I have a distinct memory of watching reruns of the original 1966 Star Trek series and 3-Dimensional Chess game, which may have led to my enthusiasm for abstract strategy games. My first round of Radioactive Bees and their rather special design brought back that memory.
Radioactive Bees is a tile placing strategy game that resembles a post-apocalyptical beehive under construction. The purpose of the game is to place tiles of different shapes to earn points and prevent opponents from using their tiles to earn points.
It is a fantastic game to help all players (young and old) improve their mental capabilities. The theme is adorable and will bring all ages to the table. However, it felt comparable to chess with the area control and hardened maneuvers as the levels rose. There is plenty to think about during a game that makes for a great head to head challenge. The game can unfold in innumerable different ways, and the tactics for each situation are always evolving. None of the complexity comes from a misunderstanding of rules. It comes from the game’s interactions. How can I prevent my Bee from being trapped? How do I position my Bee that has three rings so that it will survive this round?
There is a ton of variety in the game. The pieces are of good quality. Building the hive is very satisfying.
Players choose their Bee color and grab the game pieces depending on the number of players.
Two players: 3 triangles, 6 angles, and 9 lines.
Three players: 2 triangles, 4 angles, and 6 lines.
Four players: 2 triangles, 3 angles, and 4 lines.
The player who was last stung by a Bee goes first. It has been a decade since I was stung by a bee; therefore, I will not go first till…. Currently chasing Bees in the backyard.
Each turn, a player’s places one of their tiles on the hive board. When all available spaces are filled, the play continues to the next level.
Each new tile on the next level must be placed so that it covers part, at least two unique tiles from the layer below. This makes for tricky maneuvers.
No part of the next level can have an open gap underneath it.
If tile options must be exhausted before starting the next level. This continues till players run out of moves. That is the end of that round.
Time to mark the uncovered Bees with radioactive rings. Bees can hold up to three rings and one mutant Queen marker. The Bee’s markers remain till the end of the game, even if they are covered. If uncovered, they accumulate the next radioactive ring.
Next, remove all the tiles from the board and start the next round. The game is played in four rounds.
When a Bee gets covered by an opponent’s tile during each round, the current tile score gets added to the score tracker immediately. A Bee without a ring has a value of one during this phase. If a player covers one of their own Bees, no score is given.
The end game is triggered when one or more Bees have earned the Mutant Queen marker.
End game scoring is calculating the number of radioactive markers in players’ Bees. These totals are added to the score tracker totals. One ring is 1 point. Two rings in 2 points. Three rings are 3 points, and the Mutant Queen is 5 points.
The player with the most points wins.
Four white triangle tiles have special abilities. These are drawn randomly at the beginning of a game.
They are used in place of a triangle piece. A player can choose to utilize them or not.
Their abilities are: The Freezer allows the player to cover Bees without adding to the opponent’s score, The Thief allows the player who covers an opponent’s Bees to add those points to their score., The Uploader enables the player to add a ring to the covered Bees, and The Downloader empowers the player to take one ring away from the covered Bees.
Bits and Bobs
1 Game Board
57 Construction Tiles
4 Action Tiles
120 Radioactive Rings of various sizes
4 Score Markers
Mechanics That Worked for Us
We had success with keeping our Bees open on the outer rim of the hive when possible.
The angle tiles are vital to save for the last rounds.
The advanced tile is best used in the last round because they cannot accrue radioactive rings.
Radioactive Bees is an intricate game that brings strategy and spirited competition.
Nerdz Garage recommends this smart, well-designed game.
Let’s be honest; there is still a bit of drama when we play.
Sit Down -Grab a Drink – Join the Game
Year Released: 2020
Designer: José L. Navas
Categories: Abstract Strategy, Animals, Bees
Mechanisms: Grid Coverage, Tile Placement, Family
Number of Players: 1 – 4
Time: 45 minutes