Review – My Lil’ Everdell
Everdell for kids!
|Designer||James A. Wilson, Clarissa A. Wilson|
|Artist||Andrew Bosley, Jacqui Davis|
My Lil’ Everdell was inevitable. With the rise of kids’ versions of more adult tabletop games like My Little Scythe, it was only a matter of time before James A. Wilson’s award-winning Everdell received a kids’ version. However, taking a well-loved game and making it 6+ friendly is no easy task. So how did James and Clarissa Wilson do?
My Lil’ Everdell is built on the basic concepts of Everdell. Each turn, players will place a friend (worker) on 1 of the 5-7 available spaces (available spaces depend on the number of players) to collect resources, play a creature or building from the 8-card Meadow, and collect a parade (if able). The players will play through 4 seasons, and the winner is the player with the most points.
There are 3 spaces that anyone can place a friend, which will always grant you a resource (wood, berry, or resin). The other spaces are determined by dice rolls. The starting player of each round will roll x (x = number of players) dice and place them in their spots. This is a great way to vary what resources are available to grab each round while retaining the simplicity for the kids’ sake. There are no complex action spots, no super-specific events, no jostling for seasons, and no crazy card abilities. In fact, the cards are well-marked, and many of them share the same abilities, which makes it easy for players to understand which cards do what.
As with Everdell, players will try to build cities with creatures and buildings that give them bonuses. Bonuses could look like extra points each time you play a certain card or for every type of a certain card, or bonuses could be gaining resources after you do a specific action. The goal is to build an engine that lets you maximize each turn so you can score more points than the other players. There’s also a bit of a racing aspect to claim the first parade because each parade is worth 1 less point than the parade previous to it (so the first parade is worth 6 points, the second is worth 5, etc.). The strategy is pretty simple, but even amidst the simplicity there are still some interesting choices to make.
The components, as with the original Everdell, are excellent. The cardboard boxes for the resources are unnecessary but cute, even if it’s occasionally difficult to retrieve the resources from them. The art is adorable. If you thought Everdell’s art was cute, My Lil’ Everdell’s art is even cuter because all the creatures are kids and the buildings feature kids playing like they have a bank, dance party, pirate ship, etc.
I could see 6-year-olds playing this and enjoying it, but I’m not confident enough to say that 6+ is an accurate age rating. If you have a 6-year-old who has been playing games for a year or 2, My Lil’ Everdell could be good, but if your 6-year-old is just getting into board games, I’m not sure I can universally recommend My Lil’ Everdell. Something else to consider is the lack of strategic depth when compared to Everdell. Having only 8 cards in the Meadow to choose from helps combat analysis paralysis, which is good, but it still only leaves players with 8 cards to choose from instead of 8 + whatever is in their hand. This design decision makes sense given the target audience, but it’s something to be aware of.
My Lil’ Everdell is an excellent introduction to the world of Everdell. For adults who have played Everdell, it provides a faster, easier play experience, even if the strategic depth is lacking. However, if your kid has wanted to play Everdell for a while, this could be an excellent stepping-stone in the world of tabletop gaming.
Starling Games kindly provided a review copy.
The Bottom Line
An enjoyable Everdell experience for newcomers and families alike.