High Five …er Hive Five … er High Hive?

Noah and I played a couple games of Hive tonight. I think I’m hooked. I played a single online form of the game and decided I liked it enough to make my own version of the game. After finishing it this weekend, I’ve played four games and it’s a keeper.

Hive starts with each opponent having 11 tiles (3 ants, 3 grasshoppers, 2 spiders, 2 beetles, and one bee). Play starts by each player placing a tile adjacent to one another on the table. The winner is the first player to cause the opponents bee to become surrounded on all sides by tiles. The bee must be placed within the first four moves.

Except for the first tile placment, all subsequent tile placements (from your hand) must be made without your tile touching any of your opponents tiles. After the bee is placed, you can, instead of adding a tile to the board, move an already laid piece according to the following rules:

  • Moved tiles can touch any other tile.
  • The spider must move 3 positions and must remain in contact with the ‘hive’ at all times. The spider cannot double back during the move.
  • The ant can move any number of spaces but must remain in contact with the hive at all times.
  • The beetle can only move one place but can jump up on top of other tiles (holding them in place) and changing the color of the tile potentially allowing new tile placments. The beetle can only move on top of another tile (it cannot be placed there).
  • The bee can move one space and must remain in contact with the hive.
  • The grasshopper moves linearly but can jump up and over tiles must stop and drop into the first empty slot it finds in its straight-line jump.
  • The hive can never be divided into two hives before, after, or during a move.
  • A piece can only move if it can be slid out of it’s spot in the hive (excepting the beetle and grasshopper).

The game has a very chess-like feel but it can last only 10 or 15 minutes. I have heard of games going for over an hour but I would think that would be rare. It’s surprising what only 11 pieces can do.

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