Kulkmann's G@mebox - www.boardgame.de



Antoine Bauza


No. of Players:
2 - 4



Cute Panda babies - who doesn't simply love them? Well, I know a certain Gardener in the Imperial Gardens of Japan who is not really fond of Pandas, and the reason of his deep-rooted antipathy is connected with the Panda's love for his prized bamboo plantations…

Do you remember Takenoko, Antoine Bauza's epic duel between Panda and Gardener released in 2011? Well, in the game the players try to score by fulfilling Objective cards showing certain arrangements of Garden plots, groves of Bamboo sprouts and bamboo sections to be eaten by the Panda. The players can control both the Gardener who is responsible for growing Bamboo and the Panda who is eating it. The player who has most efficiently managed both figures to fulfill most Objective cards usually is declared the winner of the game, but now the balance of power in the Royal Gardens will be shifted heavily towards the Panda side, since the new Takenoko: Chibis expansion does not only include a new "Miss Panda" figurine, but also 9 new tokens for Panda Babies. I somewhat pity the poor Gardener…

But what's new in terms of gameplay? The expansion set comes with 6 new garden plots, each bearing a small symbol of Miss Panda. Whenever a player adds such a plot to the Garden, the figurine of Miss Panda will be placed there, but the players also may opt to move her in normal fashion instead of the Panda. Whenever Miss Panda moves onto a plot with the Panda present, Miss Panda may bring a baby into the world, provided the active player spends a Bamboo section of the same colour as the plot where the Pandas have met. If the player does so, he will receive a Panda Baby token of this colour.

Each of these Panda Babies will count for 2 Victory Points when the game is over, but the babies also provide for a small in-game benefit. So, depending on the Panda baby token chosen, the player will receive a free Irrigation Channel, an Improvement or he will be allowed to exchange one Objective card from his hand for a new one.

The new Garden plots also have some special functions. Three of them show sacred hills, and if the Gardener is moved onto such a plot not just the Bamboo on this plot, but the Bamboo on all irrigated plots of the same colour actually will start to grow. Concerning irrigation, the new tile set also contains one Celestial Pond tile, and just like the Central Pond in the base game this new pond can be used to automatically irrigate all surrounding tiles. The Gardener also gets a tile with his cabin, and if the Gardener figure is moved to this plot the active player will be entitled to draw the top card from each of the three Objective decks and keep one card of his choice.

Apart from the fact that Miss Panda and her Babies offer some nice extra options for scoring, especially the possibilities to chose or replace Objective cards introduced in Takenoko: Chibis seem to partly deal with a problem which has been identified in issue 4/2012 of the SPIELBOX magazine. Here it was observed that the element of luck when drawing new Objective cards is relatively high and can lead to slight imbalances when the game is in its end phase, and so the new options which provide possibilities to exchange and redraw Objective cards can be appreciated from a gamer's perspective. In consideration of the fact that the expansion also includes some new Objective cards, this phenomenon has been partly mitigated, but it should be kept in mind that Takenoko still is a game with a comparatively high luck factor.

[Gamebox Index]

Google Custom Search

Impressum / Contact Info / Disclaimer


Copyright & copy; 2015 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany