.

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