Following on from a Q&A interview some time ago, I have recently had the pleasure of hosting Ed Harrison of The Walrus Games for a play through of his first game Everdark.
Everdark is a rotating maze strategy game for 2-4 players. It can be played as a co-op or player vs player, but one thing is guaranteed – the encroaching darkness that has to be defeated in both game modes. The first aspect of the game that struck me was the modular and circular 3D board.
It was certainly like nothing else in my game collection; think Ravingspire and The Daedulus Sentence for a similar look and feel. The board represents Phos, a labyrinth of a city with five tiers, each of which can be turned to align pathways through the city – a pretty neat feature.
The lore behind the game gives an excellent backdrop and is certainly representative of Ed’s superb imagination and creative mind. In the game, based around a Greek-esc culture, you play the part of a guardian and protector of the people in the city’s darkest time. The not so friendly ‘Skia’ are trying to bring balance back to the Everdark and the minis that represent the Skia are gorgeous.
In the co-op game you have to build a tiered temple to succeed, whilst fending off the encroaching darkness. It’s a little like Forbidden Desert in that sense where you try to build the airship from its lost parts but we played a game against each other, and of course the Everdark.
There were eight rounds in total, each of which had varying degrees of difficulty, determined by round condition cards (these can be predetermined to make the overall game easier or more difficult and also include optional ‘timer’ cards for gamers who enjoy that element of play).
In each round players draw events cards of varying difficulty, four of which are placed in the corresponding areas of the city. Each turn players have four actions in an attempt to reach one of the event cards.
Once reached, the player battles the darkness using dice, one represents the guardian and the other the Everdark. This continues until one player has completed all four event cards, successfully or not.
At the end of the round players receive VPs and crystals (the game’s currency) for defeating events, but lose VPs if they fail. Crystals can then be used to purchase a range of ability tokens, adding another dimension to game play. They can also be used to modify dice rolls, upgrade dice or re-roll dice in later rounds.
A great play through and I even managed a win!
Everdark - Final thoughts
So what did I like? I must say that I thoroughly enjoyed playing Everdark. The lore and board is fantastic and the minis are a lovely touch. The ability to customise gameplay, through round conditions, is a huge plus. Importantly, gameplay was immersive; I found myself continually planning my journey through the maze on both my turn and on Ed’s turn and this is a real positive for the game. I particularly enjoyed turning the rings of the board to benefit me and to hinder Ed!
Everdark is a game like no other in my collection and will surely be a hit on Kickstarter when it launches in mid to late June. With a little balancing still to be done at the time of writing, along with one player gameplay, I am sure it will be a huge success when it is launched; it really will compliment any game collection.
Check out Ed, and the Everdark’s Skia at UKGE this June.