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Honeycombs Board Game Review

Updated: Jul 3, 2023

WBG Score: 7

Player Count: 1-8

You’ll like this if you like: Bananagrams, Tri-ominos, Rummikub.

Published by: Gibsons

Designed by: Dave Clarke

This is a free review copy. See our review policy here.

I'm always on the look out for new games that work in any environment. Games I can play outside or by the pool. In a pub or restaurant waiting for food. Wind, rain, or shine. Honeycombs is a delightful game that ticks a lot of these boxes, although it does require a decent amount of table space, so not ALL pubs! The lovely, weighty acrylic pieces that make up 100% of this game bar the canvas bag are robust, waterproof, and weighty. They would work anywhere. So, let's get it to the table and see how it plays.

How To Set Up Honeycombs

There are three main game modes.

For the first variant, in a two plyer game each player takes 26 tiles. For a three player, take 17. For four player's, each person takes13 tiles. Stack your tiles into three face up piles in front of you. When all players are ready, spread all your tiles face up in front of you. You are now ready to play.

For the second game mode, place one tile in the middle of the table and then each player draws three tiles to their hand. Keep the rest in the bag for now.

For the third mode, simply place all tiles face up on the table.

How To Play Honeycombs

For game mode one, players will now race to piece all their tiles together. The rules are simple. All pieces that touch must do so with matching symbols. You can only have one piece that only touches one side of another piece. The rest must touch at least two sides. When one player has connected all their pieces, they shout HONEYCOMBS and then each player must stop, and check the person to their right to see if they have made any mistakes with misconnections. If they have, then the mismatched piece must be removed. All players then score all correct connections, one point for each match plus a bonus five points if any tiles correctly matched all six sides with other tiles. All unused tiles will lose you one point. The player with the most points after three rounds wins.

For the second game mode, players take it in turns to connect one of their three tiles in hand to the central shared honeycomb. After you have played one tile, draw back up to three tiles. As you place tiles, you will score one point for each match, and a bonus five if you are ever able to connect all six sides of one tile. Once all 52 tiles are placed, the game ends and the player with the most points wins.

Note, there are three special symbols on some tiles that come into effect in this game mode. The x2 offers double points on anything earnt that turn. The robber symbol allows players to shout STEAL when it is not their turn, and play a steal tile, collecting points as usual, and forcing another player to miss their turn. The game then continues with the next scheduled player. The arrow lets you take an additional turn after playing a tile with this symbol. And finally, the Bee allows the player who played this tile to chose one symbol on this tile to become wild.

The third game mode works simply with all players working together to try and form one giant honeycomb. You can score as you place tiles if you wish, or just try and make all the tiles connect. Your choice. We like to see how many we can do in a time limit. 10 minutes generally works. Although we rarely do them all! There is always a couple left! But it seems to be the right length for some tension, but not too much to make it stressful!

Is It Fun? Honeycombs Board Game Review

The quality of these tiles is wonderful. They feel great in your hands. But not every version of this game is the same. I would urge caution when buying this game to check the tiles and what they are made of. This Gibson's version is the one to try I would recommend. This seems to be the one that most retailers stock, but there are some others out there with lower quality tiles. There are also some versions with slightly different rules such as being allowed two single tile connections instead of the one here.

Playing Honeycomb feels very different based on the version you are playing. It can go from a relaxing jigsaw puzzle style cooperative experience, to a more race style challenge not dissimilar to the feeling of playing Bananagrams. If you do not like one style, try another. This game can suit most moods. I like the variations based on your mood and the opportunity to play this as a solo experience, one I find very relaxing.

I would recommend this game to any family. The game is so versatile and robust, it will work with most people, situations, or moods. I am delighted to have this in my collection and can see this get many plays in the future. It's lucky the tiles are so durable!

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