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Everdell – A Deep Dive Into The Cards

game of the month - everdell

First of all, let me make it clear that I love Everdell. I find it addictive and can easily play several times in succession, each time feeling that I could have utilised my resources just a little bit better.

This article is about the cards that I never play, and why. While I was at it, I thought I’d discuss the cards with a base-value of zero, and why many of them shouldn’t be overlooked. I’m hoping to learn something by analysing my reasons, and maybe I will value some cards differently after writing this!

Cards I Never Play

The Fool: this card is played into an opponent’s city, taking up valuable space and awarding them minus two points. I just don’t enjoy messing up another person’s plans for the sake of it! As you’ll read later, I’m not altruistic in my card playing, but there’s a moral line for me. Let them build the best city they can without my interference. Plus, they might play nasty back.

The Chapel and the Shepherd: the chapel is quite expensive, costing two twigs, a resin and a pebble. Moreover, you have to deploy a worker there in order to benefit from its rewards (two cards and a point). There are usually easier ways to get cards. The Chapel’s associated critter is the shepherd, and at three berries is not easy to obtain if you haven’t got the Chapel already. The three berries must be given to another player and although you immediately get three back from the board, all you’ve really done is help an opponent. If you do already have the chapel, you can get the shepherd for free, but only get the point if you’ve used the construction already. So unless I’m swimming in resources at the end of the game and the chapel is the only card available worth more than a point, I never play either card in this pair.

The Storehouse and the Woodcarver: again, the storehouse is quite expensive, requiring a pebble, a resin and a twig. If you could gather the resources for it in the first season (not usually possible with two workers), then potentially it might be storing enough by the time autumn arrives to be worth deploying a worker there. But there’s almost always a better card to collect for in the first season. The woodcarver offers you points for up to three twigs, which are easy to come by. If I had spare berries and twigs at the end of the game I might play the woodcarver for that reason, but again, the chances are not high.

The Twig Barge and the Barge Toad: twigs are the easiest resources to get from spaces on the board, so this never seems like a worthwhile use of a twig and a pebble to me.

The Monastery: this construction costs three different resources and when you place your worker there to reap the rewards, he stays there. Then you have to give two resources to an opponent to get four points. Even in the last season, when you won’t be using the worker again anyway, the chances of everything falling in place to make this worthwhile for you and of no benefit to your opponent are slim. It’s a no-brainer: no thanks.

This leads us neatly onto the zero base-point cards, because we start with the monk.

Zero Base-Point Cards

The monk: he’s pretty cheap, costing only a berry if you don’t have the monastery, and is potentially worth four points if you can give two berries to an opponent. But, let’s face it, you really don’t want to. Not unless it’s right at the end of the game and you know they can’t do anything with them. So use the monk only in those specific circumstances, that’s my advice.

Postal pigeon: I love this little critter. He or she lets you play a card for free and is useful for slamming into the dungeon after fulfilling that duty, thus clearing a space for something more valuable. I do feel a bit guilty about it, but one of those cute little animals has to go in there.

The Bard: play this musician to get rid of a few cards for points. You can, of course,  do the same by going on a journey during the last season and that doesn’t take up a space in your city. However, if the top-scoring journey spaces are already taken then the bard provides an alternative.

The Dungeon: you can put a critter – like the aforementioned postal pigeon – in here to reduce the cost of any card by three resources. As I’m writing this, I’m realising that the dungeon costs three resources too, so why bother? I suppose it frees up a space in your city. Also, the Ranger can be obtained free once you have the dungeon and then you can get the cost reduction for two cards, which is definitely worth it. Hmmn. I don’t know if this is controversial but I often throw the ranger in the second dungeon once he or she has unlocked it…

The Clock Tower: this zero-point card is worth three points in reality, since you don’t have to use any of the tokens that come with it to reactivate a location if you don’t want to. Plus, I like the little bat historian that lives in the clock tower. Every time you play a card, it allows you to pick up another one. Get the historian near the start of the game to maximise the bat’s usefulness.

The Cemetery: for two pebbles, zero points seems like not enough. But if you are clever (needless to say it was my daughter who worked this one out and not me), you can discard and expensive card you want to play, and then pick it up and play it for free by using the cemetery on your next turn. It does leave a worker there permanently – it’s a graveyard, after all – but that doesn’t matter in the autumn. Try to be subtle though. It’s easy for someone else to scupper your plans by discarding more cards on top of the one you want.

The Ruins: The cost is literally nothing but you have to discard a card you’ve already played. It’s most satisfying to ruin another zero-point card, so that you get the resources back and haven’t changed the base score of your city. So this can be a good move if you have a construction that’s outlived its usefulness.


It’s worth remembering that any of the above cards could be a desirable addition to your city for other reasons. For example, if you are trying to achieve the Everdell Games event card, worth a whopping 9 points, and the shepherd is the only traveller available, then by all means, snap that shepherd up. As another example, if you have the school, every common critter is worth an extra point, so you could consider the barge toad worth two.

Writing this has made me question whether I’m coveting the dungeon when perhaps I shouldn’t be, and also whether the fact that 90% of my games are two-player may be influencing my choices. I’d be really interested to know whether other players agree or disagree with me about the cards I’ve discussed. Could you convince me that the Chapel is worth playing? That the monastery isn’t the waste of resources I’ve labelled it?

Ps – I’ve ordered the Newleaf expansion and can’t wait to see the new cards it will give me!

Have you tried Everdell? Pick it up here today.