Friday, January 11, 2019

16) Hive

Welcome to Dice Spotlight! I’m your Gamemaster, Jonathan, here at Connexxions Cafe. This blog highlights different games that we have at the Cafe that you may want to check out. Maybe you’ll discover a new favourite!


Okay, now that I've scared off anyone with a fear of insects, here's a game with lots of them!

Hive (or Hive Pocket) is a strategy game for two players. The goal is to surround the opponent's queen bee without getting yours closed in in the process. Each player has the same amount of bugs at their disposal, with each moving in a unique way. Ants can travel anywhere along the outside of the hive. Beetles can climb on top of other pieces, but only 1 spot at a time. But there's one rule that transforms this game to strategic heights. It's called the One Hive rule.

This (on the right) is the hive. The pieces off to the side are not yet part of the board and will be attached at a later turn (ignore them for now). The One Hive rule states that you can't move a piece that will separate the hive into 2 or more pieces. You see all of those spiders scuttling in the hive? They're stuck! In the picture, only 7 pieces can actually move:
3 ants on the outsides (2 black, 1 white)
2 grasshoppers at the bottom (1 black, 1 white)
1 beetle (the white one already on top of the hive)
1 queen bee (black's)

This rule becomes such a fundamental point to think of. Is an ant about to put you in a dangerous position? Have one of your bugs snuggle up next to it to trap it in place. Worried that the queen will fly away? Do what black did and stick an ant to its side. Suddenly the puzzle becomes, "How do I free my ____ so I can attack with it later?" I love how it balances attacking and defending so well. It does take a few playthroughs to understand how everything flows, but the skill ceiling is so high! I'd recommend trying it with someone who is just starting out too, so you can learn together. You can get beat pretty easily if the other player knows a lot more than you do.

And just a quick mention of aesthetics and practicality. I LOVE games where the board morphs into something from nothing. Think of games like Carcassonne, with the expanding countryside (oh shoot, I don't think I've written on Carcassonne. WELL IT'S ON THE BUCKET LIST NOW) or Escape, where the temple slowly is revealed in front of you. In Hive, with all the insects scurrying around your table, the hive takes so many different shapes that I just can't help but admire. You also only really need a flat surface to play this on. It's extremely portable and a lovely brain-bending to get some competition going!

Hope you enjoyed reading about Hive! Come visit us at the cafe at 12644 137 Ave, Edmonton. You can ask me about a certain game that you’ve always wanted to learn. I’d be happy to work through it with you :) Happy gaming!

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Welcome to Dice Spotlight! I’m your Gamemaster, Jonathan, here at Connexxions Cafe. This blog highlights different games that we have at ...