Not every board game has to play in a fantasy world with unknown beings and resources. Reality also offers enough material to make an exciting board game out of it. Markus Lehmann dared to tackle exactly such a topic with “Dance of the Bees”. It is intended to depict the work of the bees very precisely and thus also impart knowledge about these very important insects. Crowdfunding will begin on the platform on May 2nd. We spoke to Markus beforehand about his first game.

In many cases, there can be a lot of discussion about the topic of a board game. Euro games in particular are not necessarily characterized by the fact that the game mechanics are dictated by the theme. Usually, the mechanics come first in the development process and the topic is then "put over".

Colorful and many hexagons: The setup for Dance of the Bees. Image: Markus Lehmann

However, the theme can also be determinative when it comes to defining the game mechanics. The closer a game is to reality, the more you can learn while playing. That's exactly what it offers dance of bees, that Markus Lehmann at the beginning of May will bring to crowdfunding.

Bees communicate using a dance language. This is how the scouts of a beehive tell their fellow bees what they have discovered. Information is conveyed via the dance that there is food, how much can be found, how good the quality of the food source is and also what type of food can be found there.

Knowledge about these insects, which are so important for the food security of humans with their pollination work, is a good thing for everyone and if you also acquire this through play, it is a great mixture.

Of little bees and little flowers: How a game about bees comes about

The idea too dance of the bees was created by borrowing a picture book from the library over two years ago. Markus Lehmann was so fascinated by the illustrations of the life and work of bees that he wanted to develop a board game based on this topic. This should depict the work of the bees as realistically as possible. Both children and adults should be able to learn something through the game. The complexity of the game was also “given”. An upscale family game/easy connoisseur game brings all ages to the board game table.

Who is the busiest bee? Image: Markus Lehmann

The idea and the basic features of the game were already fixed when honey buzz has been published. Markus played honey buzz then deliberately only a few weeks ago, when his game was so far developed. Even if there are parallels here thematically and in the core mechanism (worker placement), the games are definitely something in their own right. while it's in honey buzz mainly about the fictitious economic management of a beehive dance of the bees the reality of the bees better and more instructive. One focus of the game is pollinating various plants (flowers, vegetables, berries and fruit).

Developing the game mechanics was the easier part of the creation process. Bringing together the illustrator, graphic designer, marketing and production company was a challenge that was practically another full-time job alongside Markus' part-time job as a teacher.

From flower to flower: this is how the dance of the bees plays

Everyone takes over the management of their own bee colony. The workers must be used sensibly so that the colony can grow and there is enough food. For this, flowers have to be pollinated and their nectar and pollen stored in the honeycomb.

In addition, you have to arm yourself against voracious animals. Bacteria and fungi can also threaten the collected. The combs can be strengthened by collecting resin (propolis). 

A bee year is short. Only those who are diligent and have been able to store enough honey will survive the winter safely.

There is a lot to do both in your own beehive and outside. Image: Markus Lehmann

A round in dance of the bees is divided into five phases: 1. use bees 2. carry out bee actions 3. complete menu 4. resolve event and 5. score and retrieve bees.

There are a total of ten different possible actions that your own bees can carry out. Four of them are outside the hive. All other actions are performed in your own beehive.

For example, you can explore the area or collect water, nectar or resin. 
In your own beehive, honeycombs can be lined with resin to enlarge the beehive. Nectar can be used to produce honey. Larvae can be "stored" for nectar and water, and for each additional water and nectar, the larva hatches, leaving behind a dirty honeycomb. These can be cleaned with the "Clean" action to make room in this honeycomb again for nectar and honey. 

Once everyone has placed their bees, the actions are carried out simultaneously by all people in any order. Then you check whether you can meet the requirements of one of the face-up menu cards (ie whether you have the printed nectar tiles in your display). Events are only resolved in specific rounds. A scoring is conducted at the end of each season.

After thirteen laps comes the final scoring, the “winter check”. Whoever has the most points wins.

A detailed rules video can be found here:

The crowdfunding

Crowdfunding for the game starts on May 2nd The game will be available there for about a month.

The game will be priced at €49. It is produced in Germany in a climate-neutral, plastic-free manner and with FSC-certified materials.

A stretch goal will be a solo mode. Here the game is played like in a multiplayer game. The only change is an interposed phase in which tiles are removed and resources become scarcer. With special solo rating markers, the points are added up at the end of the game and compared with a table that shows the rank you have reached.

Other stretch goals include improved material (thicker cardboard and wooden components), exclusive event cards and more competitive scoring markers, as well as an inlay that helps keep everything safely inside the box. As with the game's core rig, all stretch goals are made entirely without plastic.


Information about dance of the bees

Number of people: 2 to 4 people, solo mode as a stretch goal
Age: from 10 years
Playing time: 40 - 60 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Classification: family/kenner game
Core mechanisms: worker placement, resource management

Author: Markus Lehmann
Illustrations: Rozenn Grosjean
Publisher: self-publishing

Link to crowdfunding: Link
Official Website: Link

Last updated on 25.05.2023/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API