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In Evenfall, from dlp games and Nanox Games, the 2-4 players (or solo player if you're playing against the automata) represent rival clans in a coven of witches. Don't worry, there's no dancing naked round a fire or cavorting with the devil: Evenfall is a card-driven worker placement game where you'll be placing out your witches to gather resources and/or to draft cards to go into your individual tableau.

The cards you draft with your worker placement actions are 'places of power' that will go into the top row of your tableau where they'll be available to generate resources (herbs, potions and knowledge), and the resources will be needed in various combinations to enable you to play the multi-fuction cards you draw into your hand. Some of these cards can be played as rituals or artifacts to 'bind' with the 'places of power' cards you've drafted. Often these will provide you with another worker placement location that gives you a powerful action, but you only have four witches ordinarily available to you in each of the game's three rounds and many of the cards for drafting demand two witches in order to access them... However, there are actions you can take to move cards from the top row to the bottom of your tableau. You'll lose their resource generation capability but you'll gain there the option to activate them by using your additional four 'elder' witches.

Some of the cards you draw into your hand are 'specialists' or 'council members'. Again, you'll need to pay the resource cost but you can then place the card out to the left of your player board to activate its effect. Alternatively, you can pay a standard resource cost to tuck the card at the bottom of your board for its different effect, tho' you'll also lose out there on that card's end-game points value.

When you use your witches to draft a 'place of power' card from one of the three display boards, the witches on that board 'battle' for area control. In addition to the resources you'll generate, players also build up a supply of mana. Players with at least one witch on that board secretly choose an an amount of mana to contibute to the battle, in a system and with dials similar to those used in Scythe (Stonemaier Games). The winner takes a Powerstone token, used as a multiplier in end-game scoring, but all participating players receive some benefits depending on how much mana they spend.

Finally, there's a Coven Track on the left-hand side of each player's board. Various cards and actions advance your marker up that track to give you victory points and special actions.

This may sound complicated but Evenfall isn't a hard game to teach or learn. In the rules, designer Stefano Di Silvio encourages players to first play the game using their individual boards on the 'sun' side. Played that way, all the clans are the same. Flip the boards to their 'moon' side, however, and the players all have asymmetric powers and Coven Tracks. When you play any game with asymmetric powers, players are often envious of each other's powers and grumble that they're better than theirs. Evenfall is no exception, tho' we reckon from our plays at Board's Eye View that the four asymmetric clans in this game are pretty well balanced.

Evenfall attracted a lot of attention at Spiel Essen 2023, and deservedly so - it's a well-designed well-paced game that plays in 60-90 minutes. There's attractive art from Martin Mottet and the game's iconography is clear. There will be occasions when you can find yourself with quite a large hand of cards to manage and you won't be able to read the cards when fanned in your hand, so this is a game where we'd recommend using card racks. Be warned too that in addition to the usual punching out of components, there's a bit of assembly required to glue together the two alternative sides of the player boards: it's not difficult but you'll need sharp fingernails to peel the paper circles off the double-sided stickers that you use to glue the two sides together. Binding is an important part of the game - we just didn't expect it to extend to constructing the components :-)

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