Everdell is a worker placement game which was released in 2018 where you construct your village adding buildings and fill it with cute woodland critters, gaining points for card combinations and achieving goals. There are a number of beautiful looking theme games around, but this one arguably beats them all for its cuteness and lovability, and the game board also comes with a three dimensional tree.
Set in a gorgeous valley you will assign your meeple workers, which are crafted as cute creatures, such as hedgehogs or turtles, to gather resources of wood, stones and berries which will enable you to play cards either from your hand or from a meadow, which has 8 cards laid out in front of you. You will build a village of a maximum 15 cards, a combination of constructions and critters that live there, each with unique abilities you may benefit from. In many cases a certain building may enable you to add a critter who lives there for free.
There are three seasons to play through from spring to autumn and the cards you choose to build your city will cleverly interact with others to set up combinations, either to gain more resources or directly score victory points. Each game some of the forest locations and special events that are available will change to keep you on your toes, and you will end up building your city in a different way depending on your card draw. In addition you will be aiming to capture multiple cards of the same type or colour such as the green production or purple prosperity which can then unlock new locations or rewards.
Not only is this game amazing to look at, but it delivers on its simple mechanics to provide a deeper level of strategy than you would initially think, while never being overly complex, and is an extremely fun game. You can also play a solo game against the rugrats and it provides a really nice challenge on a point scoring basis with scales of difficulty. The real fun in the game is building up your own village and combining your cards, and as I really enjoy worker placement games and a good theme, this is one of the best games to bring them all together.
There are a number of expansions you can add to enhance or change the gameplay (my additions highlighted green = own, blue = part owned, red = not purchased) :
If you like the game and want the resources upgrades to look and feel like pebbles and berries then this edition or the upgrade pack known as Glimmergold is what you need. There are small extra card sets also included that came with the collectors edition such as the legendary cards (10 cards) that added extra powers, extra, extra, extra (15 cards) which added in a carnival experience with some push your luck choices, and a rugwort pack (3 cards) with some interference mechanics in competitive play. Whilst these cards are not essential i do quite like the carnival theme set and the choices it bring if you feel lucky.
This expansion introduces a new river side board where you’ll send your frog ambassador to gather a new pearl resources. You will also encounter new aquatic critters and constructions and some extra meeples such as platypus and starlings, with a few extra cards for the event and forest decks. There are also new wonders to collect for end game points. This is a nice addition that adds some new location choices and a little more depth if you have played the core game a lot.
This is a more modular expansion that offers several different items you can decide to switch in and out each game and includes – components and rules for 5-6 players, player powers which change your strategy emphasis depending on your faction, a Bellfaire board to replace the large tree, a new market location and ways to get resources, garland flower festival awards with shared endgame goals and new special event cards. Unless you want to increase the game player count this is less important than the other box expansions but has some easy fun additions.
Go on journeys beyond the valley borders where mysterious adventure await. Spirecrest adds new challenges and mechanics such as weather cards which have effects to overcome, discovery cards that let players encounter new critters and locations on their journey providing unique new abilities, and big critters that are unique workers with interesting abilities who can also serve as trusty mounts. This is the best looking expansion and the most interesting and also adds to the solo experience. It is my most recommended.