Druid City Games
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Board Game Spotlight

 

Herbalism - A Kickstarter Preview!

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PUBLISHER: EmperorS4
DESIGNER: Lucas Eros Lin, Liu Xiao
PLAYERS: 3-4
TIME: 15-30 min

Introduction to Herbalism

From the Publisher: In the game Herbalism, players take on the role of a group of novice pharmacists, hoping to find the cure to the pandemic that is currently plaguing the country. Players must exchange information with one another in order to gain more insight into the ingredients of the cure; however, only one can earn the title of "God Farmer," so be careful not to share all of your knowledge too easily!

I received a prototype version of Herbalism. Components and Art may not be final and are subject to change.

OVERALL GAMEPLAY

At the beginning of the game, place the 7 medicine cards to the center of the table. Then, depending on the difficulty of the game, place the corresponding action cards on the table.

  • Basic: Inquiring and Curing.
  • Normal: Feeding, Appealing, and Curing.
  • Advanced: Some or all the action cards. Curing is mandatory.

Then, deal 2 secret ingredients under the cure action card. These are the 2 ingredients players are attempting to deduce. Then, deal the remaining 12 cards evenly among all players.

Herbalism is played over a series of rounds, until one player achieves 6 victory points.

Beginning with the starting player, each player will perform the following two actions:

  • Move the Pharmacist: The active player must move their medicine marker and cannot choose to stay on the original card. It’s important to note that multiple pharmacists may exist on a single medicine card.
  • Choose an action: The active player then moves the action marker onto any available action to perform its function.
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There are 5 action cards in the game. They are:

  • Inquiring: Depending on the 2 colors of the medicine card, the active player chooses an ingredient card in hand that matches one of the colors and gives it to another player. The receiving player must then publicly and honestly announce how many cards in their hand that matches the other color of the medicine card. The receiving player does not state the color of the card.
     
  • Feeding: Depending on the 2 colors of the medicine card, the active player chooses an ingredient card in hand that matches one of the colors and gives it to another player. The receiving player must then give the active player all the cards in their hand that match the other color of the medicine card.
     
  • Brewing: The active player chooses another player. Depending on the 2 colors of the medicine card where the active player is located, the chosen player must give the active player 2 cards that match each of the colors on the medicine card. If the chosen player only has 1 of the corresponding color, the chosen player only has to give 1 card of that color.
     
  • Appealing: The active player chooses another player. Depending on the 2 colors of the medicine card where the active player is located, the chosen player must give the active player all the cards that match 1 of the 2 colors.
     
  • Curing: The active player puts their cure marker, “Answer” side up on any medicine card. In clockwise order, each player may choose 1 of the following actions:
     
    • Place their cure marker “Answer” side up on any other medicine card that does not have a cure marker.
       
    • Place their cure marker “Follow” side up on any medicine card with a cure marker.
       
    • Pass and not use a cure marker.

Starting with the active player, and going clockwise, each player who placed a cure marker secretly looks at the 2 ingredient cards under the curing action card and compares them to their current cure marker location. If they match, then that player has found the cure and the round ends. If they don’t match, that player is out of the round. A player without a cure marker may still be chosen as an action. If there is 1 player with a cure marker left in the round, they must immediately perform the cure action.

Game End and How to Win

When 1 player correctly guesses the 2 secret ingredients, or all players have used their cure markers, the round ends! The player who guessed correctly is awarded 3 victory points. Any player who followed the correct medicine is awarded 1 victory point. If player guessed incorrectly, they receive a -1 victory point token.

When a player accumulates 6 victory points, the game ends. The player with the most victory points wins and earns the honorary title, “God Farmer!”

Advanced Rules

Herbalism contains a set of rules for an advanced game. During setup, place the prediction markers in the center of the table. After a player takes an action, other than curing, they make take a prediction marker of the medicine color they believe the cure contains. When the game ends, check if your prediction was correct. If your prediction was correct, you gain +1 victory point. If you were wrong, flip the token to receive -1 victory point.


WHAT MIGHT YOU LIKE and/or dislike?

Herbalism is a puzzle. Its weight does not come from an intricate, complex ruleset, but more-so in the various actions you can take, and the interaction and shifting information at the table.

The game publisher recommends players use pencil and paper to easily follow the memory aspect of the game, but some players will not like that as it takes away from card counting and can add a lot of time to this quick game.

Players will be drawn to the artwork and overall look of Herbalism. It's clean and eye-catching. The graphic design/iconography may not be intuitive for every player. The action cards may be difficult to understand at first but the rulebook outlines everything well.

The player count of 3-4 may alienate some players, but for most, it will be a great filler on game night.

Adding the advanced rules is a great way to spice up the game after multiple plays and adds a press-your-luck feeling to the game.

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Herbalism incorporates a beautiful blend of mathematical puzzle and deductive reasoning, with a race to finding a cure. The game can play quickly, or take a lifetime, depending on your play-group. The interaction of sharing information around the table will keep all players invested outside of their active turn, and the complexity of the game should not be overlooked. Herbalism will surprise players with a hidden depth of strategy and engages players brains in a game of wits and deduction.

You will like this game if you enjoy: deductive reasoning, memory games, puzzles/math, and a sense of accomplishment in curing diseases.  

Don't miss your opportunity to cure the disease! 

Pledge here today!

Druid City Games and the Board Game Spotlight were paid to advertise, market and preview this game. Our opinions are our own and we remain objective as we play and preview our games for the board game community.  We reserve all rights to reject games that do not meet our standards.