Takenoko Review

takenoko review

Basic Information

takenoko review

Number of Players: 2-4

Age: 8+

Time: 45 minutes

Price: High

Introduction to Takenoko

Takenoko is a great game to play with kids and adults alike with its colorful art style and fun game mechanics. The story for the game of Takenoko is that the Japanese emperor was gifted a Panda by the emperor of China. The gardener is trying to maintain and grow the garden with plots and irrigation so that bamboo will grow to feed the hungry Panda. There is plenty of strategy to keep the more hardcore gamers happy and the rules are easy enough to understand that any child over the age of 8 should be able to pick this game up and play in no time.

How to Play Takenoko

To start the panda and gardener are on the positioned on the starting pond tile. On each of the player’s turns they roll the dice and take two actions plus whatever bonus action that get from the dice. Players can chose to either; take an objective card from the objective decks, place a plot tile, pick up an irrigation stick (which can be placed later for free), Move the gardener to grow the bamboo, or move the Panda to eat the Bamboo.

The players take actions based off their objective cards as the first to finish 7 objective cards wins bonus points with the emperor’s favor and at the end of that round the player with the most points is the winner. You complete objective cards on your turn only so as soon as your turn starts and one of your cards is competed you can place that card face down in front of you on the table. If there completed on other players turns but then suddenly disrupted before getting back to you, you must then re-create the completion condition on your objective cad before placing it down.

Notes on Takenoko

Takenoko is a surprisingly strategic game. There are multiple strategies you can try to use to win the game, each as valid as each other. Depending on events around you there may be a need to adapt these strategies as well which keeps the game play always fresh. Takenoko is also a great game for couples as it plays just a well with 2 players as it does with 4. So for any birthday board game, Valentine ’s Day board game or just one to play with the family, I highly recommend getting Takenoko.

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Top 10 Best Board Games for Couples

board games for couples

It can be very difficult to find good two player games for couples to play. A lot of games have a 3 player minimum (like Catan) or, even though they technically can be played with two players they are far better with 3 or more. Listed here are my (and my partners) top 10 favorite board games to play when it is just us. I hope this list helps you find the perfect game to play with your partner.

1 Gloomhaven

gloomhaven review

Time: 45-60 min per session

Cost: Very High

What can I say about Gloomhaven that I haven’t already? It is by far one of the best board games ever made period and the fact that it’s also a great game to play as a couple is the ultimate bonus. Some players prefer to play this with the full 4 players, but from personal experience I can say that playing through the main campaign with my partner was a blast and I would not have wanted to play it any other way. It’s cooperative nature means that you will either win together or lose together, a theme that you will see is fairly common in this board game list. Gloomhaven is my number one pick for a couple’s board game.

Read the Full Review of Gloomhaven

2 Pandemic

Pandemic Review

Time: 45 min

Cost: High

Pandemic is another cooperative board game where you and your partner assume different roles to try and save the world from a series of diseases. Pandemic is certainly not for the faint of heart as even on the easiest difficulty winning is not guaranteed. This is a great game to play with your partner as the two player experience is just as good as the 3 and 4 player one. If you and your partner like a challenge, definitely check out Pandemic as your next couple’s game.

Read the Full Review of Pandemic

3 Ticket to Ride

ticket to ride review

Time: 45 min

Cost: High

Ticket to ride is the first competitive game to make this list. You and your partner are trying to complete as many destination tickets as you can to gain the most points and win. My personal favorite map of the ticket to ride series is the Europe map as the stations come in handy, especially when playing with more than just your partner. When playing Ticket to Ride with two players you can only use a single route once, even if there are multiple tracks on that route. With this rule variant the two player version of ticket to ride can feel just as cramped (and just as fun) and the three to four player games.

Read the Full Review of Ticket to Ride

4 Takenoko

takenoko review

Time: 30 – 45 min

Cost: High

Takenoko is an adorable game set in medieval Japan in the garden of the emperor. Players are trying to be the first to complete 7 objective cards and have the most points at the end of the game. This is a great game to play as a couple as the game is just as fun with two players as it is with 4. The advantage of a two player game is that the games themselves can go a little faster. I have heard some people saying that the art style is too ‘girly’, but I personally love the bright and colorful art and those who dismiss the game based off that are truly missing out on a fantastic gaming experience.

Full Review coming soon.

5 Kingdomino

kingdomino review

Time: 15 min

Cost: Medium

Kingdomino is a fun domino placing game where the aim is to make as many large groups of colors as possible for maximum points at the end. In the two player version of this game each player goes twice in the one round using both of their king tokens. Each game of Kingdomino typically lasts around 15 minutes so it’s a great game to play to the ‘best of three’ or whomever has the most points at the end of the three games. It’s also a fairly chill game compared to others on this list and is easy to learn and play.

Read the Full Review of Kingdomino

6 Castle Panic

castle panic review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Castle Panic is another cooperative game to make this list. You and your partner are trying to work together to defend the castle from the invading goblins and ogres. The art style is fun and colorful and the game mechanics really force you to work together to overcome the hordes of monsters coming at you. This is a great game to pull out and play with your partner (or even by yourself!)

Read the Full Review of Castle Panic

7 Fog of Love

fog of love review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Fog of love is a rom-com in a board game. You and your partner have quirks that make you the ‘quirky’ protagonist of your rom com and secret goals to keep the ‘will they wont they’ tension alive. Fog of love is one of the more complicated board games to play on this list but is defiantly a great game to play with your partner. Being designed for two players certainly gives it the edge over some others on this list.

Full Review coming soon.

8 Stuffed Fables

stuffed fables review

Time: 45 – 60 min per session

Cost: High

This game also suffers from the ‘cuteness’ like Takenoko, but take it from me, it’s a fantastic game! My partner and I started playing this and could not put it away. In stuffed fables you play through a campaign as a little girl’s stuffed animals protecting her from the evil that is under her bed. You can play as one character each or (and what I strongly suggest) play as two characters each for a total for 4 stuffies. My partner and I gave each stuffie a unique voice and personality and that really added to the overall experience of playing the game. Definitely check this game out if you and your partner are really into role playing games.

Full Review coming soon.

9 Lord of Waterdeep

lords of waterdeep review

Time: 60 min

Cost: High

Lords of Waterdeep is a great resource management game where you play as a lord of Waterdeep who is trying to complete as many quests of a certain type as they can. The two player game of this is great and the board is certainly less claustrophobic than a 4-5 player game. This was one of the first big board games my partner and I played together and I can certainly attest to its fun game play and fun game mechanics.

Full review coming soon.

10 Love Letter

love letter review

Time: 30 min

Cost: Low

I personally adore Love Letter. While you can play it with two players it is admittedly better with at least three. In saying that it’s still a great little game to play with your partner at home or on trips where you want a little game to pass the time. It also comes in a cute velvet bag so it’s easy to put in your pocket and take with you.

Read the Full Review of Love Letter