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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Takenoko (2011) is a world-building game where you cultivate a bamboo garden for a Japanese Emperor. You play by placing Garden tiles, adding Irrigation pieces and making Bamboo stacks grow. It's a competitive gardening game where you battle other gardeners as well as the elements.

You play as a gardener, competing for space around the emperor's well, growing and harvesting bamboo. Each go you choose between placing tiles to extend the garden, growing bamboo or feeding the panda to meet your individual objectives like matching patterns, growing combinations of colours or feeding the panda. The harder an objective is, the more points it is worth.

It's tricky because players can steal each other's crops and spoil your plans. This means that you never quite have it all your own way, as their objectives lead them to consume the bamboo that you have just carefully grown, or muddling a long-planned pattern of tiles.

What starts as a peaceful garden-building game, quickly becomes a struggle for territory, bamboo and control of the panda. You need to plan ahead, whilst being ready to adapt when those plans are foiled by other players.

Our examiner, Rob Prior, first checked Takenoko 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 7 weeks ago.
There are lots of games similar to Takenoko. Here are some we picked for you:

Play StylePlay Style

This is a Strategy and World Building game with Collecting and Traversal elements. You can play with 2 to 4 players in the same room. Best with 3 players.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Learn to Play: This takes 45 minutes to learn. To fully grasp how to play this game, you need to understand the five different actions that you can take and how they interact with each other. You also need to understand the five different weather types and how they influence your actions as well. So it may well take you an entire game to really understand all the rules.

The first time you play it's worth trying the following:
  • Remove the Weather dice from play and do not use any of its extra rules.
  • Focus your first few turns on placing Garden tiles in the correct alignment.

Play Time: This game will take between 45 minutes and 1 hour to complete.


This game is good if you want to:

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Skill Level

8+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Younger players need to be able to understand the actions as they have to choose from them on each turn. They also need to be comfortable working towards different tasks that may be counter to each other. Lastly, they need the resilience to deal with other players inadvertently spoiling their plans.

Content Rating

We rate this suitable for 3+ years-olds.


There are no additional in-game purchases, loot boxes, adverts or subscription costs.
There is one expansion pack available for this game:
  • Takenoko Chibis (2015) adds a female panda, panda babies and other extra gameplay parts. 

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 01/01/2011

Skill Rating: 8+ year-olds

Players: 2-4

Genres: Strategy, World Building (Collecting and Traversal)

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: Cards, Dice, Figures, Placeables and Tokens

Developer: Studio Bombyx (@StudioBombyx)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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