Review – Takenoko

An action selection, farming game.

Title: Takenoko

Year Published: 2011

Designer: Antoine Bauza

Publisher: Asmodee

Players: 2-4

Game Time: ~45 Mins

Set-up Time: <5 Mins

Ages: 8+

Theme: Japan

Mechanic: Action Selection

How to win: Score the most points

Game Description

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.

Set Up

Very simple…

Put the pond tile in the centre of the table and put the cute Panda and hard working Gardener on it. Everything else is shuffled into separate piles.

Takenoko Setup

Each player gets a player board, 2 chips and 1 card from each category.

Decide who will start first.

Game Play

Each turn has 2 phases – Weather and Actions.

You start your turn by rolling the weather die. It has 6 sides with 5 different possible effects. if you haven’t played the game these weather actions may not make sense now but will later.

Sun – You get to take an extra action that is different from your other actions you have taken this turn.
Rain – Place a Bamboo section on one irrigated plot
Wind – You may take two identical actions
Storm – Move the Panda to any tile and eat a piece of Bamboo
Clouds – Take an improvement chip and put on a plot or reserve
? – Choose the Weather for your turn

After the weather you take two different actions. This is where the effect of the Wind on the weather die will allow you to break this rule.

Plot – Expand the garden by drawing 3 plot tiles, choosing one and putting the other two back on top of deck. This is placed either adjacent to the central pond tile or two other plots already in play.

Takenoko Plot

Irrigation – Water a plot by building an irrigation channel between 2 plots to irrigate those plots. A plot is considered irrigated if it’s next to the pond tile or has the Watershed improvement on it. When a plot is irrigated for the first time, a bamboo shoot is added, if two plots are irrigated at once, both get a bamboo shoot.

Takenoko Irrigation

Gardener/Panda – Move in a straight line any number of plots. Gardeners grow bamboo on the plot they land on if it’s irrigated. They also grow bamboo and each adjacent irrigated plot of the same colour.

The Panda eats a bamboo section on that plot and the player keeps it on their board.

Both the Gardener and Panda must move at least one space to take this action.

Takenoko Gardener

Objective – Draw an objective card. You can have a maximum of 5 cards in hand.

This isn’t an action but at any time during your turn you can complete an objective card if you meet the goal.

Takenoko Objective Cards

Game End

When a player completes a number of objective cards depending on the player number, the last round is triggered.

If you are the player that triggers the last round, you get to take the emperor card.

After everyone has finished, whoever has the most points wins. In the case of a tie, the player with the most points from the Panda objectives will win.

Round Up

A very cute fun game.

It’s actually a lot more tactical than it looks. As you play you get to know the objective cards and you can make educated guess as to what your opponents are trying to do. This allows you to mess with their plans or try and piggy back on it.

But the best thing about the game is how it looks, how cute it is and how smooth game play is.


A very nice light game.

I give it 6/10

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