Just before Christmas I brought my enormous copy of Everdell the Complete Collection home for the holidays, having made the mistake of getting it delivered to work. This box is seriously huge, unnecessarily so, to the point of almost making the game more of a hassle to play, but it is a beautiful production too.
The size and weight of the box also makes it difficult to transport so it's just going to have to live at my flat… luckily The Complete Collection does contain a full solo expansion that expands on the original solo variant for a more varied opponent in the dangerous spider Nightweave.
Everdell is a worker placement game of tableau building that features beautiful anthropomorphic art from the very talented Andrew Bosley. Over the course of the game players attempt to build a city of 15 cards which are either constructions or critters and the player who gets the most victory points wins.
Everdell plays out over 4 seasons, starting in Winter. Each player begins the game with two workers and a hand of cards. Workers can be played to gather resources and then cards can be played from your hand or the communal meadow by paying their resource cost. Alternatively critter cards can be played for free if you have already built the necessary construction.
After you play all your workers out you can only recall them by ending the season and moving into spring. Changing seasons unlocks new workers and other bonuses but also frees up the worker placement spots you controlled for your opponents to visit.
When playing with the Mistwood expansion your opponent is the deadly Nightweave. Like you she deploys spider workers to block your access to resources but she can also deploy herself, blocking cards in the meadow.
Nightweave also accrues victory points through cards and other actions, she can occupy open locations in your tableau, claim basic or special events and in the final season she'll generally rack up a lot of points by claiming spaces on the journey track before you can.
Her actions are handled through a special deck of cards but are really easy to manage and execute, so while her actions will block and frustrate you in game, actually running the AI will not, in fact this is one of the smoothest solo variants I've played, it gets itself out of the way and just lets you enjoy playing the game while still being a challenge.
And talking of challenges there are lots of ways to shake up the Nightweave mode. There's 5 different difficulties, plus Plots, Plans and Personalities that can be used to add more rules and complexity to the solo mode. I haven't played enough solo Everdell to need these yet but I look forward to trying them out.
On the tenth day of Christmas, Santa gave to me... Ten Squishy Berries...