Queenz is a game about flowers, bees, the beekeeper and making honey. It has been designed by Bruno Cathala and Johannes Goupy, and published by Rio Grande and Mandoo Games. Can you grow the right combinations of flowers in your field and place your hives in just the right place to make enough honey to win the game?
As soon as you open the box, this is a game that looks lovely and plays really well. Even the inside of the box lid is beautifully designed and there is a great insert that keeps all the components organised for gameplay.
The main game board is a field that you randomly populate with coloured flowers. Some flowers have a queen bee on and some have groups of two or three bees. Place the rest of the flowers face-down in stacks to form a randomised draw pile. Take your player board with space for six flowers on, your three wooden beehives and a set of five coloured honey pots. Place your matching score token on the score track.
Shuffle the smaller field tiles, these are all different geometric shapes, made up of five squares. Think Tetris blocks. Place these in reach of the board to form a draw pile. Deal five of the smaller fields tiles out to provide you with your first set of field options. Finally, place the wooden beekeeper meeple on the outer edge of the field and the game starts.
On your turn you can pick one, two or three flowers from the row the beekeeper is standing at the top of. If you choose to pick a flower with a bee on it, you can only pick one. If you're picking three flowers they must all be different colours. However, if you're picking two you can either pick two of the same or two different coloured flowers. The flowers are kept on your player board, so you can pick up to a maximum of six. After opting to pick flowers, you move the beekeeper the number of spaces equal to the number of flowers picked. The next player then has a different set of flowers they can choose to pick from and so on.
If you would rather use your turn for something different, instead of picking flowers, when you have enough flowers on your player board, you can pick a field tile and lay out your flowers on it. You can choose to fill one space on the tile with one of your three wooden hives, but make sure you place flowers with bees on the spaces around the hive to maximise your scoring opportunities.
In Queenz you score points whenever you place coloured flowers together in the same colour groups. Flowers can be scored more than once if you increase the grouping later in the game.
When the beekeeper lands on an empty row, the player moving him gets a victory point and, similarly, when he has travelled all the way around the garden the player who moves him past the last corner, gains one victory point. If you pick up the last of the five field cards you also gain a point.
When any of these events happen the garden is restocked with flowers and five new field tile cards are drawn.
Play continues and you start to connect you field cards together, Tetris style. Obviously, as your garden grows the opportunity to create larger grouping increases and so does your score. Once a player has five fields the game finishes with each other player having one final turn.
You then score your bees and bonuses and the player with the highest total wins.
End Game Scoring
Bees are vital in this game and can make all the difference during end game scoring. Every bee on one of the nine squares surrounding a hive will score in the end game.
As you play each colour of flower, you place a matching honey pot on your player board. Once you have all five, you have diversified production and gain an end game bonus, first to get there gets more points.
Final Thoughts on Queenz
Queenz provides a fine balance between going for points in game, through colour grouping and choosing more flowers when you are picking flowers from the garden and going for individual flowers with bees on to support a route for high end game scoring.
Queenz is a great filler game it lasts about 20-30 minutes. It has a nice level of tactical play, with a good set of choices available to you each turn. There are different ways to gain points throughout the game. It is also quite clear what you opponent may be planning. As a result, you can choose to reduce their options through limiting their choices by only allowing them access a particular row. This can be managed by picking the right number of flowers needed to move the beekeeper to a specific row, preventing your opponent from gaining the colour they needed.
It is such nice game. It's thinky enough for a number of game groups, but easily accessible, very easy to pick up and can be played by those new to the hobby as well as those who have been around a while.
Queenz is a great gateway game but would also make a great addition to those wanting a quality filler game. Don't miss out on getting hold of this one. You'll bee really disappointed if you don't pick up Queenz and that pain will sting! Pick your flowers, plant them in your field, make sure you attract lots of bees to your hives so that you can make all the honey you can and be the best beekeeper in the buzziness!