Grab The Games: Hive

Hive is computer version of a boardgame, that could be described as something of a love child Chess and Reversi could have. I have no played the boardgame version, but my research shows it is a very faithful adaptation. The first thing you do after starting the game is... reading the rules. There is no tutorial, nothing to teach you them, the devs followed here the boardgame approach you buy a game, you read the rulebook and only then start playing. Fortunately the rules seem to be fairly straight forward the object of the game is to surround the enemies queen by on all 6 sides (with your or enemy's pieces, so contrary to intuition close guarding her may lead to your demise). This can be achieved by placing pieces (representing different bugs) on the board or by moving the pieces already there. The bugs can only move inside the hive, i.e. have to touch other pieces at all times. The tactics lie in the special abilities of the pieces, each bug is unique, either in a good or bad way. For example the beetle can move on top of other pieces thereby immobilizing them, while a spider has to move 3 spaces no more and no less. The more pieces the more intricate the gameplay becomes. By default the game has 5 types of pieces. Hive has 3 expansions and they are available as DLC for the digital version. Some players expressed that these could have been bundled with the game, but personally, as someone who has never played Hive before I found that not having to remember what these three more do made the start easier.

The digital version of the rulebook is clear and well presented

The game can be played against the AI, which is rather good (although I mean not be experienced enough) or other players both over the internet or hotseat mode (for some reason called here pass and play). The game's presentation is clear but devoid of any bells and whistles, pieces slide into place almost without animation. This is fine in a game like this, but this makes it hardware requirements hard to forgive. Don't get me wrong your gaming rig will run the game without any problem, but if you think this is a perfect game to play on a train (and it is) and try using some sort of e.g. netbook, or other machine made for portability the game may be unplayable. Seems like an option of using hardware cursor could solve the problem, unfortunately it is not there.

Gangin up on the queen is the way to go!

As long as you remember you are not playing a game based on a boardgame, but rather playing a boardgame on a computer you can enjoy Hive a lot. It doesn't try to do anything else with the boardgame other than solve the old dilemma – who can I play with? And the game itself is well designed, you can learn to play it in 10 minutes and spend months finding new tactics. Which is what good boardgames are about. :)

Mikolaj W.


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