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A board game about surviving as a wild bee hive.
A board game about surviving as a wild bee hive.
715 backers pledged $34,138 to help bring this project to life.

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Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer

$34,138

715

Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer is a resource management and worker placement game for 1 to 4 players where you try to survive for 1 year in nature as a hive of bees. You will select 1 of 4 different Queen types to lead your hive through the seasons of spring, summer, fall and winter. Compete against other player driven and AI driven hives as you try to rule the meadow. Can you survive winter?

As a librarian and a beekeeper, designer Matt Shoemaker has taken care to create a game play experience that is both influenced by modern Euro games and stays true to how bees behave and react to their environment as he has experienced within the Philadelphia region.  

Note that all images and video used in this campaign are of prototype components. Final components and graphic design may vary from what is shown on this page.

You can learn how to play from the full rules here(note the formatting and editing here is not final and will be complete with graphical aids in the final game).  Note that we now have people working on translating the rules into German and French, and I have also been informed of fan translations of the rules into Spanish and Dutch.  These translations will all be made available online when complete, but we do not currently have plans to include printed copies of the translated rules in the box.

 Bee Lives a maintenant la traduction des règles en français!  

In Bee Lives you earn victory points for successfully performing activities that help your bees propagate. This includes swarming, raiding other hives, defending your hive, and hoarding honey. 

At the start of the game, choose which queen bee will start your journey. Each queen gives your hive an advantage. They can make you better at fighting disease, fighting other bees, getting more workers, or spreading Wild Hives across the map. If you don't like your starting queen don't worry! You can change her later in the game with the requeen action.

Next we are going to play the top card from the current season deck. These represent weather effects that impact everyone. They can have a positive or negative effect.

With the weather in play, it's time for us to move on the Action Phase. There are 8 different actions you can take in Bee Lives. Scouting lets you explore the surrounding area outside of your hive and add to the map where everyone's hives reside.

Foraging lets your workers go to those tiles and gather the honey, pollen, and water resources needed in your hive. Be careful though! The further you go from your hive the more workers you need to spend. Foraging resources also increases your disease making for sad bees.

Not all bees want to work for their resources. Some of them would rather raid nearby hives to steal honey instead of gather it themselves. You can use the defend action to help fend off these robber bees, but when they come for you it's time for the raider to roll some dice and the defender to decide if their worker's lives are worth more than the hive's honey stores.

Now that you've gained some resources you need somewhere to put it. The build wax option lets you increase the size of your comb and open up more room for resources and additional worker bees.

As your bees venture out into the world via the forage and raid actions they are going to bring back some unwelcome disease. Be sure you take care of that by having some workers take the clean bees action to reduce the varroa mite's position on your disease track and save the lives of your bees.

Occasionally the season cards place overheating in effect which will require you to take the cool hive action in order to gain new workers that month. Better keep an eye on your water supply! 

Once everyone has assigned actions to all of their workers it's time to bring your bees home and feed them. I hope you gathered enough honey over the month, as any bees that can't eat starve and come off the board. Don't worry too much if that happens, though, because if you planned well enough with your pollen collection you'll be gaining some new worker bees to help out in the next month.

The final thing to check for is swarming! If there are too many bees in your hive or not enough room for the queen to lay eggs half of your workers will leave taking some of your honey with them. This creates a Wild Hive run by a simple AI card action sequence that will harass you and your opponents through raiding and blocking access to tiles with its own workers.   

When the spring season has ended it is time to combine the maps! Resources are plentiful in the first 3 months of the game during the spring season and as such your hives stay to their own territories. As the summer begins and nectar flows begin to dry up, however, bees look to other territories and even other hives for resources. To represent this in the game players join their maps together for strategic advantage and more interaction.

Once you've gone through 9 months of play you enter the winter phase, where your hive is affected by your standing on your disease tracker and your bees consume honey resources to stay warm. Once winter is complete you tally up everyone's points. The player with the most points and at least 1 surviving bee wins!

 If one year of play is not enough, Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer offers 2 modes of extended play. You can extend your game from 1 year to 2, or even 3 consecutive years to see how your hive can succeed through multiple years of play. Additionally, the variable season cards, options for 4 different queens to lead your hive and the modular map ensures that no two games of Bee Lives will be the same.

As someone who enjoys solo games, Matt Shoemaker wants to ensure that Bee Lives can also meet the needs of the solo gamer. With this in mind, a solo variant with multiple modes have been included in this game design. The most basic solo variant consists of playing the base game and utilizing the AI drive wild hives as your opponents. This mode allows you to explore the base world of Bee Lives and improve your game by comparing your scores to the ranges set through our play throughs.  

For those of you solo gamers who wish for more, I am also including in the base game 8 challenges to further test your skills and explore the games mechanics. Additionally, there are 4 scenarios included along with the solo challenges as well as a campaign mode where you can run through 2 to 3 consecutive years of play with your hive to see how they succeed in the long term.  

All of the above mentioned solo options will be available at the base funding level through digital download, with plans to include a physical deck of solo cards for these modes of play as an early stretch goal. 

We have 2 add on items for this campaign.

1. A playmat - This  20"x20" playmat features the cover art from Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer. It also contains along two edges player aids to assist you with the changes between seasons. The playmat also ensures an excellent surface for combining the shared map in multiplayer games. With this mat you can be sure that your map tiles will slide together with ease.

 Here is an image of a prototype of the playmat with a game of Bee Lives set for 4 players.

2. Cover art print - An 11"x17" poster print of the cover art from Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer.

Preview by Man vs Meeple

How to play by the Board Game Spotlight 

Enjoy this preview by Ryan LaFlamme of The Cardboard Republic!

Preview: Bee Lives

Here is a write up preview of Bee Lives by Jonathan H. Liu, one of the Geek Dads!

Kickstarter Tabletop Alert: ‘Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer’

Check out this full solitaire playthrough by Beyond Solitaire

and the writeup on the experience by Beyond Solitaire

Beyond Solitaire - Bee Lives Kickstarter Preview

Interview with Matt Shoemaker by Jambalaya Plays games

 Here is a Kickstarter preview writeup of Bee Lives by Jambalaya Plays Games.

Jambalaya Plays Games - Kickstarter Preview: Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer 

Check out this writeup preview by Katie from Katie's Game Corner

Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer [KICKSTARTER CORNER]

Preview and Tutorial by the Boardgame Kaptain

Interview with Matt Shoemaker by the Boardgame Kaptain

 Review by the Board Game Mechanics 

Interview with Matt Shoemaker by TWIST Gaming

Interview with Matt Shoemaker by What's on the Shelf

Some of the people who have enjoyed playing Bee Lives at conventions this past year!

  • There is no big publisher behind Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer. This game can only be made with your support, now, during the campaign.
  • We currently have no plans to enter distribution with Bee Lives. This may be your only chance to pick up a copy.
  •  Help us improve Bee Lives! We have several stretch goals to go through that will improve the game for everyone.  Now is your chance to make sure the component quality is the best it can be for all.
  • Bee Lives is sold at a discounted rate during this campaign. We'll be selling it at full MSRP for any extra copies we have

Without you, we will not be able to make Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer. We greatly appreciate your pledges and helping us to make this game a reality!

We support retailers who wish to carry Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer in their stores. Please back this project at the $1 level, send us a message, and we will get back to you to arrange things! We will invoice you prior to shipping your rewards.

In order to ensure that as many funds as possible raised during this kickstarter campaign can be utilized in future campaigns we will be charging actual shipping costs via a pledge manager prior to fulfillment after the campaign has concluded. We will fulfill the rewards bound for the USA from within the USA,  and expect to fulfill the rewards bound for EU from Germany. As a result EU  backers will not have to worry about customs or VAT. If we get enough backers in other parts of the world we are happy to reach out to similar partners in those areas to keep shipping costs as low as possible.

These are the highest current prices in  these regions. Shipping may cost less depending on your exact  location. Shipping prices may change by the time we ship in 2019. 

In the USA - $18

In the EU -  €16

In Canada - $20 CAD

Rest of World -  €24

Canadians - We are confident that at least 30 of you will pledge at the $49 level or above and will ship your games from within Canada.  This makes your shipping charges an estimated 20 CAD.  Please note that this price reflects current shipping costs and may change by the time we ship in 2019.

Note that we will combine shipping for anyone doing a group buy as their pledge (ie. buying multiple copies of Bee Lives in a single pledge).  This will let you save on shipping costs.  If this is of interest to you please send us a message and we can answer your shipping and group buy questions.

Due to challenges in shipping we are unfortunately unable to ship to all countries. The countries we will ship to are European Union, USA, Australia, Bahrain, Bermuda, Canada, Chile, Faroe Islands, French Polynesia, Gibraltar, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Kuwait, Liechtenstein, Macao, Monaco, Malaysia, Norway, New Zealand, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates 

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Risks and challenges

Though our first kickstarter, Matt Shoemaker has been a participant as a backer and proponent of the platform for several years. We've seen both successful kickstarters and failures, and have structured this campaign to model the successful campaigns. Additionally, Bee Lives has been extensively tested and produced up to this point. While we are still making some minor tweaks to the game the vast majority of it is complete. We will be working with a well known and reputable manufacturer to produce the game and have consulted with and continue to consult with several people who have experience in fulfilling crowd funding campaigns.

Additionally, Matt Shoemaker is an experienced non-crowdfunded project manager and knows that delays can and do happen. The best way to handle any such issues is with full communication with backers, and should any issues arise we fully intend to communicate those problems with backers.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Scouting Mission

    Join in and follow along! At this level you will receive all campaign updates and be able to participate in the community via comments. Come along and see what all the buzz is about.

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    Pledge $49 or more About $49

    Building Comb

    Get your own copy of Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer! This pledge level includes 1 copy of the game. *Shipping charge is done at the end of the campaign (see shipping section for details)

    Includes:
    • Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer with all stretch goals
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    Pledge $90 or more About $90

    Raising Brood

    Spread the gift of gaming and bees! With this pledge level you will receive your own copy of Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer. In addition, we will send a copy of the game to an interested library or school. This is a great way to share games with others and help them learn more about bees.

    If there is a library or school you are interested that is important to you please get in contact with us.

    *Shipping charge is done at the end of the campaign (see shipping section for details)

    Includes:
    • Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer with all stretch goals
    • Bee Lives with all stretch goals for a library or school
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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Bountiful Harvest

    This pledge level is for those of you that want some honey straight from the bees! You get your own copy of Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer, one of our Bee Lives playmats, and a sampler of honey from some of the Philadelphia apiaries and beekeepers who Matt Shoemaker has worked with!

    *This goal is only available to the USA
    *Shipping charge is done at the end of the campaign (see shipping section for details)

    Includes:
    • Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer with all stretch goals
    • Bee Lives Play Mat
    • Sampler of Philadelphia Honeys
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    Pledge $2,000 or more About $2,000

    Beekeeper

    The ultimate Bee Lives experience! You not only received a copy of Bee Lives and the Play Mat, but you and up to 2 friends get to come down to Philadelphia to experience a day of beekeeping activities with designer Matt Shoemaker. Included in the day will be a tour of some bee hives, opening of the hives and experiencing what bee keepers do all explained by Matt, tastings of some Philadelphia honeys, dinner with Matt and of course a game of Bee Lives with you, your friends and Matt. Pledge at this level now for a great day of beekeeping fun!

    *Shipping charge is done at the end of the campaign (see shipping section for details)

    *This pledge level does not include transportation to Philadelphia or accomodations. You must make your own travel arrangements, coordinated with Matt Shoemaker to schedule a date that works for all. We will provide transportation within Philadelphia.

    Includes:
    • Bee Lives: We Will Only Know Summer with all stretch goals
    • Bee Lives Play Mat
    • Day of beekeeping activities
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Funding period

- (30 days)