12th November 2021
It's a Friday night and we're round Simon's for some impromptu evening gaming.
“I beg your pardon,” said the Mole, pulling himself together with an effort. “You must think me very rude; but all this is so new to me."
Well, Everdell is new to me, mixing various game mechanics and lush anthropomorphic artwork.
What's in a game?
Everdell is a game that has a big footprint and a lot components.
The components are well made and the attention to detail for the most part is excellent. In particular, the resources look great as do the individualised meeples. We didn't use the tree but it's a nice touch
Even if the anthropomorphised artwork is not to your taste, it's hard to fault the quality of the artwork and rich, warm colour palettes used throughout on the board and all the cards.
Iconography is where the game could be improved though. Sometimes, the text used on the critter and construction cards is perhaps a little too small as are the symbols and sometimes, to maintain the game's aesthetic, you'll encounter a small around of tiny writing surrounded by a lot of unused space. Having said that, it's a quibble, not a gamebreaker and doesn't really detract from the game's quality
How's it play?
On to play
The objective in Everdell is to construct the best city, that is the city that scores the most victory points. Players achieve this by playing critters and constructions into their tableau.
When somebody becomes the active player, they can perform 1 action from a choice of 3 and then player progresses to the player to the left. Players continue performing actions until they have to or choose to stop; in which case the season has ended for them. Everdell is played over 4 seasons.
When the 4th season is completed, then the game is over.
Victory points can be scored from a variety or sources, including cards, tokens and events.
Points are tallied, highest score wins.
It's obvious that a lot of thought and care has gone into the game's presentation and charm. It's one of the best looking games I've seen in a while and I always appreciate the extra effort committed to a game.
Hmmm, what else to say about Everdell; for the most part, it's initially a pretty solid, straightforward game, although it feels a like a bit of a slow burner.
While the game's cards provide players with a variety of approaches choices and plays to make. Having said that, the game's action-economy is actually quite tight, almost too harsh. E.g, in the 1st season, players will only have 2 workers to gain resources in order to play cards, it means players will have to pay close attention to optimising their plays and actions. card synergy can make a big difference.
It gave me the feeling that players will need to know what they're doing from their first action in order to play Everdell competitively.
Additionally, in comparison to other tableau building games, it feels like the tableau in Everdell provides much more limited benefits that lacks the satisfaction putting together a good tableau.
At best, production cards are reactivated once every other season - or round - but because players have multiple actions in a single season, it means a lengthy gap before those reactivations. This is something players will need to consider when playing cards.
All of this makes the choices in Everdell important - which is the sign of a good game.
Ultimately though, I just found it a little unexciting and unengaging and while it wouldn't be my first choice, I'd have no qualms about playing Everdell again.
I play, I paint.