Bees: The Secret Kingdom by Kamil Ciesla, Van Ryder games and Awaken Realms lite. It is a great little fun, filler, card game. Bees is ideal for families and new gamers alike. It would provide a nice break for more established gaming groups looking for a light game to play at the start of an evening.
Bees is a simple pick up and deliver style card game where players choose to pick up and collect the different pollen types available and once they have gathered the required amounts they can deliver it to create honey. The honey cards you collect show the available victory points which you collect. The player with the most points at the end of the game winning the game.
As an entry level game this is a great introduction to the pick-up and deliver mechanic and set collection which will support new gamers and younger players in developing these skills all inside a well-developed and beautifully presented theme.
As expected from a game that carries the Awaken Realms name this is a game whose production values. Despite it being a light game, are outstanding. The artwork on the box and the cards is just beautiful. The depth of colour on the card backs and the images on the fronts are just stunning and make it already worthwhile on the strength of the art alone. Card quality is high as well with linen feel and clearly good quality card stock being used.
The game is quick to set up, group the pollen jewels into their colour pile. Count out five honey cards per player (+5). Shuffle them into a draw pile, placing four cards face up that players can pick from.
Shuffle the pollen cards and place face down to create a draw pile.
If you are playing the more advanced game shuffle and deal three of the beehive cards and place face up. These provide additional bonuses that will score at the end of the game for players who complete the requirements and also offer instant win conditions that players could work to achieve throughout the game.
The youngest player takes one pollen token of their choice and the rest of the players take two and the game is ready to go.
In Bees The Secret Kingdom, players have a simple choice on their turn, pick up two pollen cards and take the required bonus from their chosen card (usually two pollen tokens). The other card is discarded. All other players are able to take one pollen token from a choice of two that is depicted on the card. This ensures that there is no real downtime as during each turn, players are able to gather pollen.
As you gather more pollen of different types players will be able to choose not to gather but to produce honey. To do this they must pay pollen depicted on the honey card to take it. The honey cards all have a number of victory points that will be totalled at the end. This decides the winner. However, many of the honey cards contain an action. These may have an effect on the player or other players. It can include discarding pollen, gaining pollen and receiving an additional turn.
Once the last honey card is dealt out and there are none left in the pile, the last turn begins. Once players have had their last turn, the victory points are totalled up and the winner is crowned as the queen bee.
Final thoughts on Bees
The component quality is what sets this game apart for a gateway, light game. The artwork is just beautiful and well worth the investment. The game is quick, simple and easy to learn. It provides an introduction into pick up deliver and set collection mechanics that are used in more complex games and with the addition of the beehive cards introduces new players to end game scoring and different win conditions allowing some low level strategic decisions to be brought into your gameplay to try and maximise your chances of winning. This is a great game and well designed as a ‘lite’ title from a well-respected production team.
So what are you waiting for, get your friends together. Shuffle the cards. Get buzzing off to gather pollen. You might be able to taste the sweet taste of winning when you make the most honey.