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Hive is a board game with a difference. There is no board -- as pieces are added to the playing area they create the board. Then as more and more pieces are added, the game becomes a fight to see who can be the first to capture the opposing queen bee.
The soldier ants battle to keep control of the outside of the hive. The beetles climb up to dominate the top. Spiders move into holding positions as the hoppers jump in for the kill.
Keep one eye on the hive and the other on your opponents reserves. The tension builds as one wrong move will see your queen quickly engulfed.
"Again!", says my wife.
"We just played three times and you want to play again?", I stammer in rapt incredulity!
"Again!", she demands...
A demand I willingly fulfill!
This game is easy to explain, easy to remember, easy to love! We play best out of five when time allows (read; when kids stay sleeping long enough). And we have had to get three copies thus far because guest keep leaving with our latest copy.
One thing I must say is I believe that a previous reviewer thought that you couldn't end movement touching another colors piece. You can. The only restriction on touching an enemy color is when you are bringing a new piece into play, it may only touch your pieces. It can't touch an enemy piece at all.
The interaction of the various bugs is tough to coordinate as you opponent can pin and isolate your pieces even as you do the same to him.
The choices of which pieces to bring out in the first 4 are the start of hostilities. I like to start off with two beetles and the queen then a Grasshopper. This seems to allow a lot of flexibility in the early going.
A great game to carry with you it plays anywhere and always attracts people.
I am a big time gamer and Hive is a wonderful, simple to learn, difficult to master, 2 player game. It is a definite 5 star game in the category of 2 player games. The no luck factor goes along way with me. It goes anywhere since there is no board and has endless replay value. It is kind of like chess in 10-20 minutes. Great wood figures as well.
Hexagonal tiles show your creepy-crawly warriors: Ants, Grasshoppers, Spiders, Beetles and Queen Bee. Players in turn form a turbulent hive of insects by laying a piece adjacent to others. After the Queen Bee is placed (no later than the fourth turn), turns may consist of moving placed insects. Queen Bees move one space, and Spiders three spaces, around the hive's edge. Beetles move one space, and may jump onto an adjacent insect, thereby immobilizing it. Ants move anywhere they please around the hive. Grasshoppers jump over one or more pieces. Insects cannot move if they would split the hive into several sections. You win by surrounding the enemy Queen Bee; its adjacent friendly insects contribute to its defeat. This game's chess-like strategy will leave you itching to explore more of its subtleties.
Hive is an abstract game of placement for two people. Each uses 11 hexagonal pieces, which are made of smooth wood about 1 cm in thickness and which provide a quality feel to the game. The eleven pieces are a queen, 3 ants, 3 grasshoppers, 2 spiders and 2 beetles. Each player has an identical set that is distinguished by the background colour of the sticky label (which is already attached to the wood when you get your game). While they look pleasant on a display -- metallic silver and metallic blue -- under fluorescent light they can be hard to tell apart. [Funagain Editor's Note: This issue has been resolved in the second edition of the game; the material and construction of the pieces is the same as before, but the tiles are now nonrefelective and the colors are thus easily distinguished.]
The game is played with each player playing one piece at a time and the object is to capture your opponent's queen. This is achieved when the queen is surrounded by pieces, and mainly this will be with your pieces. Each type of insect has its own movement rules. For example, once placed the grasshopper can jump to a vacant space along a straight row of joined pieces, while the ant scoots around the edge of the pieces to a new position, a move that is incredibly good at times. Except for the first turn, when pieces are first placed on the board, they must only touch their own colour. When they move (on a subsequent turn) they must form one continent, i.e. all pieces must be linked somehow. Your queen has to be played during the first four turns and this is also a telling time, as it can end up in the middle of a load of pieces and be "in check" early on, or find itself stranded at the edge of the developing continent and unprotected.
The game reminds me of the old Hartland Trefoil classic (sadly, out of print now) called Ancient Kingdoms. This game was about hexagonal tile placement and movement of pieces and was for 2 to 5 players. But it had a similar feel to it as pieces were moved into better positions.
The rulebook is extraordinarily good: the colours match the colours of the pieces, there are good examples and the clarity of the rules is first class. Why comment on this? Well, since this is a first production you do not normally get either this attention to detail or this quality. It all comes at a cost of course. The game is 20 in the UK, but if you are at all interested in abstract games, then you should consider this. It plays quickly, has an addictive quality and, with so many options in the play, does not have a perfect strategy or set so many initial moves.
After several games now, I am uncertain about the position of the first player. We have had more first player wins than second, but this is simply resolved by reversing the order in the next turn. It could be argued that the second player can counter any move by the first player, but I haven't played sufficiently to guarantee that this is the best way of playing second. (The website says that there is no advantage in going first, but I can only comment on the games I have played so far.) Like chess, there is plenty of room for analysis. Personally, the rule I like the best is that all pieces have to be in contact. This makes for some interesting plays as the continent stretches out.
The game is readily available in England and also from the www.hivemania.com website, which itself is well constructed and will provide sufficient further information for you to follow up this review. Some of the site is still under construction, but there are some pictures of the prices, which are useful to see.
The cover of the game says, "Hive is a game crawling with possibilities". This set my mind working to the various puns that could be used in the game. The best I came up with was an "all ant attack", but working with insects I'm sure you will do better.
While I do not rush to get abstract games, this one has more appeal than most, plays quickly and is well produced. I would recommend adding it to your collection, even if you only have a casual interest in abstract games.