Hive

Hive

  • Designer: John Yianni
  • Players: 2
  • Time: 20 Min

I’ll just start by saying, “I love this game.” I don’t really like bugs, but Hive’s hexagonal, little critters have captured my attention like an army of ants carting away my ham sandwich on a warm summer day. The game is unassuming, containing only a handful of the most satisfying hexagons you will ever have the pleasure of slapping down on your table. If it sat amongst the overwhelming number of big box games being released today, you may not even notice it… which is somewhat fitting given its theme. However, Hive is the perfect balance of elegant design and multi-leveled strategy you want in an abstract game.

Here’s how it works. Each player has 11 identical hexagonal tiles representing various creatures. Like chess, the objective of the game is to capture the other player’s most royal piece (the queen bee), a task only accomplished if it is completely surrounded on all sides with tiles. As you would expect, each of these creatures moves in a slightly different way. The grasshopper can only jump over existing pieces, while the beetle can climb on top of others. Ants move around the perimeter of the group but can move any number of spaces. The mechanics match the gentle theme, and the unfolding of each game is a satisfying puzzle to solve.

I enjoyed playing chess growing up. I was never very good, but the back and forth dance to capture your opponent’s king was a mental exercise I relished. Hive feels very similar but with fewer pieces, faster game play and a much shallower learning curve. If you like elegance, strategy or bugs then you may consider adding this one to your collection. And if you do pick it up, give this meta experiment a try. Take a bunch of the tiles and roll them around in your hands. I guarantee you will almost hear the frenzy of activity from within the bustling hive itself.

Pros: A Satisfying Puzzle, Simple, Fun, Good Couples Game

Cons: May Be too Abstract for Some

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