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First Look: Everdell, a Board Game with Little Critters

A game board with a tree built in really does inject a boost of interest to the table.

Everdell is the brand new tableau building and worker placement board game from Starling Games. It is set within the charming valley of Everdell, beneath the branches of a towering tree, where little forest critters are thriving. 1-4 players will lead a group of critters tasked with expanding into new territories. There are buildings to construct, characters to meet, and events to host.

On their turn a player can take one of three actions:

  • Place a worker: Workers perform various actions to develop a player’s tableau, like gathering resources, drawing cards, and taking other special actions.
  • Play a card: Cards generate resources (twigs, resin, pebbles, and berries), grant abilities, and score points. 
  • Prepare for the next season: Workers are returned to the players supply and new workers are added. 

It is a stunningly beautiful game, with exceptional component quality. I have a 7- and a 9-year-old daughter in my house, who are going absolutely ga-ga over the game, and I admit that I am quite smitten myself. So I talked with Brenna Noonan, the Brand Manager for Starling Games, and asked her how they were able to strike such a broad appeal with the game.

Brenna said it was a process that started with a generic fantasy theme, but they “worked on re-theming it and really marrying that theme into the mechanics. From that we were able to make it something that could appeal to everybody, whether they’re 10 years old or 50 or 70. And I think we’ve kind of done that with the theme. It’s very sweet and charming, but it’s not cartoony. A lot of people said it reminds them of Redwall or Beatrix Potter, and those are definitely things that we were inspired by as we were working on it.”

It’s a simple game, with an amount of depth far beyond what a little critter would suggest. But I also asked her what emotion Starling Games hoped people would have when they played Everdell. Brenna said “excitement.”

I’d agree that it is an exciting game, but I’d also tack on words like whimsy, mirth, and charm. Take a quick look at it below. Everdell is available for pre-order, but they already have an expansion set for September that they hope to crowdfund via Kickstarter.

They already built a tree. I can’t wait to see what the expansion will bring.

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Here is the official website. You can pre-order it there, through Amazon, or better yet, ask your FLGS about it.