We assembled the cardboard tree of Everdell today.
Having played it online, and having watched Carole fall in love with the artwork on the cards, it was an absolute no-brainer to get it for her for Christmas so that we could play it lots and get really good at it and then play it online with Nik and Daniel again.
And lose and then have to burn the game because Daniel had ruined it.
But anyway, Everdell. It’s bloody lovely. You’re building a city for tiny woodland creatures, all of whom have jobs – or, in some cases, “jobs” – and who’d love some buildings to hang about it. You can build fifteen constructions or critters in your village and the option is there, on some of them, to chop and change stuff in the village to get things working to your advantage. It’s all cutesy and nice, although the buildings do include things like dungeons where you can lock your critters away in order to get a discount on building things, which seems a little bit sinister. There’s a cemetery where you’d actively encouraged to bury creatures for points, for example. Keep it light, guys.
So we played, just a nice friendly game between Carole and myself.
Carole was doing way better than me to start with. She was managing her turns brilliantly and getting as much out of them as she could before moving onto the next phase of the game. I, on the other hand, was making a mess of it and needed to move to the next phase several turns before her. Then later the opposite was true. Carole moved on, I stayed a phase behind. I had a larger city, but Carole had netted more bonuses for being a crafty ol’ sort without me realising what she was up to. One of the bonuses, annoyingly, I actively contributed to for her, which was a bit of a kick in the teeth.
But it was a nice little game. Just friendly banter and rulebook checking.
And then we got to the end and tallied the scores up.
Carole won by a decent amount. A very decent amount. She played her cards well. Oh, get wood for doing nothing, okay that seems fine. Oh a card now that lets you trade all that wood for points? Oh that seems like it might be handy. Oh, now you can trade your berries for points too? Oh why not.
We call them the bullshit moves.
Not because they’re cheap or underhand or whatever, but because if you’ve set yourself up in such a way that you effectively produce a points production line it leaves the other player looking at the points coming home and thinking, “this is some bullshit…”
Whereas actually you’re jealous as hell for not having the chance to do it yourself.
Carole and Daniel are the masters of those moves. Any game there’s an engine to be built – effects from cards that can be used in order – they’re there.
I never manage it. I want to be good at the bullshit.