When the big forest animals are still sleeping, the youngsters are already up and running. The weather is nice outside, so the children are playing, building forts, gathering their friends and preparing for parades. How far does apple fall from the Everdell Evertree?
My Lil’ Everdell is presented as a child-friendly adaptation of the popular game Everdell. Not yet familiar with My Lil’ Everdell’s big sister? Everdell is a worker placement game set in a beautifully illustrated world. Meanwhile, numerous expansions, deluxe parts and even a collector’s box are available, allowing players, with a full table full of beautiful game materials, to immerse themselves completely in this Toon Tellegen-like forest world. Toon Tellegen is Dutch writer by the way that often wrote about philosophical questions set in a world full of animals with humanlike traits.
Regular Everdell takes place during four seasons. These seasons are sort of asymmetrical rounds that determine how many workers players have and what materials they can potentially collect. In the game, players all take on the role of different animal dynasties represented by beautiful characteristic wooden meeples. Due to the various expansions, there is a colour and animal available for almost every type of player. Each turn, players place their animal workers to take actions, complete missions and/or collect resources or play a card from their hand or one of the face-up cards from the meadow. To play a card, you have to discard the required gathered resources, unless you want to play a specific animal whose home is already in your village. For example, if you have already built the post office, you can play a homing pigeon for free. With these cards, players build up a system of actions to bonuses that will lead their group of animals to victory.
Is My Lil’ Everdell just a simpler version for young players or is there more to it than just that?
Game design and goal
Like Everdell, My Lil’ Everdell is a worker placement with cards that players use to form a tableau of actions and bonuses. With certain sets of cards, players may earn a parade. At the end of the game, players receive points for collected coins, cards and parades. The player with the most points wins.
In the centre of the table, players place the game board. On the game board, they place as many dice as players in the spaces indicated. They place 3 crates of resources: resin, wood and berries. No pebbles or pearls in this edition. Above the board, players place coins in a fourth crate and below the board they place cards for players to buy.
In My Lil’ Everdell, players have no hand cards, but they do get a board and three friends in their chosen colour. I play blue so I am very happy with my butterfly pals. If players want, they can add forts and captain cards to the game. This way, they can make the game a bit faster or easier for the youngest players.
My Lil’ Everdell is played in four rounds, but does not contain the asymmetric element of the different seasons from the regular game. Each round, the dice are rolled, players activate their green cards and associated bonuses, and players take turns to put their friends to work and buy cards.
A turn consists of two possible actions. Placing a friend (a worker) and buying a card. There are several locations on the game board. There are three locations with resources. An infinite number of friends can be placed here. At these locations, you get a single resource of a certain kind. Next to the dice rolled is only room for one friend, as these dice yield a bit more than a single resource and therefore these locations are scarce.
During the game, players can also buy red cards where there is also space for a friend and with which corresponding bonuses can also be earned. These spots are only available to the player who bought this card.
After a player has collected resources by placing boyfriends, that player may buy one of the face-up cards. Cards provide different effects and/or actions. Some bonuses are activated once and some apply continuously. Some cards earn points at the end of the game and some cards provide new spots. By saving cards, players earn parades in addition to points and bonuses.
Everdell is beautiful, but also bulky and therefore perhaps not extremely manageable for the very young, while the theme will undoubtedly appeal to them. Consequently, there will be many board game-loving parents around who would love to play this game with their young offspring. My Lil’ Everdell may provide the answer for this. The game features similar game mechanics, components and the same beautiful world.
Is it inferior to its big sister? Absolutely not. My Lil’ Everdell is not a weak copy of the regular game with a ‘junior’ sticker on it. Similar to, say, My Little Scythe (besides the name), this game also offers its own stand-alone and robust gameplay that prepares young players for the ‘adult’ version. My Lil’ Everdell therefore offers its own enjoyable gaming experience that easily steps out of the shadow of the regular version.
My Lil’ Everdell is a simple game with a clear game flow and therefore manageable for younger players, as well as less experienced players and also players who are simply looking for a simple and quick gaming experience. My Lil’ Everdell has all the charm of the regular game and clearly incorporates the various elements that made Everdell so popular.