Review: Honey Buzz

Isn't spring the perfect time of the year to learn a new hobby? It is for the bees in the forest of Sweetwater Grove. In Honey Buzz you take on the role of the assistant accountant for the queen bee.


Happy Meeple Games




Game explanation

Isn't spring the perfect time of year to learn a new hobby? For the bees in the forests of Sweetwater Grove, it is. The bees have discovered the art of economics! The queen bee wants to sell honey at the forest market. In Honey Buzz, you are going to help the queen bee as her accountant! As her accountant, you get to manage your own hive and workers. By sending your workers out, you can expand your hive. The larger your hive, the more honey you will eventually be able to collect. You can sell this honey in the market and complete orders for the hungry bears, foxes and mice! Will you be the queen bee's favorite accountant? Prove you've got what it takes by earning as much money as you can and completing the Queen's contests! 

When it is your turn, you can choose from 2 actions: take a tile or recall your workers. 

Take a tile

When you take a tile you go through 3 steps. You place one or more workers at the tile you want to take. If there are no other workers on the tile, 1 worker is sufficient. Are there already several workers? Then you always have to place the amount of workers +1 to get the tile. 

Expanding your beehive: once you take a tile you can add it to your beehive. This will make your hive bigger. The tile should always be adjacent to another tile in your hive. 

Perform your hive actions: if you create an empty space between different tiles when placing your tile, you have created an empty cell! You make these empty cells for the 4 different types of honey. When you create an empty cell, you activate all actions on the tiles surrounding this empty cell. You can choose in which order you perform these actions. However, you have to perform them all. There are 6 different tile types with 6 different action types. We will discuss these actions later. 

Recall your workers

If you don't have enough workers, you can choose to recall your workers. You are not allowed to take a new tile. Instead, you get all your workers back and you can look for nectar. You can take 1 step on the nectar board for free with your bee. However, you will not be able to receive nectar if you are allowed to perform this action during the recall of your workers. 

As described earlier, there are 6 different tiles with 6 different actions: forage, produce, market, new bee, decree and accounting. In short, you can search for food, produce honey, sell honey in the market, hire new bees, collect 5 coins or perform an action of your choice with the joker tile (decree). We explain all actions in more detail below:

Forage: Move your bee (forage token) 1 step in the field with nectar. Do you come across a nectar where you already have the corresponding cell in your hive? Then you can take this nectar and place it in your beehive. Can't place a nectar? Then you get a pollen instead. 
Produce: Place your fan token in a location of your choice in your beehive. Any nectar adjacent to this location now produces honey. You may now place honey in your beehive on the corresponding nectar. 
Market: Visit the market to make 1 trade: sell honey or pollen or complete one of the available orders. 
New bee: Take 1 of the bees from the supply and place it at the top of the game board at the designated location. In the game this is also called the nursery. The perfect place for your young, new bees!
Decree: The decree tile is actually a joker tile. You may perform an action of your choice. 
Accounting: When you are allowed to perform the accounting action, you take 5 coins from the stock. 

There is also 1 more important thing in the game: the queen's contests! Every game, 3 contest cards are placed on the game board. These are goals that you must achieve during or at the end of the game to score points. For example, you can score points by being the first to have 10 workers or by completing the most orders at the end of the game. These contests earn you 20 points per contest. So they are definitely worth it. 

The game is over when 2 of the 3 stacks of orders have been used or when a certain number of times honey has been sold in the market. So it differs a lot per game how many turns you will get. You don't always know when the game is about to end. If your opponent happens to be able to end the game on his turn, it can happen that you won't get a turn and therefore won't be able to execute your plans anymore.

This may seem like a lot to keep in mind. We admit, it is! There are also quite a few rules in the game. We can certainly not discuss them all here. Fortunately, the game comes with a very handy player aid! This player aid contains the different patterns that you can create to make an empty cell. As we mentioned earlier, you can make an empty cell for 4 different types of honey. You make these cells by placing your tiles in a different shape. This, and all actions you can perform are clearly displayed on your player aid. So you have a cheat sheet at hand for practically everything!

Our thoughts

Honey Buzz has earned a well-deserved spot on our game shelf. We are fans of this game. As far as we are concerned, the "buzz" about Honey Buzz is justified. Honey Buzz is a beautiful game, both the box and the components are very beautiful. But make no mistake! Honey Buzz isn't just a fun game because it looks so cool. It is also a very fun game to play. You might think all the buzz came about because of the looks, but that wouldn't do Honey Buzz justice! This game truly deserves to be appreciated.

The game offers a sweet and cute looking theme, as well as a high degree of strategy and tactics. We have played the game many times and our scores are still not very high. We can say with certainty that Honey Buzz is not an easy game. Because you can make so many different choices and you have new goals and orders every game. You go through a different route to victory every game. We think that the replayability of Honey Buzz is therefore quite high. We have also purchased the mini expansion Honey Pot, but we have not yet felt the need to add it to the game. We have heard that this ensures more interaction between the players. We are very fond of interaction in games, so we are very curious about this expansion!

 Although we say above that it is certainly not an easy game, we certainly would not say that it is very difficult. With this, we want to say that you can also play this game with new players. They must be motivated to first listen carefully to the rules of the game. However, once you have heard the rules of the game, you can use the handy player aid as a reminder. It is therefore certainly not impossible to introduce Honey Buzz to new players. And let's face it, with such a beautiful game you can certainly show it to your friends and / or family!

Honey Buzz also combines several of our favorite game mechanics such as worker placement, tile placement and creating an abstract puzzle. We always like to see a game make such combinations. This ensures that Honey Buzz is another refreshing addition to our collection. 

The only reason we wouldn't put Honey Buzz on the table is the time it takes to set it up. Unfortunately, there is no insert in the box. Everything is in separate ziplock bags. An insert would certainly be a perfect solution for this. But if we leave this out, Honey Buzz is definitely one of our favorite games at the moment. Are you unsure or have you become interested in the game because it looks so nice? We would say: just add it to your collection! You are not going to regret it.

Playing with 2 players

Honey Buzz is also a lot of fun to play with 2 players. The game board has special modifications for a 2-player game. We really appreciate these kinds of details in games. It is always nice that you can notice that there has been put thought into playing with different player numbers. As far as we are concerned, this was done very well in Honey Buzz. There is little to no interaction with other players in the base game, so we are very curious if we like Honey Buzz with more players. However, because the Honey Pot expansion offers extra interaction, this could certainly be the solution for a game with more players.

 Pros and cons

+ Beautiful art and components
+ Lots of tactics and strategy
+ Relatively cheap mini expansions

Takes a lot of time to setup
- Sometimes you don't realize the game is already over