Takenoko Board Game
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- For 2 to 4 players
- 45 minutes of play time
- In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow and Pink)
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A long time ago at the Japanese Imperial court, the Chinese Emperor offered a giant panda bear as a symbol of peace to the Japanese Emperor. Since then, the Japanese Emperor has entrusted his court members (the players) with the difficult task of caring for the animal by tending to his bamboo garden. In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.
From the Manufacturer
The players take the role of courtesans of the Nippon emperor. They take care of his Giant Panda by growing a bamboo plantation. Their mission: to farm parcels of land, irrigate them, and have green, yellow or pink bamboo grow. In turn, they see what the weather brings and perform two actions from among those offered to them: get a new plot of land or irrigation channel, grow bamboo, feed the panda or draw an objective card. The game ends when a player has completed 7 to 9 objectives (depending on the number of players). The player who gets the best score by adding the total value of their completed objective wins the game.
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This item Takenoko Board Game
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|Are Batteries Required||No||No||No||No||No||No|
|Item Dimensions||3 x 9 x 13 in||12 x 12 x 3 in||9.5 x 11.62 x 3 in||11.75 x 11.75 x 3 in||8.6 x 12 x 1.7 in||5.62 x 1.88 x 11.25 in|
|Item Weight||2.84 lbs||2.56 lbs||2 lbs||2.8 lbs||2.3 lbs||7 ounces|
Top customer reviews
Sounds unique? It certainly is. It's also cute, silly, and beautifully presented. It's hard to overstate Takenoko's superb production values. The gamebox artwork is inviting. The box insert secures the game components perfectly. The game pieces are vibrant and colorful. The panda and gardner figurines are adorable. The gameplay mechanics are simple and elegant, and there's enough optionality of actions and dynamism on the game board to offer a reasonable amount of tactical decision making. But above all, it's those beautiful, high quality components that will suck players into the entertaining world of expanding, growing, and munching bamboo.
Looking for a great gateway game? Look no further because Takenoko is a fantastic one!
+ Absolutely superb production values
+ Creates a colorful, vibrant landscape on your table
+ Cute and friendly theme appeals to non-gamers
+ Gameplay mechanics are easy to teach and learn
+ Light, but engaging tactical decision making
- Luck is a factor in two ways (rolling dice and drawing cards)
- Luck factor increases in prominence when adding more players
- The gameplay is highly tactical, as opposed to strategic
- Fairly easy to intuit and then wreak havoc on the plans of others
- Rulebook doesn't cover a few edge-case scenarios
While light and silly, the theme is fun and beautifully integrated in every aspect of the game. The components are of excellent quality, from the sturdy interlocking bamboo pieces to the decently thick cardboard land tiles to the miniature panda and farmer figurines.
Players build a single garden (board) and move a sole farmer and panda around it while trying to complete hidden goals dictated by drawn cards. As such your actions influence your opponents directly and will often aid them in completing goals, adding depth to gameplay choices. When one player achieves a set target number of goals everyone else gets a final turn and then victory points for completed goals are totaled to determine the winner.
There are three types of goal cards (players start with one of each):
1) Panda goals - claim a certain color/number of bamboo by having the panda eat it.
2) Plots goals - redeem when the shown configuration of colored land is on the game board and irrigated.
3) Gardener goals - grow pictured color(s) of bamboo to shown height.
On each turn a player will choose two of the following actions:
1) Draw three garden plots and choose one to add to the board.
2) Move the panda and eat bamboo if possible.
3) Move the gardener and grow bamboo if possible.
4) Lay piping to irrigate plots.
5) Draw a goal card.
Goals can be redeemed any time on your turn and do not require an action.
There are some further rules, but that's the gist. The game is quick to teach and plays relatively quickly. There is a fair amount of luck involved, so while your choices do matter don't enter looking for pure strategy.
The biggest criticism of the game (from my own group and other reviewers) is balance. The panda cards appear too easy to complete in comparison to the other goals and points awarded, so there is a tendency for players to concentrate on drawing only those. I don't think it's game breaking though, and people who drew a variety won just as often in the games I've played (timely use of tokens that prevent a certain tile from having its bamboo eaten can help to derail opponents using that strategy).
Overall Takenoko is a high quality, enjoyable game to have on hand for casual or younger players or for breaks from the more complex stuff. It's not going to blow away veteran gamers, but I still found it plenty worthwhile.