Doug Adams writes:
Designer: Reiner Knizia
Honeybears is a cute little game from master designer, Reiner Knizia. The theme is a group of four bears making a dash from the beehives in the woods back to their cave, to store their honey. Players score points depending on how far each particular bear advanced, when matched up with playing cards remaining in their hands.
The components consist of four wooden bear markers, each a different colour. These bears are placed onto the game board, which is simply a movement track of 13 spaces, from the woods to the cave. The bears move along this track towards the cave with the assistance of a deck of 55 playing cards. These cards depict either a particular coloured bear, or they can be wild. Coloured bear cards move only that bear, while wild cards may be used to move any bear. The card indicates how far the bear moves, either one or two spaces.
To begin the game, all the cards are shuffled and dealt out, so each player will receive 11 cards in a five player game. Some cards are set aside when fewer are playing. On a player's turn they simply select a card from their hand and move the indicated bear down the track towards the cave. Simple! If the card is wild, any bear may be selected. A card must be played, no passing is allowed. A round ends when any one bear reaches the cave.
Now, the players total their score by examining which cards they have remaining in their hands, and comparing this against the space on which the bears finished. Running along the side of the track on the board are scoring values. These range from -1 for the first half of the track, then progress upwards to 0, 1, 2 and finally 3 in the cave.
Scoring is determined as follows:
A number of rounds equal to the number of players are played out, with the highest points total winning.
Reiner Knizia never makes it easy on the gamer. Here you must play your cards to advance bears, and by the very act of playing them you are removing scoring opportunities from your hand! Very clever, and turns a game that is instinctively dismissed as a children's game into something worth playing, providing crusty gamers can get past the cute presentation.
A nice little game that has been played regularly at Billabong. The presentation is very colourful and appealing, while game play is simple yet intriguing. I like it, definitely a worthy filler, but perhaps you should try before you buy.