Players – 2-4
Manufacturer – Bombyx & Matagot
Ages – 8+
Play Through Time – Approx 45 minutes
Complexity – Simple to pick up after playing for a few rounds
Type – Resource gathering and managing
Genre – Japanese
Available from – All good retailers
Price – £30 (RRP)
The Game & Aim
There have been a number of diplomatic disputes between the Japanese and Chinese , but this is all finally at an end. The historic pact between both countries is sealed when the Chinese Emperor gifts his Japanese counterpart, a Giant Panda in honour of the new found peace.
As wonderful a gift of a panda is , it poses a problem for the Japanese Emperor and means that his palatial gardens now need to be managed more carefully. Leaving the task to his favourite gardener, the Japanese Emperor wishes to ensure that the plots of land, bamboo growth and insatiable hunger of his new acquisition, are all handled precisely.
The players in Takenoko all manage the garden together, there is just one gardener, one panda and one garden. However they will all be working towards completing their own goals such as feeding the panda specific bamboo, growing various colour plots arranged in specific ways and also growing bamboo in the colours they require.
To win the game players need to have earned the most victory points throughout the game. This is triggered by the first player to accumulate the required number of objective cards for the amount of players in the game, this earns them the Emperor Card and an additional two victory points.
What’s in the Box?
- 28 Plots
- 36 Green Bamboo Sections
- 30 Yellow Bamboo Sections
- 24 Pink Bamboo Sections
- 20 Irrigation Channels
- 9 Improvement/Weather Tiles
- 46 Objective Cards
- 4 Individual Boards
- 8 Action Chips
- 1 Weather Die
- 1 Panda
- 1 Gardener
- 1 Rule Book
The game comes with a lovely pink insert with a place for each of the game pieces to live. They do require bagging, depending on how you store your games, if you store them horizontally then you will be fine, but vertical storage will allow your pieces to move considerably and get mixed up.
No baggies are supplied with Takenoko.
Rule Book & Mechanics
The Rule Book
The rule book in Takenoko is absolutely fantastic and really fits with the whole theme of the game itself. Set out as a comic strip at first, the rule book appeals to all ages and is easy to follow. It sets out the story of Takenoko, contents and mechanics of the game in not just a beautiful illustrated setting, but clear and concise instructions.
The game itself contains a number of components that will all have a bearing on the outcome of each hand.
Player Objective Cards
Each player is dealt three objective cards at the start of the game and can acquire more throughout. There are three type of objective card – Gardener, Panda and Plots, each of them allowing the player to pursue a different path to victory points.
- These cards are fulfilled by the player growing specific coloured bamboo under various conditions, such as in conjunction with improvement cards.
- These cards are completed by moving the panda around the board and eating different coloured bamboo shoots.
- Plot cards are collected by creating specific patterns with varied colour plots.
During the game the weather will change and this is indicated by the Weather Die. The game action is taken depending on the outcome of your role –
- An extra action (2 +1)
- Make it grow
- Double action (do one of your actions twice)
- Scare the panda
- Take an improvement tile
- Question Mark
- choose the weather of your choice
The hexagonal tiles that are essential the board on which the game is played, are called plots. The plots come in three different colours and can also feature an improvement tile as standard. The plots are arranged so that the player can collect the victory points from their hand of cards.
Irrigation is an important part of the game, the initial set up is a blue plot that is basically filled with water, this is where the gardener and the panda start their journey. Any plot that is attached to the blue water starting plot is automatically irrigated and a piece of bamboo will grow on first contact with the water.
Tiles that are placed as plots NOT in contact with the water tile need to be irrigated using blue pipes. Irrigation pipes can be collected and stored on the player card as part of your turn, they then are placed on the board in such a way that you lead the water towards the tile that currently is barren due to its position.
The gardener can move any number of plots in a straight line and whatever plot he lands on, providing it is irrigated, will grow one piece of bamboo, (to a total of 4 per plot). There is an improvement tile that will allow the gardener to grow twice as much bamboo as standard.
Like the gardener, the panda may only move in a straight line. The panda may not pass through a panda free zone though!
There are three improvements that can be made to the plots on which the bamboo grows –
- Automatic Irrigation
- Panda Free Zone
- Grow Double Bamboo
Takenoko is a visually pleasing game that is simple enough to pick up, whilst having enough complexity to keep you engaged in the game play. Suitable for most ages, maybe a little too complex for younger children, this is a fantastic option for family game nights or to play with board gamers who are casual players.
Stunningly made, beautifully engineered and thoroughly enjoyable, we can’t help but give Takenoko a full 5 out of 5!