It’s not so long time ago when Supercell announced three new “Clash” games (namely Clash Quest, Clash Mini, and Clash Heroes). For me personally, this announcement was interesting more because of a number of new titles than the games themselves.
So when they back in august 2021 introduced another new title, everybody in the industry was surprised. From the description of the authors, Everdale should be a building game focused on cooperation between players. No battles, no fights, just peaceful playing with other players or your friends. Focus on the social aspect is not surprising (Zynga’s Farmville 3 works with co-op from the first session), but build the core gameplay around peaceful cooperation was something that aroused my interest.
The next interesting fact is, that Supercell was testing the Everdale alpha version under a different name – Valleys & Villages for ten months (you can still find the “official” Osmium Interactive web page). Only when they were sure that the game is functioning as they intended, the official beta release came.
Is Everdale the same game as Valleys & Villages?https://help.supercellsupport.com/everdale/en/articles/soft-launch-information.html
For all intents and purposes, it’s the same as Valleys & Villages. We released the game under the name Osmium for early Alpha testing. Doing so helped us gather feedback and data, in preparation for the smoothest beta launch possible.
So now, let’s look closer at individual interesting elements and how they work together. But first, a simple core loop.
Everdale Core Loop
In the simplified diagram below, you can see the basic premise of Everdale. It’s all about material and time (Workers) management. Short-term goals are pretty similar, doesn’t matter if you are focusing on Village or Valley. The road to fulfilling them is almost identical, with very small differences (for example limited amount of Valley tasks that can be finished every day).
But it’s true, that Valley is adding interesting dynamics into resources creation. Mainly because of a little different approach to how to obtain them. Overall game economy and planning are creating interesting situations to solve. You can read about it more in one of my older articles “Can Be Resources Management Fun?” + I will focus more on it later.
Village in Everdale is a place belonging only to you. You can compare it to your farm in Hay Day or your town in Township. You will build buildings and decorations here, gather resources from surrounding forests, and fulfill basic tasks.
Although you can organize houses and decorations in the village freely, they will always look very similar to other villages. It’s mainly because of the minimalistic graphic style (but still eye-candy) and the fact, that game uses the portrait mode.
In the village, you also fulfill most basic tasks. You will not find anything revolutionary here – it’s the most common concept in this kind of game. All tasks are about collecting materials and selling them for different game currencies. Finishing all given tasks on time will give you an extra reward.
Workers are citizens of your village and the main limitation in doing tasks. Do you ask why? It’s easy. The number of workers is limited (gradually can be increased by research). Every activity you want to execute (collect resources, research, cooking) requires one worker.
This micro-management of assigning workers to the right jobs is the main part of your gameplay in Everdale. After assigning, Workers will repeat the same action over and over again, until they have something to eat or there is free space in the storage for more resources. So the game is focused on many small sessions during the day, where you check the stat of your workers. As I mentioned, all workers have to eat. Soup is a special resource, which will fill this necessity. But you have to produce them first.
Here did Supercell great job with UI. In the bottom part of the screen, you can see the basic info about all your workers and identify if everything is going fine, or your intervention is needed.
An interesting element is the speed nectar. The speed of every action is limited by the speed of workers themselves and spatial distances in your village (for example distance between forest and wood storage). By using very limited-speed nectar, you can improve the speed of your workers for a limited time period. Ideal usage is of course during your sessions when you want to finish as many tasks as possible.
Research is the main way to unlock new content and gameplay in Everdale. Although it’s represented through the tree of choices, the progress feels very linear. Interesting is that the game contains two Research trees. Currently, we speak about Village research, which is fully in your competence. To research a new option in the tree you have to always allocate one Worker, or spend precious Research scrolls.
Sometimes you will face the choice of what you will prefer to research next, but the effect is not very dramatic and in the end, you will research all available options. The reason is simple. To progress in the game you will need all new buildings, products, or storage upgrades. Without them, you will have hard times to fulfill Village and Valley tasks.
Valley is the cooperative “part” of Everdale. After you finish research of Valley, you will become part of a larger map called “Valley” together with the next 9 villagers. Visually it looks pleasant. You can smoothly move between different parts of the map without any loading or delays.
And what’s different between Village and Valley? First, the layout of Valley is pre-setup, so you are not able to change the layout or decorate it. A second and more important difference is, that Valley is shared between all ten players.
You aren’t just building new buildings together (by fulfilling resource tasks) but you also share production queues with your teammates. That makes production times longer, without the possibility to put more products into the queue (every player can have only one item there).
The third interesting part is Valley Research. As I mentioned earlier, in Everdale there are two individual Research trees. The difference between them is, that Valley research is done through … fulfilling resource tasks. By Valley Research you can unlock new common production buildings, upgrades, or “Guild buildings”. Guild buildings are interesting one – you can send here your worker to and train him, to improve their skill in some specific action (for example stone cutting).
Materials & Resources
As resource management is the main part of gameplay, I was pretty interested what kind of different actions are used in the game. Again, you will not find anything surprising here. But the combination of different actions in the Village and in the Valley is creating decent gameplay possibilities, at least for the first few weeks in the game.
In the Village
- Raw Materials collected by Worker (Wood, Clay, Stone, Pumpkins)
- Goods produced by Worker from raw material (Statue, Flour, Pumpkin Soup)
- Special Materials by fulfilling tasks (Coins, Materials for creating potions)
- Materials obtained by time (Speed Nectat, Eggs)
- Goods produced instantly by player’s input (Egg Soup)
In the Valley
- Raw Materials requiring to allocate Worker for specific time period (Wool)
- Goods created by time from raw materials (Potion, Bread, Socks)
Not surprisingly, individual progress in the game is defined by the Village research tree. Although the game includes indicators of the player’s level too, it does not take a big part. Once you level up, you just unlock a new chapter of the research tree. But because of linearity in the gameplay, you will not notice it for a long time.
Another progress mechanic in Everdale is Reputation Road. It’s basically a simple progress bar filled with Heart currency. You will obtain them for fulfilling tasks (surprisingly) in the Valley. But hitting milestones on Reputation Road will reward you not only by random material rewards (chests), but you also unlock permanent upgrades (which allow you do more tasks per day for example).
The number of Hearts is also an important social aspect and indicator in your Valley. As you can see, players aren’t sorted by their level of progress in the research tree, but by the number of acquired Hearts.
Currently, the game contains some small, time-limited events. Although they contain a simple story and narrative, they don’t bring any innovation into the gameplay itself. Joining them means, that you assign (or let’s say “sacrifice”) one of your worker for a long time or do some generic resource tasks. The reward for a successfully finished event is a time-limited speed bonus, for one of the Valley buildings.
If you have read this far you know, that Everdale’s core gameplay isn’t very original, but still pretty fun to play if you enjoy classic farming/simulation/management games. On the second hand, doing similar tasks again and again without any twist will be boring after few weeks. Here I am curious about future events and live-ops where is big potential.
As you noticed, the main gameplay (collecting materials and fulfilling tasks) is strictly limited by the number of available workers in your Village. It’s not surprising, that game shop and monetization is focusing on this aspect. You will find there not only basic resources but also special – speed nectar, scrolls, or potions. These items help you to optimize production and increase speed of acquiring materials in the gameplay.
But the most exclusive item in the shop is extra Worker for a limited amount of time. When you think about the fact, that for the first days in the game you have only 3-4 available Workers, it offers a pretty big advantage.
At the end …
I want to summarize my overall feelings from Everdale.
The fact that Supercell is working on the game that is not focused on battles or fights made me really interested. If you have read my older articles you know, that I am a big fan of Hay Day. And I am pretty glad that developers decided to continue in Hay Day “philosophy”, plus they tried to expand traditional systems from this game.
But I hoped in more. Yes, I enjoyed building my Village and be part of the Valley. I enjoyed the micromanagement of my workers during the day. And I was looking forward to unlocking new improvements through research. But when I paused playing for one week during my vacations, the feel of necessity for return was low. The linearity (and partially predictability) of the game is something, that could be (I hope) improved in the future.
Resource and Workers management in Everdale is something that has potential. But the task system is currently pretty the same across the whole game. If in Hay Day you had a few different kinds of jobs that were changing your strategy (just compare the difference between regular board tasks and ship tasks), in Everdale it feels everything very similar.