T is for Takenoko

Happy Sunday, everyone!  I’m doing a little bit of catch-up for the A-to-Z Challenge, so expect to see a few “extra” (read: re-scheduled) posts from me today and tomorrow.  First, T is for Takenoko

Takenoko is a light-to-medium weight euro-style game for up to four players.  In the game, you are a gardener in the employ of the Japanese emperor.  Unfortunately for you, the emperor was gifted a giant panda from his Chinese counterpart.  The panda is now living in the imperial garden, eating all of the bamboo you are trying to grow.

Takenoko tiles

The gameplay of Takenoko is fairly simple. It is a tile-laying and point-taking game. At the start of a player’s turn, he draws three terrain tiles, chooses one, and adds it to the board.  Bamboo shoots automatically grow one segment if they are irrigated and/or next to the garden’s central pond.  The players are all dealt goal cards which offer up a certain amount of points when completed.  There are three types of goal cards: terrain, which offers points for laying terrain tiles in a certain configuration; gardener, for growing bamboo of certain colors and heights; and panda for eating certain colors and amounts of bamboo segments.

Each person is given a player mat (shown below) which lays out the possible actions that can be played each turn:

  • Placing another terrain tile (by, again, drawing three tiles and choosing one to play)
  • Taking an irrigation piece (which can be laid down at any time)
  • Moving the gardener figurine (who, when placed on a tile, causes the bamboo to grow one segment)
  • Moving the panda figurine (who, when placed on a tile, eats one segment off the bamboo stalk)
  • Drawing another goal card

There is also a “weather die” which determines an additional action to be performed during the turn (such as allowing the player to perform two of the same action, causing all of the irrigated bamboo shoots to grow one segment, etc.)

The game is over when one person has completed a certain amount of goal cards (dependent on the number of players).  The points are then added up, and the player with the most points wins.

Takenoko board

I was initially drawn to Takenoko because of it’s adorable design and theme. (I love pandas! They are so cute and pudgy!!) The thought of playing a game where a panda eats pastel-colored bamboo was just too wonderful to be ignored. What’s more, I thought the segmented bamboo stalks were brilliant. The game is just a box full of delightful colors and cuteness.

In my opinion, Takenoko is a perfect game for introducing people to designer boardgames. Sure, the mechanics may be simpler and a bit more random than, say, Settlers of Catan (thought by many to be the gateway game), but it’s also a game that grabs your eye. Takenoko is always the game that friends pull off my shelf and ask me to teach them. “I want to play the panda game!” they say. Who can resist those colorful components and that adorable panda figurine!

Earlier this year, game designer Antoine Bauza announced an upcoming expansion for the game, thought to be ready for release by GenCon 2015. It includes a female panda figurine, nine baby panda tokens, and is called Takenoko Chibis.  …Just take my money now, Bauza.


Takenoko was designed by Antoine Bauza and is published by BombyxAsmodee, and Matagot (among other international publishers.)

Aside

I’m Not Dead Yet!

Hey everyone!

Just letting you know that I am not giving up on the A-to-Z Challenge!  I’m just a bit behind on posting.  I’ve had a really busy week, including traveling on Thursday and Friday.  I’m currently in Chicago for C2E2!  As such, I will likely be putting up the next A-to-Z posts (T, U, and V) on Sunday/Monday.  Only a few more posts until the finish line!  I’ve hit a little snag, but will hopefully get everything up in time for the end of the challenge.  Thanks for understanding; I’ve really enjoyed reading other participants’ blogs and seeing everyone’s comments on the posts here!

Until then,

Wise the Simple

S is for Scott Pilgrim

Scott Pilgrim is a six-part graphic novel series by Bryan Lee O’Malley, which was adapted into the 2010 film Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.  The titular Scott (portrayed in the movie by Michael Cera) is an unemployed Canadian in his early twenties who, at the start of the series, is dating a high school girl named Knives Chau (Ellen Wong).  As a slacker, a mooch, and all-around self-centered young man, Scott’s relationship is one of convenience rather than a true emotional connection.  His life is turned upside down when he meets Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), the girl of his dreams… literally.

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R is for The Resistance (and The Resistance: Avalon)

As far as party games go, a favorite among my family and friends has always been Mafia.  Mafia, also known in some circles as Werewolf, is a social deduction game wherein certain members of the group are secretly members of the mafia (or werewolves, alternatively).  Through rounds of secret voting, the mafia try to kill off the members of the party until they outnumber the innocents.  There are other special roles, such as the Governor/Detective (who can identify whether a player is mafia) or the Doctor/Nurse (who can heal another player possibly marked for death.)  It’s a game of deceit and trying to determine who you can trust.  Within my gaming group, it has caused many arguments as well as inspired many fun memories.

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Q is for quitter

Spoiler alert: this post is the product of pure laziness.  I worked late today, leaving two hours after I’m normally scheduled to leave.  By the time I got home, I was utterly exhausted and not willing to expend any more energy than needed.  While making and eating dinner, I caught up on some tv shows, and ultimately ended up on YouTube (as I am often wont to do).  Some time during my brainless binge-watching, I remembered that I had to write my daily A-to-Z post.  But, real talk?  I’m super tired and unable to think straight.  So instead of getting a real blog post today, you get this stream-of-consciousness rambling.  Sorry! So today, Q is for quitter.  I just don’t have the energy for anything more substantial.  But, I would feel terrible if this aimless post was a complete waste of your time.  So I have included some six-word stories for your (potential) enjoyment below.  Here are some on-topic works:

“Too tired, or too lazy?”  “Touché.”

Sucked into YouTube wormhole.  Send help!

My life needs a pause button.

And some random ones:

Quoth the apathetic raven, “Meh, maybe.”

Date with destiny.  Suggest going dutch.

First contact: “New fone. who dis?”

Sorry again for this lazy post!  I promise I have some fun stuff scheduled for the rest of this week.

I really am super tired though.  Time for bed.  Good night, blogosphere!

O is for…

I grew up as quite a voracious reader, but have since fallen rather behind in my reading list. There are so many authors and books that I haven’t gotten to.  That’s not to say that I don’t hoard titles from the discount bookstore.  I am constantly picking things up, adding them to my ever-growing “To Read” pile.  In honor of the A-to-Z Challenge, I decided to read one of these books: John Scalzi’s Hugo Award-nominated, military sci-fi, debut novel.

O is for Old Man’s War.

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