Friday, 2 August 2013


Up until roughly a week ago I had next to zero 2 player only games in my collection. Even though the girlfriend and I play more games just us than with company I don't like the restriction of not being able to add more players. Between my lacking 2 player collection and not touching a chess piece in over 10 years I would have been the last person to pick up Hive. That was until I asked /r/boardgames for advice on a solid vacation game that was not simply a pocket / travel edition of an already mediocre game, I had seen Hive's name mentioned dozens of times on various websites but always brushed it off due to the player limitation. Well I bought Hive and I am very disappointed, not at the game though but rather myself for dismissing it some 6 months ago without even giving it a try.

How do you play?

Learning to play is simple, learning how to win will take practice. In the most simplistic explanation, you and your opponent will take turns placing and/or moving insects around the 'Hive' in a fight for dominance, in order to take control of the Hive and win, you must completely surround your opponent's Bee using a combination of both players' pieces.


The setup occurs during the first 4 turns, these turns follow different rules from the rest of the game.

Your first piece you play MUST touch your opponent's piece.
You MUST place your Bee within your first 4 moves.
You can ONLY place pieces and not move any until after you have placed your bee


After the "setup" phase you will have to choose between placing a new piece and moving an insect already in play. First I will cover the placement of new pieces.


When placing a new piece regardless of which Bug it is, you can ONLY touch your colour piece.

To make things clear / reiterate  you cannot place a new tile so that it is touching both colours.

When your Beetle is on top of an opponent's bug, that tile is considered yours and you can place pieces off of it so long as they do not touch any of your opponent's pieces.


This is where the majority of the strategy comes in, each bug moves along a set path similar to chess piece (although with much more abstract paths) I will now explain how each bug works.

note: At no point in time can you cause a separation that would split the tiles into more than 1 'hive'.

Grasshopper: It hops! You can only move your grasshopper if it hops a piece next to it, the Grasshopper MUST move in a straight line, MUST hop over at least 1 piece and MUST fill the first available gap.

Ant: These crawling insects work much like their real life counterparts and can move anywhere as long as they can get to that space by sliding along the table, without pushing other tiles out of its way or having to pick it up to fill a hole.

Beetle: Beetles move only 1 space in any direction, however unlike any other bug they have the ability to move on top of other pieces. A piece with a Beetle on top of it cannot move and is considered to be the colour of the piece on top. Beetles can be stacked up to 4 high.

Bee: Similar to the initial Beetle movement, your Bee can also only move 1 space, however this is all your bee can do, it possesses no special power.

 Spider: These 8 legged freaks MUST move in a single direction and MUST move 3 spaces.


The components are one of the best parts about hive, the tiles are a perfect size and are heavy enough that they don't push each other away as you move your pieces, the sturdy tiles make Hive perfect for outdoor play and the travel bag it comes with lets you take Hive anywhere.

What makes Hive so enjoyable to me?

My absolute favourite part about Hive is how easy it is to get a game in, our average match lasts 5-15 minutes, combined the setup and cleanup time takes 30 seconds and you can play with pretty much anyone or anywhere. The rest of the appeal:

- Abstract / "Sandbox" style strategy
- Different from games that my group frequently plays
- Great warm up for longer games
- Lots of replay value
- Theme reminds me of an old Warcarft 3 custom game "Bug Evolution" players were split in to teams of 2 and each controlled a different bug type that filled a different roll in the colony, each side expanded and evolved until there was no more room left and only one colony remained, it was awesome. Couldn't fnid a video of it but here is a link to the download

Who would enjoy Hive and why?

Family Gamers:
- Easy to learn rules
- Like Chess, Hive encourages and helps teach strategic thinking
- Quick playtime
- Fun 'Bug' theme
- Play inside or outside

Casual Gamers:
- Easy to learn rules
- Quick playtime
- Play inside or outside
- Leaves you wanting to play again
- Great for improving your strategic thinking to help win other games

Gamer Gamers:
- Fantastic quick playing 1v1 strategy game
- No luck involved
- Fairly unique to have in one's collection

I think that Hive would do great with anyone who would consider playing a board game, obviously the limitation of only being a one on one game will be an impact on all categories, but when there are just two of you, Hive is perfect.


  1. Did you go for Hive or Hive Pocket?

  2. Just regular Hive, but I am looking forward to the mini expansions.

  3. Interesting board game! I never seen this before. Would you check out NOVA legacy as well, it's a fun FPS virtual game. Here is a link