05 Feb A Wildly Produced Game with Immeasurable Table Presence: Everdell Review
Ever have a game that just sits on your wish list for months or even years? That game that you want so badly, but it seems to be out of stock everywhere you turn, and the last resort is buying the game on Amazon for some ridiculously high price tag? Everdell has been that game for me, sitting on my list patiently, waiting for another print run to finish. Fortunately for me, a second printing was done right before the holiday season, so I was lucky enough to have a copy waiting for me under the tree this past Christmas. After a year of seeing good reviews, excellent components, and the most outlandish tree standee with no access, I was given the opportunity to not just play the game, but to keep it as my own!
As soon as I removed the wrapping paper, I knew I was going to be in for some excellent gaming experiences. I could just feel it. I proceeded to tear of the shrink wrap and began punching out all of the little bits. Like a kid in a candy shop, I had a big ol’ grin on my face as I squished the little rubber berries and slid the smooth pebbles between my thumb and index finger. I thumbed through all the cards, gazing at what might be the most infectiously adorable woodland critter art ever published. I mean, there is a “Chip Sweep.” A literal chipmunk with a broom. How much better can you get?
I immediately began reading the rules. It was one of those games that you can just tell is going to be a good time without ever playing, simply by reading the rules. Have you ever experienced that? Where it just seems so intuitive and well put together that you know it will be fun? After finishing the read, which was rather short given the complexity of the game, I implored my wife and brother to play with me.
This game has everything from theme to mechanics. It’s a very clean mixture of worker placement and engine building while just oozing with theme. As far as worker placements go, Everdell is tight enough that other players can throw off your plan while placing workers, but there are enough meaningful places to put workers that you will always be able to do something helpful in bringing about the goals you are pursuing. While that balance may seem easy, Everdell excels over many other worker placements I have played in that regard.
Everdell also has tons of cards that are available for purchase in the field (the center of the board). These cards come in two categories, critters and constructions. Purchasing constructions can be particularly helpful in that they can let you play a critter that is linked to the construction for free. This speeds up the process of getting an engine rolling, whether it is cranking out resources or victory points. Additionally, each player has the option to pursue various quests to acquire more victory points. These can be based on the cards one has in play or by being the first to accomplish a particular goal. The quests encourage players to go in a particular direction with their engines, and that is often a needed tool in helping first-time players as it provides a quantifiable goal in a straightforward way.
With all that said, if you haven’t played Everdell yet, you need to find a way to get it to the table. If for no other reason than assembling a 2-foot-tall tree standee as part of the board, you truly need to see this game for yourself. The components are some of the best I have seen at this price point, and the artwork is outstanding! Beyond all of the physically astounding components, the game play is tight and intuitive. I have nothing but high praises for this one. You have to get Everdell before a third printing is needed.