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WATCH: How to Play – TAKENOKO

Join Game the Game host Becca Scott as she shows us how to play awesome tabletop games here on Geek & Sundry!

This week, Becca’s taking us deep into the bamboo plots of Japan to teach us how to play Takenoko by Asmodee. The Emperor of China has gifted the Emperor of Japan a giant panda and it is your job to take care of it. Are you up to the task of keeping up with its bamboo munching ways?

Each player starts the game with one of each of the three different objective types: tile placement, gardener, and panda. Each one easily tells you what is needed to complete the objective and how many points it is worth. You can complete objectives at any time on your turn.  Once one of the players has completed the number of objectives needed (based on how many players there are), it triggers the final round.

On your turn, you pick two of the five possible actions available: picking and placing a plot, gaining an irrigation channel, moving the gardener, moving the panda, or drawing another objective card. You can only do any action once per turn, so plan carefully.

This is where the game shines. In addition to being super cute and having amazing pieces, there are a lot of components that change the game each time you play. When you draw plots, you pick up the top three tiles and pick which one you want to play. It helps mitigate that dread of getting the piece that wrecks everything you were building. You then place the other two tiles on the bottom of the stack in any order you chose, which helps if you think your opponent needs one of them.

You don’t know what objectives your opponents are going for, so there is a deduction element to the game. If you think they need a certain color of bamboo to grow, you can move the panda to mow it down. Or move the gardener to a place where they can’t get the help.

The one completely random element to the game is the weather die. At the beginning of your turn, you roll the die. You can choose to ignore it or activate whatever symbol had been rolled. This could mean extra actions, growing a piece of bamboo, moving the panda, or claiming an improvement.

I’d be remiss if I didn’t actually talk about how well made this game is. The bamboo stalks are wood and slot into each other easily. The panda is chubby and beautifully painted. Tiles are thick and hold up well to years of use.

Do you have the skills to care for the Emperor’s panda? Test out your gardening skills and be sure to watch Becca’s How to Play every week here on Geek & Sundry!

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