I wrote about this briefly on our Instagram page (linked here), but wanted to go more into detail on Wingspan.
Stonemaier games are somehow incredibly polarizing in a way no other games or company seems to be. There are countless threads and discussions about this, which of course adds to the polarization since every piece that talks about it, including this one, further push that divide. Which makes the whole thing very meta...are they polarizing in their own right? Or just a tiny gap that has become a larger one through increased attention and focus? For sure the hype around them increases to that divide. Hyped games that are hard to get tend to have that effect...when you finally play one you're either stuck in confirmation bias mode "this game was so great and so worth waiting for and everyone loves it...therefore I love it too" or straight up letdown mode "I can't believe I waited 4 months and paid a premium to get this...it's barely average". The hype and hard to get tend to exaggerate your opinion, in whichever direction it was slanted.
I first started with Stonemaier by playing Euphoria, a game Dan loved but I merely found fun. Dan has a write up on that one here. Scythe, which quickly rose to prominence on BGG was a disappointment not once, but 3 times. I kept coming back to it hoping I was missing something, but our entire group thought it was just good. Which is a relevant point by the way...I've heard few people who dislike any of these...rather the camps seem to be split between blown away and nothing special. I can't think of a single one of their games I would turn down...just none I would choose to own. Which brings me to Wingspan, the latest. By this time I was no longer excited, I patiently held off and only recently decided to finally give it a try....and it was just ok. A good design, some fun engine building, but I'd rather just play Everdell. Both are beautiful, both limit you to 15 cards, both start off very slow and escalate throughout the game....but I found the tightness of Everdells design much more immersive. I'll do a write up on that one some other time. But for Wingspan....it was good. Definitely not a keeper. In fact, so far the only Stonemaier game I own is My Little Scythe, which I love to play with the family.
But now I'm excited about Tapestry. Cautiously so. But still excited. From all Jamey's games, the only ones that interest me thematically are Tapestry and Scythe, and Scythe to this day is the one I liked the most...even if not enough to keep. Tapestry is pretty (which all their games are) but it's civ building, which I love as a genre. Will it be a keeper? I don't know....in fact I doubt it. But I am excited to find out.
I love gaming, I love this hobby. When I play a game I love, I'm excited about adding it to my collection, and when I play a game I don't love, I'm excited about keeping my collection lean and playing other games more. Honestly it's all fun, it's rare that I play a game so bad that I regret the time spent on it. A hobby where even your disappointments represent time well spent is a great hobby indeed.