There are few things cuter than a bear in clothes. In Bearly Working, the new game from Lazy Wolf Games, players are working to fill their city with bears that are ready to get to work.
Bearly Working plays in 5 days (rounds) that start off with a “bear auction” each round. Bears are placed face down on the auction block and players bid on them as they are flipped over. Money can be limited at times, so spend your cash wisely.
You’ll have access to bears that bring in money during the Pay Day phase each round. The rest of the bears will score victory points for your city at the end of the game. Striking a balance of gaining money and having victory points is very important and matters each and every round. Pay attention to the symbols at the top of these cards because some bears come with a bonus that can really give you an edge.
Working for the Weekend
At the end of the work week (5 rounds), players can win additional victory points for the most bears in their city, the most “collect-a-bears” and the most money at the end of the game. These awards can make a big difference so you don’t want to aimlessly bid on bears without a strategy.
In the games we’ve played, the winner comes down to just a couple victory points and players rarely felt like they couldn’t compete.
One aspect of the game that we really enjoyed was the action cards that can be picked up at the end of a round. Players get to choose to draw an action card or $5 from the bank. This happens 3 times for each player at the end of the round. Sometimes it makes sense to grab an action card then some cash or just draw a total of 3 action cards.
Once you take a peek at these cards, you can tell there is plenty of backstabbing in Bearly Working. A card might allow you to steal money from another player, swap bears with someone or keep a player from bidding during the auction. This is the aspect of the game that adult players will really enjoy.
Our Final Thoughts
Bearly Working is a family-friendly game that has some fun mechanics. I have to admit that the first time you play, bidding on bears can be a little awkward. Once you get one game under your belt, it plays a lot smoother and people will have strategies going into the “bear auction” each round.
The game was simple enough that I played with with 8 year old daughter but cutthroat enough that the guys at work enjoyed playing during lunch. The game is more fun at 3 to 4 players and I’m not sure it would get a lot of play with just 2 of us.
The artwork is cute and the theme of building a city of working bears is right on point for families. The game can be fun for the kids that are collecting their favorite bears and for the adults that want to lay the smack down on another player with a series of action cards.
The rule book was my biggest issue and it’s something that the team at Lazy Wolf Games is addressing already. The rule book was small in the prototype but didn’t answer some of the questions we ran into. This will definitely be cleared up by the time they go to production.
I would love to see a “round tracker” to keep players informed on the current round. This was a minor thing but something that would be a huge help when you walk away for a second and forget what round you were on.
We had a great time with Bearly Working and I’m excited to see how people respond on Kickstarter. The game is a solid family game that I can see our kids asking to play often. The art work is solid and the mechanics are perfect for a 30 minute game for the family.
Be sure to check out the Bearly Working Kickstarter when it launches on February 13th.
Lazy Wolf Games provided us with a prototype copy of Bearly Working ahead of their Kickstarter launch. This in no way influenced our opinion on the game. Previews are a glimpse into an upcoming game with the pros and cons that we experienced prior to production of the game.