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Awards

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You Might Like

  • Immersive and thematic
  • High replay value
  • Unique miniatures
  • Great alternate take on Lovecraft horror

Might Not Like

  • Long set up\take down time
  • Can hard to store after unboxing
  • A few rules errors and information missing

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The Everrain Kickstarter Edition Review

The Everrain Review

What do you get when you mash Eldritch Horror, Cthulhu Death May Die and a swashbuckling pirates adventure? You get The Everrain by Grimlord Games.

Set in a world of constant downpours and storms, a lurking cosmic underwater god gradually threatens to rise up and wreak havoc upon the world.

This a co-operative game for 1-4 players. Each player is the captain of their own unique ship, setting out on the ocean with their crew and limited supplies, your goal is to explore and discover new lands and territories, uncovering mysteries and beat the ever-advancing threat of the horrors of the depths.

Using action tokens to give orders for your crew to move around your ship, navigate the seas and fire off artillery, the game rewards exploration and resource management.

Theme

This is one of the strongest elements of the game for me. I love this alternate take on the tired and tested Lovecraftian formula. Grimlord games have created their own brand of a Cthulhu-like figure, complete with a set of grotesque monsters and sanity breaking events across the game's stories. Of course some of the staple elements of this brand of cosmic horror gameplay are there; disturbing creatures of the Mythos, skill tests, horrific events characters can witness and high stakes combat with cultists and monsters.

Now normally this game would fall into the same category of any of the Arkham files games just off reading that last part but it’s the mixing of a high seas adventure with your very own ship that give this game an edge.

Everything in this game feels quite thematic and well polished. Sailing the seas and finding new lands and fighting ships is all well and good but you have to consider many of the after-effects of these actions.

Your crew needs to be maintained, they will have positive and negative traits. Work them hard on the deck or send them on dangerous missions and they will suffer a strain. During combat and if they are on deck when you take a hit from an enemy ship they suffer trauma.

Too much of both and they will perish, at the end of the act if you don’t pay their wages they will leave.

You also need to look after your ship. Upgrade it, attach better weapons, repair damaged areas of the deck otherwise you will suffer greatly in deadly sea combat and sink.

The game is also quite immersive. Uncovering new tiles is scary but rewarding. Uncovering a port or some land can yield great rewards. However, finding an enemy ship spawn or running into a storm can prove fatal.

Mechanics/Gameplay

The Everrain is played over a series of acts, there is no number of turns.

Players win by progressing their discovery token, by using clues at ports, to the end of the discovery track.

Players lose by the enemy token reaching the end of the discovery track before them, the ancient one waking up and completing its objective or by all players losing their crew.

One of my favourite aspects of this game is how the player actions are performed and the sandbox style gameplay and narrative progression.

Players start the game with 3 crew tokens, 2 navigation tokens and an artillery token, more can be acquired throughout gameplay.

On a players turn there is no set routine or turn structure. I’m not forced to move then attack or visit a land, I’m pretty much free to do as I like.

Obviously care must be taken when exploring the seas and fighting but players are encouraged to explore and manage their crew in their own way.

By placing an order token from the fresh orders section to the used orders section you can perform an action. When you have no tokens remaining or you don’t want to place any more the player turn ends.

Crew tokens can move your crew around your ship, either on or below deck. Moving them into nodes on deck can help out with navigation, into spots to help fire artillery, into the top nest to discover new tiles or if monsters are on board, to engage in combat.

Navigation tokens, when played allow the players to move. Either by turning the ship or moving forward. Movement can feel kind of slow as your ship must spend points to turn in the direction they want to go and proceed but with crew in navigation ports you can add extra movement to the action and move around a lot faster.

Of course keeping crew in these spots will help moving and firing but this will add strain to the crew’s limited health slots.

This is where moving the crew below deck can be beneficial. Players can activate improvements they collected and installed on their board slots, allowing them to recover, go on expeditions or generate a number of unique bonuses.

I love all the different upgrades to my ship, all the weapons and ways you can modify your vessel to suit your play style.

Want a war machine? A combat heavy, armed to the teeth sea beast, you can totally take that route, placing your guns in different areas of your boat so you can fire your guns for maximum damage.

Want a boat that can handle navigation and exploration well? You can do this, add upgrades that improve life for your crew.

Combat, either on the sea or on your boat consists of rolling dice for the enemies and your crew/boat at the same time. Enemies will move, attack and trigger special abilities, whilst the amount of attack or evasion dice you want to use will determine the luck of your outcome.

It’s a good mix of preparation and luck as how you’ve managed your crew and/or how you handle your boat and it’s movement can be crucial in these conflicts.

Also players can go on expeditions to earn rewards, visit shipwrecks to roll a spoils dice, visit strange altars to trigger monster fights and visit ports, safe havens where you can recover trauma and sanity. Buy and install upgrades, sell treasures and ultimately trade in your hard earn clues to progress the game.

Exploring the seas and finding a port can give you a great sense of relief as you get a brief rest from the pursuit of boats and monsters aboard your ship.

Overall most of the mechanics of the game are relatively simple. With the exception of combat everything is easy to learn and players will grasps these elements very early on.

I love how the game handles stories and events.

Much like Eldritch horror, the game doesn’t give you a mass of text to read. Instead, the games story is represented in small sections on cards that can eventually lead to journey and epilogue cards from events which can then develop into small chunks of story.

We have seen some of these things before in Arkham files games, such as strange sights and sounds, people experiencing sanity breaking effects and visions of horrific entities but by doing this the game flows a lot more smoothly and the stories and experiences that can occur via this method can be extremely memorable..

Learning/Weight

The game is fairly complex but not super heavy. Due to the free roaming nature of the game and it’s relaxed structure, the gameplay feels smooth and turns flow nicely.

The rule book is written quite well, plenty of examples and breakdowns with flow charts explaining certain actions and spaces.

It’s a little odd, for me personally, that breakdowns and descriptions of cards, tokens and enemies is at the very start of the book. It just means you will spend time, especially early on, flicking back and forth throughout the instructions to find what you need.

The game also comes with handy reference sheets for the traits, spoils and turn orders.

My only real problem with this is remembering all the traits. There are quite a few for the positive, negative and indelible ones and it can be a pain to keep checking up on which crew has what trait.

This is because is some are important during tests, combat or visiting a port and it can be crucial to your progression (or downfall) in the game.

Many times I visited a port and forgot a member of my crew should of made me lose 5 coins or I should of rolled an extra dice during artillery fire.

It’s not a major issue and it’s one that can be resolved with a bit more game experience but it’s still something new players should keep in mind.

Set-Up, Take Down And Game Length

The game actually sets up fast, that is if you have your tokens all organised. The player set up is quick. Gain your ship and crew, matching miniatures and your starting resources and your ready to go. With the map being an almost blank canvas to begin with and no cards or text being needed, gameplay begins very quickly which is great for a big gaming experience like this one.

The take down time can be a bit longer though, placing the tiles back in order, putting your story cards back in the archive in the numerical order and returning all the tokens, miniatures and dice can take a bit of time. I would say roughly 10-15 minutes at most, it’s not much for a game of this size but it’s something to take note of.

The game length can differ depending on what length you chose at the beginning of the game. This is something I really appreciate in games like this. Sometimes I don’t have 3 hours spare to play a game and I might want something quicker or I might fancy a long session, The Everrain gives you this option by adjusting the starting position of the elder one discovery token.

As for the general game length I have no idea why it’s listed as 30-180 minutes on here, playing this game in 30 minutes is almost impossible unless you run headfirst into a ship and roll blanks every time.

I would say for 1-2 players you would be looking at around 1-2 hours or so. 3-4 players would be roughly 3 hours or more.

Personally I don’t think this is too bad for this type of sandbox gaming, it’s not too long where the game can feel drawn out (like Arkham horror 3rd edition) and it never overstays its welcome.

Replay Value

The Everrain has a surprisingly high amount of replay value. For me, a co-operative adventure game with story elements gave me the impression of something that would wear thin very fast but it’s the games sheer number of crew, traits, improvements, treasures, monsters and story cards that help craft a totally unique experience every time you play it.

Not only will you be upgrading your ship differently, changing artillery and acquiring crew but discovering the map and reading through a large amount of progressive narrative sections on cards can help craft a totally unique gaming session every time.

Solo

The Everrain plays well for a solo experience. Much like in other Lovecraftian games it just scales down slightly to match the player count. The enemy agenda won’t advance as quickly and you might not have so many enemies on the map, however, you won’t uncover tiles as quickly and no one can help you if a powerful enemy ship is on your tail.

I actually quite enjoy this game solo, you truly feel isolated and alone on the dark waters. Scared of uncovering tiles and praying you have enough resources to withstand a difficult journey to the nearest port to rest.

Summary

Overall The Everrain is a superb, horror adventure game with unique sandbox gameplay and spectacular production values.

A high price and a few fiddly sections of the rules can be a minor inconvenience at best but they do not subtract much from the experience overall.

A great game at any player count, perfect for fans of horror/Cthulhu games, fans of co-op, adventure, story and pirate style games.

With a perfect blend of luck and strategy, a game that rewards exploration, boldness and resource management, The Everrain has solidified itself as one of the great horror/mystery games of the year for me.

Zatu Score

Rating

  • Artwork
  • Complexity
  • Replayability
  • Player Interaction
  • Component Quality

You might like

  • Immersive and thematic
  • High replay value
  • Unique miniatures
  • Great alternate take on Lovecraft horror

Might not like

  • Long set up\take down time
  • Can hard to store after unboxing
  • A few rules errors and information missing

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