Review – Everdell: Mistwood
That spider looks too cute to fight...
|Rob R. Bell, Chrissy Peske, James A. Wilson
|Andrew Bosley, Natalie Johnson, Dann May, Naomi Robinson
With a game as popular as Everdell, it seemed inevitable that it would receive a co-op version. Everdell: Mistwood allows players to team up with a friend or go it alone against the sinister spider Nightweave. Is this spider worth smacking, or should you leave her to turn Everdell into Weberdell?
In Everdell: Mistwood, you’ll face off against Nightweave, the sneaky spider. Your goal is to score more points than Nightweave scores, and if you’re playing with 2 players, you both need to score more points than Nightweave. Nightweave’s actions are determined by cards from her deck, and the actions she performs are influenced by the season. She’ll also spread her minions around the map and take up valuable action spaces!
Nightweave essentially interacts like another human player, with some special powers. Her large pawn token will take up a space in the meadow, and she has additional spider workers that she’ll use to cover up player actions throughout the game. She’ll build cards and gain points in a way that mimics a real player very well, but she doesn’t react to other player’s decisions. You won’t always know what Nightweave is about to do, so there’s a surprise element, but for me, part of the fun in playing against bots is trying to figure out how I can use their scripts to work against them. There’s not much of that with Nightweave.
Nightweave includes some fun plot and personality cards that can change how she plays the game. Most of these can only be used when playing solo, but they do keep things fresh, even if they add to the fiddliness. Some of the more interesting ones make cards next to the big Nightweave meeple in the meadow cost an additional berry or allow her to take the most valuable card in your city, which forces you to keep your cards relatively even so she doesn’t gain a massive point-swing on you.
Beyond Nightweave, Mistwood also includes additional farm cards that afford players different types of farms that have different green powers. This can be fun, but not all farms are created equal. Legendary cards also enter the mix, which are legends of certain woodland creatures and structures (such as King North’s Treasury that replaces the Clocktower and Jor Goldwing that replaces the Bard). You can build these legends for free if you already have the standard version of their card, which can be exciting, but it feels very luck-based. Corrin Evertail, the founder of Everdell, also appears in Mistwood in some very powerful and advanced cards that cater to more experienced players.
The components, as expected with the Everdell line, are excellent. The artwork is cute (even Nightweave is cute), and the Nightweave meeples are excellent. Mistwood also includes additional player meeples: spiders, stoats, pigs, and butterflies, which are unfortunately reused from My Lil’ Everdell.
I’m confused why the designers chose to make Nightweave more of a bot than a separate boss altogether. Part of why you want bots in a game is because you don’t have enough human players to make it fully enjoyable. The Clockwork expansions for Root make a ton of sense, but this one doesn’t. Everdell is already a fantastic 2-player game; why the need for a bot? Why not change the gameplay significantly so it feels more like its own bonafide co-op experience and less like a half-baked co-op experience? In short, I wanted Mistwood to be more like the game advertised on the cover of the box where animals are teaming up to fight Nightweave, not like the one I’m used to playing with other players.
If you like Everdell enough to want to play it solo, and you’re looking for the best way to do that, Mistwood is what you’re looking for. However, I can’t suggest it at any other player count. The box cover makes it look like an epic adventure where you (and potentially a friend) face off against Nightweave, but all that really happens is Nightweave is another player playing the base game of Everdell. Sure, she has some powers, but it’s nowhere near the exciting co-op experiences offered by the likes of Aeon’s End.
Starling Games (Asmodee North America) kindly provided a review copy.
The Bottom Line
If you love Everdell and want to play it solo, check this out. Otherwise, there are better cooperative games to play.