This week’s Game Night Review will be short but sweet with a guest review from Eric Benac. I, unfortunately, had a medical issue that kept me from writing something that I was happy with on time so I will save my analysis for next week’s review.
We were able to get into quite a few games last Sunday with a brand new member that was new to games. She had played a few of the classics before but hasn’t had any experience beyond this. We were able to facilitate a successful Game Night experience for her and I hope that she is able to attend again. This has been an ongoing trend for our game group that I would love to dive deeper into with future reviews.
Without further ado, here is your review of Game Night last week.
Ticket to Ride
Total Plays at Game Night – 10
Last Played at Game Night – June 17th, 2018
Top Ranked Player – Amanda S. (3 Wins, 60% Win Percentage)
Top Score – 47 (Kenzie R. on February 25, 2016)
Most Total Plays – Kyle D. (7 Plays)
Here is a review from TCBG member Eric Benac.
If you are looking for a cute family that the whole family will love, “Takenoko” is a great choice. Even if you have young children who might not be ready for the difficulties of this game, they will love the panda-centric artwork. The adorable cartoonish style drew me in right away and will likely get just about everybody in the family into it.
However, even the cynical older brother who thinks the whole thing is way too cutesy will find himself surprisingly pulled in by the gameplay. The play mechanics are very simple. You choose tiles to build a bamboo farm on which you and up to three other people can grow bamboo. Each turn, you can take two actions, including moving the gardener, moving the panda, irrigating a tile, laying a tile, or taking a new goal card.
These goal cards are split into three categories: gardener, tile, and panda. The first requires you to grow bamboo shoots to a specific height. The second typically requires a specific tile-color pattern be present on the board. And the panda type (often the most fun and rewarding) requires a certain combination of bamboo shoots in your panda’s belly.
However, things are complicated by the use of a die. This die adds a randomized element to the game and gives you a different reward each turn, such as using three moves, moving the panda wherever you want, or obtaining a special item tile. Another complication is the fact that everyone controls the same panda and gardener, both of whom can only move in straight lines. As a result, you have to take into account their moves and your own needs.
The first player to finish seven goals gets a bonus two points and bragging rights. Point calculation is very simple. Just add up the count on your goal cards and you’re done. Expansion packs bring in a cute female panda. She can mate with the male panda to make adorable two-point babies who also give you a one-time bonus.
It should be obvious by now that this game’s adorable aesthetic masks a surprisingly deep game. However, the basic mechanics are simple enough to understand within a few turns, making this one you can burst out with the kids or on your hardcore gaming nights.