As leader of a small group of forest creatures, you are one of the few tasked with building a new settlement in the beautiful valley of Everdell. Will you be able to gather the right resources and plan well enough to build the most thriving town before winter brings the frost?
Please note that this is a review of the Deluxe Edition that came through Kickstarter. The standard retail edition might differ in component quality.
Scratching the Surface
Everdell, by Game Salute, is a medium weight board game for 1-4 players and takes 20 minutes per player to play.
At its surface, Everdell appears to be little more than a simple and streamlined worker placement board game. You place your worker at different areas to get different resources, exchange them to build different cards, and continue from there.
Each season you get new workers to place in more areas to help you build more things. Simple, sweet, and straightforward… until you start catching onto the many of the potential strategies that can be employed.
Playing a game of Everdell (Credit: Kalchio BGG)
Dig a Little Deeper
Anyone who has played Lords of Waterdeep enough might find some very similar notes in Everdell, particularly in how much of an engine builder the game ultimately becomes. You even gain meeples once all players have used them up, calling to an end of season. However, there are a few key differences though that can make it feel like an entirely different tableau-building experience.
There are over 45 different types of cards in all. The Forest cards add a fresh variable to the set-up by adding to the places that workers can gather resources. The Events add another goal to help if your current strategy isn’t panning out, allowing another option for point value at the cost of an extra meeple. The Mission cards can help, depending on the combination of buildings and townsfolk you have, adding yet another possible layer of strategy.
The 124 card deck keeps the Meadow well supplied. Most cards from the deck will offer bonuses in resources that are collected either all at once, over a period of time, or when someone places a meeple on it. These can be purchased to build your town, though be mindful of the information on the bottom.
Every building is paired with a townsfolk, and if one is paid for in resources, its matching pair can be played for no cost. With a limited hand size of eight cards, enough pre-planning can help you make faster use of the cards you already have. However, your town can only be so large at 15 cards, so build carefully to make the most of each one. The large deck for the Meadow means there is no guarantee that you'll get the paired card that you want, contributing to the layers of strategy this game offers.
The length of the game and the number of meeples obtained feels spot-on. Any shorter and no one would come close to building a full town. Any longer and that 15-card max town would come far too soon without much to do about it.
The Quality Found Within
The artwork for Everdell is very eye-catching, capturing a storybook charm that helps immerse you into the world of town-building animals. The high quality of the artwork doesn’t stop at the box, but permeates throughout the game, with great detail put into the uniquely-shaped Ever Tree game board and down to every card.
The standing tree offers more to the game than just immersion. It acts as a place to hold cards, side quests, and worker pieces. The elevated arrangement of the pieces makes it easier to remember to add them to your collection with every passing season, and the inclusion of the side quests on the panel just beneath makes it intuitive to peek at the cards so players don’t easily forget about them. It’s made of cardboard, but you can get a wooden tree as an add-on to the Pearlbrook Expansion (which is still open for late pledges on Kickstarter).
The components are well-made, with wooden Occupy Tokens, shiny point Coins, squishy Berries, log-shaped Twigs, clear Resin, and smooth Pebbles. The meeples are shaped as squirrels, hedgehogs, mice, and turtles. It was a little challenging at first to tell what animals one or two of them were, but they’re still quite adorable.
The only complaint we have here - and it’s such a small nitpick - is that the pieces are left loose on the board. There are already a number of people selling chit holders that work well with Everdell, but a simple solution we used in a pinch was a set of small paper cups.
Everdell Review - Full Assembled Ever-Tree (Credit: Kalchio BGG)
Final Thoughts on Everdell
Overall, everyone on the LNG Crew has enjoyed playing Everdell. While there are similarities to Lords of Waterdeep, there is so much that makes this approachable game unique. There are plenty of changeable variables and different possible strategies to employ that make every play through feel unique.
All-in-all, Everdell would make an excellent addition to any hobby gamer's collection!
You Might Like
- It falls right into the medium weight category.
- The layers of strategy found in the simple gameplay.
- Immersive and whimsical artwork.
- If you're interested in new twists to Lords of Waterdeep.
You Might Not Like
- How much there can be to juggle as the game progresses.
- The size of the Meadow Deck almost guarantees certain building/townsfolk pairings will never surface.
- The size of the loose resources may be a choking hazard for small children and pets.