Board Game Review: Everdell

In Articles, Culture, Toys & Gadgets by Danny Allen

As we find ourselves in the season of Spring, join the forest critters of the valley of Everdell as winter changes to warmer temperatures.

Starling Games beautifully constructed this game, from the three-dimensional tree, great artwork, the quality of the resources, and individual critter meeples, to the well-balanced mechanics and gameplay.

This game has gotten the attention of many different game awards in the past three years, and no wonder that over 250,000 copies have been sold to date. I’d encourage you to try Everdell as I think it’s a unique, immersive experience that can bring fun for years of building against the race of winter!

This is a worker placement game where you are building a city with buildings and critters, always seeking a balance of the right cards and gathering enough resources. I love the interworking dynamics between cards themselves, and the fact that you share cards in the meadow, but have your own cards to use in your city.

Though players take linear turn orders, everyone will have different interactions with the seasons of the game, which ensures that the board is always shifting. I find that I am never quite ready for winter to come (signaling the end of the game), and want to play again once the game is complete.

1) Ease of learning: 6/10

The game is quite straightforward, on a turn you can place a worker, play a card, or prepare for the next season. I always love learning from someone who has already played a game, but with barriers of gathering in the last few years, I learnt this game solely from the rulebook and Youtube videos.

The first set up, learning and playing with 4 players took almost four hours. But we were shocked it was that late when we finished because it was compelling and we were fully engaged with our woodland creatures. The game states that it is for ages 10 plus, and I would agree.

I would wait to introduce younger children because of its deeper strategy and varied mechanisms. It’s for those reasons that I rated the game 6/10 versus some of the other games I’ve reviewed, but in no way want to scare you away from trying it out!

2) Fun and replayability: 8.5/10

Everdell is a genuinely fun, immersive experience. You can tell how much time and attention was given to this game, from the rules of playbook, to the cards and various design aspects of the game. I find it helps making the experience that much more fun.

Though this game is on the more expensive side of the scale, I’m proud to have it on my game shelf and enjoy playing, and cannot wait until my kids are old enough to play with me.

I have not played any of the expansions, but there are three more Everdell upgrade packs to add to the game if you ever need to have a new angle: Pearlbrook freshwater, Spirecrest trailblazers, and Bellfaire.

3) Benefit to your life: 7.5/10

I like that you can work at your pace, and the seasons (turn phases) and even the end of the game will be different for each player. It is competitive, there are races for resources, and some cards that can negatively impact other players, but it feels like you are building in your side of the forest while others play out their strategies.

Focus on foresight, planning, resource management, risks and rewards, and taking advantage of opportunities as they show themselves (there are lots of links between cards, but you’ll have to take in a lot of information and create your strategy of play as you get to know the game).

It’s really positive to gather friends and family, and immerse yourself in a really different world with the hedgehogs, mice, squirrels, and turtles of Everdell.

Pro tip:
Have no one to play with? Play Everdell solo against the Rugwort (aka, the board). There are three different levels of difficulty to try to master!

About
Danny Allen
Danny lives in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife and young family. He seeks to find balance in work, family, faith, and friends. Playing games has been an essential part of growing up, creating connections with friends, learning about self and life.
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Danny Allen
Danny lives in Edmonton, Alberta with his wife and young family. He seeks to find balance in work, family, faith, and friends. Playing games has been an essential part of growing up, creating connections with friends, learning about self and life.