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Author: John Yianni
Publisher: Huch & Friends
Year: 2005

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In the two player game Hive we are dealing with the little creatures. The game includes ants, grasshoppers, spiders and beetles. The goal is to corner our opponent’s Queen bee. At least it’s something different for a change!
Both players receive a set of bugs, nice robust Bakelite hexagons, in their colour. They both have one Queen bee, two spiders, three ants, two beetles and three grasshoppers. A player’s turn consists of placing a bug on the field, or moving a bug that has been placed previously. When placing a bug, it has to be adjacent only to bugs of its own colour. By movement, later in the game, the bugs can end up adjacent to an opponent’s bug.


The movement rules are bug-dependent. Ants are the most versatile: they can travel unlimited distance. Grasshoppers jump over an adjacent row of bugs, and land in the first free space available. Spiders can move three fields, and beetles and the Queen bee only one. Beetles are the only bugs that can be placed on top of another bug, thus preventing its movement. During movement, all the bugs have to remain ‘connected’. Movement is not allowed if it causes the group to fall apart into multiple ‘islands’.
The game ends when one of the Queen bees is surrounded by six bugs. The player with the cornered Queen loses the game.

The bug-theme itself may not appeal to everybody, but in fact Hive is a very abstract game, so forget the insects if you do not like them. The idea is to simply use tokens with different movement rules to corner the opponent’s tokens. The ants are the most powerful pieces. Because they can travel unlimited distance, they can appear out of thin air when least expected, to mess up someone’s master plan. Beetles and grasshoppers also have their advantages: because of their climbing- and jumping abilities, they can reach spaces that are off limits to ants, for example an open space surrounded by six bugs.

The rule that all bugs have to remain connected even during their movement has a big influence on the game. As an effect, some bugs, that keep two groups of insects together by their mere presence, are not allowed to move. This is especially annoying if this is a useful ant! Making an additional connection using a second insect can solve this, but it will take an extra turn to accomplish...
It takes a few games before you completely grasp Hive, but as both players become more experienced, the games become more fun, with more suspense, and will also last longer. ‘Longer’ may not sound as a recommendation, but this is relative: depending on the experience level of the players, Hive only takes between five and twenty minutes. Time enough for a revanche, or to make it a best-out-of-three! Because of the sturdy tokens, the game is very travel-resistant. Heat, cold, sand, salt or even chlorine water: these bugs can take it all! The publisher apparently realised this as well, because a convenient bag is supplied to take the game and play it anywhere you like.
© 2006 Barbara van Vugt

Hive, John Yianni, Huch & friends, 2005 - 2 players, 9 years and up, 20 minutes