Takenoko is by far one of our favorite games. It involves strategy, just a little bit of luck with the single wooden die aspect, beautiful wooden artwork, and a fun theme. We love the game so much, we even own the giant collector’s edition as well as a limited-edition Takenoko panda.
So what does Takenoko Chibis actually add to the game? It provides new hex tiles that have special abilities as well as activate the female panda into play, it comes with new challenge cards with more complex objectives, 9 chibis chips (3 of each color) that provide not only 2 bonus points, but also an instant bonus action, and the female panda figurine who has the ability to bring the chibis tokens into play.
Interestingly enough, even as seasoned Takenoko players, this new expansion had us significantly reducing our gameplay speed as we tried to complete the new objective cards and plan different strategies. This was a very welcome change of pace as we’ve become so fluid at Takenoko, it was beginning to lose some of its luster. Especially the cards where we needed 5-6 pieces of bamboo growing of a certain color at a certain height, those objective really had us trying to pre-plan our next moves.
The only hex tile that seemed like a bit of a bust was the gardener’s tile. Moving the gardener here lets your pick 1 of each card and pick the best one, discarding the other 2. It doesn’t irrigate other tiles, it’s purely just for the gardener and to draw new cards. Since we have a house rule that you have to complete 3 of each card type, we never used this hex tile. If you don’t play by this rule, it may be handy, though.
At ~$25 USD, this is a great expansion that doesn’t make the game overly complex. It adds just the right amount of added depth that’s needed after numerous rounds of Takenoko. If you’re a fan of Takenoko, this is a must-have.