Before I begin, I was provided with a copy of the game in exchange for an honest preview. This is not a paid preview. If you would rather watch a video of this preview you can view it below, and get your own copy here.
Steve Finn is truly one of the top designers when it comes to streamlined, gamily friendly games. I have now played 4 of them, and have enjoyed all of them. I also am a fan of Pencil First Games and their tendency to put out fun games, that are simple, and well produced.
I also have been aware of Herbaceous for several years, but have never actually played it before, so I was obviously excited to check out the new pocket edition of the game.
Herbaceous is a relatively simple set collection, push your luck style game, where you are trying to create the best set of potted herbs. Do do this, you will be planting herbs in your personal garden and the community garden.
Each turn you start with the opportunity to pot herbs in one of your four available planters/pots. Each of these pots take different combinations of herbs, whether it be pairs, or all the same, or all different types of herbs. After that you will draw two herb cards, one at a time. After you draw the first you have to choose if you will plant it in your personal garden or if you will plant it in the community garden. Then you draw a second, and wherever the first was not planted is where the second will be.
Once all players have potted their 4 pots/planters the game ends, and whomever has the highest score wins.
So what do I think?
The simplicity of this game is delightful. The game is the definition of simplicity. Yet the simple push your luck combined with the set collection makes for a game that is a unique experience every time. The game is extremely portable. It will easily fit in a backpack, or briefcase, or purse, and is compact enough that it could be played on an airplane tray table.
The art is lovely, and simple. The herbs are quite attractive.
The original version of the game has the names of the herbs on the cards, this one does not. This is, perhaps, a bit of a rock and hard place quibble but I kind of wish they were there, so I knew what I was looking at! On the other hand, it might clutter the cards.
Bringing it all together
Herbaceous pocket edition is a highly portable version of the delightfully simple, and easy to play Herbaceous. The game plays lightning quick and has lovely art, and the amount of strategy with such simple mechanics is surprising. Some people might miss the names of the herbs on the cards.
Less talk more planting!
* Lovey art, highly portable game
* Same gameplay as the original
* Game plays lightning fast