It’s not very often I play a game that is easy to learn and play but is great fun through multiple plays. Splendor and DeathBot Derby are two that spring to mind when I played Herbaceous for the first time.
Funded on Kickstarter for just shy of $60,000 this game, designed by Steve Finn and Edurado Baraf, is really one of the best gateway and filler games I have played. The art (by Beth Sobel) is great and Keith Matejka has also created solo rules for any of you solo gamers out there.
Herbaceous - The Game
In this simple card game the idea is you plant various herbs in different containers to gain points. Potting the best collection of herbs in a container nets you bigger scores. The containers all have different sets of cards allowed to be planted there making it essential you pot plants at the ideal time. This adds a push your luck mechanic to the set collection.
The different pots are:
- Large Pot - This allows identical herb cards to be planted here.
- Wooden Planter - This allows only different herbs to be planted.
- Small Pots - This allows pairs to be planted.
- Glass Jar - This allows any three herbs to be planted and the deck of herb cards has three special herb cards that if planted here you gain bonus points.
Each player has a private garden (your hand or area in front of you) and all four of the pots above. There is also the area called the community garden - which is in the centre of the table.
- Private Garden - The area where you can store cards ready to be planted and can not be used by other players.
- Community Garden - The area where any player can make use of the herbs.
On each player's turn they get to draw one card and decide where to put it, private or community garden, then you draw another card and place that in the opposite garden. On your next turn you can choose to plant the herbs in your garden along with any in the communal garden as long as they match the pots and/or then draw cards in the same way you did on your first turn.
That’s it, simple, quick and easy but so much fun.
Herbaceous is a quick 10/20-minute game of push your luck (when do you plant). It’s so much fun, when you plant and the person who’s turn it is next was waiting for the same card is funny and adds great player interaction.
The downtime is very little as you need to be aware of what cards are being drawn and what your opponent’s cards are. The cards are of great quality and the art is colourful and pleasant. All in all this is a great filler game that will get played again and again.