Wait...are you still talking about Wingspan here? Every single bird illustration is custom art. And the quality of all the components is phenomenal, down to the linen texture on the rulebook.
Not going to to quote all the previous comments in here, so I'll just sort of comment on a few of the things I read upstream. I'm tickled to see some games by people I know being mentioned. War of Whispers is by designer Jeremy Stoltzfus, who I met several years ago when he was playtesting his first game, "Villainous Vikings". I had a chance to play A War of Whispers recently, and quite enjoyed it. I know that he drew some inspiration from Game of Thrones/ASoIAF in terms of the "powers behind the throne" theme. I look forward to digging into it some more. I also see Wasteland Delivery Express mentioned, and Matt and Ben are good friends - this came out to some decent fanfare 2 years or so ago, but seems to have fallen off the radar (which happens far to often to far too many games these days). I know they were working on an expansion for a while, but I don't know the current status of that. I finally got a chance to play it at PAX Unplugged in December, and I will admit that I came away frustrated at the fact that I could spend a few turns traveling to a location, only to find that the goods it was dealing in changed right before I got there. But...we also started it late at night, and a player dropped out halfway through, so it wasn't the best experience in which to judge a game.
Games that I've been playing recently:
Everdell - Just learned this one tonight. I enjoyed it a lot, though by the end of the game, there can be so many combos you have chaining off of each other, that AP can be a real issue. I lost by 2 points...but cost myself 3 points by not reading a card fully.
Irish Gauge - A fairly straightforward train/stock game - a very basic version of 18xx games, as I understand it. I've not played any 18xx games, but I would call it a bit simplified version of Chicago Express. I bought it on a whim at PAX, as I have a friend who really enjoys these types of games. I can't say I love it, but I tend to be bad at stock manipulation type games.
Maracaibo - I got a demo at PAX and promptly bought it. But I haven't played a full game yet. Alexander Pfister, same designer as Great Western Trail - and I can see some similarities. I need to do a thorough reading of the rules and get it the table. There are a lot of extra bits and pieces for playing a campaign game (not a "Legacy" game, you don't destroy or permanently alter game pieces) - but this will be hard enough to get to the table as a base game, so I'm not sure I'll ever get to the campaign.
Hansa Teutonica - always a favorite, and I see that they're coming out with a "big box" version this year, with all the expansions included.
Taverns of Tiefenthall - I have never been a deck builder fan, but I did enjoy this one. Played the base game, and I understand it's better if you add some of the optional modules.
I won't go on too much more about games played in this post...I'll try to keep up with the thread in a more timely manner.
Some of you may recall that I have one published game, and have been working on a few others. 2020 is not off to a great start on that front, unfortunately. I had a rough prototype at the annual "Unpub" convention back in March of 2019, and a representative of a publisher was very intrigued by it. He took it back to the owner, and they asked for exclusive rights - with one request. I had designed it as a 3 player asymmetric game - like Vast, or Root, where all roles play differently. They requested that I add a 4th player, as that would be more easily marketable. I worked on it for the rest of the year, but I could never get the 4th player to really jive with the rest of the game. I showed it to them again at PAX in December, and they initially said they would get more involved, but later I got the call that they decided it would be a little more effort than they were prepared for, with all the other projects they had on hand. And I totally understood that - and in a nice show of class, they did pay me a little bit for the work I did at their request.
Secondly, a game that a friend of mine and I have had with a publisher for about 18 months seems to be going off the rails. It's a first time publisher, although someone who had been in the industry in some capacity, and when we originally talked to him, it sure seemed like he had a solid plan. Unfortunately, he has been beset by a number of personal issues. And now he does not respond to any of our attempts to reach him. So, we're in the process of trying to get that situation resolved.