I am a video gamer. I've always had a passion for the hobby, and I can really appreciate the hard work of crafting what I, in many cases, regard as works of art. My wife, on the other hand, plays a bit, but is far less into it (she'll play 2D mario, sonic, and that's about it). I always feel a bit bad for her when I invite friends over for a night of gaming (lately we've been settling lots of things in Smash!). Unfortunately, this kind of alienates my wife...
I've very recently been introduced to the world of board gaming, and I have found that this world is far deeper than I had originally thought. There are so many engaging games that really bring you into different worlds. Just last night, we cultivated a Japanese garden to please the emperor in the delightfully charming Takenoko. The best part, my wife really enjoyed herself!
Since I'm very much a novice to this gaming world, I loved the simplicity of this game. Basically you work to create bamboo gardens, while completing various objectives to score Victory Points.
The Panda figure (which is adorable by the way - shown above) is ever ravenous and will eat a section of Bamboo on any garden tile he is moved to. Objective cards will task you in feeding the Panda a specific diet, consisting of combinations of Green, Yellow, and/or Pink bamboo.
(card above - eat two Pink Bamboo to score 5 Victory Points)
This action is to the utmost dismay of the Gardener, who works to cultivate the Bamboo gardens by growing Bamboo on any tile he travels to. Gardener objectives center around growing Bamboo to specific heights.
(card above - grow Yellow Bamboo to the maximum height of 4 on a tile with the Watershed Improvement to score 5 Victory Points)
The third way to score Victory Points is to Create Patterns Laying Garden Tiles. Having a beautiful looking garden pleases the Emperor and will surely put you in his good graces.
(card above - the player would score 2 Victory Points for laying 3 Green Garden tiles in a row)
That is the basic premise of the game, and while there are other mechanics such as weather, plot conditions, and irrigation, the game centers around completing these various tasks. We played 4-player, this being the first play for everyone at the table, and we all really enjoyed ourselves. I'm sure a 2-player game would have been a bit more strategic, as you could try to identify your opponent's objective by watching the movements of the Panda and Gardener, opening up blocking opportunities. In either case, I feel the game is light-hearted and enjoyable for many different players. The game boasts a beautiful art style, an engaging board, and just enough strategy to satisfy a wide walk of gamers.
Anybody else have any suggestions for games? You obviously don't have to go into as much detail as I did, but a brief summary as to how the games would definitely be helpful!