Wyrmspan Review - Takes Wingspan To New Heights

Based on the massively successful Wingspan, Wyrmspan takes that game's key mechanics and brings them into the realm of Dragons. But does new board game soar like its predecessor? Read on in our Wyrmspan Review.

Published: June 26, 2024 3:06 PM /

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An image of the Box Art for Wyrmspan, featuring the board game box and a button that reads TechRaptor Review.

You hear the bellowing roar of a creature in the distance, above you the looming shadow of a huge pair of wings blots out the sun as a sudden gust of wind announces the presence of, you guessed it, a dragon! Do you have the resources to entice these majestic creatures to live in the habitats you’ve created for them? Find out in our review of Wyrmspan, based on the monumentally popular Wingspan - both by Stonemaeir games!

Wyrmspan - The Basics

Wyrmspan is a tabletop board game for 1 - 5 players, where you take on the role of an amateur dracologist in a realm where dragons of all different shapes, sizes, and personalities rule the skies. In this strategy board game, you'll manage resources and plan your actions carefully to lure dragons to your personal board, scoring points in a variety of ways. In the end, the player with the most victory points wins!

The game contains 183 dragon cards, each vastly different from one-another (and none of these cards are direct copies of Wingspan cards, which I'll speak more about momentarily). In the game, your goal is to lure these dragons to roost on your land by excavating cave spaces on your board (of which there are 75 cave cards), using resources to pay for dragons, and moving your little meeple dracologist around the board to trigger special actions.

An image from our Wyrmspan Review featuring the full game board of cards, boards, and other elements on a coffee table.
Though there are many elements to the game, two players can cram everything onto a mid-sized coffee table!

Our first game took us a little under two hours to play (with two players), and we're very familiar with Wingspan. But subsequent plays got us right down to the 90 minute game time as advertised on the box.

How is Wyrmspan Different From Wingspan?

In many ways, Wyrmspan follows a similar game flow and much of the same core rules with Wingspan, but these are two completely different, stand-alone games. The base game of Wyrmspan is slightly more complicated and strategic compared to the core base game of Wingspan (though it feels close in levels of complexity when you add in expansions like Oceania). Here are some of the ways that Wyrmspan is different from Wingspan:

Wyrmspan introduces the concept of the Dragon Guild 

In Wyrmspan, there's a new board set to the side of the game called the Dragon Guild board. There are four different guild cards you can place on this board, and it essentially creates a circular track that players can move around to gain additional resources, benefits, and points.

An image from our Wyrmspan Review depicting the Dragon Guild board
It's a mad dash around the Dragon Guild Board!

You have to excavate your spaces in Wyrmspan 

In Wingspan, when you want to play a bird in a space you simply have to pay the cost (and additional egg costs) and place them. With Wyrmspan, you first have to excavate that space on your board (you start with three pre-excavated spaces).

You do this by drawing and playing a Cave card. And while this is an added step in the process, these Cave cards are some of the most fun aspects of the game, as they bestow immediate "When Played" benefits, some of which are incredibly powerful.

An image from our Wyrmspan Review depicting dragon cards and cave cards
Dragon and Cave cards now coexist on their own board, each with their own unique powers!

Actions can carry over in Wyrmspan

In Wingspan, actions you played were tracked with action cubes, and your turn ended when you used up all your cubes. In Wyrmspan, actions are tracked by spending coins (you start with six), and some special effects give you extra actions plus you can always end your turns in a round before using all your coins -- meaning you can carry them over for a very impactful next round!

These are the three largest differences between Wingspan and Wyrmspan, but the Stonemaier Wyrmspan FAQ has a really nice rundown of all the differences - big and little - if you're curious.

But do all of these rules changes over-complicate Wyrmspan?

In my opinion, absolutely not! What you get from these added elements isn't an over-wrought game design, but instead a lot more player agency and choice. There are also more moments for surprise in this game, as you never know what powerful Cave cards you'll flip into the display.

An image from our Wyrmspan Review depicting hatchlings
Hatchlings need milk (??) to grow, but will eventually give you a powerful reward!

Being able to gain more actions and hold actions from one round to the next left me feeling very empowered in our games. I was able to play the game at a cadence that worked for me, and suited my play style well, as I like to hold my actions in the early game and go for a big mega-round in the second half.

The race around the Dragon Guild board also provided way more of a sense of tension than I was expecting in my play-throughs.

What I thought would just be an add-on that we didn't pay much attention to turned out to be one of the main focuses of our gameplay, and a source of friendly competition.

Wyrmspan Review - Final Thoughts

When it was first announced that Stonemaeir Games would be releasing Wyrmspan, a new interpolation of their blockbuster birding hit Wingspan, I have to admit - I was left scratching my head.

What made Wingspan such a masterpiece, in my opinion, was the wonderfully “normal” theme of the game: birding. Along with Audubon Society-style illustrations, the game eschewed wizards, aliens, and, well… dragons for a topic much more down to earth.

An image from our Wyrmspan Review showing off a completed board at the end of the game
A finished board at the end of the game, look at all these gorgeous dragons!

But the core engine of the Wingspan is so strong, and so damned fun, that I knew I immediately wanted to see how Wyrmspan ideated on the original. And besides, it's not like I don't love dragons! As soon as I started reading the rulebook for Wyrmspan, and began to get a sense of the changes it brought to the game engine, I knew I'd be hooked.

Wyrmspan is a game that takes something incredible and perfects upon it further, pushing the design right up to the limits to create a bold, inviting, and strategically rewarding experience. I think Wyrmspan may be one of the most engrossing gaming experiences I've had this year, and fans of the original Wingspan absolutely need to check this game out as soon as possible.

Even if the birding aspect is what initially drew you into Wingspan, rest assured that this game - full of its own swath of gorgeous illustrations - will completely sink its talons into you and your gaming group!

The copy of Wyrmspan used in the creation of this review was provided to us by Stonemaier Games. All photos courtesy of the author.

Review Summary

Wyrmspan is a triumph of game design, taking a near-perfect blueprint from Wingspan and enhancing it. (Review Policy)


  • New game elements bring more player agency
  • Saving actions and playing cave cards add excitement to the game
  • High production quality continues in the classic Stonemaier Games tradition


  • Gamers coming in without at least some previous Wingspan experience may find the game a bit complicated
  • As with Wingspan, limited player vs. player interaction may bristle some competitive gamers.

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| Tabletop Editor

Giaco Furino joined the TechRaptor team as a Staff Writer in 2019 after searching for a dedicated place to write and talk about Tabletop Games. In 2020, he… More about Giaco