In Everdell, each player is building their own woodland city, populated by a wide variety of (adorable) critters. Your goal is to have the most prosperous city by the end of the in-game year.
As you play, you’ll place cards in your city that represent buildings and citizens, and slowly build a tableau that generates resources and gives you additional effects as the game progresses.
Everdell has elements of engine-building similar to games like Scythe and Tapestry, as well as worker placement seen in Lords of Waterdeep.
What sets Everdell apart, aside from the wholesome and equally adorable theme, is the way it so masterfully ties these different mechanics together.
The Everdell board beautifully illustrates a meadow with the surrounding forest, as well as a stream where you’ll place your workers to gather resources. The Ever Tree is an excellent component- a cardboard tree that rises up from the board and holds the unique event cards for that game, as well as the additional workers you’ll unlock as the game progresses.
Players will buy cards for their city using resources they acquire by placing their workers. Those cards can be played from your own private hand, or from the Meadow- a section in the middle of the board from which any player can procure cards. This is similar to the card-buying mechanic in games like Ascension and DC Deck-Builder.
Like most other modern games, Everdell also has a number of mechanics which vastly increase the replay value. In addition to the four standard events you can unlock for additional points (such as have at least 4 of one type of building or critter in your city), each game you draw 4 Unique Event cards that live on the branches of the Ever Tree.
The Unique Events are small additional goals to strive toward- and of course, can only be claimed once. They also add some excellent flavour to the game. For example, the Unique Event that requires you to have both the postal pigeon and the doctor allows you to create a flying doctor’s service.
In addition to the unique events, each game randomly generates 3-4 forest spaces which offer new combinations of resources for your workers to gather. This adds both variety and additional strategy to each game- especially as only on of these spaces can be claimed by a worker at once, meaning that you can cut off your opponents!
Everdell has all the makes of a euro-style game where there isn’t a lot of interaction between players, but the competition over the meadow cards and the worker-placement, as well as the one-use events allows for players to go deep on their competitive strategy if your group is the kind that likes to play to win.
That said, Everdell can be as peaceful as it’s theme. Young players will be taken by the adorable critters that populate the city, and will learn the importance of resource management and time structure as they navigate paying costs, placing workers, and making the most of each season of the game to maximise their efficiency.
While some of the deeper mechanics of the game, such as engine-building and decision points, may be difficult for young players to grasp, Everdell makes for a great family game where the adults and teenagers at the table will find an effective and rewarding strategic experience.
Everdell is available right now from your local Good Games store or online!