I’ll be the first to admit that I am, and probably always will be, a sucker for good art and visuals. In the tech world, it’s what keeps me constantly upgrading my graphics card or eyeballing the newest TVs. In the gaming world, nine times out of ten, it’s what grabs my interest and makes me want to play a particular game. This is nothing novel, especially to game developers and marketers. Still, it’s worth noting that Everdell and its beautiful art had me in the palm of its hand before I even started playing.
Mechanically, Everdell is a worker placement game, with a focus on set building and hand management. Placing workers earns resources which can be used to play cards either from your hand or from a common pool in the center of the table, the meadow. These cards grant different abilities when played in your play area, but also count towards your 15 card limit, so you have to consider your strategy carefully. Many of the “structure cards” have the ability to play a certain “critter” card for free; this is just one of the synergies to be on the lookout for when building your city/engine. The game is made more interesting with the progression of seasons which grant additional effects, unlock more workers, and open extra spaces to place them.
Ok, now that all of the boring stuff is out of the way, I can go back to swooning over the aesthetics. Once the board is set up, the first thing that you’ll notice is the giant tree. It’s basically a glorified meeple holder, but I love it. It gives the board a verticality that is not often associated with tabletop games. The next thing you’ll likely notice are the cards. The art is fantastic, with every card containing interesting locations and critters, capturing the feeling of a woodland fantasy to a T. Finally, the components themselves are fitting of the theme and feel substantial. It should be noted here that I was playing with collector’s edition components. I always appreciate nice components that aren’t just punch-out chits, and Everdell delivers on this. The resources were all different and representative of their type, be they logs, berries, stones, or resin. This also is where one of my only gripes comes in: please stop making round components! My “get ALL the berries” strategy seemed perfect until an errant sweep of my hand sent my great bounty bouncing across my dining room floor. Anyway, back to the other components. The victory point tokens are metal and have a good weight to them. The meeples are also shaped to represent different animals as well as different colors, which is a nice touch.
Ultimately, Everdell is a solid worker placement game with some nice mechanics, but where it really shines is in its aesthetics.
You might like Everdell if you:
- Like worker placement games
- Enjoy finding synergies and building “engines”
- Love adorable forest creatures
- Have a single ounce of appreciation for real artistry
- Can think ahead and make smart choices
Coffee pairing: A dark roasted Sumatran. Earthy and rich.