Give Grace, Always.
Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
I bought Takenoko because frankly I have been impressed with nearly all of Antoine Bauza's games and was intrigued by the 2012 article in Spielbox where it was featured on the cover of issue #3.
I think my expectations were well managed (I knew it wasn't going to be the best game I'd ever played), I had seen The Dice Tower's review and seen some things around BGG that caused me to think this may be good for my family and friends.
I am a father of two daughters and my eldest Zeina is just over 4yrs old. I have been slowly pushing her into more complex games. The theme and design seemed to fit us well as it was unique in so many ways, theme, pieces, etc. I thought & hoped the 13yr old box recommendation would be too conservative for us.
On with the review...
I was nervous when I opened the box but was pleased to see a fun comic strip like introduction on the front cover of the rules booklet. Digging further into it I could immediately tell that this would not be too difficult to absorb as the rules seemed to be well written and even better illustrated with a non intimidating number of pages. Next, I was quickly punching out large hexes (Eclipse size) that were of acceptable thickness with great art.
Then as I removed the booklet and finished punching hexes the real excitement began as all the fun little pieces started to appear. The panda & gardener are very nice components and add a great touch to the game while the wooden bamboo pieces in three colors with a touch of accent art on them looked great. The paint job on my set was a little below par for my standard but they work and are not a big hangup.
The dice is nice though some might complain as it is wooden and painted. The player board art is great with intuitive icons which effectively aid in game play but the quality here is merely OK as they are a little flimsy for me. Finally, the card deck art is great and the cards are of good quality. All this made me feel very pleased with my purchase.
I spent about 30 minutes reading rules and felt ready to try to slowly play with Zeina as my wife was busy with our 18 month old. The game went slowly as fully expected with a four year old but her eyes were lit up looking at all the colors and pieces so I had her complete attention and we began...
This game really shines in actual play with bamboo shoots growing, fun color's popping, & a great unique theme with a good balance of randomness vs. skill. I was very pleased mid-game as I just sat and admired how cool the map looked with all the components in action, like nothing I'd seen before. I was also very pleased to see Zeina actually engaged, thanks to Takenoko my 4 year old now knows what adjacent means and can actually manage the rule on her own.
As you can probably tell, I really liked the game but while I am sort of making it sound like a great game for daughters I think it will be very well received by my wife (a non-gamer) as well. I would say it is a fantastic family game as well as a great intro game for non-gaming wives, non-competitive players, and players unfamiliar with the new standards of games.
This game is very easy to get to the table and I believe has enough of a challenge in it to maintain the power gamer's attention while being approachable enough for a 4 year old to get through a game with her daddy's help.
Takenoko deserves way more praise and attention, it has it's place on most gamers shelves especially those with family's and even more certainly if there are young daughters in the mix, there is no denying the color scheme and theme is perfect for girls. Now I say that worried to influence adults, my opinion is that it is great for adults as well, I'm just not sure how young boys would engage.
For the record, Zeina did not grasp all concepts, or play everything perfectly and there were several rules I managed for her w/o explanation as she is very young and it was clear when things were becoming too much. Also, she only lasted around seven turns, but it was plenty and she had fun so my goal of quality daddy time was achieved and we will play many more times. Bottom line regarding age is that a good parent could have fun with any age but for a true competitor I suspect 8 is the right minimum age.
I think this is another hit by Antoine Bauza it is by no means a power game but it seems clear that it wasn't intended to be, keep em coming fellas!!!
1st & 2nd Edit - Wording & Typos (kids keep interrupting )
- Last edited Sun Aug 19, 2012 1:07 am (Total Number of Edits: 2)
- Posted Sat Aug 18, 2012 9:14 pm
There must have been a moment at the beginning, where we could have said no. Somehow we missed it. Well, we'll know better next time.
Nice review, I tried this in July for the first time and was pleasantly surprised.
Thanks in particular for mentioning the designer's name and the fact that you liked his other games... this led me to see what they were, and in turn inspired the creation of this geeklist:
Currently under-rated designers