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Honey Heist: A Teddy Bear Caper For the Ages

John Hutton walks us through Honey Heist: an Ocean’s 11 style, honey laden caper.



By Grant Howitt
Players: 2 – 6
Playtime: 2 – 3 hours

Every teddy bear who’s been bad is sure of a cut today.  There’s lots of marvelous things to steal and wonderful things to break.  Beneath the trees where nobody sees they’ll hide and sneak as long as they please.  That’s the way the teddy bears have their big heist.

Honey Heist is a fantastic role-playing game for kids and beginners.  In Honey Heist, players take the role of bears looking to score a big stash of honey from Honeycon 2017.  

To start the game players will create their characters.  Character creation is very easy.  First, players roll a six-sided die for their descriptor, their bear type, and their role.  Should you choose, players can then roll once more for what kind of fancy hat to wear.  Because what kind of criminal bear mastermind goes in without a clever disguise?  So, a player can be anything from an incompetent panda face wearing a fez or a washed-up polar bear muscle wearing a flat cap.  The type of bear they roll or freely choose gives the player a specialty.  Grizzlies are more terrifying, black bears are better at climbing, and pandas will eat anything that remotely looks like bamboo.  Using the bear’s specialty gives the player a second d6 to roll in a skill check and the lower number is the one they take.  Then of course the player will have to give the bear a name.  

Honey Heist has two stats: bear and criminal.  The bear stat allows players to do more physical activities like attacking, running, and just generally being a bear.  The criminal stat allows players to do everything else.  At the start of the game, both stats are at 3.  During the game, players will take actions and that will move points from one stat to another.  For example, if a player wants to use their bear strength to knock down a door, they may take an action and roll a d6 against their bear stat.  If it’s under or equal to that number, they succeed.  If it’s over, they do not succeed.  If it’s a failure, then the bear becomes frustrated and has to move one point of criminal over to bear.  If it works, then move one point of bear over to criminal. 

Players can volunteer to move one point of bear to criminal to do an Ocean’s 11 style flashback scene where that failure was a planned failure.  Players can also voluntarily move one point of criminal to bear if they eat a bunch of honey.  If anyone stat moves up to 6, the player is out of the game.  If criminal reaches 6, the player’s bear betrays the party and starts a life of crime.  If bear reaches 6, the player’s bear goes feral and will likely be picked up by animal control.

The game master rolls for a random plot for the players.  There are tables to roll a d6 against for the convention organizer, the location, any extra loot the bears could find, security features they have to overcome, and even a plot twist.  For example, an organizer who is obsessed with honey holds Honeycon at a lavish truck convoy where a beehive suspected to host the ghost of Abraham Lincoln is on display.  At Honeycon the bears will have to deal with electronically locked doors and laser tripwire grids.  But little do they know but a rival team of bear thieves is also after the beehive.  As always, the game master can also create their own adventure should they choose.

From then, let the players plan the heist.  They decide how to deal with the security and when the time comes, how to deal with the plot twist.  The game master will decide when players need to make a roll and hilarity ensues from there.

Honey Heist is a very simple pick up and play RPG with a bit of a different premise.  It’s very much a comedy RPG with simple mechanics and allows for a lot of creativity and roleplay as a bear.  

Because it’s a simple game, some elements of roleplay are sacrificed.  There’s little time for character development or backstory.  And also, the players are bears so backstories are going to be light anyway.  Because you’re bears.  If it’s a table of serious roleplayers looking for something character-driven and getting heavy into feelings and motivations, this isn’t the game for you.  Motivations are simple.  You’re bears and you want honey.  So go get honey.  

For people having a hard time getting into crunchier heists or stealth games like Shadowrun, this is a good introduction to this type of game.  It’s great as a one-off game and can be played in a couple of hours.  The whole rule book can be found online and it’s only 2 pages.  And one of those pages is strictly for the game master so they can generate the plot.  All the players will need is a few six-sided dice and they’re ready to go.  Give Honey Heist a try if you’re looking for a light-hearted good time at the table.

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