Review – Everdell

Everdell. 2018. Starling Games. Designed by James A. Wilson. Art by Andrew Bosley et al.

I know we’re a little late to the game here, but Em and I recently picked up Starling GamesEverdell, based on the recommendations of friends, YouTube reviews, FLGS employees, random people on the street…basically everybody. We’ve played it a few times, and after some thought about the game, our opinions of it have grown, just like the Evertree, bearing the fruit of…our…words? I thought I was going somewhere with that metaphor. Anyway…EVERDELL!


What’s going on?

In Everdell, you’re building a village that is bigger, better, and more efficient than your opponents’. You do this by using workers to gain resources, using resources to build buildings and attract critters, and using those buildings and critters to gain more resources, buildings, and critters. It’s an engine-building game, but unlike games like Race for the Galaxy or Gizmos where you build chain reaction after chain reaction, many of your engine’s parts will only be activated a few times a game.

Most of the buildings and critters score you points at the end of the game, and certain combinations of critters and buildings allow you to complete events to score even more points. The game is played over four seasons, and with each season, you gain more workers to get more resources and claim more events.

What’s so good about it?

The first thing anyone will notice about Everdell is the board. It’s a sort of roundish, lily-pad-shaped board, upon which sits the Evertree. The Evertree is a three-dimensional structure that holds the special event cards and the workers that get unlocked each season. The board and Evertree really give this game a unique table-presence.

Behold! The EVERTREE!

The second thing everyone notices about the game is the artwork on the cards. I mean, just look at them:


They’re gorgeous! Andrew Bosely has managed to create anthropomorphic animals that are just the right combination of cute and realistic, and the personality of each one shines through. The building cards evoke a magical world that I would love to visit–someone make an Everdell RPG, please!

Another great thing about this game is that it never overstays its welcome. At 40-80 minutes (and closer to 40 with two players), even when you’re buring your brain to maximize the last turn or two, it’s never an exhausting game. Em and I have played it three times this weekend, I’m I’m ready to play it again!

I also love the pacing of this game. During my first turn, I always think, “I have no resources and only two workers…how am I aver going to get anything built?” but by the end of the first season, I usually have three or four buildings and/or critters in my village, and the game builds momentum from there.

What’s not so good?

Very little, to be honest. My biggest complaint is that after 3 games, I can already imagine most of the combinations in this game. Even though the actions you can perform and the events you can earn vary from play-to-play, I can see us feeling like we need an expansion sooner rather than later. While that can be a sign of a great game (I want MORE!), it can also be a sign that the game isn’t complete as-is. And the fact that the expansions interlock like puzzle pieces around the main board lead me to think that the extra gameplay these expansions offer was always intended to be a part of the experience.

The view from above.

So, what do I think?

Overall, I love Everdell. It’s a solid game that will probably need to be expanded after several plays to stay fresh, but even as I develop go-to strategies in the base game, I can see myself playing it over and over.

It gets 8/10 Victory Points!

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