Title: Herbaceous/ Herbaceous Pocket Edition
Designed By: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, Keith Matejka
Art By: Benjamin Shulman, Beth Sobel
Published By: Pencil First Games, LLC
Released: 2017/ 2021
Player Count: 1-4
Time to Play: 15-20 Minutes
Pudgy Cat, Pudgy Cat how does your garden grow? With parsley, sage, rosemary, and thyme of course! Herbaceous provides you with all the things you need to grow your very own herb garden right on your game table. In this relaxing game, players will work to create the highest-scoring herb garden, by strategically planting the best combination of herbs into their different containers.
Pencil First Games offers two versions of Herbaceous, the standard-sized game with poker-sized cards, or the Pocket Edition, which features the entire game miniaturized into a box about the same size as a deck of cards. The rules are exactly the same between the two versions. The only difference is the size of the game itself. The Pocket Edition is perfect for those on the go, or with little table space.
Give each player a set of four container cards and their garden marker in their player color.
Shuffle the herb and special herb cards into a deck and remove the number of cards required based on your player count. Put the deck within reach of all players to create the draw pile.
Designate a space in between all players to create the community garden. Have each player put their garden marker on the table to section off a space under the community garden to create their private garden.
Put the herb biscuit card to the side of the draw pile.
How to Play:
Players work to collect and pot herbs into their four different containers in order to score the most points. During a player's turn, there will be two parts, the first part is called "Pot Herbs" and is optional, the second part is "Plant" and is mandatory. The game continues until the draw pile is exhausted and all players have either potted all of their containers or it is not possible to pot anything. At this point, containers are scored, and whoever has the most points wins. Whoever most recently cooked with or planted herbs goes first.
Pot Herbs - Optional
Choose one of your unused containers and tuck a collection of herb cards into it. These cards can be from the player's private garden and or the public garden.
Your goal is to place cards into the container that will score you the most points. As each container may only be potted once per game, once you add herbs to a pot, you cannot add more herbs to that pot in the future. There are four different kinds of pots and each score points a different way, such as by having different types of herbs or pair of herbs in them.
Note: special herbs may only be planted in the Glass Jar, nowhere else.
Plant - Mandatory
Draw a card from the draw pile and place it into either the community garden or your private garden.
Draw another card from the draw pile and place it into whatever location you did not place the first card.
Note: you take this step even if you have already potted all of your containers.
Continue to repeat steps 1 and 2 until the deck is exhausted and players can no longer pot anything. Players then score each of their jars and whoever gets the most points has the best herb garden and wins. (Don't forget to count the Herb Biscuit card points. The first player to pot special herbs with a value of 1, 2, and 3 in their glass jar bets the herb biscuit which is worth 5 bonus points at the end of the game).
Herbaceous is a delightful little set collection game. Just like Floriferous, Herbaceous is relaxing to play and looks beautiful on the table. The art by Beth Sobel really brings the theme to life. The colors tie in really well and just bring the whole game together.
There are a lot of things we enjoyed about playing Herbaceous. First, we really enjoyed the way planting works where you have to decide whether or not to keep the first card you pick or hope for a better second choice without knowing what is coming next. The potting phase is interesting as well because there is a chance that you can make use of herbs you send to the community garden, but there is also a possibility that they might get taken by an opponent first. This gives the player some control over their choice, while also adding a bit of randomness to the game that players will need to either workaround or better yet, use to their advantage.
There is also a good amount of "push your luck" involved when weighing the odds of potting herbs earlier or later. Pot too early and you will score a minimal amount of points, but wait too long and all the herbs you need might already be taken by others. This mechanic feels really well balanced in Herbaceous and there is just the right amount of pressure to push you along with your potting.
We enjoyed the concept that each pot can only be planted once. This helps to create some interesting moments in the game where players need to figure out which herbs will be more valuable in one pot or the other, as they try to figure out which herbs they might be able to draft on a future turn. This also keeps the game moving at a steady pace.
Herbaceous is perfect for a warm-up game on a heavier game night, or for a relaxing afternoon game with new gamers. With how simple it is to learn, you can easily get it to the table and teach it to others. The concepts in the game make it new gamer-friendly and the fact that it is a short game makes it easy to get multiple rounds in during a single sitting.
The regular-sized version of Herbaceous is pretty portable as is, but we love that the Pocket Edition is an option. It allows you to bring an entire full-sized game with you wherever you go. We are really amazed that Pencil First Games were able to make such a small version of the game that is completely playable. You can see the size difference in this picture.
Overall, Herbaceous was a delightful little game that we really enjoyed getting to the table. For gamers looking for a quick, fun game with pretty art, Herbaecous is a great choice.
If you are interested in learning more about Herbaceous check out Pencil First Games Website. Pudgy Cat Games makes no profit off reviews. Should you wish to purchase Herbaceous, you can help support us by purchasing the game through our Amazon Affiliate Link below. It will cost you nothing extra, but will help support our site! Pre-orders are available now for Herbaceous Pocket Edition as well!