Game Length: 20 minutes
Best enjoyed: With 2 players who want a chess-like game that can be played almost anywhere
Hive is a tactical, chess-like two player game where each player is trying to surround their opponent’s Queen Bee. The game itself is easy to pick up and quick to play, but has a lot of tactical depth, with lots to discover on repeat plays.
The game is simple to play – each turn you may add a hexagonal insect piece to the board or move one of your existing pieces, making sure that with your move, you don’t break the Hive in two. Each piece has different rules for how it may be moved, and in the opening turns, it is compulsory to place your Queen Bee. If your opponent’s Queen Bee is surrounded by pieces (either yours or his own), you win!
Players will be trying to outmanoeuver each other, trapping their opponent’s pieces so that they may not be moved without breaking the hive, and forcing their opponent to make unfavourable moves to keep their queen from being boxed in. Hive bears a lot of similarity to Chess in this way, and you will need to be able to think a number of moves ahead in order to win. Your first game will likely be spent learning how the different pieces move, but after that it should all be straightforward. As you play more games, you’ll discover extra depth and strategies!
Hive is a perfect information game; there is no chance to be found anywhere in the game. It also does not feature a physical board, and can be played on any surface where there is sufficient room. The bakelite tiles are satisfying to play with and are virtually indestructible, meaning that Hive could quite happily be played in a pub, outdoors or other location where you might not otherwise want to bring out a board game. Try playing it in the grass surrounded by actual insects for added authenticity!
Not everyone enjoys two player perfect information games however, and may find playing Hive frustrating. Games may take a long time too, depending on how much time you spend thinking ahead – and wiating for your opponent to make their move can be frustrating! If you do enjoy Chess-like games, then Hive is a versatile choice that provides a new puzzle to sink your teeth into, and is well worth a purchase.