Takenoko has quickly become one of my favorites to play. The game’s concept is pretty easy to understand, and the goal is the same as most: be the person who has the most points at the end. However, there are five or so different strategies that you can take to get points, and unlike games such as Settlers or Puerto Rico, you don’t need to adapt to all strategies to win, just do one thing very well.
The game starts out with one single hex in the middle, which stores the water for the future bamboo to grow. With the exception of your first turn, you will roll a die which determines your turn’s special power, and then you will decide which two actions you would like to take. You might decide to purchase land, grow bamboo, eat bamboo, irrigate the fields, or simply pick up more goal cards. The goal cards contain the points, and upon completion of a goal, you claim the points.
Like I said before, it is pretty easy to understand. However, where it gets tricky is the fact that you are sharing the fields with everyone at the table. If my goal cards tell me to eat bamboo and yours say to grow it, we’re going to be fighting for the same shoots. The victor will rise when he or she figures out how to accomplish their goals while also not helping their opponents too much.
I love this game because the map develops while you play. Thus the map changes every time, and because of that, your goals will change as well. Along with this is the artwork. This game has incredible artwork on the hexes, the panda and farmer, the cards, as well as the box and directions. There are no short ends on the artwork and it makes the game that much more fun.
As for strategy suggestions, I would start by purchasing more land and collecting the irrigation channels. These will come in handy for any strategy, and because you can store the irrigation channels and play as many as you want on your turn, you might as well have as many as you need. Likewise don’t be shy to take more goal cards. You can only have five in your hand at once, but unlike Ticket to Ride, it doesn’t hurt you if you don’t have them accomplished at the end of the game. Take what you desire and work towards those, because the first person to accomplish eight or so goals triggers the final round, so work hard and work fast.
As for the rules, there are a couple that might be hard to understand or you want to mix things up, and therefore take a house rule or two. This isn’t a big deal towards game play, just read the rules and decide how you’d best like to play. For example, we like to show our accomplished goal, and then turn the cards face down so other players cannot see them. This adds a bit of strategy during the game because you have to remember what each player has done.
Reiterating my feelings towards this game, it’s a must have for the collection. It’s easy to understand, great artwork, and a fun playing dynamic make this game a great time. Pick this up for around $30, you won’t regret the purchase.
As always, you can buy Takenoko from Amazon by clicking HERE!