Why you shouldn’t go all in on Everdell?

Am I a pregnant? Because I am LATE!

At the time of writing, the Kickstarter for Everdell has 56 hours left on it. If you’re on the fence, this is the review to read! The all In pledge of 200 USD includes the base game, and 5 expansions it seems like a great deal. Doesn’t it?

…Doesn’t it?

It’s a massive board! Small tables beware.

Everdell is a tableau building worker placement board game, with a theme straight out of Wind in the Willows or Redwall. In it, you prepare for the upcoming winter by building the best city you can over four rounds.

To build this city you’ll be gathering resources by sending workers into the forest to gather resources, and then using those resources to play cards from your hand (or from the collective market place) into your city. Each card will either be a building, or a creature, but will always give you some benefit.

Is there a difference between card types?

Yes! if you construct a building first, a creature will be able to occupy it for free! Allowing you to combo multiple cards together, and make you feel good about yourself. The other way doesn’t apply. You need to weigh up whether the benefit a creature gives you now outweighs the cost of constructing a building later.

After you’ve sent out all your workers and can’t afford any more cards, you move onto the next season. Bringing all of your workers home, giving you an extra worker, and sometimes more.

It takes a few games to get a grasp of how Everdell’s cards interact with one another, and how points are accumulated. In games of similar ilk there will be three or four common strategies that always follow a similar path, and always have cards that build onto each other – like a military path, or high economy path. Everdell doesn’t work like that. Instead it’s like a 3 year-old’s puzzle, some pieces are bent out of shape, some are missing, so even though you know what it should look like, you really have to work to make a picture.

To me, this is what keeps me coming back to the game. I start the game with no clue my city will look like, and by the end, not only do I have a thriving community, I’ve also learnt of a new combination to add to my arsenal.

Here is my city – Daveville. Population: 3

Each game has up to four random locations, and four bonus objectives on top of those already found on the board. This gives Everdell a wealth of interesting replayability, and gives each game a unique direction.

It’s not all sunshine though, as there are some real clunky rules. There’s two in the hard hand limit of 8 cards, and the hard limit of 15 cards in your city. Both of these have been handled better in other games, think Race for the Galaxy, and therefore Everdell feels like a step backwards in terms of modern design.

However, the worst offense of Everdell is it’s costly production. Having bought it, and opened the box my immediate thought was – is that it? It has the worse price to pieces ratio that I’ve seen.

GameCostComponent List
Everdell951 Game Board
4 Tile Events
30 Point Tokens
20 Occupied Tokens
1 Die
129 Normal Sized Cards
27 Small Cards
30 Berries
30 Twigs
25 Resin
20 Pebbles
24 Animeeples
1 Ever Tree

Total: 342 Components
Spirit Island961 Invader Board
4 Modular Island Boards
8 Spirit Panels
36 Wooden Dahan
20 Cities
32 Towns
40 Explorers
38 Blight Plastic Tokens
52 Spirit Presence
32 Energy Markers
20 Fear Markers
119 Standard Cards
15 Small cards
7 Large cards
3 Terror Levels

Total: 424 Components
Underwater Cities951 Board
221 Standard Cards
16 Tiles
4 Player boards
118 Tokens
148 Plastic Tokens
47 Cardboard Tunnel Tiles
30 Plastic Domes
12 Player Markers
12 Action Tiles
1 Action cloning tile
4 Multiplier Tiles
1 Era Marker

Total: 615 Components

Not only does Spirit Island, and Underwater have 23% and 79% more components in their games. You’ll also notice that these games are heavier. It’s reasonable to believe that more time and effort was involved in developing these games over something like Everdell.

Where the hell is my money going?

It gets worse.

The Hail Mary space.

From the base game, the Ever Tree – the cardboard tree that lifts the game from the table – is functionally useless. Likewise, from the Bellfaire expansion, they’ve included cardboard holding areas for each player. Again, useless. Then there’s a continuing trend of adding more and more animeeples – even though you’ll only play with 6 max. This is all adding cost to the end product.

At what point do you think that they’re no longer adding cool things because they believe it’s best for the players, and instead trying to take as much advantage of us as possible?

I believe they’ve crossed that point long ago, which is why I can’t convince myself to back any more Everdell, and why I’m trying to convince you not to either.

Even still, I do have a copy of both base Everdell, and the Bellfaire expansion. I’m happy with what I have, only because I forgot how much I paid for them. The game is one of the better ones in recent years, but because it doesn’t do anything novel, I fear it will become forgotten sooner rather than later.

Thanks for reading my review, I’m currently ranking all my board games in furry list. You can see Everdell’s initial ranking below.

Initial Rank: 6

David Norris

Lover of dogs, books, comics, movies, anime, television, video games and most importantly board games. My site is all about the latter, and my journey through the glorious hobby.

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