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Herbaceous Sprouts Review

Quick Look:

Designer: Eduardo Baraf, Steve Finn, Keith Matejka
Artists: Benjamin Shulman, Beth Sobel
Publisher: Pencil First Games
Year Published: 2019
No. of Players: 1-4
Ages: 8+
Playing Time: 30 minutes

Find more info on BoardGameGeek.com


From the very popular card game Herbaceous comes a reimplementation that includes set collection with dice. You will want to collect sets of seeds to plants them in the community garden and collect the points associated with the location of the garden.

Getting the Game:
You will first find a handful of dice. Each die will have a face with each of the 5 herbs. The 6th face will differ on each color of die consisting of additional actions or a flower seed that can be used to plant only in the flower garden. You will place all the dice in the dice bag and randomly they will be chosen and rolled. You will mostly do this when setting up the tool shed. The board game is laid out with 3 sections allowing herb seeds and 1 section for the flower garden. You will need to obey the rules for planting in each section as one section wants all dice to be the same herb, another section will want all dice to be different herbs, and the third section will want different number of pairs to be planted.

Each player will start with a wheelbarrow board and 2 randomly drawn dice which have been rolled. Your wheelbarrow has space for only 7 dice. You will collect the sprout tokens of your color and these are used to place on the board when you plant herbs or flowers.

Besides learning how to play, you will need to know which tools do what actions.

Seed bag - Draw a die from the bag, roll it, and add it to your wheelbarrow.
Market Package - Allows you to change seed dice in your wheelbarrow.
Gardening Gloves - Reroll any single die in your wheelbarrow.
Trowel - This is needed to plant a flower in the flower garden.
Watering Can - Exchange 2 matching seed dice symbols in order to place a sprout token in any open space in the flower garden.
Sprout Pot - This is the only tool that is kept and can be used on a future turn. You will add this pot to the right side of your player board. It counts as an herb of the type shown. This card doesn't count toward your maximum dice limit. When planting, you can use this card as one of that specific seeds.

Playing the Game:
The game goes through several phases and finishes when the tool deck is completed.

Phase 1 - Prepare the tool shed
Tool cards are drawn from the deck equal to the number of players +1 and placed face up in the tool shed. For each die space a die is drawn from the bag, rolled, and placed on the die space from left to right. These will become your options to choose from in the next phase.

Phase 2 - Pick and plant seeds
Each player will pick resources from the tool shed by taking the tool card, adding any dice that are included to your wheelbarrow board, perform any of the special actions listed on the card, and then plant herb or flower seeds in the garden if you would like. Remember the different quadrants on the board when planting seeds. The top right is "all the same" herb garden, the top right is "all different" herb garden, the bottom left is "different pairs" herb garden, and the bottom right is "flower garden."
The glass of lemonade card - The first player to place at least 1 sprout token in each of the 4 quadrants on the board immediately earns this card worth 2 points.

Phase 3 - Clean up
In a 2-3 player game only, the last unchosen tool card has a banner on the bottom left.  Place a rival sprout token on the matching garden spot, if the spot already has a token there, then this step is disregarded.

For everyone now, you will return any seed dice left on the unchosen tool card, discard that card, and the bag is passed to the next player to setup the tool shed.

After the tool deck is exhausted, the game ends and players will count up their victory points.
Points are counted by adding points from your sprouts in the garden, the player will the lemonade card will add an additional 2 points. All remaining dice in your wheelbarrow can be placed into possible sets for additional points. Two points for a set of 3 different herbs, 1 point for each pair of the same herb, and 1 point for each flower.

Artwork and Components:
The artwork is done by Beth Sobel, and matches her style. I love the back of the cards, as this really shows off Beth's style and makes for a really cool looking piece of art. The symbols and graphics used for special actions are easy to see and know what they are. The graphic design of each of these symbols for the actions match together really well. The components could be worked on a bit.  I feel like the art on the dice is grainy looking, and doesn't represent the herb as well as it could. The game has a small board, but this isn't really a bad thing, as you can play the game in a smaller area, and a big board really isn't needed for the game.

The Good:
The game does a very good job with combining great mechanics with its theme. I can tell that the game had been play-tested as the game seemly really balanced with all the mechanics involved. First player is changed each round so that each player is able to have first pick in the tool shed. The main mechanic involved in the game is set collection. You choices with a card drafting mechanic can alter your strategy within the set-collection mechanic. This is a great game if you don't want to play something long or heavy.

The Bad:
In the game, you are rolling dice, and this can cause a very random luck based result. It seems like all you are doing in the game is planting seeds, there is nothing to do with growing, selling, or using the herbs and flowers in any way.

Final Thoughts:
If you are looking for a fun family game that has strategy mixed with luck, that isn't a long and heavy game, and that centers around gardening, then this game would be perfect for you. The game does a great job using solid mechanics to setup hard decisions with competitive set collection spots on the board.

Check out Herbaceous Sprouts on:


Brody Sheard - Reviewer

Brody Sheard played board games with his large family growing up. He continues with his love of games by teaching his family, local gaming guild, and friends about new and exciting games. Brody believes that board gaming keeps your mind healthy while also having fun interacting with others.

See Brody's reviews HERE.
Herbaceous Sprouts Review Herbaceous Sprouts Review Reviewed by Brody on May 03, 2019 Rating: 5


  1. Great review. Our family would really enjoy this game. We're all about our flower gardens

  2. I have also found review here https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/244099/herbaceous-sprouts



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