SNAP Review – The Bears and The Bees
Build the hive and empty your hand!
Bees build the hive, bears steal the honey. Build the hive and get rid of your cards, in The Bears and the Bees.
Listen to our audio review in five minutes, or read on below.
The Bears and the Bees is a game from Grandpa Beck’s Games for 2-5 players, ages 8+. Take turns to lay out cards into the common hive, and try to be the first to get rid of all your cards.
The art is captured on hexagonal cards, with colors on each side of the hexagon. The seven colors are all very easy to distinguish as long as no one in your group is color blind, although there is a veining style on the edges that will still provide some differentiation.
But what about the bears, and the bees, from the title?
The bears are kind of cute while also looking realistic and a bit fierce. Maybe it’s that honey dripping down their chins that makes them so endearing.
There are realistic looking bees on many of the cards as well, with enough detail fuzzed out to keep them from being creepy insects.
All players start with an equal number of hexagonal cards. On the table is the beginning of the beehive: the queen bee and one honeycomb card.
On your turn, play a card from your hand so that at least two sides match up with an open edge of the hive on the table. The colors must match (honey is wild and can match any color). And if you can play a card that matches three or more sides, get an extra turn and play again!
There’s only one exception: bee cards (and bears) can’t be placed touching the queen.
Some cards are harder to play but give extra rewards:
Worker bees have every side a different color. If you can play one of these, force one other player to draw a card.
Flowers have all six sides the same color. Play one of these and all other players must draw a card.
Bears want honey! Play a bear card anywhere, as long as it can touch some honey. No one can play a card where it would touch a bear! Then give one of your cards to another player.
If you can’t (or don’t want to) play a card from your hand, you can choose to draw a card instead – or discard one of your cards and draw two.
When someone plays out their last card, the round ends. Score everyone’s remaining cards (honeycomb 5, bees & flowers 10, bears 15). After three rounds, the player with the lowest score wins!
Grandpa Beck’s Games are always family-friendly with minimal reading and intuitive rules. That’s certainly the case here – in fact, there’s no reading at all! It’s mostly just color-matching, so a kid much younger than 8 can play – our 6 year old did! (although they may not always make great choices for where to place their cards.)
With a name like The Bears and the Bees, we expected more bears. There are only three in the entire deck, so it’s very possible to play a round without seeing any of them at all! Compare this to the dozens of bee cards and even more plain honeycombs. It’s a little mismatched, but too many bears wouldn’t work with the powers they’ve been given.
Rounds can sometimes go very quickly, or more often they drag. Because of that, we usually play only one round unless someone goes out very quickly.
In a mixed group with adults and younger kids, The Bears and the Bees is probably better limited to one round. The longer game can fit in a more relaxed, all-adult group because it allows for socialization while you play. This game does not have a high cognitive load, so you won’t spend too much time thinking about how to play your cards next; instead it’s a light, family friendly and social experience.
Remember there’s only three bears in the deck? We rate The Bears and the Bees 3 bears out of 5.
Find it on Amazon or ask for it at your local game store.
The Family Gamers received a copy of The Bears and the Bees from Grandpa Beck’s Games for this review.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links, which do not change your price, but help support The Family Gamers.
The Bears and the Bees
Age Range: 8+
Number of Players: 2-5
Playtime: 15-45 minutes