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'Honeybears' is one of the lesser-known games in the Knizia canon. Aimed squarely at the children's game market, it still has plenty of depth for adult gamers as well. Other reviewers once again have beaten me to the punch in describing the mechanics, so I will get on to my impressions.
What makes Honeybears so good is the agonizing decisions of which cards to play. Each time you advance a bear, you are reducing your holdings for that bear, and therefore lowering your chance for a good score. Advance a bear too slowly and the players risk having a negative score for that bear. The choices are few but the ramifications of those choices are difficult and tantalizing in equal degrees.
While a hand composed mostly of wild cards will allow a player to dominate a round of play, it is recommended that one round be played per player to even out the luck factor. Each round is refreshingly short, so this suggestion is more of a blessing than a curse.
Highly recommended for children and adults alike. Locate a copy if you can.
HoneyBears is really sort of a silly little game.
I really should play for strategy... but Red Bear MUST WIN! And so, sadly, I lose every time.
Beautiful game components, fast play and high excitement make Honeybears a fun-filled game each time you play! In true Knizia fashion the choice of which card to play is never easy. You never have enough Joker cards and hoarding your potential high scoring pair of '1' cards could leave your favorite bear in negative scoring territory! You need your opponents' help in advancing bears into positive scoring positions before each round ends. This game is agonizing fun as you wait and watch each turn to see which bears your opponents will advance.
Honeybears is recommended for play with 3-5 people, but I've found it just as enjoyable with two players. You simply deal 13 cards to yourself and your opponent (the equivalent deal of a four player game) then alternate drawing cards from the unused deck for two dummy players (you move, draw for a dummy, your opponent moves, draw for a dummy etc.). If a dummy player draws a Joker card, always advance the slowest bear. This allows for a very competitive game for two players.
Honeybears is a gem and the price couldn't be more reasonable. I highly recommend this game for anyone's collection! (By the way, my copy of the game came with beautiful wooden bear figures; not pawns as shown in the graphic.)
Honeybears is a tidy little game from Austrian company Piatnik, which, before the description by their attentive representative at Essen, looked like a Pigs Trotters clone. That it isn't is entirely down to Reiner Knizia's designing skills, because if I'd been involved, there would be a law suit pending.
Honeybears involves moving four wooden bear dobbers into various scoring zones by means a of a colourful and durable pack of cards. These depict the four bears involved -- red, yellow, blue, green -- plus some neutral cards which permit the advancement of any bear.
So, play a card, move a bear (either one or two spaces, as depicted by the honeypot icons), and prepare to absorb the unique scoring method. Rather than hold secret title to one of the bears, the cards retained when one bear has reached the plus 3 area are matched against the other zones. For example: Yellow has finished, and Jan has one "double honeypot" yellow card. This earns six points. She has two red "single honeypot" cards, which add a further four points, the red bear having finished one space behind yellow. Her other coloured cards score zero (blue and green are in the 0 area), whilst the neutral cards do not score. A bonus of six points is awarded to the player who concludes each heat, which I thought a might excessive.
If I've written this intelligibly, you will have deduced that you need to quickly move the bear in which you have a majority of cards (like Formel Eins), but retain some to secure points. Which leads me to the game's only blemish. If you are blessed with a hand of mostly neutral cards and those of a single colour, you will be firmly in the driving seat. But, played over a few rounds, any imbalance will be washed away.
Interestingly enough, Honeybears is the one game from Essen which my children have requested repeated playings, which, I think, points to its market.