Five Things You Need to Know About Waggle Dance

Waggle Dance is a new strategy board game designed by me, and being published by Grublin Games which is currently live and funding on Kickstarter. I’m glad to tell you more about it.

Art by Mateusz Szulik

Worker Bees, Worker Placement

Waggle Dance is a worker placement type game where you roll 6-sided dice to represent your worker bees. After rolling you place the bees on the board to trigger a variety of different actions. The value rolled on each die dictates exactly where it can be placed – but as many placements on the board are unique you need to think about the best order to place your bees.

Photo by Mike Nudd

When I first conceived of the game 4 years ago, it was as a result of playing many of the worker placement style games that were available at the time – e.g. Stone Age, Agricola, Age of Empires, Pillars of the Earth, Kingsburg. While they were all fine games I noticed that the narrow range of choices presented led to the placement mechanic blocking off players very quickly – it was difficult to develop a good strategy because you were forced to tactically respond to the choices the other players left you with.

With Waggle Dance I wanted to open up the degree of choice, give players more control and hence reduce that sense of frustration. In my game blocking can still occur, but only at the end of the round when most of the placement spaces are filled. If you play optimally you should never have any wasted bees, nor any difficulties in finding places to put them.

My Second Published Game

Waggle Dance is actually the second game I have designed to go into publication. My first project was Vampire: Prince of the City, a board game to complement the Vampire:The Requiem RPG produced by White Wolf Publishing in 2006.


Prince of the City is essentially an area control game, but the key to the game is about positioning and player interaction. The game encourages negotiation, temporary alliances and backstabbing, very much in-theme with the RPG it is based on. In fact I am very proud of the way it simulates the Vampire experience.

Now out of print, but still available in secondary marketplaces, I understand that Prince of the City did well enough to warrant White Wolf approaching me to draft an expansion. Sadly when CCP took over White Wolf at the end of 2006 their business focus moved away from tabletop games, and so expansion was never actually produced.

I have thought more than once it would be good to do a new edition based on the anniversary version of Vampire: The Masquerade (aka V20) but I have yet to find a suitable publishing partner to pursue it.

It’s All About Bees!

Waggle Dance is a game about bees making honey. This theme was with me at the game’s first inception. I knew I wanted to use 6-sided dice, and it seemed natural to have them represent a 6-legged insect. With bees I could have 6 actions, 6 flowers, 6-sided shapes for the honeycomb – the game almost designed itself!

The theme appears to be quite unique for a strategy game within the hobby. While on Board Game Geek you might find various games aimed at a younger audience, there aren’t many that would appeal to the serious hobbyist.

Making a game about bees also helps raise awareness about the creatures, and the various political and environmental issues they are faced with. Colony Collapse Disorder is a very serious problem for both the agriculture industry and for the environment in general. If I can play some small part helping the cause then so much the better.

Grublin Games are Awesome

I’ve known Henry socially from before Grublin was founded. I followed his first campaign last year for Cornish Smuggler with interest, and was pleased to see the game funded and printed. The final product was a beautiful thing to behold – great production values and gorgeous artwork. And the music is brilliant too!

cornish smuggler

I asked Henry what his plans were for 2014 and he said he hadn’t made any. Although he’d received some game submissions from other parties he hadn’t made any commitments. I offered to send him one of my bee themed game and that seemed to push all the right buttons.

As with Cornish Smuggler, Grublin have really pushed the bar with the art and the look of the game – I couldn’t have anticipated that everything would look this good. We were really lucky getting to work with Mateusz Szulik, who I hope goes onto great things!

It’s also been great working with Henry – we both agreed at the beginning on total transparency regarding our process, and to be as honest as possible. We e-mail and text each other regularly and follow up every week on Skype. Hanging out together at UK Games Expo was also a lot of fun.

It’s on Kickstarter Now!

I’ve backed many games on Kickstarter before, but this is the first time I’ve been part of a project. One of the reasons for working with Grublin is because they have been through this before, and they have demonstrated that they can deliver successfully.

I think it’s fair to say however that we’re all still learning. Crowdfunding is in a very different place from where it was a year ago – I’ve lost track of the number of other gaming projects that have started since we first launched and hence it’s been more of struggle to capture everyone’s attention.

We’re doing our best to stand out, and to offer a game that people will love, but we do need your help. Please back us, and tell everyone you can about us. If you can think of someone who might appreciate a copy then you can always back us for a second copy as a gift.

If you’d like to try the game first then there is a print and play available on Board Game Geek that you can download. If you have any other questions for us, or you think there is something more we can do that would appeal to you then please do let us know – the game is for you and we’d love to engage with you.

Also, if you happen to know anyone who might know how to contact the famous actor Liam Neeson then please get in touch – we have something special planned just for him!