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Yet another great game from the 21st Century! Hive pits two squadrons of insects against each other in a battle to outmanoeuvre and surround the opposing team’s queen.

There is no board, the game can be played on any flat surface.

Pieces are not captured, and so the counters, once placed, become board itself. This game is fiendishly addictive, and you can get through a game in under twenty minutes, making it great for mini-tournaments over the course of an afternoon or evening.

Game Designer: John Yianni

Game Publisher: Gen42Games

Date Published: 2001

Playing Time: 20 mins

Category: Strategy/Abstract/Animals/Under 30 mins

Hive is just a fabulous little game. I use the word little only in the sense of size and time it takes to play one game because in other important ways this game is huge. For one, it’s a very popular game, because it’s so good. This means that you can get really deeply into Hive if you wanna. There are books on tactics, online communities, and an app that means you really can play it anywhere.

Hive Board Game Box InstructionsThis game is huge from a strategy point of view. It becomes very clear after only a few plays that there are just so many variables in this game, and yet those variables are balanced very nicely so that you don’t really have to think about them too much.

The point is that every game is different, and even the one’s that are a little similar are still very different. There’s just the right number of bugs to play with, and just the right balance of strategy and speed. What I mean by that is that games are very strategical, but this does not weigh the game down too much.

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The pieces of this game are just very pleasing. They are made from pre-Dupont plastic, Bakelite, and to be honest I am a big fan of this substance. It’s plastic made from trees in case you didn’t know. It’s like that solid plastic that we made old-fashioned telephones out of and stuff. I don’t know if it got superseded by modern plastics because it is more costly, but for me, the cost is surely worth it – this substance is durable, weighty and pleasing to the touch. The fact that all the pieces are hexagons and fit together perfectly into the Hive just makes it even better.

It’s the usual deal, one player is black, the other white. The aim of the game is to completely surround the opponent’s Queen Bee, whilst making sure your Queen Bee remains at liberty. It’s something of a race, balancing your attacking moves with your defensive ones to make sure you have an offensive ready for when your opponent starts to come for you. If you can’t put them on the back foot or have no escape route for your Queen, they will get you with fuss whatsoever.

Because it is relatively easy to win the game with the pieces you have, there is a nice urgency to the game that makes each player go for the win right from the off. All in all, if Chess is anything to go by, this, and variations of it, will be entertaining humans for many, many years to come.

The best games are simple, elegant and with very few rules. Hive ticks all these boxes.

It is amazing how such complexity can grow out of a very simple few premises. My recommendation is that everyone should have Hive, it really is that good. You can come back for game after game and it’s a great way to fill twenty minutes or half an hour. It’s short length also makes it great for tournament evenings, and best of three and fives and so on.

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Hive Expansion Pieces!



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