“Grow bamboo, eat bamboo, or expand your bamboo grove.” These are the big decisions you have to make in Takenoko, the new game from Asmodee.

The premise of Takenoko (meaning “bamboo shoots” in Japanese) is simple – the emperor of China has gifted a giant panda to the emperor of Japan… who has no idea how to care for a panda. Luckily, the panda also comes with a trained gardener who can care for the bamboo gardens and grow delicious bamboo for the always hungry panda.

During their turn players have to cultivate their bamboo grove – irrigating their plots and growing different colored bamboo. Players see what the weather holds and then performs two actions. They can, for example, move the panda figure (and eat bamboo), move the gardener (and grow bamboo), grow the bamboo garden, draw an objective card, or get an irrigation channel.

Players hold objective cards in their hand to tell them what goals they are working toward; these cards also show victory points which will determine the winner. Play goes on until one player has reached a pre-determined number of cashed-in cards (which changes depending on the number of players). Then victory points are counted, and the winner is crowned.

Takenoko is a beautifully designed game, typical of what we see from Asmodee. Fantastic artwork all around – from the box, instructions, and cards, to the fully-painted miniature figures of the panda and the gardener. The instructions are clear and concise and will get you into the game quickly.

Takenoko accommodates 2 to 4 players (best with 4), and takes approximately an hour to play. Recommended ages are 13+, but it can easily be played by younger gamers who are familiar with intermediate gaming concepts. Takenoko does a great job of blending strategy, tactics, and theme. It’s perfect for both newer and experienced gamers alike.

Have a great panda time with Takenoko!

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