Bees: The Secret Kingdom
Designed by Kamil Cieslo
Art by Dagmara Gaska
Published by Awaken Realms lite & Van Ryder Games
Ages 10+ (Though I believe younger players can easily grasp the game.)
Length of play: 20-30 minutes
Theme & Goal of the Game: In Bees, players are bees collecting pollen to make honey. Players use pollen gems to get honey cards (points). The player with the most points wins.
Gameplay Summary: Bees consists of two types of cards – Gathering cards and Honey cards and four colors of plastic beads. Players start with one or two gems. On a turn players, can either draw two Gather cards or buy a honey card. If they choose to draw, they take two Gather cards then choose one to discard and one to play. Each Gather has two bits of information on them. In the top right corner are colored icons indicating which pollen gems the player takes on the turn. In the bottom left corner are more icons. These indicate which pollen gem(s) the other players take. This is a follow mechanic that keeps all players in the game every turn. If the player chooses, they may, on their turn, buy Honey cards. Honey cards are the points cards of the game. Buying them is how a player scores points. Each Honey card has a purchase price of pollen gems. Players pay this price and collect the Honey card. Honey cards may also have an action on them. Examples are “Take 2 pollen gems of your choice.”, “Discard all your remaining pollen gems.”, “Each other player may take a pollen gem.”. This action is activated when the card is purchased.
Game play continues with players playing Gather cards to collect gems. Then use the gems to buy Honey cards for points until all the Honey cards have been purchased. Honey cards are scored and the player with the most points wins.
Not Quites: The only issue we ran into in Bees is that is the pollen gems are not color challenged friendly. The card icons are but the gems themselves are not. One of our group experiences this and it hindered him at first. We compensated by calling out the colors on the Gather cards when played and making sure that the gems were kept separated and colors remained in their place.
Right Ons: The first thing is the art. You are immediately impacted by it upon opening the box. It is gorgeous, lush and colorful. I’m surprise VRG is not offering prints of the card art. I’m certain that they would sell. Are you listening AJ?
Next is the accessibility, with the above caveat. The game is simple and easy to grasp quickly. The game is fun and plays quickly. We played during lunch in about 35 minutes including explanation. I like the follow mechanic. This keeps everyone involved in the game and can be very profitable and timely. And the game plays up to six people. A big plus. Lastly, the game has an advanced mode in which end game scoring cards are added stating certain conditions for bonus points at the end of the game.
Who should like this game: Anybody. Plain and simple, anybody can play and enjoy this game.
Gameschool-ability: Bees lends itself to be included as a part of an insect unit study / biology lesson. While it doesn’t actually teach much itself, including it will enhance your school experience and add some fun.
This game was a hit. My family enjoyed it (even though we played slightly wrong). It was an even bigger hit with my lunch time game group at work. They really liked the game a lot. I agree. This is a fun, quick game easily picked up by anyone. It’s a perfect game for families with its simple rules and pretty art.
I want to thank Van Ryder Games for providing a review copy of Bees for an honest review.