For Christmas we got a bunch of games. We decided the kids had more than enough toys to make a mess with. Instead of giving them more stuff for me to clean up, we got games we can play together. I don't know about you, but my family LOVES playing games. I can't tell you how often my 3 year old will come up to me and say "Mom, I want to play something with somebody." Which usually means he wants to play a game with me while his brothers are at school.
Our new Christmas games
One of the games we got is called Takenoko. I have to say, I kinda love this game! The instruction booklet starts out like a comic. There is a panda given to the Japanese from the Chinese to show their appreciation of a kind welcome and to help seal an alliance.
It has a cute little panda bear that you have to feed while the gardener is trying to grow bamboo on tiles that you lay out and irrigate.
To start your turn, you roll a weather die. It has different things you can do. The lightning scares the panda and you can put him anywhere you'd like. The sun lets you take an extra action. Rain grows a bamboo piece on any tile. Wind lets you do the same action twice. Clouds let you pick an improvement tile. The ? lets you pick one.
Every player has their own individual board. After you roll the die, you get to take your two actions. You can either pick three tiles and play one. Take an irrigation channel and either play it or save it for later. Move the gardener and grow bamboo. Move the panda and eat one bamboo. Or you can draw a card. The individual player cards have nice little spots to keep everything you take off of the board and for things you can take and save for later.
The gardener can only move in a straight line. He grows a bamboo on the tile he lands on and every adjacent tile of the same color as long as it is irrigated. The panda also has to move in a straight line and can eat one bamboo off of the tile he lands on.
These are the improvement tokens. They either fertilize, keep the panda from eating the bamboo or irrigate it. The fertilizer makes it so two bamboo can be grown at once. The water one makes it so you don't have to get the irrigation to it. It's already watered. Some of the tiles already have the improvements on them, so you can't play these on them. Only one per tile.
You draw cards that have different goals to achieve. There's laying out tile patterns, growing a certain number of bamboo on a certain tile(s), or eating bamboo. When you complete one, you lay the card out in front of you. Each card has a point value that you will add up at the end of the game. Once someone completes a certain amount of cards, which depends on the number of players, everyone else gets one last turn and the game is over.
Whoever finishes first, makes the emperor happy and receives this card for 2 extra points.
If you would like watch it being played, you can do that here. We love watching Table Top. It's hosted by Wil Wheaton and he has other celebrity guests on with him and they play games. We have found many of our games this way.