“Step into tranquility as you pass through the torii gates, traveling from fountains to flowers to shrines while meeting vendors, poets, and even samurai along the way… “
On their turn, the players take one tile from their hand of 2, and expand the garden. Every tile piece has paths and at least one of the 6 features – Lotus, Bridges, Lanterns, Water Basins, Inari Statues, or Sekimori Ishi (stone features). If a continuous path is created between two matching features, the player scores a landmark token for that feature. If multiple paths are created, the player only scores for the shortest one. If the path passes through one or more Torii gates, bonus tiles are earned; Red Torii give the player multiple matching tokens for the feature, while blue Torii earn tokens for other, different features. When a player earns 5 of the same token, they must be cashed in for a larger 5-point piece. Similarly, 5 more tokens create a 10-point piece. Fully isolated areas of the garden with 2 or more features score special Enclosure Tokens. Other achievements are earned for being the first player to earn all six 5-point tokens, or three of the 10-point tokens.
Another important aspect of the game is the ability to ask for help from one of the five characters who live in the garden. Characters cost coins, or single tokens, but never the larger 5- and 10-point pieces. The Samurai prevents players from placing a tile in a specific location. The Poet covers a single feature, preventing it from completing pathways, or possibly allowing for longer pathways. Both the Samurai and the Poet stay out until another player asks for their help. The Vendor allows players to discard a tile from their hand, and replace it with 2 new ones. The Geisha lets a player place 2 tiles into the garden, although only the second tile scores for a path. Finally, the Gardener allows a player to place a tile on top of another tile. The first and second time a player summons a character, they collect that characters’ token, earning 2 points. However only one player may collect the points for summoning a character for a third time.
At the end of the game, the 5- and
10- point tiles score their points, as well as tiles earned from working with
the characters, tiles from creating enclosures, and achievements for being
first to earn the larger tokens. The One Hundred Torii also comes with a single
player mode, where the player battles against Onatsu, the pilgrim. Onatsu takes
the player’s unused tiles, and scores her own points throughout the game.
Herbaceous was a Kickstarted game from last year that featured lots of beautiful art, and a theme all about storing and growing the most valuable variety of herbs. Dr. Finn Games and Pencil First Games are back again with a new version of the game, Herbaceous Sprouts, which takes the original card game and morphs it into a dice game. In the game each round will have a set number of tool cards, and on those tool cards will be dice that you will get to draft along with the cards. On your turn you will pick a tool card, get all the dice on that tool card, as well as the tool card with gives extra abilities that is associated with that tool. Some of the tools include trowels that allow you to plant flowers, market packages that all you to change dice, seed bags which give extra dice, and more. What you are trying to do is get sets of dice in order to plant your seedlings in the garden, sets like all the same, all different, pairs, or a flower and trowel together to plant in the flower garden. Space is limited in each area so the first person there will get higher points, and if all the spots are taken then you are just out of luck. If you are playing with less than 4 players then there is also a rival who will be planting their seeds according to the leftover card from the initial draft, making card choice at the start even more critical. In the end, whoever has the most points will be the winner.
Like the card game this is based on, Herbaceous Sprouts is beautiful to look at, and with rules that are streamlined and easy to learn, a quick game to play in 30 minutes. A pledge for the base game comes in at $35 plus shipping, and there are additional pledge levels to get other games like Herbaceous or Sunset Over Water along with mini expansions. So head on over to the Kickstarter page to give this one a look, the game also comes packaged with a solo mode for those looking to garden alone.
Herbaceous is the latest game from Pencil First Games up on Kickstarter from the mind of Steve Finn, of Dr. Finn’s Games, and the brush of Beth Sobel. Herbaceous is a very beautiful looking card game that plays as a distillation of the push your luck mechanic.
On any given turn you will first be given the option to plant herbs in pots, with each pot having different requirements for what you can put in them for points. One gives points based on how many of one type you put, another for how many unique types, another for how many pairs you put, but the last one is special. In the glass jar you can put as many herbs as you want, but this is also the only pot that can take the special herbs that give bonus points. After choosing to pot plants or not, you must draw an herb card and choose if it will go in your garden, where only you can use it, or the community garden where anyone can use it. After making that choice you draw a second card and are forced to plant it in the opposite garden. The push your luck aspect of the game is when you choose to pot the herbs, do you do it now for some points, or hope it’s there for another round and get more points? Will you pot early to grab special herbs in that hopes of getting the bonus biscuit card, or try to maximize points to offset those lost bonus points? Push your luck far enough without going bust and you may score enough points to emerge the winner.
As I mentioned already the art is stunning and that alone is worth a look at the game. As a bonus for being a backer you get some flavor cards which act as events when they are drawn, affecting the game in different ways. If this game sounds interesting to you then head on over to the campaign page to pledge for your copy.