Without any reservation, I can say that Team Gameosity loves bees. I mean, some of us even sport tattoos that feature our honey-puking friends. But we’ve not played too many games about those titular insects that delighted us nearly as much as we would have liked. But then, along comes Bees: The Secret Kingdom – a light, uncomplicated, thoroughly beautiful filler-level game that simply buzzes with sweet art and hums with enjoyable gameplay, all while never leaving us feeling the sting of boredom!
We got a review copy of Bees: The Secret Kingdom for our consideration & possible review
Bees: The Secret Kingdom is, at is heart, a set collection game. Players are trying to score the most points before the end of the game. On a player’s turn, they choose to either gather pollen or produce honey. To gather pollen, players will draw two cards from the pollen pile, picking one to play and the other to discard. The played card generally will have 2 sets of symbols – the pollen icon in the upper right corner is the number and type of pollen crystals the active player will gather. The icons in the lower left corner show what pollen all other players collect when that card is played.
Instead of gathering pollen, players can opt to buy one of the honey cards on display, by turning in the pollen crystals shown. Honey cards are all worth points, and many of them have special effects that trigger when they are purchased. These can range from gaining pollen to taking additional turns to even giving advantage to your opponents (which can act as a catch-up mechanism of sorts).
At the end of the game, the player who has managed to produce the most lucrative pile of honey, plus some bonus points, will be crowned the Queen Bee!…or something. The winner, basically.
In addition to these rules, Bees: The Secret Kingdom comes with some optional rules that are considered ‘advanced’ according to the game’s instructions, but really only add to the flavor and strategy of the game. To use them, you will randomly draw 3 new rules to be put in play each time you set up the game. These advanced rules represent either additional end-game scoring opportunities, or even instant win conditions that can make for an even more strategic game without adding on any time or complexity!
For anyone looking to snag a game that really hits the sweet spot for a filler while being absolutely gorgeous on the table, we highly recommend Bees: The Secret Kingdom! It’s accessible, portable, and plays very well at all player counts, making it a definite addition to our permanent collection.