First Impressions: Bearly Working

Greetings all! I hope you have all been well. I have been moving during the month of January so unfortunately haven’t had much time to get reviews completed. I’ve been able to play, but writing time has been much less frequent. On that note, let’s have a look at another new game. This game is called Barely Working, and it is from Lazy Wolf Games. To be transparent with this review and let you know that I didn’t have a sufficient chance to go through all of the rule book, as I learned to play from a pair of the designers of the game, so I am not aware of the quality of rule book and will not speak of it from this point on. As well, there is a very strong chance (like 100%) that I forgot to take pictures of the game in progress. Whoops. I am fortunate enough to be able to grab a couple of stock photos, so you can at least see the game, but I apologize that there are few pictures of my experience with it! Anyway, let’s get going!


If You Love

  • Bidding Games
  • Point Collection
  • Casual Gaming
  • Quick/Hands-On Game Play
  • Real Time Bidding


How It’s Played

The game is played in a set of five rounds. In each round, a line up of different bears looking for work in your town are placed face down in a row. They are flipped over one by one, and as each is flipped, they will be auctioned off to work for the town who decides to pay that particular bear the best. Each bear has a different ability which will help you at different points in the game (VP at the end of the game, or money at the end of rounds for example). When the line up of bears has been completely auctioned off, the next phase triggers. This phase is the payment phase. Whatever bears you have hired that give you coins (or other goods) in each round will be added up and you will receive those coins (or other goods). After this is complete, there will be an action phase where you will draw from an action card pile, around the table three times. You can decide to play the card after it is drawn, or you can save it for later on in the game and play it at a time in which you are allowed to play it. Once you have played five rounds (days), the game is over and you add up how many VP you have gained while hiring all those bears.


The Pretty Little Bow

The copy of Bearly Working that I played was not a final version of the game, so there may be changes compared to what is sold as the finished game. For this reason, I won’t give an opinion on the quality of components. However, I am under the impression that the artwork is pretty well finalized and don’t mind giving a judgement on that aspect. The art is great. It is bright and cheery artwork and the fun art reflects the game fairly well.


What’s To Love? 

Without a doubt, my favourite part of Bearly Working is the theme, art and the play on words the title lends. The point of the game is to hire bears to work in your town. Because the bears are…. Bearly Working. It is brilliant. Simple jokes for simple minds? Maybe. But I don’t care, it’s awesome! To give credit to the game itself (and not only the art) the game play is very good as well. When you are deciding whether or not to hire a bear, you have to be mindful if it works with the bears you’re already hiring, if you need to focus on hiring for points, or if you need more income and should hire a bear that gives you coins at the end of each round. The simple gameplay, along with the numerous decisions that can be made within the game, make this a great game that can be played within 45 minutes.


What’s Not To Love?

I only have one complaint about Bearly Working is that I’m not a big fan of the “yelling out bids” part of the game. I feel that when you have a large group of people, that’s an okay tactic to preform auctions, but when there are only a few people playing a game, there could be a more refined approach to bidding. I would personally set a first player at the start of each round, and give them first crack to bid on the bears that come up, and work around the table. I feel that just yelling out bids could make competition tough among friends because they are arguing over who made the bid first, and who would need to up the ante to hire the bear they are bidding on. This is a minor defect in my opinion, and could be dealt with from group to group if you decide that you enjoy the fast bidding over a more settled in option. Other than this one qualm I have with the game, I really don’t think that there is much to complain about.


What’d You Think?

It was an overall joy to play, and is a nice game to sit and enjoy some laughs with friends (outside of the bidding phase as it is too loud and busy). If you are looking for a quick game to sit down and have some conversation with, I would think that this is probably your game. Between the lighthearted theme, and the relative ease you can talk while playing the game, it makes for an excellent social game. It also makes for the perfect family game as well. There is nothing too imposing for younger children when it comes to game play, and honestly, who doesn’t love bears? This game will definitely be on my radar, and I hope that I will be able to get a copy of my own sooner than later, because I would love to make this a family night game.


That’s about all I’ve got for Bearly Working today. I hope you enjoyed reading about it, and I can’t wait to hear about what others think, as well as getting a couple other reviews out for you wonderful folks. Have a great week, and remember, I love you all!

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