Worker placement games have always been something that my family have had difficulty getting into. It has nothing to do with the actual mechanics of this genre being overcomplicated but rather because most of these games tend to have less exciting themes attached to them. Everdell is a worker placement game that takes the mechanics we are all familiar with and wraps it in a cute furry theme.
What’s in the box?
Everdell is one of those board games that just look amazing when set up. This is in part to the game’s main component, The Evertree, a thick cardboard tree that players assemble and place in the middle of the table. The pieces of the tree are very durable and should be able to take a few bumps and tumbles.
Along with the Evertree, the game has the usual resource tokens that players will be collecting. What makes these stand out is that each is made and shaped to represent that specific resource. The wood is shaped like little logs, for example. This makes recognising each resource so much easier than if they were just little cubes.
The board game also comes with two decks of cards (both different sizes) adorned with wonderfully charming art that feels like it was pulled straight out of a fairy tale book.
Lastly, there are the actual worker tokens that are again shaped like little woodland creatures.
Overall, Everdell is a sight to behold when playing. It’s a wonder that all this fits without having to have an oversized box.
How do you play it?
As mentioned, Everdell is a worker placement game. However, it does mix things up a bit by adding a deck-building mechanic which adds a layer of strategy to the game. In essence, players will be placing their woodland creatures in various locations in order to gather resources. Along with this, players will also be collecting cards which will give them various abilities to use during their turn all in an effort to gain the most points before the game ends.
Everdell also works on a timer. Players need to finish their game before winter arrives.
The game gives players a few choices, but don’t be fooled, there are a lot of strategies involved in those choices. On a player’s turn, they can perform only one of three actions.
– Placing one of their furry workers
– Playing a card they have in their hand
– Preparing themselves for the upcoming seasonal change
Placing a worker is exactly what you think. Players will be placing their specific woodland creature on a spot to gather a resource. The basic resources players can collect are twigs, resin, boulders and berries. Then there are locations which allow players to pick up small cards that grant them abilities they can use during their turn.
Then there are Event Locations which players can complete once they have all the required resources. These net them victory points that add up at the end of the game.
You also have a location called Haven. This is where you may discard cards in order to collect resources.
Lastly, there is the Journey location in Everdell where players can place workers which in turn will score the victory points at the end of the game. Some of these locations allow you to place more than one worker on them but keep in mind that this means you have fewer workers to place on other spots.
Players can also choose to play a card instead. In order to play a card, players must pay the requisite resources indicated on the card. Players can play a card from their current hand or directly from the Meadow area which has 8 cards on display, which players can choose from.
Cards usually take the form of Construction of Critters. Critter cards usually cost berries to play unless you have the pre-requisite building for that Critter already built then the card can be played for free. For instance, should you have the Courthouse card in play you can then play the Judge card for free. Each player may place up to 15 cards in front of them and have a maximum of 8 cards in their hand.
A player’s final choice of the three is to prepare for the next season. If players have placed all their workers and choose not to play any more cards they can then retrieve their workers along with all the resources they have gained from them. Once they decide they want to prepare for the next season they then gain the bonus listed on the tree for the new season.
The game continues until a player reaches the end of Autumn, once this happens they must pass their turn until all players have reached the end of Autumn. The winner is calculated by adding up the points they gain from their city cards, point tokens, Prosperity card bonuses, Journey points and Event points. The player with the most points is declared the winner.
What did we think of Everdell?
Everdell is a deceptivley simple game. Sure players only have one action they can choose out of three but, within each of these actions, there is a myriad of choices. This, coupled with figuring out which cards work well with which, gives the game an underlining layer of strategy that most players will only get to grips with after a few playthroughs.
Unfortunately, the game is definitely not recommended for very young players as the depth of its choices might be a stumbling block for the very young.
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- Deceptively deep
- Components are top notch
- Rewards multiple playthroughs
- The game might be a bit to strategic for younger players
Complexity vs Depth