'Everdell': A charming board game experience

Oh, to be a small woodland creature whose biggest worry is if I have enough mushrooms for the soup I’m making for dinner. Instead, I’m plagued by nonstop meetings and deadlines. But “Everdell,” one of my favorite board games, is a chance to enter the forest and manage your very own town of woodland creatures.

The base game of “Everdell” can be played with one to four players, though I have yet to try the single-player version. With the “Bellefaire” expansion, you can play with up to six. The premise is simple: by placing workers around the board, players collect resources, which are then used to play buildings and critters to town. The game starts out slow, with each player only having two workers, but as the players proceed through the “seasons,” they gain more workers and can do more.

This is the ideal game style for me: new players start out wondering how they’re going to fill their 15 town spaces, only to be struggling to find space for another card at the end of the game. Players can also choose to keep to themselves, indirectly help other players, or hurt them. “Everdell” has the capability to suit all play styles, and I think that’s why I haven’t met a single person that dislikes playing it.

“Everdell” is also a great introduction to board games, or for people who don’t especially like playing them. With only three possible options per turn — deploy worker, play a card, or prepare for season — it’s fairly approachable. I find that first-time players are almost always quick to pick up the rules and give veteran players a run for their money. “Everdell” relies much more on strategy and patience than luck, which I find refreshing compared to other similar tableau building games.

Additionally, there’s so much variety that it’s essentially impossible to play the same game twice. The game offers lots of customization — each game features different special events that require different cards played to your town to claim. There’s also a series of expansions that add new elements to the game. While the game recommends only playing with one expansion at a time, playing with all of them together makes for a long, entertaining, strategic game.

This isn’t even to mention how beautiful “Everdell” is. The art style is incredibly charming, and the base game features a giant three-dimensional tree that the cards sit under. All of the expansions play very well with each other, and the cards are fairly well-balanced. The game creators really knew what they were doing, and it culminates into a great player experience.

So please, give “Everdell” a try. While not everyone is going to get the base game and all its expansions, it’s a great game for both family and friends. Next time you find yourself at the board game store, consider “Everdell.”