Everdell is an adorable woodland-themed board game published by Starling Games. One of the wonderful things about Everdell is that each game feels unique thanks to the changing Special Events, Forest cards, Meadow, and the city you create! There are so many different ways to win, so what is the best Everdell strategy to win every time?
The best strategy is knowing several different tips and tricks and using the ones that best fit your game! There are several tactics that I use to win Everdell more often than not!
These 15 Everdell strategy tips cover aspects like: what to do in each season, best value cards, worst value cards, and little gameplay tips that can nudge you ahead of other players.
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Use the strategies that work the best for your game to win!
1. Don’t fill up your city too quickly
It can be tempting to fill up your city quickly, especially if you happen to draw a lot of cheap, resource-generating cards early in the game.
Just because you can play a card, doesn’t mean you should!
The problem is, you’ll end up with a city full of low point value Critters and Constructions. So when you want to play the higher point cards in later seasons, you’ll have loads of resources, but no space to build them! And resources don’t get you points at the end of the game!
Getting rid of Critters and Constructions isn’t the easiest thing to do either, and you’ll need to balance the costs of removing a low point card and replacing it with a higher one.
2. Adjust your focus in each season
Just as the changing seasons bring out different colors in nature, it can be helpful to play different colored cards in each season and have a different focus in mind.
This isn’t always the case, and you need to take opportunities when they come your way, but generally, it’s helpful.
Round 1 (Winter?)
It’s the start of your tiny city! But it’s Winter and resources are scarce and most of your workers are hibernating!
So what do you do first with your two workers? Get a Critter or a Construction?
Always try to get a resource-producing card in round 1 so that you can benefit from a resource immediately and another one as you prepare for the next season.
It’s Spring and another worker has joined you!
Spring is a wonderful time to play cards that benefit you every time you play a Critter or a Construction. For example, the Courthouse, the Historian, the Judge, etc.
Because it’s early in the game, you’ll reap the benefits of these over and over again.
It’s also a good time to play a Farm with Husband and Wife combo.
Summer is where you start to define your strategy a little more. Look at the cards in your city, in your hand, and in the Meadow. Then check out the:
- Basic Events
- Special Events
- Purple cards
See which of them are achievable for you and begin working your way towards them.
Autumn is all about maximizing your points from the strategy you started working towards in Summer.
Of course, how you get the most points from the last round depends on how you’ve built your city and the cards and resources available. For some ideas, look at these options.
- Playing purple cards that give you points.
- Discarding cards at the Treasury for easy points.
- Playing your workers on events you have achieved.
- Removing and replacing critters and constructions for more points.
3. Discard cards for resources in round 1
You start Everdell with 2 workers, 5-8 cards, and no resources. And yet, you want to build something in round 1. What to do?
Well, you can send your workers off to collect resources for sure. But Constructions often cost a number of different resources. For example, the Mine costs 1 Twig, 1 Resin, and 1 Pebble. Using only Basic locations, that would take 3 workers.
Oh, but wait! The Haven makes it possible! At the Haven you:
May discard any cards from your hand. For every 2 cards you discard, gain 1 of any resource.
Perfect! Now, you can get 2, 3 or 4 more resources and still have your workers to use.
You can always choose to discard all your cards and just play cards from the Meadow.
4. Create your Pebble supply
Pebbles are hard to get. Makes sense, right? They are much heavier for little critters to carry than Berries, Resin, and Twigs!
Unless you draw a Forest card with a Pebble or any resource icon on it, there’s only one exclusive basic location where you can get Pebbles. And that very quickly gets blocked by other players because everyone needs Pebbles to build most of their Constructions.
Cards that give you Pebbles
There are a few cards that will keep Pebbles rolling your way.
- Mine – Gain 1 Pebble [Green]
- Husband – Gain 1 of any resource if paired with a Wife and you have at least 1 Farm in your city. [Green]
- Peddler – You may pay up to 2 of any resource to gain an equal number of any resource. [Green]
- Storehouse – Place either 3 Twigs, 2 Resin, 1 Pebble, or 2 Berries on this Storehouse from the Supply. Place worker here. Take all resources from this card. [Blue]
- Courthouse – Gain 1 Twig or 1 Resin or 1 Pebble after you play a Construction. [Blue]
- Lookout – Copy any Basic or Forest location. [Red]
- University – Discard a Critter or Construction from your city. Gain resources equal to that card’s cost, then gain any 1 resource and gain 1 point. [Red]
- Chip Sweep (when paired with Mine or Husband) – Activate 1 green card in your city. [Green]
- Ruins (when you’ve previously spent pebbles) – Discard a Construction from your city. Gain resources equal to that Construction’s cost and draw 2 cards. [Tan]
Cards that reduce Pebble costs
The next few cards can help to reduce your need for Pebbles when playing Constructions (Critters only cost Berries to play).
- Judge – When you play a Critter or a Construction, you may replace any 1 resource with any other 1 resource. [Blue]
- Crane – When playing a Construction, you may discard this Crane from your city to play that Construction for 3 fewer resources. [Blue]
- Dungeon – When playing a Construction or Critter, you may place a Critter from your city face-down beneath this Dungeon to decrease the cost by 3 resources. [Blue]
- Postal Pigeon – Reveal 2 cards. You may play 1 worth up to 3 points for free. Discard the other. [Tan]
- Cemetery – Reveal 4 cards from the deck or discard pile and play 1 for free. Discard the others. [Red]
- Inn – Play a Critter or Construction from the Meadow for 3 fewer resources. [Red]
- Queen – Play a card worth up to 3 points for free. [Red]
5. Get blue cards out early
Some cards are the gifts that keep on giving! Usually, these are the Blue cards. Even the Everdell rulebook, says that a Blue Governance card:
Grants you bonuses after playing certain card types, and offers different ways to play cards for a discount.
Some cards are fantastic to get into play as early as possible.
The Courthouse, Historian, Judge, and Shopkeeper are especially powerful to play early because you’ll get resources or cards after you play a Critter or Construction. And what is your woodland city made of? Critters and Constructions!
The Crane, Innkeeper, and Dungeon are one-off bonuses so there is less urgency to play these to capitalize on their bonuses. These will still be as effective in later seasons.
The Clock Tower is my least favorite of the blue cards. It costs 3 Twigs and 1 Pebble which you can get from placing your workers in two of the basic locations. But it then takes you three Prepare for Seasons to get back the equivalent number of resources and you swap coins to get them, devaluing the end game points on the Clock Tower in the process.
In my opinion, the best thing the Clock tower gives you is a free Historian! But he only costs 2 Berries anyway.
6. Farm + Wife + Husband = Points!
The humble Farm may not look so amazing at first glance. It’ll generate you up to 3 Berries in total. One when you first play it, and one more each time your Prepare for Season in Spring and Autumn.
But there are other cards that play really nicely with the Farm to boost the number of resources and points you can get.
- General Store – If you have a Farm in your city, gain 1 additional Berry.
- Barge Toad – Gain 2 Twigs for each Farm in your city.
- Husband/Wife – Play one of these for free if you have a Farm.
The Husband and Wife combination is really amazing. For just the cost of a few Berries, you can get 2 points for the Husband, plus 2 for the Wife, plus an extra 3 for them being paired. That’s 7 points for not much cost. What makes it even better is that they occupy the same space so you have another space to earn points from!
If you can, play the Wife first so that you can get the bonus of any resource when you play the Husband to join her later.
7. Plan the order of your actions carefully
Be smart about how you plan your turns so that you can make the most of your resources, workers, and cards.
There are a few things you can do to make the most of each round.
- Play free Critters.
- Play cards that activate resource bonuses first.
- Hold off using your workers for as long as you can.
- Discard cards for resources at the Haven and play cards from the Meadow.
- Take advantage of resource cost-saving abilities like the Crane, Innkeeper, etc to save yourself an action gathering resources.
8. Balance production cards and point cards
Production cards are great in the early game to get you the resources you need to build your city and they don’t cost too much to play. But they generally have low point values so you don’t want to have loads of them in the end game.
Resources don’t score you any points at the end of the game unless you’re able to trade them in for points using a card ability. So don’t get too many of them or you’ll be swimming in resources and lacking in points!
9. Take advantage of free Critters
Lots of the Construction cards allow you to play a certain type of Critter for free. That’s like getting free points!
It saves you having to spend actions on using workers to collect resources too.
In Autumn, if you find that the free Critters aren’t giving you the best value for the space they take up, then you can always remove them. And you may just get points and resources for doing so if you do it smartly!
10. Know the card types and quantities
One cool thing about Everdell is how the cards work together for free Critters or specific card combos for Special Events.
But this neat feature can also become your downfall if you base your plans around particular cards coming up. It’s not the way I like to play, but I have seen other people take a risk and it pays off!
To decide whether or not to gamble on a particular card combination, you need to know the odds of your card coming up (remember it can also be picked up and discarded by an opponent without you even knowing!)
Here’s how the 128 Everdell cards break down in terms of quantities.
There are 19 Tan Traveler cards in Everdell.
Tan Traveler: Activates once immediately when played. It never activates again.
- Fool x 2
- Ranger x 2
- Undertaker x 2
- Shepherd x 2
- Bard x 2
- Postal Pigeon x 3
- Wanderer x 3
- Ruins x3
There are 53 green production cards in Everdell.
Green Production: Activates once immediately when played, and once during the Prepare for Season actions in spring and autumn.Everdell Rules of Play, page 10.
- Chip Sweep x 3
- Mine x 3
- Miner Mole x 3
- Monk x 2
- Doctor x 2
- Resin Refinery x 3
- Peddler x 3
- Teacher x 3
- Husband x 4
- Twig Barge x 3
- Woodcarver x 3
- Storehouse x 3
- Farm x 8
- General Store x 3
- Barge Toad x 3
- Fairgrounds x3
There are 18 red destination cards in Everdell of 8 different types.
Red Destination: Activates when a worker is placed on it. Cards with the OPEN symbol may be visited by opponents.Everdell Rules of Play, page 10.
- University x 2
- Post Office x 2
- Monastery x 2
- Cemetery x 2
- Queen x 2
- Inn x 3
- Chapel x 2
- Lookout x 2
There are 20 blue governance cards in Everdell of 8 different types.
Grants you bonuses after playing certain card types, and offers different ways to play cards for a discount.Everdell Rules of Play, page 10.
- Historian x 3
- Judge x 2
- Courthouse x 2
- Dungeon x 2
- Shopkeeper x 2
- Clock Tower x 3
- Innkeeper x 3
- Crane x 3
There are 18 purple prosperity cards in Everdell of 8 different types.
Purple Prosperity: Worth the base points and the listed bonus points at the end of the game.Everdell Rules of Play, page 10.
- Architect x 2
- Wife x 4
- Ever Tree x 2
- Theater x 2
- King x 2
- School x 2
- Castle x 2
- Palace x 2
Critters and Constructions
When it comes to collecting points from Purple card bonuses like the Castle, “1 Point for each Common Construction in your city.” It’s helpful to know how many there are of each card type of Commo Critters, Unique Critters, Common Constructions, and Unique Constructions.
There are 48 unique cards in Everdell.
- Common Critter x 32 (of 10 different types)
- Unique Critter x 31 (of 14 different types)
- Common Construction 32 (of 9 different types)
- Unique Construction x 33 (of 15 different types)
11. See the Special Event cards as bonuses
The risk with the Everdell Special Event cards is that they can cause you to focus on achieving one of them. But they are so reliant on particular cards coming up, that it’s only really worth going after them if you already have the cards in your hand, or can play from the Meadow on your next turn.
The other issue with Special Event cards is that your opponents can also go after them and compete with you for Meadow cards. And your opponents can see what you’re doing! So if you’ve got one of the cards already in your city to complete a Special Event and the other card you need comes up in the Meadow, another player may just grab it to stop you from achieving the Special Event!
12. Play great value cards
Great value is subjective. It depends on your city, the Special Event cards, and your plans. However, there are some cards in Everdell that are amazing value and make fantastic sense.
I already mentioned the benefits of blue cards and the Farm, Husband, and Wife combo in previous tips. But there are a few other standout cards too.
For only 3 berries, or free with a Fairground, you set your opponent back by 2 points. But, even though the card is a -2 on the surface it’s actually worth more than that in reality because it blocks the space from being used by another card.
Given that the cards have an average value of about 2 points, it’s more like a -4 impact on your opponent. That’s awesome!
The Fool may even persuade your opponent into choosing cards like the University or Dungeon over another card they might have chosen just so they can get rid of the Fool!
For the price of just 1 Resin and 2 Pebbles, you can build a 3-point building! But more than that, every round afterward you can use it to discard a Critter or Construction to get their resources back + 1 other resource and a point too. So it could be worth a maximum of 6 points if you play it really early in the game.
You can also play a Doctor for free who is worth 4 points on his own.
The Wanderer is such an understated card but it’s a cheap way to get an extra point. For just 2 Berries, you get 1 point and draw a couple of cards and you don’t lose a space in your city!
Pretty good value if you ask me.
13. Avoid poor value cards
Just like the great value cards, which cards classify as poor value, depends on what is going on in your game. But again, if we take the cards at face value, some cards are not as good as others.
For 2 Berries you can gamble on drawing 2 cards and you may play one that’s worth up to 3 coins for free. But what if you draw a couple of cards that you don’t want? You’ll discard both of them and you’re 2 Berries poorer. But it’s even worse than that. You’ve now got a 0 point Critter taking up space in your city!
That space could have been taken up by a higher-value card.
With the Teacher, you draw 2 cards, keep one and give the other to your opponent. So your opponent benefits as much as you do.
You both get a new card option. You can argue that you get to choose the better card, but you don’t know what’s in the other player’s hand. You could have just helped them out!
If you get the Teacher for free from a School, then I guess you can play it for the 2 points but there are better cards that can take up that place in your city!
I mentioned my dislike of the Clock Tower in tip number 5.
It takes several turns to make back the resources you spent on it, while at the same time decreasing its points value every time you do.
14. Clear Critters and Constructions for better ones
In Autumn or late Summer, take out the low-scoring Critters and Constructions to free up valuable space in your city and make way for higher-value cards.
The Dungeon, University, and Ruins can help you do this.
To work out which of the cards in the Meadow and in your hand will give you the most points, look to the Special and Basic Events you can accomplish and the purple points cards in your city and do some maths! Sorry, this tip is all about working out the numbers!
15. Keep an eye on other players
With so much focus on building your own little city, it’s easy to forget that there are other settlements in the valley of Everdell!
Keep an eye on what the other players are doing!
Here are some things to watch out for and how you can counter them!
- They play a Fairground. There could be a Fool heading your way soon!
- They get a King. They will use their workers to claim events. Get in quick if you want any!
- They play an Ever Tree. Grab Purple Meadow cards to stop your opponent from getting them!
- They play an Architect. Stop them from getting extra Pebbles and Resin.
- Any card they play that is half of a Special Event combination. Grab the other card if it appears in the Meadow!
Conclusion – Everdell Strategy: How to Win
I hope this article has given you some new strategy ideas on how to win Everdell!
I absolutely love Everdell and will definitely be getting the expansions!
There are some wonderful woodland-themed upgrades for Everdell made by talented crafters on Etsy. Check out my favourite 13 Everdell Upgrades in this article!