Time to collect all the nectar around,
Foraged with your hexapod crew,
Take it back to the hive,
Where from there you'll derive,
A honey as sweet as moon dew.
Then take it all down to the buzz-ling market,
You'll sell it to creatures you meet.
Your sales will soon rocket,
With new coin in your pocket,
Since your product is a decadent treat.
In “Honey Buzz” you are a hive looking to gain capital by selling a healthy supply of your own honey to customers or at the Bear Market all while trying to complete special orders from your queen. In your buzzing bureau of bees you'll have to use your worker beeples to collect tiles you need to bee able to create such a bustling business.
Each turn you either place a worker beeple or recall all your bees back home. When you place a bee then you take the corresponding tile and place that tile in your personal hive. If you complete a hexagon then you take the actions in the tiles that surround your newly minted polygon. Those actions will help you curate a collection of honey that creatures would love to spend their coin on, making you the most prominent pollinator in the forest.
The game ends when either (a) two of the three stacks of orders in the marketplace are gone, or (b) when four of the five resources are at their lowest value in the Bear Market.
How to Teach
Much like the segmented tiles you attempt to covet, I find this game teaches best in segments. Remember the 3 P's of teaching a game:
- Pick up
- Point at
- Don't Presume
This game has quite a few components so I find it best if you have the game already setup before people sit down at the table. Thankfully Elf Creek put an amazing insert in the retail box so everyone can enjoy a simple setup and tear down.
Go ahead and set everyone up with the starting hive structure. That's the one with the ⭐ on it with a green background. Make sure each person's local area is set up with the starting supplies including the extra worker beeple (4th player) and extra coins (2nd and 3rd player) as in the rule book depending on the number of players.
As for starting Queen Objectives, start with “Most Nectar”, “3 Nectar of any 1 type”, and “3 orders”
You can keep the randomization of the Large Orders but make sure the initial Small Orders are the card with two wildflowers, the card with one wildflower and one rosemary, and the card with one rosemary and one cherry blossom.
I find this helps allow the players to get some quicker wins than some of the orders that require a bunch of acacia honey in the first round.
The Two Phases
The structure of a turn is quite simple, while the actuality of what one does on their turn can bee quite complex. Start simple though. Explain, “on a turn you have one choice, you either place a worker beeple or you take all your worker beeples from the board back to your hive.”
The main thing you need to show your players is that tiles can only bee placed in a way that matches “yellow side to yellow side”. Another way of showing it is that they cannot place tiles in a way that will keep them from beeing able to make a hexagon shape.
Once that layout is established you can explain to your players that when they create that heavenly hexagonal shape, they trigger the effects! This is best done with a “jazzy hands” emphasis when you say “effects”.
|Accounting||Get five coins.|
|New Bee||Add a new worker beeple to the nursery to bee picked up the next time you recall your bees.|
|Forage||Move your “Forage Bee” one space for free. If you want to move more spaces then pay two coins for every extra space. When you stop, if you can, take the nectar tile you land on and place it in your hive. If you don't land on a nectar tile or you can't take the tile, then take a pollen token instead.|
|Produce||Place your fan on any honeycomb in your hive, add honey to the nectar tiles that surround the fan.|
|Marketplace||You may either (a) fulfill an order in the market or (b) sell pollen or one type of honey for the value in the Bear Market. If a resource is sold in the Bear Market, move that resource's value down by one.|
|Decree||This is like a “wild” action. You use it to do any of the other actions.|
After explaining the effects, you can point them to the player aids you have placed in their area for reference. You should also explain to them that the triggered effects can bee done in any order they choose which can add to their strategy.
When you cannot place any more worker beeples then you must recall all your beeples. When you do this, gather all your beeples from the board including any that were placed in the nursery. After this you get to “scout” ahead by moving your “Forage Bee” one space for free.
It's good to mention that this time your players aren't able to pay to move more than one space and you don't get to collect anything. It's just a nice way to bee able to do something extra on an otherwise uneventful turn.
While Honey Buzz can sometimes feel underwhelming by having turns where everyone at the table goes around cleaning their beeples off the board, it's far more frequent to have a turn where you grab the piece you were wanting and create a chain reaction of hive actions that create this thrilling sense of accomplishment leaving the other players at the table with gaping mouths to which you can then fill with honey. It's a game that also starts with a much friendlier tone slowly morphing into a desperate race for the last rosemary nectar tile so you can fill the final gap in your hive!
Beelieve it or not, this game packs so much fun into a box that is smaller than it seems and the fact that the base version comes with such deluxe components (looking at you, custom insert and lovely silicon honey) already makes the price point more than worth it. The solo variant is actually one of my favorites, and I would pop the lid of the jar more often if it weren't so much of a fuss to get all the pieces out and in their proper places.
May your tokens be useful and your tricks be clever and I hope this teachtorial helps you get "Honey Buzz" to the table.
- Cory 🎲