Beignets & Board Games: First Impressions of Queen Bee

Hey Board Gamers, BJ from Board Game Gumbo here. I’m putting the finishing touches on my final trip report from Gen Con 2019 and should have it posted next week. But I saw that Elixir Games’ Kickstarter for Queen Bee is out right now, and thought I’d get this First Impressions of the game posted during the campaign.

At Gen Con 2019, I was fortunate enough to see gamers that I’ve hung out with in the past, but also to make new friends and meet new designers and publishers. One of those is an up-and-coming designing couple from Utah — Larissa and Mike Bruner of Elixir Games.

Their first offering is this awesome looking two-to-four player battle royale game based on a bee hive theme called Queen Bee, which is out on Kickstarter right now.

I gotta admit, I was drawn in by the cover art on the box:

For a first time design krewe, there were surprisingly a lot of interesting twists in Queen Bee. First, players are competitive until they are co-operative, a mechanic I can’t recall ever seeing before.

Here’s how it works. Let’s say four players are battling it out, and one Queen succumbs to another player’s Queen. Those two players then team up to try and win the game together!

Next, the card play is — and is meant to be — way overpowered. It promotes an attacking, quick playing style all about getting those bees to fly out of the hive and dominate the board.

Finally, the combat system is quick, intuitive, and dice based (although cards can AND DO come into play). I love how the different strengths of bee fighters are represented by different sized dice. I still can’t believe Mike and Larissa hand-stickered hundreds of dice for the prototypes!

I played twice, and I enjoyed more my play of the four player version, with the increased chance for rollicking table talk over the two player version. I slowly harnessed the power of the Gladiatoracorn against Mike as the sole remaining Queen in my–err, I mean — “our” way. After a few more turns and a couple of epic battles, three of us shared in a victory that felt surprisingly satisfying.

I think there are some kinks to be worked out with the very overpowered card play, but the production of the game promises to be fantastic, and Mike & Larissa are very open minded to suggestions about the game.

As any faithful reader of this blog knows, “Bees on a map” battle games are not my favorite genre, and yet, I had a good time playing this game with the designers and another fellow we invited to join. If family weight battle type games are your thing, you should check out the Kickstarter that it is live now for more information.

Big thanks to Larissa & Mike for showing me the game and good luck to both of you. Until next time, laissez les bon temps rouler!

— BJ @boardgamegumbo

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