Everdell Rules and Complete How-to Guide

This guide includes a complete overview of the Everdell rules, gameplay, scoring, and commonly asked questions. You will also have access to links that provide resources, add-ons, and similar games.

In a woodland forest under the Ever Tree, an entire city of critters await your leadership. It takes thought and strategy to complete various actions throughout the year before Winter arrives. Be the player who earns the most points to win Everdell!

Starling Games has sold over 250,000 copies of Everdell since its release in 2018. This tableau building board game allows families and friends to create cities of critters and use resources to construct to earn points all within four seasons. 

Read on to find out all the details and information about how to play the Everdell board game. 

What is Everdell?

Everdell Board Game Info Image

Everdell is a worker-placement board game that allows 1-4 players to construct territories for critters in a woodland forest under the “Ever Tree.” 

Players start with a hand of cards and move through three seasons- Spring, Summer, and Autumn collecting resources, matching critters, and constructing buildings for their village. 

Players use their cards strategically to earn points throughout the game.

Number of Players: 1-4 players

Ages: 10+

Difficulty: Easy to Moderate

Length of Play: 20-80 minutes

Similar To: Wingspan, Lewis and Clark, Stone Age, Lords of Waterdeep, Root

Main Objective: Players will create and manage villages of critters and constructions in a woodland setting, moving through Spring, Summer, and Autumn to see who can earn the most points before Winter. Each player can only have up to 15 cards in their city at any given time. 

Why We Love It:  The Everdell board is artfully created and three-dimensional. Users have so well-appreciated that you can now purchase 1,000 piece puzzles that match several expansion designs.

Everdell Tree Image

A Brief History of Everdell Board Game

Created by James A. Wilson, this game was published by Starling Games in 2018. In the past few years, Starling Games has released various expansion packs and collectors editions for Everdell. 

Be sure to keep an eye out for additional upcoming releases: Newleaf and Mistwood

What You’ll Need to Play Everdell

The standard boxed game includes the following items:

The original box contains: 

  • 128 Critter and Construction Cards
  • 16 Event Cards
  • 11 Forest Cards
  • 30 Berries
  • 30 Twigs
  • 25 Resin
  • 20 Pebbles
  • 30 Point Tokens 
  • 20 Occupied Tokens
  • 24 Wooden Tokens
  • One eight-sided Die
  • 1 Game Board
  • 1 Ever Tree
  • 1 Starter Event Tile
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Everdell Standard Edition
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Everdell Area of Play

  1. Set up the game board on a level surface. Up to 4 players gather on one side of the table to view the entire board and the three-dimensional Ever Tree, located on the top of the playing area.
  2. Place the resources in sorted piles along the riverbank. Resources include the berries, resin, pebbles, and twigs: group point tokens and occupied tokens next to the playing area. 
  3. Shuffle the forest cards. Place 3 cards on the forest clearing for a 2-player game, and place 4 cards on the forest clearing for a 3 to 4 player game. The remaining cards go back in the box.
  4. Shuffle and place 4 Special event cards on the lower branch of the Ever Tree. Place the 4 basic event tiles along the river on the game board. 
  5. After shuffling the main deck of cards, randomly place 8 cards face-up on the meadow area. Then, place the remaining card deck under the Ever Tree. 
  6. The first player draws 5 cards, the second player draws 6 cards, the third player draws 7 cards, and the fourth player draws 8 cards. 
  7. Players each select a color worker. Keep 1 worker to start the game and place the additional workers on the Ever Tree: 1 worker on Spring and Summer, and 2 workers on Autumn.
Everdell Components Image

Everdell Rules and Gameplay

Starting with the most humble player, take turns playing an action in a clockwise rotation. Perform the following actions in any order, but you can only complete one action per turn. 

  • Play a card
  • Place a worker
  • Prepare for season

Play a Card

On your turn, you can play one card from your hand or one from the Meadow. There will always be 8 cards available on the board in the Meadow section, and replace Meadow cards immediately after use from the playing deck. 

To play a card, you must complete the requirements listed on the card. For example, you may have to add resources, such as twigs or resin back into the general supply to play a card. 

The cards consist of critter cards and construction cards. 

You will find specific requirements on the upper left-hand corner of each Critter card. You can pay the required number of berries to play the card initially. If you already have this card in your city, you do not owe any more berries. Place tokens on the cards initially.


Your city can have up to 15 cards total. Lay your cards into 3 rows of 5 to create your city. When drawing a card, always take from the deck below the Ever Tree unless otherwise stated. The discard pile, located at the front of the board, can be reshuffled and used again. 

You may have multiple copies of common cards, but you cannot duplicate Unique Cards. Event cards are additional, so they can be placed outside of your city for later scoring. 

Your hand can only have up to 8 cards. If you are supposed to receive cards when your hand is already full, the player must discard them instead. 

Card Types:

  • Tan Traveler
  • Green Production
  • Red Destination
  • Blue Governance
  • Purple Prosperity
Everdell Cards

Place a Worker

Throughout the game, you will use workers to complete various tasks to build your city. Pawprints on the board represent spaces for workers. Once you place a worker, you must then achieve the action or take the resources as described. 

Place workers on shared spaces or exclusive spaces. An exclusive space has a closed circle, and only one worker can occupy it. A shared space has an open circle, and it can hold numerous workers from any player.

Basic Action spaces, Forest Locations, Haven, Events, Journey, or Destination Cards are the locations where you can place workers. 

  • The Haven is a shared space. You can earn resources and discard unlimited cards when you place a worker at this location. 
  • You can place workers on Destination Cards in your city or that of your opponent; however, it must be “open” or available before you can occupy the space. 
  • Players can only use Forest locations, identified by the number 4, during a 4 player game. 
  • To place a worker on an Event or a Special Event, you must first have all the resources needed to achieve the Event. Only one worker can obtain Events, and once attained, place these beside your city for scoring at the end.
  • Players cannot use Journey spaces until Autumn. Some of these spaces are shared, and some are exclusive. You must discard the number of cards shown on each space. At the end of the game, your worker will be worth that number of points. 

For example, placing a worker on one of the action spaces may earn you two twigs and a card drawn from the deck. 

Prepare for a Season

Spring, Summer, and Autumn are the rounds in Everdell, and Autumn is the last round. 

Entering Spring, you gain a new worker, and all of your Production cards become active. 

In the Summer, you gain a worker and 2 cards from the Meadow, and players can continue to use Production cards.

When you enter Autumn, you gain 2 workers, and all of the Production cards in your city become active. The player entering Autumn brings back all of their deployed workers.

How to Keep Score in Everdell

Once each player reaches the end of the Autumn season or has completed as many actions as possible, they can end their game. Players can stop playing at different times depending upon the number of actions they can perform. 

Players who have finished their game cannot receive any more resources or cards. To score, each player must add up the base value of the points listed on individual cards. A player’s total score includes Journey tokens, events, and prosperity card bonuses. 

If two players have a tie, the player with the most events is considered the winner. 

How to Play Everdell – Video Tutorial 

Solo Play

When playing Everdell solo, your opponent is an evil rat named Rugwort. Start by setting up a two-player game, but assign one color for Rugwort. You will have a starting hand of 5 cards, and Rugwort will not have any.

In this game, you will compete against Rugwort for three consecutive years. You will follow the basic rules of the game, but include these new rules as well:

Year 1: 

To begin, place one of Rugwort’s workers on the three twig action space to block it and another one on the top left forest card. 

Rugwort gets to play a card anytime you play a card. To play his card, you must roll the 8-sided die to determine which card he selects. Imagine the top-left Meadow card is 1, and the card on the bottom-right is number 8.

Rugwort’s cards need to be grouped by color; this is how you will determine the points he has earned later on. 

After completing a season, Rugwort must also complete the season. Move through the actions to see if Rugwort can meet any of the events. 

Place his new worker on the Meadow in the Spring, then rotate by moving his worker to the 3 twigs location, then the 2 resin location.

During Summer, place Rugwort’s worker on the 1 pebble location, and in Autumn, his worker to the 1 berry and 1 card location.

Year 2:

Follow the exact instructions as Year 1, except place Rugwort’s worker on the 4 point Journey instead of the 3 point space. 

Instead of earning 3 points, Rugwort earns 6 points for every Special Event that you did not achieve this round. 

Year 3: 

Apply the same rules as Year 1 and Year 2, but place Rugort’s worker on the 5-point Journey space this time. 

During this final Autumn season, Rugwort kidnaps one of your workers! Instead of placing his worker on the 1 berry and 1 card space, you will remove his worker and one of your workers from the game. 

See if you can beat Rugwort in this 3rd and final round!

Everdell Expansions and Upgrade Packs

There are a variety of expansion packs available for purchase. These add-ons include additional cards, critters, and constructions that enhance the original game components.

The collector’s edition of Everdell includes many of these add-ons and bonus features, including 30 metal point tokens, 20 wooden occupied tokens, 6 rat workers, an upgraded 8-side die, a UV spot-coated box, and a gold-foiled gallery slipcase.

Expansion Packs Available: 

  • Extra! Extra!
  • Legends
  • Rugwort
  • Glimmergold
  • Bellfaire Collector’s Edition
  • Spirecrest Collector’s Edition
  • Pearlbrook Collector’s Edition

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Everdell easy to learn? 

Everdell is considered relatively easy to learn because you can find specific instructions listed on each card. Once you choose a card, you can follow the steps to make a play or complete an action. 

Is Everdell replayable? 

Everdell is replayable because the cards drawn will not always be the same. The more you play, you will experience different card interactions, which develops strategy and makes repeat gameplay new and exciting each time. 

How do you get good at Everdell? 

As with many things, the more you play, the more you will understand the game’s workings. While strategy is a vital component, a large part of your success for earning points in Everdell simply comes down to luck and the cards you obtain throughout the game.

What kind of game is Everdell? 

Everdell is considered a tableau-building or worker placement board game. The cards dictate various actions, and players earn points by completing these tasks. Uniquely, you can also play Everdell solo. 

Alternative Games Similar to Everdell

If you enjoy Everdell, you may also like Imperial Settlers. In this game, settlers worldwide discover new territories, and they need your help to establish their new found land. 

If worker placement is your thing, you may also want to try The River, where players work to build the best settlement in their new frontier.

If you are looking for something more challenging, Terraforming Mars (see Terraforming Mars rules) is a space-themed engine-building board game with a futuristic flair. 

If you are looking for more adventurous games like Everdell, check out our guide for Root rules and Spirit Island rules.

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