Available On: PC, mobile (iOS, Android)
Played On: iOS

Worker placement is one of my favorite board game styles, blending player interactivity with building your own tableau. In Everdell, players place cute little animal workers to play cards and build their perfect town — or at least one that scores more points than everyone else’s. The new digital version by Dire Wolf is a near-perfect adaptation of one of my favorite board games.

Happy Little Working Song

In Everdell players take turns placing workers and playing cards to develop their burgeoning town. When a player runs out of workers (and playable cards), they can advance to the next season, gaining new workers and activating other bonuses. Since playing a card usually doesn’t require placing a worker, players can operate in different seasons, and even end the game at different times. The great equalizer is the 15-card limit for each town., and how players maximize their point combos.

Worker spaces generate resources, draw more cards, and earn victory points for accomplishing certain tasks. Resources are used to play cards from a player’s hand, or from the Meadow, a community of shared cards on the board.

Cards are either constructions or critters, and each has a special ability once they’re played. Farms generate berries from each Production cycle. The Postal Pigeon can deliver a free card to your town. Bards can turn extra cards into victory points. The Inn and Crane can construct future cards at significant discount. Furthermore, each construction can hold a specific critter for free, such as the Post Office and Postal Pigeon, leading to satisfying synergies and combos as your town grows.

The gameplay is easy to teach, and features the perfect complexity ramp, as more workers and synergies lead to more interesting choices and card combos. The art is also gorgeous, as if each card were taken from a classic full-page illustrated children’s book of friendly anthropomorphic creatures.

Squirrel Power

The physical board features a gigantic 3D tree, but the digital version can transform the entire board into three-dimensions, including the animated worker figures. Dragging the large squirrels and turtles onto spaces is fun, though it’s easy to accidentally click on them while scrolling on the right side. Everdell’s board is impossible to fit on a single screen, and Dire Wolf includes buttons to quickly jump to the top and bottom halves, as well as zoom options.

The digital version shines when it comes to single-player options. In addition to the game’s built-in solo mode and playing vs local AI bots, Dire World introduces a series of Challenge levels. These levels feature unique parameters that alter the rules, such as starting at a later season, or randomizing which critters can occupy which buildings. Over a dozen challenges are available, and each challenge features an unlockable hard version that handicaps the players versus the AI bots. Not every challenge is super interesting, but they’re a lovely addition on top of the regular modes.

Everdell features local pass and play as well as online multiplayer. Asynchronous online is the main way I play digital board games, and is thankfully included here. After adding friend codes and requests, I can easily start private games with friends. A log keeps track of past moves, and chat is available.

There are some weird quirks, like not being able to choose your faction (they’re all the same, but still, I like my turtles!) and not having any set time limit for multiplayer matches. We also ran into at least one bug, when the worker disappears after canceling a move, but it oddly didn’t affect gameplay that turn.

The Rating

Everdell is rated E for Everyone. The physical game has a recommended age of 13+, though my 10-year old can play perfectly well as she begins to grasp some of the more advanced strategies. It may be too much for a child’s first worker placement game, but it’s a great game to transition into when they’re ready for something heavier.

The Takeaway

Everdell is one of the best board games of the last several years, and the digital version lives up to its stellar reputation. Asynchronous multiplayer with friends list and robust single-player options is more than satisfying for any fan. Hopefully Dire World can add the many stellar expansions that have been released over the years.

This article was written by

Eric has been writing for over nine years with bylines at Dicebreaker, Pixelkin, Polygon, PC Gamer, Tabletop Gaming magazine, and more covering movies, TV shows, video games, tabletop games, and tech. He reviews and live streams D&D adventures every week on his YouTube channel. He also makes a mean tuna quesadilla.