Title: Honey Buzz
Designed By: Paul Salomon
Art By: Anne Heidsieck
Published By: Elf Creek Games
Player Count: 1-4
Time to Play: 45-90 Minutes
Honey Buzz is a tile placement and worker(bee) placement game, where players take on the role of bees from Sweetwater Grove. These are not any ordinary bees though, these bees have discovered accounting! In attempt to keep the bears away from the hive, the bees created a stand at the Woodland market to sell their honey. Work to impress the Queen by bee-ing the highest earning bee.
Throughout the game, players will use their worker bees to draft tiles expand their hive. Creating cells in your hive, allows players to take different actions based on the tiles used to create the cell. Gain new bees for your colony, earn income, forage for nectar tiles, produce honey, sell your goods at the market or fulfill orders.
Earn points through gaining coins, having left over pollen and honey, completing contests and fulfilling orders. Whichever player has the most points at the end of the game wins!
What's purr-ty cool:
Gameplay: Honey Buzz is one of those games that I really wanted to love just from the box cover and good news, it lived up to all of my hopes and dreams for it. Honey Buzz a really solid, super fun midweight game. There are a lot of strategic choices to make, from what tiles to draft and when, to how to lay out your tiles for your hive to get the nectar tiles and hive actions you want, to when to recall your workers. Honey Buzz is one of those games where you can play mostly working on your own board and not really sabotaging others, but you can make choices that impact others gameplay as well. Honey Buzz is a fantastic choice for gamers who like puzzley games where you can plan out your moves in advance, to maximize your efficiency.
Art: I love it. It's beautiful. It even gives Everdell a run for it's money for my favorite animal themed game art. The color palette they used is springy and cheerful. The designs are whimsical make me smile. Who wouldn't love a bee in aviator goggles?
Solo Mode: Solo gamers rejoice, for you too can enjoy the job of Honey Buzz! Honey Buzz has a satisfyingly challenging solo mode. Having tested both the solo mode and t he multiplayer mode, I think they did a great job mimicking the feel of the multiplayer design in the solo mode. That being said, it is HARD (or I am really bad at the game, both are possible). Solo mode has it's own queen's contests and a special win condition where your cannot win the game if you do not earn enough points through completing those contests. I like that there is a real win or loss option and that it is not just beat your own score.
Component Design: Honey Buzz has one of the coolest graphic design systems I have ever seen for a tile laying game. The tiles are double hexagons and contain specific coloring around the edges to indicate what can and cannot be placed next to each other. Certain edges are smaller and pieces contain a border to help you know what can line up with what. The other colors indicate what shapes you will make with your hive tiles, depending on the direction you place them down into your hive. I have no idea how they figured out this system but it is a work of brilliance and blows my mind. When I first read the rules, I thought it was going to be confusing trying to figure out what goes where, but it is actually really straightforward and it just works.
The cat's meow:
"Did you know cat's cannot taste sweet things? Reasons I don't mind disrupting your honey making endeavors to whack bees off the board!" - Pudgy Cat
Disclosure: Pudgy Cat Games was provided a copy of this game in exchange for a review, however, this review reflects the honest thoughts of the author.