JW's article on the joys of beating your own score motivated me to play Herbaceous after a long period of hiatus. I played this charming filler quite a lot at first, but it eventually got shelved and now only rarely hits the table.
Set collection is a mechanism that suits filler games. It requires some thought and decision making, but not too much. And it often relies on pushing one's luck. 'Argh, I need one more rosemary to form a pair, let's flip another card and see if I get it'. Everyone claims that this is a relaxing game, but it's not so much for me. Sure, the herbs look lovely. But I want to cross the 52 points barrier and can't. Not to mention that elusive biscuit. It requires to put a 1, a 2, and a 3 special herb in the jar and somehow I never manage to get all three. Believe it or not, I am less stressed when I play Spirit Island, because I feel more in control. Here, I am mostly working based on my instinct and some very light tactics.
Timing is key in this game. You have to decide when the right moment is to gather a set of different plants or to wait a little, in case you get more of what you need. The Community Garden gets discarded as soon as you place a fifth herb in it, and sometimes wiping it out is the right thing to do.
Herbaceous has all it takes to be a perennial solo favourite. It is very pretty, easy to learn, easy to play, quick and not entirely random. Truth be told, sometimes you want even your fillers to have a bit of meat on the bones, and this one doesn't. Given that its strength lies in its simplicity though, I have nothing to complain about. I just need to cultivate my skills a bit more.