Hive: A Game of Strategy

Hive is a 2 player strategy game of perfect information that shares elements of both tile-based games & board games – much like Chess but without the board.

The game uses hexagonal tiles to represent the various contents of the hive. There are 22 pieces in total making up a Hive set, with 11 pieces per player, each representing an insect and a different means of moving –

One Queen Bee that can move only one space around the edge of the hive at a time.

Two Spiders that can move three spaces around the edge of the hive.

Two Beetles that can move one space in any direction including on top of another peice which renders that piece unusable until the Beetle moves.

Three Grasshoppers that can jump over one or more pieces in a straight line.

Three Ants that can move anywhere around the hive.

Hive is a game that is getting a lot of play at Quantum Victoria at the moment as it contains many, varied strategies and games can be played in about 10 minutes. It only takes a game or two to discover that the key to winning is mobility—retaining yours while restricting your opponent’s. Immobilizing your opponents pieces is accomplished in two major, but sometimes subtle ways.

1) Placing your peices so that the opponents are unable to move due to the nature of the hive or

2) Placing your tiles so that your opponents tiles are required to keep the hive intact, rendering them immobile.

Some great discussion has taken place around effective strategies, counter strategies, optimal strategies based on your opponents style of play (agressive, defensive, offensive, defensive-aggressive etc.), advantages/disadvantages of going first/second, strong opening moves, end games, decision trees etc. 

(Hive is also available on iOS – the AI is sophisticated enough to keep you playing for a few hours.)

I have developed a strong opening sequence of moves that I consider a defensive-aggressive opening that allows for the transition to an offensive-aggressive strategy after only 4 moves – really putting the opposition on the back foot. This strategy only works if employed by Player 1. It involves placing a Beetle followed by a Spider, the Queen and then another Spider in the following configuration:

hive

This opening configuration is essentially unbeatable at the moment given that I don’t make any mistakes. (I’m sure it is beatable, just haven’t been beaten yet!) This opening relies on utilizing the mobility of the ant and the grasshopper as the late arriving pieces used solely for attacking. The spiders and the beetle can be used to pin down your opponents peices but also form a defensive ring around your Queen giving you flexibility depending upon your opponents early moves. The Beetle in particular can be used to escape midgame ‘bunching’ to counter an opponents over agressive Beetle and can also be used as the basis of a midgame counterattack.

Highly Recommended & strangely addictive.

Play the online version here.

Comments

  1. Nice opening. The only drawback is you could possibly fall victim to an early ant/beetle assault. I would call it a sharp line, lol

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  2. Ive been toying with an interesting line in which you play a beetle then a queen to the side on move three you advance the queen, immediately releasing your beetle. It’s a sharp line, but it gives you a draw to fall back in emergencies. But it’s strictly s white opening. Inversely it’s more solid to play the same line with a hopper on move one instead. It can be done as black too. But will be extremely drawish. Just food for thought.

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