Game Buzz: Honey Buzz

Back in 2010, when I first started the blog, I chose the name Boards and Bees because I liked the pun on birds and bees, and also because I wanted it to be about game buzz. It really had nothing to do with bees. But, I do like games with bees, and am usually fairly interested in them. There happen to be a couple coming out around now, so let’s take a look at one of them.

image by BGG user SaintGiles

Honey Buzz is a 1-4 player game designed by Paul Salomon, and published by Elf Creek Games. It’s a worker placement game where the bees have discovered economics and are selling their wares to the creatures of the forest.

The game comes with two boards, a hive board and a woodland board. There are also some hive tiles in 6 different varieties, as well as four starting hive tiles per player. The queen’s contest cards are sorted by color, and one is randomly drawn from each of the three groups. There is a recommended combination for your first play. Small and large order decks are shuffled, with a number drawn and placed in three separate stacks based on player count with the top card revealed. For example, in a 3-player game, you’ll stack two small orders on top of two large orders. Each market column will get a resource at the top. Each player gets a set of player pieces in their color, as well as a board, their starting hive tiles, ten worker beeples (which I must say is an amazing name), and a fan token. Based on player order, you’ll start with 1-2 beeples and 5-15 coins. You’ll also choose a random configuration card based on your chosen level of difficulty and set up your starting tiles to match that. Finally, you’ll get a number of nectar tiles based on the number of players and randomly place them on the hive board. Your forage token goes on any bee.

image by BGG user SaintGiles

On your turn, you will either take a tile or recall workers.

TAKE A TILE: Put a beeple in one of the zones with tiles on the hive board. If there’s already beeples there, you must put in one more than the last player put in. These are placed in a stack called a beeline. The tile is placed in your configuration of hive tiles. You’re trying to create empty spaces on the board. If you manage this, you get to do every action that borders this empty cell (or these cells). Here are the actions:

  • Forage: Move your forage token one space orthogonally. You can move extra spaces for two coins each. If you end your move on a nectar space that matches the border of an empty cell on your board, you can take it and fill that empty space. Otherwise, take a pollen.
  • Produce: Place your fan token on any space in your hive. Each adjacent nectar space produces one honey, which is placed on the space. Each nectar space can only hold one honey.
  • Market: There are a couple of different things you could do with this action. One is to sell to the market. Choose a honey or pollen, and sell any number of resources of that type to the market, collecting money based on the current market value for each. Then drop the price by one. You could also complete an order by spending the indicated resources and claiming the order card. This will give you an extra action as indicated on the board.
  • New Bee: Take one of your workers from the supply and move it to the nursery.
  • Accounting: Gain five coins from the supply.
  • Decree: Take any of the other hive actions. A tile with a decree action costs five coins when you take it.

RECALL WORKERS: If you take this action, take back all workers you have placed and any new bees from the nursery to your hive. They’re now available to go out and work again. Then you can move your forage token up to one space. This doesn’t get you anything, and you can’t spend more money to move extra.

When four of the five resources have reached the bottom of their respective market tracks, or when all orders from two of the three stacks have been completed, the game is over when all players have had an equal number of turns. Score for money, remaining honey and pollen, contests, and orders. The high score wins.

image by BGG user Goldfish Goggles

There’s very nice art in this game, and I like the concept of creating patterns of hives to activate actions. It adds a nice puzzle element to the system. It also makes tile placement very important, because you need to think through where you’re going to create your empty cells so you can get the actions you want. There are some very cool concepts here that I really want to explore.

That’s it for today. Stay safe out there, and thanks for reading!

(PROGRAMMING NOTE: The next post, Kickstarter Blitz #83, will be my last one before I take my traditional December hiatus. But, as we have a baby coming any day now, it may be a little late. Just a warning.)

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