How to play Wingspan solo. Read before playing on your own

by | Guides

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Wingspan solo uses a virtual opponent called the Automa. The automa is common for Stonemaier Games. You will be glad to know that the Wingspan Automa is one of the easiest to learn and play with.

The game has separate rules for multiplayer and solo play which can sometimes be a bit confusing to try and put together. So here we go through the gameplay for solo from setup to end game.

It will be important to understand the general rules of multiplayer Wingspan as I won’t be going into the mechanics in great detail. I will assume that you will understand how to play normally and just discuss the flow of Wingspan solo and scoring.

Let’s start with what the Automa is exactly.

What is Automa on Wingspan?

The Automa is like a virtual opponent in Wingspan and allows you to play the board game solo. Whilst you play by the usual multiplayer rules the Automa is a bit of a rebel and goes by its own.

The Automa is made up of a set of additional components that comes with Wingspan. It will enable you to play the game and enjoy playing on your own. The Automa rules are:

  • It does not get a player mat
  • It does not collect food tokens
  • It does not need to pay anything
  • It does not gain from bird powers
  • It does collect bird eggs and they are only used for end of game scoring

The name Automa comes from the italian word for automaton and was chosen as the first game it was used in was set in Italy.

The Automa components are made up of:

  • 10 Automa cards
  • 1 Automubon society card (see below)
  • 2 action summary cards
  • 2 end-of-round goal scoring cards
  • 1 current round tracker card

The Automubon card belongs with the other Automa cards and is used to increase the difficulty to expert level. If you want to play a normal challenge game then remove it and place it back in the box. 

If you rise to the epic challenge of the Automubon then add it to the deck.

Wingspan solo general game setup

Setting the game up is exactly the same as multiplayer except you only set up one solo player and the Automa. So let’s have a quick look at setting up the general components for a solo game.

First take the bird cards and give them a good shuffle. If you are using card sleeves then the mash shuffle is a good option. I have an article about card sleeving which discusses this method.

Place the deck next to the bird tray and deal three bird cards face up onto the tray.

Put all the food and egg tokens where you can get to them. There are a lot so using some trays to keep them organised is a good idea.

Piecekeeper Board Game Storage Bowls

SIQUK 6 Pieces Dice Trays

Place the dice into the birdfeeder dice tower.

You can use either the blue side or green side of the goal board but Stonemaier recommends you use the green side. I would recommend starting your first game with the green side and then trying with the blue. See how it differs and decide whether you want to play blue.

Shuffle the goal tiles without looking at them. They are double sided so this is more difficult than it sounds. Now place 1 goal tile on each of the left hand spaces on the goal board. You can place the tiles either side up randomly. Put the rest back in the box.

Shuffle the bonus cards and place them in a draw pile on the table.

Wingspan solo player setup

The only difference here is that you don’t give yourself bonus cards yet. Give yourself the following:

  • A player mat
  • 8 action cubes of the color of your choice
  • 5 random bird cards
  • 1 of each food type (total of 5)

You can keep all the bird cards or discard some of them onto a discard pile. For each card you keep you need to pay 1 food token. It is a good idea to keep the food types of the birds you are not discarding.

Wingspan Food Resource Tokens

GeekUp Bit Set: Wingspan

Wingspan Automa setup

Give the Automa 8 action cubes of any color. Now choose the difficulty as follows:

  • Eaglet 
  • Eagle (Normal)
  • Eagle-eyed Eagle

This changes the score of the Automa at the end and so increases the difficulty. 

You can also add the Automubon Society card which increases the difficulty again and is considered expert level. I recommend putting the Automubon Society card back in the box for your first few attempts.

Once you have mastered how the Automa works and have won a game or two then think about going for the expert level.

Place the Round Tracker Card with round 1 the right way up so you can read it with the arrow pointing to the right. Then shuffle the Automa cards and place them to the right of the Round Tracker Card. Place the deck so that when you turn over a card it fits over half the Round Card as shown in the diagram below.

Now draw a bonus card for the Automa. If you draw one of the following then place it back in the deck and draw another.

  • Breeding Manager.
  • Back Yard Birder.
  • Any card without (X% of Cards) at the bottom.

Once you have drawn a bonus card for the Automa place it face up on the table. Reshuffle the bonus card deck then deal yourself two bonus cards and discard one of them.

Playing Wingspan solo

Now setup is complete you should have something like this in front of you.

Now the game is ready to begin, let’s have a quick look at how the game will flow. There are 4 rounds to be played and each round is shorter as you have less action cubes to put out. The flow looks something likes this:

Wingspan solo game flow

Player turn

You go first so take your first move out of the usual 4 actions:

  • Play a bird
  • Gain food
  • Lay eggs
  • Draw bird cards

Each action is shown on your mat. The Play a bird is shown at the top of each column. Each row represents the Gain Food, Lay Eggs, and Draw Bird Cards actions. Each action on one row.

To play a bird

Place an action cube on the Play bird spot at the top of the column where you are going to place your bird. Pay the food and egg cost then place the bird on the mat. This will trigger the “When played” power if the bird has one.

To Gain Food, Lay Eggs, or Draw Bird Cards

Here are the three steps to take when wanting to take any of the Gain Food, Lay Eggs, or Draw Bird Cards actions.

  1. Choose the row that represents the action you want to take. Place an action cube on the first space that does not have a card on it. This gains you the benefit of that slot.
  2. Move your action cube left activating any of the “WHEN ACTIVATED” powers for bir cards in that row. You can choose not to use a power if you wish.
  3. When the action cube gets to the far left your turn is over. Leave the action cube there.

Triggering brown powers

If you trigger any brown powers the Automa does not participate. Which means that the Automa loses when any brown powers that require you to compare yourself with the Automa are triggered. If other players are meant to gain something then this is ignored as the Automa does not gain anything.

Automa turn

Now it is the Automa’s turn.

Draw a single card from the Automa deck and turn it over. As this is the first round you will see the Round 1 blue square with the arrow. Place the card so it covers half the Round Tracker Card up to the arrow. The blue square on the Round Tracker Card now shows you which section to use for the Automa’s actions.

Each icon in this row should be resolved according to the table below:

Icon

Description

Draw cards
Play a bird
Lay eggs
Gain food
Place end-of-round cube
Remove end-of-round cube
Activate pink powers

Resolution

Discard all 3 face up cards from the bird tray. Then draw 1 card from the bird deck and place it face down in the Automa’s supply area. Depending on the difficulty you choose the bird cards will award the Automa 3, 4 (normal), or 5 points at the end of the game.

From the 3 face up cards on the bird tray pick up all that meet the requirement of the Automa’s bonus card. The Automa then keeps the highest point value.

If there are multiple cards of equal value then choose any. Discard the other cards. Face up birds are worth their allotted value.

If none of the face up cards meet the bonus card then discard all three and draw a face down bird card. Place this card face down in the Automa’s supply area.

Give the Automa 1 egg token for each egg icon in that row of the Automa card.

The Automa takes out the first set of dice that match the priority order on the Automa card.

So, if there are three dice with fruit and two with fish, and the Automa order is invertebrate, seed, fish, fruit, rodent. Then you take out all those dice that show fish.

If there are only the same faced dice in the birdfeeder such as two fish. Then this causes a re-roll and then the automa takes out the dice from the resultant roll.

Place 1 of the Automa’s action cubes on the current round’s goal tile of the goal board.
Remove 1 action cube from the current round’s goal tile and place back in the Automa’s supply. If there are none on that round tile then ignore.
Activate ALL pink powers on the solo players mat. The Automa effectively does nothing.

Once each icon on the Automa cards row has been resolved it is your turn again. 

This continues until you have placed your last action cube and taken your turn. The Automa has one last turn and the round ends.

End of Round

At the end of each round you need to go through the following steps:

  1. Round end bird powers – solo player only.
  2. Score end-of-round goal.
  3. Remove all action cubes.
  4. Discard and replace all cards on the bird tray.

End of Game

Again this is just like the multiplayer in that you play 4 complete rounds ending with the Automa’s turn at the end of Round 4. You then calculate the end of game scores and whoever has the highest score wins the game.

If it is a tie break then the normal rules apply and whoever has the most food left over wins. As the Automa doesn’t collect food then it automatically gains 2 food for this purpose. So, if there is a tie you’d better have three foods to hand.

If you beat the Automa then congratulations, next try the same difficulty with the Automubon Society card and see how you fare.

Wingspan Automa scoring

The objective is for you to score more points than the Automa. You score after each round and then an end of game score. So let’s look at the End of Round scoring first.

Wingspan end of round scoring

This is scored in the normal way. You calculate how many points you have scored according to the goals. Now calculate the Automa’s score by checking the Automa End-of-Round Goal scoring card. This will give you a base score. 

Now add each action cube that you have placed on the Goal Board which indicates a point. Whoever scored the highest has one action cube of their color on the 1st place of the Round 1 row of the Goal Board. The other one’s action cube goes on the second place square.

If you tie then place both action cubes in between 1st and 2nd.

Now complete the rest of the End of round actions and play the next round unless you have just completed Round 4. In which case go to end-of-game scoring.

Wingspan end of game scoring

You add up your score as normal. The Automa is scored slightly differently as it does not take points for the bonus card or get points for food tokens. The table below shows the scoring for each.

Solo player

  • Face up bird card points
  • Each bonus card
  • End of round goals
  • 1 point for each egg on a bird card
  • 1 point for each food token on a bird card
  • 1 point for each bird card tucked under a face up card

Automa

  • Face up bird card points
  • Each face down card gets Eaglet (3 points each), Eagle (4 points each), Eagle-eyed Eagle (5 points each)
  • End of round goals
  • 1 point for each egg collected

If you have a score higher than the Automa then you have won, congratulations. Less than the Automa then you lose. 

If it is a draw then use the usual method for tiebreaks and the person with the most food left wins. In this scenario the Automa has two food tokens left over so you would need three to win.

Is Wingspan Automa good?

Yes, the Automa is really good and works very well with Wingspan to provide a very enjoyable solo player experience.

Wingspan is a beautifully made game and so much fun as a multiplayer board game. Luckily the Automa is one of the easiest to learn and after a few rounds you’ll get into the flow of the game. If you haven’t tried it solo yet then what are you waiting for?