Bugs on my window, trying to get in. They don’t go nowhere. Waiting, waiting. Bugs on my ceiling. Crowded the floor. Standing, sitting kneeling. A few block the door.
Do I kill them? Become their friend?
What you get for your money:
22 Bakelite pieces (11 black and 11 white).
How do you play the game:
Hive is about real bugs, it’s not a metaphor for something entirely different. You get 11 hexagonal, black or white, bug pieces per player: a queen bee, the most important insect in this game, three soldier ants, two spiders, three grasshoppers and two beetles.
All the insects can move in different ways. For instance, the grasshopper can hop over other pieces, the beetle can move onto other insects, preventing them to move, and the ant can move as far as he can along the borders of the hive (the insects that are in play). The goal of the game is to surround the queen bee of your opponent.
At the beginning, there are no pieces on the table. In your turn you either put an insect on the table, next to one of your own insects (except in the first turn), or move an insect that’s already there. Your queen bee must be placed on the table in the first four turns and you can only move your other pieces after the queen has entered the hive. There can be only one hive, so the hive can never be split into two separate ones.
When a player’s queen bee is totally surrounded by insects (black or white), he has lost the game.
Some insects move like they would in nature, sort of. For an abstract game it might feel thematic, but in the end it is an abstract game nonetheless.
This is a quick two player game with simple rules, but don’t be fooled,it’s very strategic, like most abstract games. You have to think about every move, because a wrong move can be your ‘destruction’.
The combination of the different ways of movement of the pieces in the hive and the placement of new pieces makes that you have to be alert and able to adjust your plans.
The pieces are the board and so the board is constantly changing while you play the game. That’s interesting.
The game is easy to teach, the rules are simple, but you have to play it a couple of times to really know what you are doing and probably many, many times to be really good at it.
The game is the most fun when you play against an equal opponent, because someone who played it a lot can crush you in a second.
The insects look nice. I think the game itself is quite beautiful. Colourful when you have the regular or the pocket edition and a bit classy when you have the carbon one. And the thick pieces are very good looking too.
Quality of the components
As I said before, the game has sturdy Bakelite pieces. You can play the game in a burning house and the pieces will not damage. Figuratively speaking then. I’ve never tried it. You shouldn’t either.
I like this game. It looks good, the pieces are great, it’s portable, strategic, it has easy rules and it takes only 15 to 20 minutes. Pretty nice, eh?
Yes it is, but.. yes there is a but, namely: the game is quite thinky, during some games even so much it becomes tedious. Every turn you assess and reassess every possibility. Not only your possibilities, but also your opponent’s possibilities. Sometimes I like that, sometimes I don’t. It probably depends on my mood that day, but it is keeping me from saying this game really, really fun.
For filling short moments of boredom this game is extremely suitable. A filler. Bring this game with you on a hiking trip: glass of wine, French cheese and fight insects on a nice summer evening.
Three more insects:
There are three expansion out right now. The Mosquito, the Ladybug and the Pillbug. Theexpansions includesanew whiteand a new black insect piece.
The first two are included in the carbon and pocket version and you can get them for the regular version too. The Pillbug needs to be acquired separately for all versions.
These expansions don’t make the game any worse or better, they just bring more variation. The Mosquito and the Pillbug are the most interesting pieces. The Mosquito is unpredictable, his characteristics change all the time. The Pillbug can be used more defensively than other pieces, he can pull the queen out of a tricky situation.