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Subject: [WIP] Queen Bee - Two Player PnP Game Design Contest rss

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Mike Bruner
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Queen Bee
Designer: Mike Bruner
Artist: Phan Duy
2019 Two-Player PnP Game Design Contest

Rulebook can be found here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WbssHQIp5RbPSAFMm-zNzAvLR3e...
PnP Files WITH card backs can be found here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/10kRg4UbS5FTi-KyhNa3Z4FbuiK7...
PnP Files WITHOUT card backs can be found here.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Fjvh-S_1wp_jC2cr3SWyTk50DLN...

Also available to play on Tabletopia here: https://tabletopia.com/games/queen-bee

Queen Bee is a 2-6 player game where you attempt to protect your Queen Bee and kill the other Queen Bee(s). In a 3-6 player game you will want to attack quickly because once you kill the Queen Bee of another colony then their bees become loyal to you. Increase your army, be on the attack, but don’t forget to protect your Queen! The game includes custom cards to manipulate your dice, affect your opponent or increase your power. The game ends when only one Queen Bee remains.

The game involves area-control, combat, hand management and dice manipulation. It rewards teams on the move and attacking by having more “attack” only cards and tie-breakers where the attacking teams win. If you want to have the last Queen Bee remaining then you will want to be on the move early.



Prize categories to be considered for:
Best Game
Best Mechanics
Best Use of Theme
Best Rulebook
Best Art/Graphic Design
Best Gateway Game
Best Date Night Game
Best Game to Play with Your Child

Edited: 3/31/2019 - The link to the rulebook has been updated. Edits to the rulebook include formatting changes to arrange the information in a more logical flow.

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Josh Huf
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Wow Mike, this looks really polished! I love the 3D bee tokens.
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Arif Nezih Savi

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Dude, I love the art, I am in love with the back design of the cards!

I'm also intrigued how the forced alliance mechanic would affect the gameplay devil

At first thought I wanted something to do with flowers and honey, trading honey with other teams maybe, I don't know, just a thought cool
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Kai Bettzieche
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As much as I get it, this game requires tokens as well as a board.
So it does not qualify for the "deck and dice" category.
Aside from that it does look cool, indeed!

Will have to check it out


Kind regards,
Kai
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Mike Bruner
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ablehat wrote:
Wow Mike, this looks really polished! I love the 3D bee tokens.


Thanks Josh! I appreciate the kind words. If you get a chance to play it let me know what you think. I love fine-tuning this game to make it a really fun game!
 
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Mike Bruner
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schattentanz wrote:
As much as I get it, this game requires tokens as well as a board.
So it does not qualify for the "deck and dice" category.
Aside from that it does look cool, indeed!


Thank you for that clarification Kai. I misunderstood that classification. It has a deck and dice in the game - but it also has other components as well. My mistake. I will make sure to update that! Thanks for checking it out.
 
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Mike Bruner
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ibiliss wrote:
Dude, I love the art, I am in love with the back design of the cards!

I'm also intrigued how the forced alliance mechanic would affect the gameplay devil

At first thought I wanted something to do with flowers and honey, trading honey with other teams maybe, I don't know, just a thought cool


Thank you Arif! I appreciate you checking out the game. There were a couple other bee themed games that made an appearance last year - and the two that come to mind appeared to have worker placement/honey gathering, etc. Rather than make another one similar to those I chose to make more of a gateway wargame with a bee theme.

The forced alliance has evolved into an awesome mechanic - I think. It forces people to work together that were just enemies moments ago. Sometimes it takes a round or two to appreciate the forced alliance, but it becomes a pretty powerful thing as the individual opponents join forces. You don't really get to experience that in a 2-player game, but if you get a chance to play this PnP game - you should try a 3-4 player game as well. I've provided enough components for 4 players (although I know I will only be judged as a two player game for this contest).

Thanks again for checking my game out!
 
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Arif Nezih Savi

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I'll definitely prepare my gaming group for a 4-player game and give you feedback later
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Eric Fersten
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Thank you for providing the files. As you know I've been following Queen Bee since the KS campaign, but with the PnP, I'm now looking forward to finally playing the game! Best of luck with the contest!

Eric
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Mike Bruner
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ELFersten wrote:
Thank you for providing the files. As you know I've been following Queen Bee since the KS campaign, but with the PnP, I'm now looking forward to finally playing the game! Best of luck with the contest!

Eric


Thanks Eric! I look forward to hearing your thoughts!
 
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Adam Singer
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Great video, game looks good too!
The forced alliance sounds cool!

Will try and get this one to the table!
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Mike Bruner
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adamsinger109 wrote:
Great video, game looks good too!
The forced alliance sounds cool!

Will try and get this one to the table!


Thank you Adam! I hope you enjoy it! I checked out your game and I love the theme! I'll try and get that one together in the coming weeks. Thanks for checking out my game!
 
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henry flower
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Great-looking game!
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Mike Bruner
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For anyone interested I have my game setup on Tabletopia. I'd love to teach it to you or have you play it on your own.

Here is the link: https://tabletopia.com/games/queen-bee
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Pieter Falun
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Yesterday evening I had a great play session on Tabletopia on both QUEEN BEE and FIKA (my own game, also accessible on Tabletopia). I must say I really enjoyed testing both our games, so thanks Mike for making an appointment!

I can state right away that I really liked Queen Bee. In our session with two players the balance of the game felt right. There was a lot of tension right from the start. Because the rules are straightforward, one can dive into the bee battles at once.

One forte of the game is the combination of area control and card management: before a battle it’s important to have the right bees (there are three sorts of them) in the right place, but during battles the hand cards turn out to be a decisive factor. Because of the hand limit of 5 cards, one has to carefully choose when to play which card and which cards to keep for the next dice fight. After a battle, both the position on the board and the remaining cards in hand turn out to be important; e.g. can you strike back after a lost battle or do you have a card that lets you withdraw to a safer spot on the board (if not, you may be stinged nuts ).


I also liked the theme: the game is a light version of a war game, dressed up in a suit of funny bees. On the cards, there’s a lot of humour (bees with medieval weapons etc.) which makes this game also accessible to non- (or light) wargamers like me. Apart from Memoir ‘44 and Sun Tzu, I’ve never played any war games before, but I really appreciated this one.

If I have to find something to nitpick about; the only thing that leaves me lukewarm is the artwork of the game. Although the drawings are funny and cartoony, some more colourshading could turn them in into a pleasure for the eyes. But as I said, that's really nitpicking; overall the artwork of the game is nice enough.

To conclude, I think this game is a bit underestimated and I don’t really understand why. Because it’s accessible on Tabletopia, you don’t even need to print anything in order to play it and you can play it with people on the other side of the globe (We played FIKA and QUEEN BEE without having met in real life). All you need is an opponent and approximately an hour or so for your first game.

This game should be tried by more people, it's definitely worth the try.




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Arif Nezih Savi

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Honestly speaking, my gaming group is an a-hole when it comes to Tabletopia, we all have a copy (thanks to me) but we never wanted to play online when it comes to board games, while this game definitely deserves a solid build.

I know it will play nicely and I don't think it really is a "WIP" anymore, it's a legit game!!

Only thing I am lazy about is the dice that I need to make if I want to make a nice PnP that this game deserves!

In short; I would happily buy a copy if it's within my budget
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Joshua Blaylock
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I played a game with Mike on Friday. It was a really fun game. I like that it feels like a gateway tactics game. The choices are simple, there are few movement limitations, and the cards used are easy to understand and not overly complex. I'm not generally a fan of dice chuckers (don't care for Dice Throne), but I do like that there are definite strategic moves that can pretty much guarantee a win. I imagine more plays would reveal deeper strategies. More importantly, though, I would love to play this game with my daughter.

My biggest issue is that the 2 player game loses what I feel is a major defining trait of this game, which is the ability to take over another player's team. This is a huge boon for the game as it allows someone to lose and still sort of win. I'm not sure how you could emulate that, but I would be interested in trying out a version of the game where each player controlled to adjacent bee colonies (keeping their queens on opposite ends of the board). I also like that, as it is, you could each choose teams that are next to each other, making the game potentially much tighter and more competitive (also increasing the value of those worker bees).

I have mixed feelings about the artwork. It's not ugly, which for a bee game is apparently quite a feat. It's actually quite nice. The minis are phenomenal, and I like the 2d representation of the bees as well. The rulebook is also very pretty and well laid out. It just looks, as others have said, a little too kiddy. It is guaranteed to create an assumption for people which will cause many to never even give it a chance. It should appear friendly, but not look like a kid's game. I think the main issue is that is looks flat. Giving the artwork more depth and maybe a little more detail might be all that's needed to do the trick. Santorini has a good style that I feel would work well here. I'm also not a fan of the cover, which I feel should contain artwork instead of a photo of the minis. (Edit" I just realized it was artwork on the front. The problem is that it doesn't match the art of the game, and I'm still not sure that's a style that you should be going for)

Overall, though, it's a very solid game. I'd definitely buy it, especially if the artwork was improved (which would improve my chances of being able to convince others it's worth playing).
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Joshua Blaylock
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With regard to the rules, I have a few pieces of input. They are a bit nit-picky. Some of them I feel are quite important, some of them I'm sure you're planning on changing anyway, and some of them are just suggestions.

1) I don't care for the use of the word "kill" and "dead". I don't think they fit well with the target audience. I think the word "defeat" and "defeated" are sufficient alternatives here.

2) I think they Cards portion of the Content section can be simplified as much of what is said in each paragraph is essentially the same thing. I also find that calling out the card types in the first paragraph without any distinguisher can be quite confusing.

"The game includes a deck consisting of 84 cards. There are three different card categories. Turn Cards (with a green banner) can be played on your turn. Battle Cards (with a red banner) can be played during a battle that involves one or more of your bees. Anytime Cards (with a blue banner) can be played anytime during the game.

The top of the card consists of a banner with the card title. The color of the banner indicates the card's category. The bottom of the card contains a brief description of how the card works. Please refer to the CARD DESCRIPTION section of the rulebook for clarification of how each card works."

3) "1 dice" should be "1 die". This is used in various places in the rules.

4) The board section uses artwork descriptions that don't match the current art

5) The battlefield spaces description says they're the only spaces without restrictions, but there are technically no restrictions listed for most of the hive spaces

6) The repopulate action description is a bit wordy. Also, the order of the sentences is a bit strange.

"Add up to one defeated bee in each unoccupied space bordering the Queen's nest. If you have any bees that are off of the board due to being defeated in a previous battle, you can place one on an unoccupied space bordering the Queen's nest. Continue placing bees in the same way until there are no more unoccupied spaces or no more bees to place. If you have only 1 unoccupied space bordering the nest or only 1 defeated bee, you can only repopulate 1 bee. If all three spaces are unoccupied and you have at least 3 defeated bees, you can repopulate any 3."

7) Should clarify that they can only reroll 1 time

8) Battle step 3 says that, if the losing player decides to play a card, then the other player can play one. Yet, when we played (and in whatever rules I read beforehand) it was that you can only play a card if you are currently the losing player, and you can keep playing 1 at a time while you are the losing player.

Overall, your points are made pretty well, except the last one which I feel communicates a completely different idea than what the rule is. There are just a few points that I feel can unnecessarily increase the amount of time it takes to get through the rules.

I also feel like the last 2 pages of the rules look like they're meant for a large rulebook (10-12"), while the rest of the book looks like it's meant for a small rulebook (5-6"). For a large rulebook, there could stand to be fewer pages for a gateway game. For a small rulebook, the card descriptions section is a little bit too small. Maybe if the descriptions were a large pamphlet while the rest of the rules were in a small book? Personally, I like the idea of it being a large book with fewer pages, like Santorini or Dice Forge.
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Mike Bruner
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Pieterfalun wrote:
Yesterday evening I had a great play session on Tabletopia on both QUEEN BEE and FIKA (my own game, also accessible on Tabletopia). I must say I really enjoyed testing both our games, so thanks Mike for making an appointment!

I can state right away that I really liked Queen Bee. In our session with two players the balance of the game felt right. There was a lot of tension right from the start. Because the rules are straightforward, one can dive into the bee battles at once.

One forte of the game is the combination of area control and card management: before a battle it’s important to have the right bees (there are three sorts of them) in the right place, but during battles the hand cards turn out to be a decisive factor. Because of the hand limit of 5 cards, one has to carefully choose when to play which card and which cards to keep for the next dice fight. After a battle, both the position on the board and the remaining cards in hand turn out to be important; e.g. can you strike back after a lost battle or do you have a card that lets you withdraw to a safer spot on the board (if not, you may be stinged nuts ).


I also liked the theme: the game is a light version of a war game, dressed up in a suit of funny bees. On the cards, there’s a lot of humour (bees with medieval weapons etc.) which makes this game also accessible to non- (or light) wargamers like me. Apart from Memoir ‘44 and Sun Tzu, I’ve never played any war games before, but I really appreciated this one.

If I have to find something to nitpick about; the only thing that leaves me lukewarm is the artwork of the game. Although the drawings are funny and cartoony, some more colourshading could turn them in into a pleasure for the eyes. But as I said, that's really nitpicking; overall the artwork of the game is nice enough.

To conclude, I think this game is a bit underestimated and I don’t really understand why. Because it’s accessible on Tabletopia, you don’t even need to print anything in order to play it and you can play it with people on the other side of the globe (We played FIKA and QUEEN BEE without having met in real life). All you need is an opponent and approximately an hour or so for your first game.

This game should be tried by more people, it's definitely worth the try.


Thanks for the kind words Pieter! I had a blast playing with you for FIKA and for Queen Bee. I think I liked yours as much as you liked mine. Thanks again for making that happen!

And thank you for your comments about the art. Artwork has been an enigma for me - so I appreciate your feedback. For example, Exploding Kittens doesn't have (in my mind) great art - but it works for the game. Magic the Gathering has great art and background but also has deep pockets to pay artists. So, I just need to try and find the balance of the right style of artwork for the intended audience at the right cost/benefit.

Thanks again!
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Mike Bruner
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ibiliss wrote:

Only thing I am lazy about is the dice that I need to make if I want to make a nice PnP that this game deserves!



LOL - I can't blame you for this. When I was making the PnP files I thought to myself, "these dice are gonna take a lot of work to put together". So I understand the sentiment. No bad feelings for not wanting to put that together. That is one of the main reasons why I put it on Tabletopia - to save a lot of work for potential playtesters.

One alternative that I have seen is people just using cheap wood cubes and writing on them with permanent marker. That could be an option for you if you wanted to play the game but didn't want to do Tabletopia. If not - no worries!

And thanks for the kind words about this looking like a "legit game". I've certainly put a lot of work into it so hearing that it looks like a game makes me happy. I still find myself making small adjustments here and there but the process has been fun.
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djayshaggy wrote:
With regard to the rules, I have a few pieces of input. They are a bit nit-picky. Some of them I feel are quite important, some of them I'm sure you're planning on changing anyway, and some of them are just suggestions.

1) I don't care for the use of the word "kill" and "dead". I don't think they fit well with the target audience. I think the word "defeat" and "defeated" are sufficient alternatives here.

2) I think they Cards portion of the Content section can be simplified as much of what is said in each paragraph is essentially the same thing. I also find that calling out the card types in the first paragraph without any distinguisher can be quite confusing.

"The game includes a deck consisting of 84 cards. There are three different card categories. Turn Cards (with a green banner) can be played on your turn. Battle Cards (with a red banner) can be played during a battle that involves one or more of your bees. Anytime Cards (with a blue banner) can be played anytime during the game.

The top of the card consists of a banner with the card title. The color of the banner indicates the card's category. The bottom of the card contains a brief description of how the card works. Please refer to the CARD DESCRIPTION section of the rulebook for clarification of how each card works."

3) "1 dice" should be "1 die". This is used in various places in the rules.

4) The board section uses artwork descriptions that don't match the current art

5) The battlefield spaces description says they're the only spaces without restrictions, but there are technically no restrictions listed for most of the hive spaces

6) The repopulate action description is a bit wordy. Also, the order of the sentences is a bit strange.

"Add up to one defeated bee in each unoccupied space bordering the Queen's nest. If you have any bees that are off of the board due to being defeated in a previous battle, you can place one on an unoccupied space bordering the Queen's nest. Continue placing bees in the same way until there are no more unoccupied spaces or no more bees to place. If you have only 1 unoccupied space bordering the nest or only 1 defeated bee, you can only repopulate 1 bee. If all three spaces are unoccupied and you have at least 3 defeated bees, you can repopulate any 3."

7) Should clarify that they can only reroll 1 time

8) Battle step 3 says that, if the losing player decides to play a card, then the other player can play one. Yet, when we played (and in whatever rules I read beforehand) it was that you can only play a card if you are currently the losing player, and you can keep playing 1 at a time while you are the losing player.

Overall, your points are made pretty well, except the last one which I feel communicates a completely different idea than what the rule is. There are just a few points that I feel can unnecessarily increase the amount of time it takes to get through the rules.

I also feel like the last 2 pages of the rules look like they're meant for a large rulebook (10-12"), while the rest of the book looks like it's meant for a small rulebook (5-6"). For a large rulebook, there could stand to be fewer pages for a gateway game. For a small rulebook, the card descriptions section is a little bit too small. Maybe if the descriptions were a large pamphlet while the rest of the rules were in a small book? Personally, I like the idea of it being a large book with fewer pages, like Santorini or Dice Forge.


Joshua - this is golden! Thank you so much for both of your comments! Your dissection of my rulebook is greatly apprecicate. From grammatical errors such as "die" vs. "dice" to the flow of the various sections... your extended feedback is greatly appreciated! I'll certainly update the rulebook with a lot of these suggestions and it certainly points me to some areas that are still worded weird and a bit confusing. Thanks for doing this!

And thanks for teaching me your game. I had a lot of fun playing Floating Islands with you!
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Mike Bruner
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I have updated the rulebook. I wasn't able to make all of the recommended changes yet but I did make some formatting changes. The link to the rulebook has been updated. The link can also be found below:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1WbssHQIp5RbPSAFMm-zNzAvLR3e...
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Adam Singer
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I have only read the rules, so take my feedback with your discretion.

1. Small detail but all your actions are 1 word except for "Buzz Around", I think just "Buzz" sounds nicer and is more consistent with your other actions. Since bees buzz when using their wings, it is enough to imply movement.

2. If you want to keep your player base as wide as possible I would avoid using the word "kill" anywhere in your game. "Capture" or "Defeat" is more family friendly.

3. You have a section that says some cards are "strongly recommended" to be removed. If something is strongly suggested, just straight up say to remove them. Even if they can be played with, it is best to give your players the best experience.

4. For the dice rolls, it seems to me that 0's don't hold much value and would always be re-rolled. It could be interesting to replace them with a "Stinger" icon instead. If you roll lets say 3 stingers, you automatically win the battle (I'm using the number 3 as an example, you would know what amount is reasonable).
This is interesting because if you roll some stingers on your first roll, you may want to risk re-rolling your higher valued dice to get another Stinger.
This gives a couple different ways to win combat, instead of always trying to go for the highest value. (you could also add a card for +1 stinger, and play around with giving 1 set of dice 2 stinger faces)

5. Lastly, it would really be worth it to see if you can chop down the card descriptions to as few words as possible. For example "Speedy Bee" says "Move an extra three spaces at any point during your turn", but it is a green banner card which already indicates that it can only be played on your turn so "Move an extra three spaces" is all the text needs to say. Some of the other cards are quite lengthy, I would suggest going through all of them.

That's it for now, love the artwork and I would really like to try this one
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Thank you Adam for going through my rulebook and leaving me some feedback. I haven't gotten any feedback for a while - so this is greatly appreciated!

adamsinger109 wrote:
I have only read the rules, so take my feedback with your discretion.

1. Small detail but all your actions are 1 word except for "Buzz Around", I think just "Buzz" sounds nicer and is more consistent with your other actions. Since bees buzz when using their wings, it is enough to imply movement.

Thank you for that! I recently re-themed the actions to be less generic and more "bee-themed" and came up with "Buzz around". I'll consider the term "Buzz" instead. Thanks for the recommendation!

adamsinger109 wrote:

2. If you want to keep your player base as wide as possible I would avoid using the word "kill" anywhere in your game. "Capture" or "Defeat" is more family friendly.

Noted. This was mentioned in an earlier recommendation - I just didn't have the time to make the changes before the deadline. I will make the language softer to appeal to a wider audience. Thanks for the recommendation!

adamsinger109 wrote:

3. You have a section that says some cards are "strongly recommended" to be removed. If something is strongly suggested, just straight up say to remove them. Even if they can be played with, it is best to give your players the best experience.

Sounds good. I will plan to use stronger language in the 2-player variation section.

adamsinger109 wrote:

4. For the dice rolls, it seems to me that 0's don't hold much value and would always be re-rolled. It could be interesting to replace them with a "Stinger" icon instead. If you roll lets say 3 stingers, you automatically win the battle (I'm using the number 3 as an example, you would know what amount is reasonable).
This is interesting because if you roll some stingers on your first roll, you may want to risk re-rolling your higher valued dice to get another Stinger.
This gives a couple different ways to win combat, instead of always trying to go for the highest value. (you could also add a card for +1 stinger, and play around with giving 1 set of dice 2 stinger faces)

Interesting thoughts... and I haven't tried a "winning combo" roll scenario before. I wonder how it would work as the number of bees in a combat changes with each battle. Sometimes it is one bee taking on three bees and other times it's four vs four, etc. So I think it may be difficult to keep the balance in the game and have this feature in the game. I like the thought though and will explore it further to see if it makes sense to include. Thanks for the recommendation!

adamsinger109 wrote:

5. Lastly, it would really be worth it to see if you can chop down the card descriptions to as few words as possible. For example "Speedy Bee" says "Move an extra three spaces at any point during your turn", but it is a green banner card which already indicates that it can only be played on your turn so "Move an extra three spaces" is all the text needs to say. Some of the other cards are quite lengthy, I would suggest going through all of them.

Yes - I do need to go through the card descriptions again and shorten them down. Thanks for the reminder! A lot of the verbiage in there has come about because of questions that playtesters repeatedly have had. But I have changed a lot of the language on the cards as well as added icons of the cards - so some of it may be obsolete and can be deleted now. Thanks!

adamsinger109 wrote:

That's it for now, love the artwork and I would really like to try this one

Thanks! I'd be happy to teach you sometime if you wanted to do a TTS/Tabletopia game night where we teach eachother our games. I've done this with a couple of the other games in the contest and it has been rather fun to learn the games (with the correct rules) and play them. If you have time then I'd love to do that with you and learn your game as well. Your survival theme seems like a lot of fun!
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giampiero randazzo
Italy
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adamsinger109 wrote:
I have only read the rules, so take my feedback with your discretion.

1. Small detail but all your actions are 1 word except for "Buzz Around", I think just "Buzz" sounds nicer and is more consistent with your other actions. Since bees buzz when using their wings, it is enough to imply movement.

2. If you want to keep your player base as wide as possible I would avoid using the word "kill" anywhere in your game. "Capture" or "Defeat" is more family friendly.

3. You have a section that says some cards are "strongly recommended" to be removed. If something is strongly suggested, just straight up say to remove them. Even if they can be played with, it is best to give your players the best experience.

4. For the dice rolls, it seems to me that 0's don't hold much value and would always be re-rolled. It could be interesting to replace them with a "Stinger" icon instead. If you roll lets say 3 stingers, you automatically win the battle (I'm using the number 3 as an example, you would know what amount is reasonable).
This is interesting because if you roll some stingers on your first roll, you may want to risk re-rolling your higher valued dice to get another Stinger.
This gives a couple different ways to win combat, instead of always trying to go for the highest value. (you could also add a card for +1 stinger, and play around with giving 1 set of dice 2 stinger faces)

5. Lastly, it would really be worth it to see if you can chop down the card descriptions to as few words as possible. For example "Speedy Bee" says "Move an extra three spaces at any point during your turn", but it is a green banner card which already indicates that it can only be played on your turn so "Move an extra three spaces" is all the text needs to say. Some of the other cards are quite lengthy, I would suggest going through all of them.

That's it for now, love the artwork and I would really like to try this one


I also read the rules and found a couple of unclear voices among those mentioned ...
(the word kill is not for families, even if the bees do it!)
I wanted to try it at school with the kids, but I have the problem of translating the rules to be understood ... I'll let you know how it went!
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