Gino and Bevan contribute a micro-review each on the very popular Takenoko by Antoine Bauza for Indie Cardboard’s Four Player Reviews section:
Takenoko is an unusual game of communal competition, with all players helping to build the garden, grow the bamboo and herd the chubby little panda to the next patch of food; whilst still trying to achieve their secret objectives. It’s gentle pace with relatively short player turns, coupled with cute components make for a surprisingly chilled play experience that just looks amazing in the table. One part I struggled with was the little ‘rulettes’; it took several play throughs and rereads of the rulebook to get the gameplay exactly as the designer intended. Still, FAT PANDA!
Takenoko merges a wonderfully crafted theme with a fun, almost puzzle-like, resource planner. With a well-thought-out balance of forward planning and random chance, plans will be foiled at the last minute, but you won’t care as there are plenty of options available. As long as you get to move that panda around, eat bamboo and infuriate the hard-working gardener you’ll find inner peace in each game. Massive replayability, good player balance and aesthetically appealing artwork and models will have you reaching for Takenoko more often than you’d expect.