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Digital Subscriptions > Tabletop Gaming > February 2019 (#27) > Wingspan


Elizabeth Hargrave shakes off the down in her gorgeous board game debut, Wingspan. The designer and lead artist Natalia Rojas crack open the shell of their creation


A single conversation with Elizabeth Hargrave can see the designer wax lyrical about the meanings assigned to flowers by Victorians, the migration of monarch butterflies and a decades-long Russian experiment involving the genetic domestication of foxes.

All three of these seemingly unconnected topics have inspired games designed by Hargrave. 19th century floriculture was the basis of Tussie-Mussie, the micro ‘I split, you choose’ card game designed in a month that won last year’s GenCan’t Design Contest and announced Hargrave to the gaming scene. Butterfly migration and fox taming, meanwhile, serve as her leaping-off points for two upcoming designs still in the works.

“I keep a running list of game ideas or theme ideas – often it’s just like a couple words about a theme or a link to an article I read or something,” she says. “I tend to just sort of see something in the world and it triggers an idea in me about how that might play out in a game.

“I had Victorian flower language on that list. I had been playing a lot of New York Slice with a friend of mine’s kids, which is classic ‘I split, you choose’. I was trying to think about whether there was a way to use the mechanic to make an 18-card game feel bigger.”

Hargrave’s first major board game release is Wingspan, an engine-building title put out by Scythe publisher Stonermaier Games this year. It too arose from her eclectic fascination with the outside world.

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About Tabletop Gaming

Res Arcana: Race for the Galaxy designer Tom Lehmann conjures up his next magical card game. We’ve got a first look! Wingspan: As Elizabeth Hargrave’s gorgeous strategy game takes flight, the designer tells us about bringing 170 (!) unique birds to her major debut. Anomaly: Having unscrambled party fun in Decrpyto, Thomas Dagenais-Lespérance fights for survival in his tense sci-fi board game. Designer duos: In the spirit of Valentine’s Day, we hook up with the perfect pairs behind some of gaming’s best experiences. Reichbusters: Project Vril: Time of Legends studio Mythic returns to smash zombie Nazis in its OTT co-op game. How We Made Hive: John Yianni on the unlikely success of his phenomenal insect-filled abstract game. Build: Meet the 12-year-old British designer whose Geography homework became a board game that could change the world Cubiko Games: Gavin Birnbaum has been crafting beautiful wooden games for the last decade. We catch up with the designer as his ingenious auction game Q.E. expands his cult success. Reviewed: Gen7: A Crossroads Game Pandemic: Fall of Rome Warhammer 40,000 RPG: Wrath & Glory Harry Potter Miniatures Adventure Game Western Legends Forbidden Lands RPG Shadows: Amsterdam Judge Dredd: The Cursed Earth Cerebria: The Inside World Passing Through Petra Duelosaur Island AuZtralia Newton Alone Gugong + more!