Everdell game description
Everdell is a board game where you are the leader of a band of forest critters tasked with building a city in the valley of Everdell beneath the ancient Ever Tree. On your turn, you will either be placing a worker, playing a new construction or critter card, or progressing to the next season. The game begins in winter and takes place over four seasons, which kind of act as rounds (more on that later).
Each player begins with two workers (represented by adorable wooden anthropomorphic meeples) and adds more workers to their team each time they progress into a new season. These workers are used in a variety of ways but are primarily placed onto spots on the game board to gain resources such as twigs, resin, stones, and berries. Resources are used to pay for new constructions and critters for your city.
Playing construction and critter cards
Constructions and critters are represented by cards in Everdell, which are placed into a player’s city that is represented by a 3 x 5 grid of cards. These cards come from a player’s hand or a shared meadow area that all players can use. Adding constructions and critters to your city is the primary way of scoring points in the game. One of the neat features of Everdell is that construction cards let you get a particular critter for free on a future turn (as long as you have that critter in your hand or it is available in the meadow).
Progressing to the next season
Once you have played all of your workers and cards, you will progress to the next season. When this happens, you retrieve all of your workers and take any season bonuses, such as new workers. As soon as all players have reached the end of autumn, the game ends and you tally up points.
Player count: 1 to 4 players
Playing time: 40 to 80 minutes
Why Everdell is a peaceful game:
One of my favorite things about the theme in Everdell is that all of these different species of animals are coming together to create a harmonious city. There are mice, toads, bats, birds, and numerous other animal species all working alongside one another. This feels symbolic of the relationship animals have in the real world where all animals have an important role to play for their environment to thrive.
The artwork in Everdell is some of the most beautiful, charming, and welcoming I have seen in a board game. The anthropomorphic critters appear natural and appropriate for their environment. They remind me of the Redwall book series, except in a much more peaceful setting. All of the constructions are also integrated well. For example, many of the structures are built into trees or constructed simply, just like you might expect from woodland creatures. All of this provides for a congruent visual aesthetic that transports you into this easy-going world of forest critters.
My experiences with the gameplay of Everdell have been relaxed but engaging. There is competition for worker spaces, but if you miss out on the space you need, there are often alternatives. Also, when a player moves to the next season, that frees up worker spaces since workers are always retrieved at the beginning of a new season.
In addition, there are just so many combos from playing construction and critter cards! You have the joy of squeaking out just one more turn before the next season by playing different combinations of cards.
I have seen non-gamers walk by a session of Everdell and stop with amazement because of the table presence this game has. The large, cardboard Ever Tree adds so much beauty and immersion to the table. Everdell does not have many rivals when it comes to its sensory experience. All of the resources have unique shapes, textures, and sounds. The resin is shiny, the pebbles are smooth, and the berries are squishy. It exemplifies how tabletop games can transport you to the present moment through their sense experience.
Not so peaceful qualities:
There are a few aspects of Everdell that I didn’t find peaceful. There is a “Fool” critter card you can play in another person’s city to add negative points and take up a space in their city. This is a purely “take that” card with the intention of messing another player up. It’s possible this card could be removed from the game without affecting its balance.
In addition, there are “Dungeon” and “Graveyard” cards that are a little creepy. Overall, though, I found the rest of my experience with Everdell to be so overwhelmingly welcoming and friendly that these aspects did not have a significant impact on my enjoyment of the game.
Goodness of fit:
Everdell is a slightly more complex game that might be challenging to new gamers. However, it is also very intuitive because of the city-building theme of the game. I found that it makes sense to most people that you are sending workers out to get resources and then using those resources to construct buildings and feed critters. The theme, artwork, and table presence also make Everdell a very approachable game for a wide variety of people.
If you’ve played Everdell, what’s your favorite piece of artwork from the game? Let me know in the comments below!
One of my favorite pieces of artwork from the game is the King. I like how it’s a wise old mouse dressed up in royal robes sitting on a throne.
This post is part of my peaceful game series where I discuss tabletop games that I believe have a noteworthy amount of peaceful qualities. Click here to read my previous entry in this series: Cat Lady.