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Takenoko’s free co-op game mode sees players becoming pals over pandas

It takes two to grow bamboo.

Nurture the bamboo grove to feed hungry pandas together in Takenoko’s co-op game mode, which is available to download for free.

The newly released mode requires players to own a copy of the family board game, but presents an entirely new approach to the tabletop title about being a gardener for the Japanese Emperor. Whilst the original Takenoko pits players against one another with the goal of growing and maintaining a collection of bamboo plants - as well as catering to the hunger of the local panda that wanders the Emperor’s garden - the variant encourages the players to work together to complete objectives.

Takenoko’s co-op game mode sees players forming three decks of objective cards - separated by plot, gardener and panda - which are placed facedown on a unique board that the players can print out. Players then take their own boards and two action tokens, just like in an ordinary game of Takenoko, but do not take any objectives. Players can then perform actions such as cultivating land spots or planting bamboo types, but cannot do the action of taking an objective card. Instead, whenever a player decides to determine the current weather conditions they draw an objective card and place it on the shared co-op board.

Takenoko co-op mode board

Players will also add an objective from a category of their choice onto the shared board whenever they have performed their two actions. New objective cards are placed in the far left column of the board, with any already in that space being moved along to the space adjacent to it. Should any cards be pushed out of the board, then they are considered an uncompleted objective and are lost. If players manage to fulfill the requirements of an objective card, then they can choose to validate it - thereby pushing it to the bottom of the board and into the completed section.

The game ends once the last objective has been placed on the board, with players able to have one final turn. Players then count up the points on their pile of completed objectives and total the score - with this becoming the threshold number that they will have to beat next time. The free mode can also be played as a solo game, as well as a co-op one.

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Takenoko was created by Antoine Bauza, the designer behind tabletop titles such as 7 Wonders - as well as co-creating the two-player game 7 Wonders Duel - Hanabi, a co-op game about creating the best fireworks show possible, and another Japanese-adjacent game called Tokaido.

Bombyx and Matagot are the co-publishers of Takenoko, with the co-op game mode being released by Bombyx on BoardGameGeek.

Players can download the co-op variant rules for Takenoko for free right now.

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Alex Meehan avatar
Alex Meehan: After writing for Kotaku UK, Waypoint and Official Xbox Magazine, Alex became a member of the Dicebreaker editorial family. Having been producing news, features, previews and opinion pieces for Dicebreaker for the past three years, Alex has had plenty of opportunity to indulge in her love of meaty strategy board games and gothic RPGS. Besides writing, Alex appears in Dicebreaker’s D&D actual play series Storybreakers and haunts the occasional stream on the Dicebreaker YouTube channel.
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