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Review: Everdell

Everdell. What’s it about?

Within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the boughs of towering trees, among meandering streams and mossy hollows, a civilization of forest critters is thriving and expanding. Ever since famed adventurer Corrin Evertail discovered the hidden realm long ago, the citizens have prospered under the shelter of the enduring Ever Tree.

From Everfrost to Bellsong, many a year have come and gone, but the time has come for new territories to be settled and new cities established. You will be the leader of a group of critters intent on just such a task. There are buildings to construct, lively characters to meet, events to host—you will have a busy year ahead of yourself. Will the sun shine brightest on your city when you are done?

Prepare to be enchanted by the wondrous world of Everdell. Once you are here, you might never, ever, want to leave.

What’s in the box?

  • 128 Critter and Construction cards (48 unique cards)
  • 16 Event Mini-cards
  • 11 Forest Mini-cards
  • 30 Berries
  • 30 Twigs
  • 25 Resin
  • 20 Pebbles
  • 30 Point tokens
  • 20 Occupied tokens
  • 24 Wooden workers
  • 1 8-sided die
  • 1 Game Board, Ever Tree, and Starter Event tiles

How does it play?

Everdell is a light to medium worker placement game, meaning it’s easy to learn but offers up a fairly deep and tactical game. Once you’ve opened up the box, the setup is a breeze. Each player will choose an animal (such as a hedgehog, squirrel etc) and get their respective character meeples. The only tricky part to setup is building the tree. This will become more problematic the more times you play the game. The tree is already looking a bit worse for wear after only a few playthroughs!

 

Once setup is complete players will then begin taking their turns. Players will place a worker in order to gain a resource or a city card. You will only transition to the next season once you as a player cannot do anything else on your turn.  As you progress through Spring, Summer and Autumn, more workers are unlocked. You start with 2 but by the Autumn phase you will have 6! You need to collect resources to pay for cards and you need cards to build your city. Cities can hold a maximum of 15 cards in 3 rows of 5. The player with the city that has the most victory points at the end wins the game. Simple.

The city cards are the key to the game. The cards are split into 2 categories: Constructions and Critters. Let’s take a look:

Constructions

These are the buildings in your city. Of course they are. Every construction will have a resource cost that you will need to pay in order to place it into your city. Some cards will allow you to not pay for a construction card, which is nice. If you have a critter currently living in your city, certain constructions allow you to build them for free because you have that critter already. These construction/critter combos are usually thematically paired.

Critters

So the critters we mentioned above. They are the inhabitants of the city. Just as constructions, they can be played either by paying the resource cost or by being an occupant of a construction that you already have in your city. Critters are listed as either common or unique. Common critters you can have as many of  the same named critter as you want in your city but unique ones you are hindered to having only one of the same name.

The last thing each card has is a type. There are 5 types in the game and each one grants the player a different bonus.

Tan Traveler

The one time use card. Simple. Read the text on the card. Get that bonus. Never activated again.

Green Production

The productions cards. When you play this type into your city, it activates immediately and then again during the beginning of Spring and Autumn. There are other cards available that allow for these production cards to activate again also.

Red Destination

The extra space for workers! When a worker is placed there, take the bonus. There are two types of these though. One that says ‘open’ and the other that doesn’t. If it says ‘open’ then any player can place his worker there and take the bonus. That play must pay you with 1 victory point though. If it doesn’t say ‘open’, then that space is your to use on your own and reap the benefits.

Blue Governance

The passive ability card. Play this into your city and it will activate every time a certain other card is played.

Purple Prosperity

End game scoring cards! They serve only to give you the wonderful VP and the game conclusion. Valuable.

Components

Everdell is a beautiful game. Everything about it is just fantastic. When you first look at a game, it’s the components and the theme that usually first catches your eye and this one knocks it out of the park. From the wonderful tree to the amazing art on the cards, this game is a looker. Everdell also contains the best resources ever! Those berries are just so squishy and adorable. The theme is stunningly represented throughout the entire game. From top to bottom. Cards, workers, resources and the board. It’s all top quality stuff. The attention to detail within the artwork is also to be applauded. When you play a construction card you will see somewhere in the background the critter that is associated with that building. Then on the critter card, you will see the building that he is living / working in. Good stuff!

As mentioned at the beginning, the only negative point is the tree. Yes, it’s beautiful and serves a thematic purpose (along with being a great card holder) but the constant setting up of it and the tearing down takes it toll. The top ends where you slot down the branches are already frayed. It will only get worse.

Overall

Everdell is a beautiful and very enjoyable worker placement game. It’s quick and easy to learn and has a fair amount of replay value due to the large deck size and the placement cards you chose for the board at the beginning from random. This offers different setups and tactics with each game you play. This also alleviates the ‘rush’ in certain engine building games with a set deck. From the get go you know you want cards A, C, F and H to build a winning setup and you plan for it. Here, you can find a winning strategy but never repeat it as the card won’t come out during the game. Fine for some but maybe a bit frustrating for others.

Worker placement games are one of our favourites here and Everdell didn’t disappoint. It will quite happily sit next to Raiders of the North Sea, Agricola, Champions of Midgard, Lorenzo Il Magnifico and the like.

We lugged Everdell back from GenCon. It was worth it.  Regular retail availability is coming later this year. 

Designer: James A. Wilson

Publisher: Starling Games

Players: 1-4

Playtime: 40-80 Minutes

Game Type: Worker Placement/ Set Collection

 

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GameStart Asia

GameStart Asia

The GameStart team of geeky gamers share thoughts on the latest games, trends and news.

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