Everdell Review: An Enchanting Woodland Journey

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When I first played the Everdell board game, I wanted to pack my bags and move to this imaginary world. The beautiful artwork and dynamic gameplay instantly made it one of my favorite board games of all time.

In my Everdell review, I will try to share some of its magic with you. So gather under the Ever Tree, and let me tell you a story about this fantastic board game.

Rating:9
Playing time:40 to 80 minutes
Number of players:1 to 4
Age:13+
Complexity:Medium
Genre:Worker placement and tableau-building
Release date:2018
Designer:James A. Wilson
Artists:Andrew Bosley, Cody Jones, and Dann May
Publisher:Starling Games

Pros

  • Amazing artwork and design
  • Replayability
  • Excellent gameplay 

Cons

  • The cardboard tree is fiddly

Everdell Game Overview

Once upon a time, there was a young explorer called Corrin Evertail. His homeland had been devastated by wars, and he decided to find a better place to live. After many months of searching, he discovered a beautiful valley he named Everdell. 

Since that time, Everdell has flourished and all the critters have lived in harmony under the protection of Ever Tree. But now it’s time to expand territories and build new cities, and this is where our adventure begins.

everdell board cards and tree

You have one Everdell year to build the best city you can. At the beginning of winter, you’ll choose a group of critters, represented by wonderful meeples, to help you with this quest. These can be mice, hedgehogs, squirrels, or turtles. They will explore new territories and collect resources. All the berries, twigs, pebbles, and resin that they find during the four seasons will be used to construct beautiful new buildings in your city, and to move in new residents.

Wonderful Board Game Design 

everdell the ever tree
Ever Tree

Besides excellent gameplay, Everdell is a board game well-known for its beauty. The most recognizable part is a cardboard, three-dimensional tree. While it looks great on the board, it is not very useful. 

It’s supposed to hold special events cards and workers for the next season, but you can easily manage without it. Although the Ever Tree is easy to assemble, it’s also easy to damage the cardboard in the process. Nevertheless, it’s pretty and well worth mentioning. It is the protector of the Everdell after all. 

Even without the tree, the game looks amazing. The board evokes the landscape of Everdell, and the meeples and resource tokens are adorable. The colorful cards with great artwork definitely give something extra to the game experience. 

How to Play Everdell  

Everdell is a worker placement and tableau-building game that comes with a large board, and a great number of components. It can look intimidating when you first open the box, especially for newcomers to the board gaming hobby, but don’t be discouraged.

Even though it may seem confusing, the rules are not too difficult to learn. With this Everdell board game review and a well-written rulebook, you will be more than prepared for your own Everdell adventure. 

You can play the game solo or with two, three, and four players. During four rounds, representing different seasons of the year, you need to gather resources, play cards, build your city, and earn the most victory points.

The game starts in winter when you get two workers and a certain number of cards, depending on which player you are in order. During the game, you will have a chance to draw and discard cards, but you can’t have more than eight cards in your hand. Furthermore, you will be able to hire more workers at the beginning of the next season. 

everdell meeples
Everdell has wonderful worker meeples.

In your turn you can choose one of three actions: 

  • place a worker
  • play a card
  • prepare for the next season.

Placing a Worker

Good workers are essential for finishing your city before next winter. During each round, you will need to decide what job they’ll do. There are several board locations you can place them on so they can be of use. Once the workers have been placed, you can’t move them until you start preparing for the next season.

By placing workers on basic action spaces or forest locations, you can gain resources, points tokens, or new cards. While the basic locations are always the same, the forest location will change every time you play the game.

everdell berries

If your workers are too tired to be sent to the field, you can always find other jobs for them. For example, they can help organize events. If you assign them to basic or special event locations, they can earn valuable victory points for you. Of course, you need to fulfill the required conditions before you give them such an important role. 

Your workers can also be placed on destination cards to gain some interesting actions. Destination cards are located in new cities, and some of them can be visited even if they are located in the city built by your opponent. In that case, your opponent will be awarded one point token. 

One more opportunity arises in the final season. During the fall when most of your construction work is finished, you can send some of your workers on a journey. Since they have done such a good job they deserve a little rest. However, this trip isn’t free.

everdell player board near end game

You must pay for it with cards you want to discard so that your workers can have a well-earned vacation. Depending on the journey location you chose, you will need to discard a specified number of cards. As a reward for that act of kindness, you will earn one victory point for every card you discarded.

To build the best city, you need to do a lot of planning. However, sometimes those plans fall apart, and your cards may not match your expectations. In that case, there’s a way to get rid of them and gather more resources at the same time. By placing your worker in a haven location, you can discard any number of cards from your hand, and for every two, you will gain one of any resource. There is no need to hurry as this location can be shared between any number of meeples.

Playing a Card 

Now that you know what your workers can do, it is time to spend some Everdell resources and build your city. To construct buildings and to move in new residents, you need to play cards. You can only play one card per turn and you have the option to choose whether to play it from your hand or the Meadow (an area of the board where 8 cards are displayed face up).

everdell cards 1
everdell cards 2

There are two categories of cards: buildings and critters. Every card you play has its price, and you need to pay the required resources to place it in your city. It’s not always easy to decide which one you’re going to play. Choose carefully, because the maximum number of cards in the city is 15, with some exceptions.

Although you must pay resources to play a card, if you’ve built a dwelling for a specific critter, they can move in for free.

Preparing for the Next Season

It’s the end of the season, and all your workers are busy. If you don’t have the resources to build new houses, or you choose not to, now is the right time to prepare for the next round.

Every player chooses for themselves when they’ll move to the next round. As a result, sometimes players will be in different seasons. For those who are paying attention to the theme, it can be a little confusing, but it certainly won’t affect the game. 

Since winter is getting closer, you will need all the help you can get to finish your city on time. Luckily, you can bring back your workers from their previous locations and get some new ones at the beginning of the next round. Also, bonuses designated for every season will be activated in this phase. 

everdell and a busy player board
There’s plenty of work for your meeples.

End Game

At this stage, all of the players have worked hard throughout the year to build the most beautiful city. Since winter is coming (thankfully without ice zombies!), it’s time to find out who did the best job.  

If you reached the end of the autumn season, and you don’t have any actions left, it is the end of the game for you. Your opponents may have a few more moves to finish their game. When all players are done with their turns, the points are tallied up, and the player with the most points wins. 

Remember that you can earn points from:

  • The cards in your city
  • Events
  • Point tokens
  • Card bonuses
  • Journey points. 

As you can see, there’s much to do in this enchanting board game. 

Everdell Solo Play 

If you are feeling adventurous, or your friends can’t make it to the game night, the solo mode can be an excellent choice.

Three years in a row, the evil rodent Rugwort has been visiting Everdell, and you need to find a way to get rid of him and his pack of rats. To save Everdell, you must play three different missions and defeat Rugwort. But be careful, every mission is more difficult than the previous one. If you succeed, bards will sing of your victory, but it’s no easy feat.

Everdell Collector’s Edition rat meeples
Rugwort Pack

Although the Everdell Collector’s Edition and the Rugwort Pack have special rat meeples and some additional cards for this quest, they aren’t necessary. The solo mode is designed so that it can be played with the base game components only.

Everdell Expansions 

Each time you play Everdell it will be a different experience. There are 128 buildings and critter cards, many special events, and forest locations. Therefore, it feels like the number of options is almost endless. 

If you want to spice things up even more, the people from  Starling Games have you covered. Everdell expansions are numerous and not just beautiful and fun but genuinely engaging. Whichever one you choose, you can’t go wrong. Just be prepared and set aside a lot of table space for the game. 

Check out a few of my favorites.

Everdell: Pearlbrook (2019)

Everdell: Pearlbrook

A good opportunity to explore new territories and meet adorable residents of Pesrlbrook river. Your frog ambassadors will gather pearls on their diplomatic missions to help you build beautiful wonders and adornments.

Everdell: Bellfaire (2019)

Everdell: Bellfaire

It has been 100 years since Everdell was founded, and now it’s time for a celebration. With new components and special abilities for every critter, the party will last until dawn. The best part is you can invite more of your friends to this event because with this expansion Everdell can be played by up to six players.

Everdell: Spirecrest (2020)

Everdell: Spirecrest

Gather your brave friends and pack some food – it’s time to conquer the mountains of Spirecrest! On this exciting journey, you’ll explore new lands, meet giant critters, and discover ancient ruins. Far from peaceful Everdell, and facing challenging weather conditions, you’ll have the adventure of your life.

Everdell: Newleaf (2022)

Everdell: Newleaf

With the opening of its first train station, Newleaf has become the most popular destination in Everdell. Many new Everdell critters are now coming into the city to explore new opportunities. Don’t miss the chance and buy a ticket for this exciting ride.

Everdell: Mistwood (2022)

Everdell: Mistwood

The evil spider Nightweave is threatening to take over Everdell. The kingdom needs a hero in these dangerous times. Do you have the courage to step into the Mistwood and save Everdell?

Final Thoughts

If you haven’t already realized from my Everdell game review, the reason I love this board game is the perfect combination it strikes between cute forest animals and deep, challenging gameplay.

Perfectly balanced mechanics make playing the game a very enjoyable experience, and a variety of options will provide hours of fun. The game is replayable and unpredictable due to the numerous cards and combinations. Also, the amazing artwork and design, along with the beautiful background stories and legends, will easily draw you into its magical world.

everdell board game finale
Everdell is a must have for every collection.

FAQ

  1. Is Everdell a good game?

    Definitely! Everdell is one of the best-ranking and most popular board games, and for good reason. Everdell’s gameplay is dynamic and fun, the artwork is just gorgeous, and it’s great as a family board game.

  2. What age is Everdell for?

    Everdell is most suitable for older kids and adults and the recommended age for players is 13+. Don’t be misled by the cute forest animals and the fairytale artwork. With a lot of cards and different strategies, it can be too complicated for kids just starting to play games.

  3. Is Everdell easy to learn?

    Yes and no. It all depends on how experienced you are and whether this is your first game in this genre. If you’re new to the hobby, the first few plays can be challenging, but the game’s well-written rulebook will make things a lot easier if you take the time to study it.

  4. How long does a game of Everdell last?

    It depends on how many players are present and how experienced they are. Usually, a game of Everdell can last anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour and a half.

  5. What is Everdell similar to?

    If you are looking for a board game like Everdell, Lords of the Waterdeep is a great choice. Both are worker placement games that involve resource gathering and engine building in a unique game world.

  6. Can Everdell be played with 5 players?

    Yes, but not if you only have the base game, as that can only be played by one to four players. You’ll need the Bellfaire expansion to add the fifth (and sixth) player.