‘Petrichor: Honeybee expansion‘ is the second expansion in the world of ‘Petrichor‘ and with it comes a whole new way to make it ‘rain and gain’ in these gorgeously illustrated fields.
First things first, this is a small expansion. A handful of tiles, some new tokens and a ‘Beeple’ (I am shocked that no one thought to use this when describing the wooden bee marker that comes in this expansion!) are the core components in the box.
The Honeybee expansion adds a new action to your regular gameplay. Traditionally, the base game of Petrichor gives you ONE action per turn with the option of a potential second turn by discarding two matching cards to perform an extra action. With the Honeybee expansion, players are still given the chance to have a second turn but this now opens up the world of possibilities that come from using the Bees special abilities.
So what new options are available to you with the Honeybee expansion?
There are 4 brand new tiles available in this expansion which all provide honey. On your turn you can choose to collect honey from the tile that bee is on, providing of course that the tile can produce honey (don’t expect to get honey from the potato fields!). Gain honey, score points… simple!
Every tile starts the game with a pollen token on it. These start off as dormant and can later on become profitable once germinated. On a players turn they can use the bee to collect all dormant pollen tokens from the tile where the honeybee currently resides.
Once a player has some pollen in their supply they can discard up to 2 pollen and rain one water drop from their supply directly on to the tile. If those water drops landed on a honey producing tile then your discarded pollen can be placed onto the tile as ‘germinated pollen’. Germinated pollen is the determining factor in helping the crops to grow on the 4 new tiles in this expansion.
If Petrichor does one thing consistently well, it’s the beautiful artwork and this expansion is no exception. Every tile within Petrichor has a beautiful feel to it and these new honey producing locations just leap right off the table at you. The oversized Bee marker is a nice chunky piece that makes its presence felt and adds a brand new visual dynamic to the game.
As already mentioned, this is a small expansion but it does add a lot of fresh touches to the base game. However, for some people this expansion may just be a little much. It’s entirely possible to play through the full game using the expansion and ignore the honeybee aspect completely. Sure you would lose points but it can’t be denied that this is expansion is most definitely not a necessity. At times it can feel that this expansion is just one thing too many, that the extra options provided by the bee aspect can make the game feel a little bloated. That said, if you are deep into the world of Petrichor then this may be exactly what you are looking for. The expansion provides you with new ways to win and I would never say no to the excellent variety of tiles that this expansion adds.
For me the problem was just that it made an already full game feel a little overcrowded. The tiles can quickly get filled up with lots of raindrops and clouds so when you put bees and pollen into the mix it just becomes a little messy. The idea behind this expansion was amazing and I had very high hopes as I have always enjoyed ‘Petrichor’, however it just felt that the execution was a little off. The explanation of gameplay has never been the strong suit of ‘Petrichor’ and I have seen many an eye gloss over as I have gone over the rules… I get very used to hearing, “explain that again”. Unfortunately the rules could be a little clearer, especially in regard to the rules about germinating pollen.
If you can’t get enough of Petrichor and want to expand your options and add all of these new features to your game then this Honeybee expansion is definitely for you and I would recommend it to anyone who loves being immersed in this world. If, though, you are hoping to go fully thematic and are looking at this expansion to make you feel like a genuine beekeeper, then I would say there are other games out there that tackle the concept of bees, pollen and honey much, much better.