SNAP Review – Bees: The Secret Kingdom
Everything is honey… if you’re a bee.
It’s appropriate for ages 6 and up, and plays in about 15 minutes. It was created by Awaken Realms and published by Van Ryder Games. We’ll tell you all about it in just five minutes.
Gather pollen and use it to make the most valuable (and delicious!) honey in this set-collection game.
How to Play
Set out the Gathering deck, four colors of Pollen gems, and a Honey deck.
Flip over the top 4 Honey cards as a market/display for all players. Each player gets a few Pollen gems (1-2 depending on turn order), and the game begins!
On your turn, you may either Gather Pollen or Produce Honey.
To Gather Pollen, draw the top two cards of the Gather deck, and choose 1 card to play. You’ll get both Pollen gems pictured, and all other players will get to take a single gem. (You can only have a maximum of 3 gems of a particular color.)
Produce Honey: Discard your Pollen gems matching one of the face-up Honey cards to buy it. Honey cards have a point value of 1,2, or 3. Many also have an Action that should be resolved before ending your turn.
When someone flips the last Honey card from the deck into the market, all the other players get one last turn.
Then count up the points on your Honey cards, get a few bonus points for groups of 3 pollen gems, and find out who won!
If you want a little more challenge in your game, add a few of the available Beehive cards. These give extra ways to earn points and new instant-win conditions.
These take the straightforward game of Bees: The Secret Kingdom and give slightly more complexity.
Let’s start with the art. Bees: The Secret Kingdom immediately interested us, with its rich, color-saturated, gorgeously illustrated box art. We didn’t know if the game inside was going to be something really complex. Something in our heads associates high-quality art with complicated games. Instead it’s incredibly light and family-friendly – and that’s OK! It’s great to see a family game that’s so beautiful.
And it’s not just the art. This is “just” a card game, but all the components in the box are high quality. The cards are nice, and the gems are the same type of plastic gems you’ll see in Century: Golem Edition or Fire Tower (or Mystery of the Temples). Everything works together for a pleasant experience when playing.
We like the balance of picking the right pollen gems for yourself while also being aware of the benefit to the other players. This is a great way to keep players engaged and planning their next turn – AND makes for some hard decisions. If you take that color you really need, does that mean a rival will get a color they really need, too?
You can also block other players from acquiring more gems by picking colors they already have maxed out (3 max in a color).
The strategy changes as you add more players: you’re more likely to have more gems floating around, but you’re more likely to miss out on the highest-value Honey cards. They’re likely to get picked up by other players before it gets back around to your turn.
Sweet for All Ages
It’s nice to have such a “grown-up” looking game that is so accessible for everyone. The mechanics are easy to understand, and it’s very light on reading. The only text is on a few Honey cards and the optional Beehive cards. Even these are public knowledge and you could read them out to your kids as needed.
There’s no hidden information here at all. Even when a player is making a decision about which of two Gather cards they want to play, no other players can influence that decision, so there’s no reason to hide anything. This makes Bees: The Secret Kingdom perfect for family play, since an adult can help along a younger player and not miss out on the strategy and experience of the game.
At $25, it’s well worth it for a game that everyone in your family will enjoy playing, and will continue to enjoy, since younger players won’t out-grow the theme. We give Bees: The Secret Kingdom 4.5 honeycombs out of 5.
The Family Gamers received a copy of Bees: The Secret Kingdom from Van Ryder Games for this review.
Bees: The Secret Kingdom
Age Range: 6+
Number of Players: 2-6
Playtime: 15 minutes