Review – Everdell: Farshore

Cute critters abound on this bay!

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Designer James A. Wilson, Clarissa A. Wilson

Artist Jacqui Davis

Publisher Starling Games

Category Worker-Placement, Tableau-Building

Length 45-90min

Release Date 2023

Player Count 1-4

The third stand-alone follow-up to Everdell is the first one not aimed at children and families and seeks to rectify some of the issues found in the original Everdell. So, is the far shore worth the trip, or would it be best to remain in the woodland? 

If you’d like to know the basic gameplay of Everdell, go check our original review

Review

Farshore plays quite similar to Everdell, with a few changes that I personally really liked. However, not everyone fond of the original Everdell enjoyed the changes as much as I did. 

So what’s new? Everyone has a boat that they’ll use to sail around the map, which leads to victory points and treasure chests (which can either be used as a wild resource or as 2 victory points at game end). In order to sail your boat, you’ll need to build cards that match the tide tokens. There are 2 stacks of tide tokens, and the top one of each stack will have a type of card on it. When you play that type of card, you’ll move your boat. If you play a card that matches both tide tokens, you can move your boat twice. For example, if the tide tokens are bear paw and a critter, if you play a bearpaw critter you can move your boat twice. The ensuing race is a lot of fun, and you can also speed your boat up through certain cards which allow you to move it extra spaces. 

Special events and standard events are replaced by map tokens. Map tokens are claimed in a similar manner to standard events, but there’s a full stack of each type of map token. The value of each map token decreases as players take them, so you’ll want to be the first one to claim them. The scoring is also revamped here, so the more map tokens you have, the more points you’ll get for them. This works so much better than the original from Everdell because now players have access to multiple standard events, if they so choose, and players aren’t relying on coming across 2 specific types of cards in order to claim a special event. 

The Bay, which replaces the Meadow, now dictates that you stack cards if they’re the same. Another gameplay advancement as this prevents there from being multiple copies of the same card out there taking up space while also mitigating deckbloat. It is trickier to get resources because there aren’t as many spaces to place your workers, but it didn’t ever feel too hard, just slightly noticeable. About halfway through the game, 2 of the extra, randomly selected worker spots will get discarded, and at that point it can be a fight to claim resources, but usually players are vying for map tiles or discarding cards to get the resources they want. 

So all of the above were agreed-upon, “these changes make Farshore better than Everdell.” Now let’s talk about the anchors. Each player receives 3 anchors, and these take the place of the linking from Everdell, where certain constructions let you play certain critters for free. The anchors allow you to link any critter to any construction of the same type (bear claw, knapsack, leaf, etc.) and play that critter for free. In my mind, this was a great change because it once again mitigates the luck of drawing specific critters and gives players more control over what construction links to what critter. However, some other players lamented the loss of the free critter placement and how this anchor business doesn’t feel as exciting. This complaint makes sense, but in a game like this, I prefer control over excitement. 

The components in Farshore are an upgrade from Everdell, which is remarkable because Everdell’s components were outstanding. The lighthouse isn’t as impressive as the tree, but just about everything else is better. The card art is still cute but somehow more vibrant, there are metal anchors, plastic seashells replace the cardboard point tokens, the boats your workers race on are exceptional, the workers are cute (as always), and the resources are tactile. Oh, and the card layout is cleaned up, with pearls that tell how many copies of each card are in the deck. 

However, some of the card art is incredibly misleading, as some constructions feature critters prominently in the art, leading players to believe it’s a critter card at first glance. This is nitpicky, but the plastic shell tokens are not the same cream color as the shells on the cards. Finally, please, Starling Games, include some score sheets. There are so many games that include scoresheets as a non-necessity, but scoresheets in Farshore would be super helpful. As it is, you’ll have to settle for looking at a paragraph in the back of the rulebook and writing scores down on sticky notes. 

There’s also a solo mode where someone can square off against the crab pirate Bonny Redclaw. It’s more robust than the one seen in Everdell, and the designers tried to make her mimic a human player as best they could. If you’re into solo gaming, it does the trick, but it doesn’t seem to be anything revolutionary. 

Farshore is a higher-scoring game than Everdell, and I’m giving it a higher score here as well. Despite the occasionally misleading art and perplexing lack of scoresheets, Farshore is superior to Everdell in just about every way: it mitigates luck factors, gives players more control over what’s happening, and introduces a fun new boat-racing mechanic. 

Starling Games (Asmodee North America) kindly provided a review copy. 

The Bottom Line

Everdell: Farshore is better than Everdell, which means it's fully recommended for veterans and newcomers alike.

 

9.5

spencer
Author: Spencer Patterson

I'm a teacher, writer, and board game reviewer. I especially love board games that pull me in like a good book. My wife is my favorite gaming partner.