Takenoko (2011) is a delightful tile placement, set collection, and resource management game from master designer Antoine Bauza. In Takenoko, players take turns choosing actions to plant new bamboo, move the panda to eat bamboo, or move the gardener to grow the bamboo, progressing towards secret objective cards. This bamboo and panda masterpiece hit the world by storm, winning multiple awards, including the As d’Or and Golden Geek Awards, and is currently sitting pretty on BGG at #235. So what could make this beloved classic game even better – GIANT TAKENOKO.
In Takenoko, the players will cultivate land plots, irrigate them, and grow one of the three species of bamboo (Green, Yellow, and Pink) with the help of the Imperial gardener to maintain this bamboo garden. They will have to bear with the immoderate hunger of this sacred animal for the juicy and tender bamboo. The player who manages his land plots best, growing the most bamboo while feeding the delicate appetite of the panda, will win the game.
Once a coveted limited edition, a new Kickstarter Campaign for Takenoko Giant has begun from Surfin’ Meeple, offering Brobdingnagian versions of both the original Takenoko and the Takenoko: Chibis Expansion. This Giant edition offers new hand painted figurines for the Panda and the Gardener, each over 100mm tall, as well as huge wooden bamboo segments. Also included in the wooden storage box are wooden action markers, larger hex tiles, a massive wooden die, larger linen objective cards, and inserts to keep everything organized. The Kickstarter for Takenoko Giant continues through May 5, and the game is expected to deliver in January 2020.
First is The Meeple Circus: The Wild Animal and Aerial Show. This expansion includes lions, wild bears, an acrobat and a tightrope walker.
Players start with three acrobats: a blue, a yellow and a red. As the public wants to see more death-defying stunts, more challenges will appear in the game. The expansion also has advanced rules for a more difficult game.
Also out in January is Room-25 VIP. This expansion brings in a new player – the VIP – who is part of the team of prisoners and is revealed after the role distribution. The VIP does not program his actions and is a more subtle player. The game comes with 5 new exclusive rooms to explore
Two new games that have been recently announced include an English edition of the game Catch The Moon from Surfin Meeple, and the second edition of a game from Twilight Creations called MARTIANS!!!. Catch the Moon is a easy to learn and play dexterity game where you are stacking ladders to be the first one to reach the moon. On your turn you will roll a die which imposes some kind of placement rule like it has to touch only one ladder, it has to touch two ladders, it has to be the highest point, and so on. Then you take a ladder and try to stack it according to the rule, if you can’t then you have to take a tear, but you also still have to place the ladder. When you run out of ladders or tears the game ends, and whoever has the fewest tears will be the winner. This amusing little dexterity game will be available in stores in June of this year.
MARTIANS!!! is another game in the ZOMBIES!!! line that Twilight Creations is known for, and pits the humans against a horde of martian invaders. One person will play the martians, trying to take over the Earth, and everyone else will be playing the humans who are trying to beat back their advance. The game itself is easy to play as on your turn you will roll dice to determine your movement speed, then if you stop on a space with a martian, you fight them! Combat is also just as easy because you just roll a die and on a four, five, or six you kill the martian and add it to your collection, if not then you either need to spend bullet tokens to obtain a winning roll, or lose a life. Manage to make it to the mother-ship with the components you need to blow it up and the humans win, else the tide of martians engulfs the land. Of note for this release is that it’s a second edition, meaning all the usual updates and tweaks are included to make it look and play better than the original. Look for this new edition on store shelves towards the end of April this year.
River Dragons was released over 15 years ago and while it’s not the highest rated game, it still has a solid rating and ranking on BoardGameGeek. The game consists of players trying to cross a river by setting up foundation pieces and then laying cardboard planks across them. As the game would go on you would place more foundations, lay more planks and start walking across them. The catch is that the other players will sometimes knock your stuff over, setting you back. Whoever can reach the goal first would be the winner.
Honestly I don’t know who was clamoring for this, but later this month Surfin’ Meeple will be releasing River Dragons Giant. This is a super sized edition of the game with the formally 1″ tall figures now towering at 5 to 6 inches, and the cardboard planks replaced with wood ones roughly the size of paint stirrers. All of this will be contained in a wood crate with an equally over-sized board. So if you enjoy this game but thought it was too small, look for this edition on stores shelves at the end of the month.
In Room 25 you are a convict trying to escape some bizarre prison, and so you have to find room 25 which is rumored to be the exit. But along the way you will run into countless other dangers and even your fellow inmates as you try to make a break for it.
Right now there is the original base game and a season 2 expansion that adds more to the game and ups the player count to 8. So taking a page out of Queen Games’ book they are releasing an Ultimate Edition that will contain both in one box. Also of interest is that they decided to give it some 2.0 treatment by updating some of the rules to make the game play smoother. So if you are looking to get your hands on the base game and expansion, look for the Ultimate Edition on store shelves at the end of the month.