Collect Pollen for Your Hives in Bees: The Secret Kingdom | Casual Game Revolution

Collect Pollen for Your Hives in Bees: The Secret Kingdom

Bees: The Secret Kingdom

Draw cards, grab gems, and collect hives in this light set-collection game from Awaken Realms Lite.


Bees: The Secret Kingdom is a 2-6 player game that lasts 15-20 minutes. The object of the game is to collect colored gems, which represent pollen, to buy honeycombs from a communal row (the number available is determined by player count). Honeycombs will provide points at the end of the game, but may also meet specific bonus criteria for end-game scoring as determined by the three hive cards. 

Play begins with the first player drawing a face-down flower card. Each card will indicate the color and amount of each pollen gem the active player will gain, as well as the pollen gems the other players can gather. For instance, a flower card may give the active player a red and yellow pollen gem as indicated in the top right corner, and the rest of the players can choose to gain either a red or a yellow gem because of what’s represented on the bottom left of the card. 

If players have accumulated the correct combination of pollen as indicated on one of the honeycomb cards (some of which will have gray wildcard spots where any pollen gem color can be used to fulfill that spot), they may choose to buy that card during their turn rather than collecting pollen. Some honeycomb cards will have bonuses for buying them, such as allowing players to gain a pollen gem of any color. Honeycomb cards are worth a set amount of points at the end of the game, but they also can meet specific criteria and end-game scoring conditions on one or all three of the hive cards. Hive cards provide additional goals for players to meet during the course of a game as well as a chance to earn further points. 

Play ends when all the honeycomb cards are purchased. Players tally up the points on their honeycomb cards, along with any additional bonuses from honeycomb and hive cards, with the highest point total being declared the winner. 

Bees: The Secret Kingdom


Bees: The Secret Kingdom is a light and speedy filler game, as well as a great tool in opening younger gamers to set collection, resource management, and communal shopping in board games. Similar to games such as Splendor and Century: Spice Road, players will be trying to collect resources to fulfill the requirements of displayed cards quicker than other opponents for points. However, unlike those games, every player is receiving something during their turns and this makes all players feel involved on every turn. 

The art on the flower cards is beautiful, and draws the eye into both the art direction and the symbols on the cards. The overall design is playful and appeals to young gamers (and the young at heart), which is the goal of Awaken Realms Lite. Bees: The Secret Kingdom is a gateway game, meant to attract new players to the bigger, more expansive games and this does a good job as a primer.

However, Bees: The Secret Kingdom is unlikely to be anything more than a filler to seasoned gamers, even if they are die-hard casuals. It certainly won’t replace Splendor, Century: Spice Road, Space Base, etc. when players are looking to scratch this itch, but as a means of introducing those concepts to new gamers, it does a simple yet smart job in keeping the action fast-paced and inclusive. The game never overstays its welcome but has enough early development strategy to ensure that young and new gamers stay at the table to learn those next-step games.

Pros: Beautiful art and design direction, players are engaged on every turn, great introduction to set collection

Cons: May be a bit too light for long-term or repeated play