Saturday, March 31, 2018

4) Takenoko

Welcome to Dice Spotlight! I’m your Gamemaster, Jonathan, here at Connexxions Cafe. This blog highlights different games that we have at the Cafe that you may want to check out. Maybe you’ll discover a new favourite!

I mean, look at him! I obviously mean the farmer.
Up on the pedestal today is the Panda Game! The Panda Game is a very popu....wait, that's not what it's called? But that's what everyone says! "Can you teach us the Panda Game?" "Oh look, this game has a cute panda!" It's called Takenoko?! What a silly name... Ahem, we're looking at TAKENOKO. *Whispers* but we know what it's REALLY called! 
Takenoko is a simple game of growing bamboo, eating bamboo, and making more places to grow and eat bamboo. There's a little bit of complexity when it comes to irrigating the plots of land and learning how that mechanic works, but besides that, its a fairly easy to get the basics down. Each player has their own set of goal cards (as seen on the right) that they are working toward. It could be having the panda a certain number of red bamboo, have 3 stacks of green bamboo that are 4 high, or have 2 irrigated yellow plots beside 2 irrigated green plots. There are loads of different combinations so it can be hard for opponents to actively stop your plans. Each turn, you roll a weather dice, with each side triggering a different event. One side lets you move the farmer to grow bamboo in a plot that you want. Another lets you take an upgrade token to place later on the board. It adds enough randomness to keep each turn interesting!


You may notice I usually show a 2 player setup.
It's PURELY for the reason of it looking nicer that way
and NOT me being too lazy to put out more pieces.
The cuteness is an obvious draw to Takenoko. You can't avoid that! I get such a sense of joy when moving the panda and scarfing down a segment of bamboo. It never gets old! But how much game is there actually? Well, this is one I'd say you have to try out for yourself. Takenoko is a bit divisive in whether it is a good game. Some find it a bit boring and frustrating because your opponents never actually know what goals you're trying to achieve and so in the end, they'll block you by accident. And if you're in a group that won't show their frustration, the blocker will have no idea they did anything (which is most of the fun!). But if you're the type of person who likes a relaxing game, Takenoko is a really good choice! With only a few choices, it doesn't get overwhelming. And that constant progression toward your goals gives you that feeling of accomplishment each turn. I'm trying to stress that this is still a fun game, just for certain people. While it may not be my favourite, I taught a coworker, and she had a blast! That's why I'm just asking you to try it. Even if it's only for the panda :P

Thanks for checking out Dice Spotlight! I hope you enjoy getting a little glimpse of the magic that board games can bring. Come visit the Connexxions Cafe (12644 137 Ave, Edmonton) and say hi! Or ask me about a certain game that you’ve always wanted to learn. I’d be happy to work through it with you :) Keep being awesome!

Jonathan

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