The Everain Review

27 August 2022
A bit of damp experience

A good board game rulebook becomes obsolete. You read it to learn how to play the game, you may return to it a couple of times to check a rule or a card clarification, but for the most part, it lies at the bottom of the game box, forgotten, while your attention is solely focused on the board game in front of you. What is the sign of the bad rulebook then? Well, clearly the one that completely steals the spotlight from the game and makes you talk about rulebooks for the opening paragraph of a review.

Here is the deal with The Everrain’s rulebook: it isn’t the case of bad writing, or confusing layout or missing rules. It is that having read the rulebook, several times, there was no clear explanation on how to play the game. Sure, there are descriptions of different gameplay elements but no discernible explanation of what to do with them on a player’s turn. Having scoured the board game forums and what little help YouTube could offer, I could just about piece together what the game wanted me to do. It was hours of effort and frustration that I would not persevere through unless I had to. So even before I set sail for the first time on the beautifully crafted miniature ship and faced the game’s tentacled gigantic Under God, I had developed a relationship with the game based on frustration. The Everrain would have to work very hard to rehabilitate itself from our first introduction and, to give it fair due, it had done its very best to do so.

The Everrain is Eldritch Horror at sea, if investigators were all captains of their customisable ship and the gameplay was based more in exploration than rolling skill checks. In its cooperative sandbox style gameplay, the players’ ships get dropped into the middle of the map from where they can sail and do wherever they want. The goal is to collect clue tokens that will help players progress on the discovery track, ahead of the enemies and hopefully before the big scary sea monster awakens and things get really bad. Because you are meant to explore every interest point on the map and make decisions based on various story elements, there aren’t any obviously marked clue earning locations. This brings a genuine sense of wonder to exploration as you never know what you could discover or encounter next. On the other hand, it also means that it can take a while to progress through the game. Even in its shortest incarnation, eight rounds, the game can last several hours. Larger groups of players and additional rounds increase the timespan exponentially.

Luckily, there are plenty of points of interest for the players to chart their course to. You can plunder the shipwrecks, explore the islands, fight enemy ships or even visit the towns to gamble in a casino or hire more crew. You can also customise your own ship by adding additional rooms below deck or improving your cannons. The puny gunboat at the beginning of the game can turn into a powerful frigate, with a full might to rule The Everrain’s seas.

The crew are critical to the efficient running of the ship. They can help you sail further or man the cannons in a fight. They also come with their own special abilities and vices. A certain crewmate will help you gather clues more efficiently, but they also have a gambling problem, sneaking away to a casino at every port stop. Accounting for their skills and shortcomings adds an interesting strategic dimension to the game.

Not all sailing in The Everrain is smooth. There are some component oddities, and the end of the game could be somewhat anticlimactic if you don’t get to face off against the Under God. However, it is incredibly atmospheric, and its sandbox style gameplay offers players almost boundless ways to play the game. There is only one tip to enjoy The Everrain to its absolute fullest: find someone who already knows the rules.



The Everrain offers a world full of mysteries and dark beauty, but to enjoy it you will first need to conquer the game's biggest adversary, its rulebook, in a fight that will take a lot of perseverance!


What could make a hopeless search for the clues to the mystery of a deadly gigantic ancient monster better? Only that you can do it while drinking rum on the deck of your own ship.

Read the full review here

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Buy a copy here

Designer: Adam Smith

Publisher: Grimlord Games

Time: 30-180 minutes

Players: 1-4

Ages: 14+

Price: £95

What’s in the box?

  • 8 Ship miniatures
  • 4 Coloured bases
  • 12 Deckhands miniatures
  • 6 Shellbacks miniatures
  • Avatar of the Under God miniature
  • 15 Enemy miniatures
  • Game board
  • 4 Player ship boards
  • Port board
  • 3 Avatar boards
  • 20 Map tiles
  • 18 Crew boards
  • 3 Storm tiles
  • 180 Gems
  • 334 Cards
  • 283 Tokens
  • 16 Dice

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