When my pre-ordered expansion to Everdell arrived, I was elated. It had been a long time coming and I couldn’t wait to get it to the table. The Newleaf expansion incorporates several modules that can be used in conjunction with the base game and other expansions too, and you can mix or match as you like. As my first opponent hadn’t played quite as many games of Everdell as I had, we decided to limit ourselves to the new forest cards, new events cards, the tickets and the new city cards for the first game. We didn’t even add the new board but the new cards alone added a lot of fun! Here’s a run-down of some of the new cards we encountered (with ooh’s and aah’s every time).
What Is There?
The Hotel allows you to play a critter or a construction from your hand for three fewer resources. You have to place a worker on it – it’s a red destination card – and visitors are welcome if they are happy for you to gain two points tokens.
The library is a great construction to build. It costs only four resources and gives you three points at the end PLUS a point for every colour card in your city.
You now have the option to build a main road out of your city. It costs a pebble and doesn’t give you any points but it doesn’t count as one of your fifteen spaces and opens up another one you can build on. If you are canny, you can build a farm and a greenhouse there!
I don’t want to spoil all the fun of discovering the new construction cards and their benefits, but you can now also build an air balloon, a freight car, a locomotive, a city hall, a tea house and a bank!
As far as critters go, there are plenty more to choose from in Newleaf.
The Baker allows you to exchange up to three of your spare berries for two points each at the end of the game.
The gardener activates two green production cards when you play him.
If you play the Poet, you can select a colour and draw all the cards of that colour from the meadow into your hand and get a point for each. It’s a good way to refresh the meadow as well as for getting cards you want.
One of my favourites is the photographer, who can copy any purple prosperity card in an opponent’s hand at the end of the game. I wasn’t so pleased when my daughter copied my library and got herself five free points!
There is also a conductor, a miller, a chipsmith, an inventor, a magician, a lamplighter, a diplomat and a mayor.
Oh.... There's A Difference?
These new cards work slightly differently from those in the base game in terms of how they link together:
In Everdell, you might build a construction and later place an occupied token on it to play the associated critter for free rather than using berries. For example, if you have built the courthouse, you can play the judge for free on a subsequent turn.
The new cards in Newleaf are not linked to a specific partner. If you have the city hall, you can use it to play any critter with the blue governance (scroll) symbol. The conductor can be played for no cost by placing an occupied token on any unique (rather than common) construction. So the new cards open up a lot of possibilities when it comes to playing critters. However, to make use of these extra opportunities, you must use one of your golden occupied tokens rather than simply a plain wooden door. You have only three of these special tokens for the whole game, so choose wisely! All the new critters can also be played into your city using berries, in the normal way.
Another thing to bear in mind is that with so many new cards in the deck, the one you are waiting for may take longer to turn up. Is it worth hanging on for a farm before you play your general store, so that you gain an extra berry? Or would it be better to change your strategy and use what’s already available in the meadow?
There are also three extra forest cards to shuffle into the mix, and several special events. The latter tend to reward you not for having specific pairs of cards in your city, but for other achievements, such as nine critters, or three greens and two tans.
We had great fun playing with the new cards, which I’m leaving shuffled into the main deck on a permanent basis now. I look forward to working out the best ways to combine them with the other cards in the deck. And then there’s the train station, the visitors, the reservation tokens, plus new forest locations and new events.