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Subject: Hive: Swarm rss

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Stephen Taylor
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Hi,

I've just uploaded the first draft of Hive: Swarm, please take a look and let me know what you think.

http://boardgamegeek.com/filepage/95016/hive-swarm

In it you'll find a few new Bugs I've been working on, namely the Firefly, Shield Bug and Assassin Bug. I've also made some changes to some existing Bugs to try and get them to work better collectively and within the existing rules.

Hopefully I haven't upset anyone with my tinkering, they are only my suggestions after all and you are welcome to use the original version of these Bugs if you prefer.

This is still a work in progress so any feedback would be greatly appreciated, especially regarding the points value I have given to each of the Bugs.

I've added this thread as a place to discuss things rather than in the comments of the document itself.

Cheers,
Ste.
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Christian Sperling

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Hi Stev,

my opinion about the bug values are the following (only talking about the official bugs and the Dragonfly I am familiar with for obvious reasons):

I take the ant with a value of 3.0 as a reference and compare the other bugs to it.

Ant 3.0
Mosquito : 4.5
Grasshopper: 2.5
Spider: 1.5
Beetle: 3.0
Ladybug: 3.0
Pillbug : 5.0
Dragonfly: 4.0

With this configuration the base game would have a total value of 25.5 .
I like it if you are limited in your choice of bugs due to a low maximum value. Therefore I reckon that 30 points would be already more than enough but there is of course no limit necessary if you like the ultimate
bug overkill challenge.
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Jarek Szczepanik
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Eucalyx wrote:

Ant 3.0
Mosquito : 4.5
Grasshopper: 2.5
Spider: 1.5
Beetle: 3.0
Ladybug: 3.0
Pillbug : 5.0
Dragonfly: 4.0


Don't you think Ladybug should be given a higher rank? IMO, it's a very strong bug.

Nonetheless, I like Steve's idea, as well as the concept of different levels of game value representing difficulty levels. Now Hive resembles those fighting video games! Mortal Hive? Insect Hive Z? laugh
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Stephen Taylor
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The points totals are still in flux and I generally agree with your comments. When considering all the bugs there has to be a slightly greater range to fit other bugs in which should be more points than one Bug but less than another. Ideally the Base pieces should also add up to 25 if possible.

Here are the latest tweaks to the first two pages of the document:


Hive™: Swarm


In Hive™: Swarm you decide on your own swarm of Bugs. Each Bug is given a points value which indicates its strength. Each player has a maximum points total they are allowed to spend to build up their army of Bugs.

There are 5 recognised divisions of play which represent increasing levels of difficulty. Or if you wish you can decide on your own custom points total.
Reducing the points of a more experienced player is a good way to create a handicap.

Each player chooses a selection of the following Bugs to make up their points total. You can be under on points used but not over.

The Swarm

Queen Bee (required) 1.0
Ant 3.0
Grasshopper 2.0
Beetle 3.0
Spider 1.5
Mosquito 5.0
LadyBug 3.5
Pill Bug 6.0
Earthworm 4.5
Earwig 2.5
Wasp 5.0
Tick 5.5
Shield Bug 4.0
Assassin Bug 5.0
Firefly 4.5
Mantis 4.0
Dragonfly 4.5
Centipede 3.5
Moth 3.5
Scorpion 2.5
Cockroach 2.0
Butterfly 4.5


Classic Hive base pieces total = 25 points




The Hive{Five}:

Hive{25} – Just like Classic Hive but you can choose to swap out some of the original pieces, but the total points value is still 25.

Hive{30} – This is the main event, with a maximum of 30 points, just enough to really shake things up.

Hive{35} – Hive expanded, with a maximum of 35 points for more complex game play.

Hive{45} – Hive extended, with a maximum of 45 points for hextraordinarily complex game play.

Hive{95} – Hive transcended. All available pieces are in play to determine who is to be crowned "The Entomologist".

There are also three methods of play:

1. Selecting pieces is done entirely in secret but the hands are played open.
(This is the default method of play).

2. Selecting pieces is done entirely in secret and the pieces are keep secret until they are played during the game.

3. Pieces are selected alternately in the open with the player who won the previous game having to pick the first piece. If it's your first game then the player who is to play first (black) has to pick first.

Cheers,
Ste.
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H Jacobs
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I can only applaud your attempt to create this variant. As you know I’ve been occupied with this topic for some years now and have given it quite some thought.

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/484931/the-hive-variant-crea...

So, lets brainstorm a bit.

First of all there should be some general conditions applied for the swarm. You already determined a maximum size of the swarm based on the point value, but there are others:
• A logical condition is the minimal amount of bugs. To surround the Queen Bee one needs six bugs. So, one of the conditions should be that the pool of bugs that is constructed contains at least six bugs and maybe add the own Queen Bee to that for a minimum total of seven bugs.

• The introduction of the expansions also brought some other general conditions to the surface. It turns out that it favors the white player when the number of bugs that can reach an enclosed empty spot is high. Although this problem will be less of an issue when bugs are added with a Queen Bee rescue ability, it is still wise to condition the number of bugs with this ability. A restriction of a maximum of six of such bugs seems about right (to determine the correct maximum lots of additional tests are needed of course).

• The Pillbug with its Queen Bee rescue ability revealed another problem. It extends the game substantially. In case there are multiple bugs with a Queen Bee rescue ability the game could take forever. A maximum of just one or two of such bugs seems right.

I don’t think you can capture the maximum of bugs with the ability of reaching an enclosed spot or the queen rescue ability via the value of the bugs. This should probably be addressed separately.

Besides the restrictions mentioned above in my view no other restrictions concerning the number of types of bugs should be applied. If someone wants to use 5 Spiders he/she should be free to do so (of course only 1 Queen Bee is allowed).

It will be very complex to get a good balanced point value system in place. Lots of testing should be done to get the right value for each bug. At the moment we can only assume what the right value is, but probably due to some unforeseen combinations point values will have to be adjusted later on (we have seen this process often enough in the past with Collectible Cardgames).

What I was missing in the list of bug were the simple and cheap bugs. The Spider is going to be a very popular bug, just because it is cheap. More of those should be included (e.g. a bug that moves like the Queen Bee). The Swarm shouldn’t contain only superstars. And you forgot the minibugs, which are (by far) the best defensive bugs.

H
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Randall Ingersoll
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What about some type of bidding system? Each player would then be assigning their own personal value.
 
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Stephen Taylor
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Thanks for your feedback Chlorix,

Chlorix wrote:


First of all there should be some general conditions applied for the swarm. You already determined a maximum size of the swarm based on the point value, but there are others:
• A logical condition is the minimal amount of bugs. To surround the Queen Bee one needs six bugs. So, one of the conditions should be that the pool of bugs that is constructed contains at least six bugs and maybe add the own Queen Bee to that for a minimum total of seven bugs.

H


This is probably a sensible consideration but I didn't anticipate anyone would play with a points total less than Hive25.

Chlorix wrote:


• The introduction of the expansions also brought some other general conditions to the surface. It turns out that it favors the white player when the number of bugs that can reach an enclosed empty spot is high. Although this problem will be less of an issue when bugs are added with a Queen Bee rescue ability, it is still wise to condition the number of bugs with this ability. A restriction of a maximum of six of such bugs seems about right (to determine the correct maximum lots of additional tests are needed of course).

• The Pillbug with its Queen Bee rescue ability revealed another problem. It extends the game substantially. In case there are multiple bugs with a Queen Bee rescue ability the game could take forever. A maximum of just one or two of such bugs seems right.

I don’t think you can capture the maximum of bugs with the ability of reaching an enclosed spot or the queen rescue ability via the value of the bugs. This should probably be addressed separately.

H


You might be right with this, except just as with Svartisen's suggestion that "you can't have more than a certain number of bugs from a given level" I'd sooner try to keep the number of rules to a minimum if possible. If we can do without these restrictions then great. I think it's probably the responsibility of the player picking his Swarm to ensure he has adequate defense and attack. It might just be that increasing the points value of the pieces that can reach an enclosed space will balance this sufficiently.

Regarding limiting the Queen rescue Bugs, there aren't really that many: two direct rescuers, PillBug and Earthworm (maybe Mosquito as well) and a few indirect ones. They all cost a lot of points so your opponent shouldn't have too many of them, if they do then they'll have fewer overall bugs so will end up getting pinned.

Chlorix wrote:


Besides the restrictions mentioned above in my view no other restrictions concerning the number of types of bugs should be applied. If someone wants to use 5 Spiders he/she should be free to do so (of course only 1 Queen Bee is allowed).

It will be very complex to get a good balanced point value system in place. Lots of testing should be done to get the right value for each bug. At the moment we can only assume what the right value is, but probably due to some unforeseen combinations point values will have to be adjusted later on (we have seen this process often enough in the past with Collectible Cardgames).

What I was missing in the list of bug were the simple and cheap bugs. The Spider is going to be a very popular bug, just because it is cheap. More of those should be included (e.g. a bug that moves like the Queen Bee). The Swarm shouldn’t contain only superstars. And you forgot the minibugs, which are (by far) the best defensive bugs.

H



This is certainly a possibility. I think this might be a problem physically in terms of having the number of pieces, unless they are printed out.

I also think that restricting the number of possible Spiders to 2 is a natural way of fixing the problem of them costing fewer points and people choosing lots of them.

The reason there aren't many more cheaper bugs is I have included the bugs I wanted to see represented that are sufficiently distinct, simple as possible, but also fit reasonably well to the Bug chosen with their movement and powers. I also came at this thinking most people will include most of the base bugs then augment with expansions as desired, though you could take an entirely different approach if you preferred with more expansion bugs.

Any suggestions on further bugs you'd like to see in particular?

I have no objections to incorporating the minibugs as a separate add on. Perhaps they could have there own mini total e.g Hive25.5. Where the minibugs have a 0 to 1 value e.g 0.2? No reason why they couldn't also fit in with the normal scoring system though.
I'd sooner get the main full size game sorted first though.

Cheers,
Ste.



 
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Stephen Taylor
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rmingersoll wrote:
What about some type of bidding system? Each player would then be assigning their own personal value.


Hi Randy,

I'm not quite sure what you're getting at here. Do you mean that we all propose a value for each of the Bugs and compare them to get a final result?

Or are you proposing each player has a points total they can spend to signify their ability, like a par in golf?

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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Randall Ingersoll
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This is thrown out without a lot of concentrated thought from my end.

Setting relative values of pieces is very difficult because there is not a lot of experience (relatively speaking) for Hive, even the basic bugs.

So my idea is some type of auction.

Player A picks a bug, an Ant, for example. And the bidding starts. How many points are you willing to spend for it?

The Player B chooses a bug, and the bidding for it starts again.

There are many different options. (Again I have not spent a lot of time thinking about this.)

Once a bug has been bid and won, this could establish the value for that bug for that contest, or each bug could be bid individually.

Players could choose which bug to bid for next, or they could be randomly picked from a bag.

Each bug could be worth the same amount or each successive bug could be worth more (First Ant worth 3, Secont Ant worth 4, etc.).

This would allow each player to establish for him or herself what the value for that particular bug is.
 
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Randall Ingersoll
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Some questions

TREE - The Tree can be removed by either player if doing so does not break the One Hive rule. If one player is shutout and has no legal move except removing the Tree, must he do so?

BUTTERFLY - The Butterfly mimics the movement of the last opposing piece moved. If the opponent is shutout and does not move, does the Butterfly mimic the last opposing piece moved even if it were 3 moves ago? Does it become immobile because there was no opposing moved in the immediately preceding turn? Or does it mimic the last piece moved, in this case a friendly bug? Also, if the opposing Pillbug picks up and moves an Ant, does the Butterfly mimic the Pillbug (and its ability) or the Ant, or because the Pillbug did not move gain no movement?

ASSASSIN BUG - Can the Assassin Bug climb atop a multiple bug stack? If so, can it use its special ability? If so does it remove only the bug immediately below it? Can it then stay on the stack and use another turn to remove another bug or must it climb down and then back up again before it can use its special power?

WASP - Can a Wasp climb atop a multiple stack of bugs?
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Stephen Taylor
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rmingersoll wrote:
Some questions

TREE - The Tree can be removed by either player if doing so does not break the One Hive rule. If one player is shutout and has no legal move except removing the Tree, must he do so?



TREE? I didn't mention a Tree, not sure where you've got this from?

rmingersoll wrote:


BUTTERFLY - The Butterfly mimics the movement of the last opposing piece moved. If the opponent is shutout and does not move, does the Butterfly mimic the last opposing piece moved even if it were 3 moves ago? Does it become immobile because there was no opposing moved in the immediately preceding turn? Or does it mimic the last piece moved, in this case a friendly bug? Also, if the opposing Pillbug picks up and moves an Ant, does the Butterfly mimic the Pillbug (and its ability) or the Ant, or because the Pillbug did not move gain no movement?



It becomes immobile just like if a Butterfly was the opponents last move as it has no intrinsic move of its own.

Very good question. If the Pillbug moves an Ant then it is the movement of the Ant that the Butterfly mimics. It always mimics whichever piece was actually physically moved.

The Butterfly only mimics the movement of a bug and not the power so long as the power is not inseparably linked to the movement. So for example if it is mimicking a Wasp it can use the same movement but can't sting in the course of moving. Similarly if it moves like a scorpion it doesn't paralyze any Bugs at the end of its move.

Exception: If however it moves like an Earth Worm it has to swap places with another Bug as this is inseparably linked to the movement.

If the Butterfly has moved onto the top of the Hive then it continues to move as a Beetle on subsequent moves. Unless like the Mosquito (when next to say a Moth on top of the Hive) it can use the movement of the Bug just moved to legally move with from on top of the Hive.

rmingersoll wrote:


ASSASSIN BUG - Can the Assassin Bug climb atop a multiple bug stack? If so, can it use its special ability? If so does it remove only the bug immediately below it? Can it then stay on the stack and use another turn to remove another bug or must it climb down and then back up again before it can use its special power?



Another good question . It can climb atop a multiple stack. It can use its special ability and only consumes the Bug immediately below an drop down a level. It can then consume the next Bug below on its next turn assuming that it is also an enemy Bug. It can never consume a friendly Bug.

rmingersoll wrote:

WASP - Can a Wasp climb atop a multiple stack of bugs?


Yes.

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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Stephen Taylor
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rmingersoll wrote:
This is thrown out without a lot of concentrated thought from my end.

Setting relative values of pieces is very difficult because there is not a lot of experience (relatively speaking) for Hive, even the basic bugs.

So my idea is some type of auction.

Player A picks a bug, an Ant, for example. And the bidding starts. How many points are you willing to spend for it?

The Player B chooses a bug, and the bidding for it starts again.

There are many different options. (Again I have not spent a lot of time thinking about this.)

Once a bug has been bid and won, this could establish the value for that bug for that contest, or each bug could be bid individually.

Players could choose which bug to bid for next, or they could be randomly picked from a bag.

Each bug could be worth the same amount or each successive bug could be worth more (First Ant worth 3, Secont Ant worth 4, etc.).

This would allow each player to establish for him or herself what the value for that particular bug is.


Definitely some interesting ideas there to ponder on, could be a bit complicated though? I'm sure each Bug will have different values for each player depending on their experience and preferred playing style. I still think that there is an ultimate value which can be assigned to each Bug though which, as you say, might take a fair bit of working out as new strategies are discovered. That's all part of the fun though.
 
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H Jacobs
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thefurrybadger wrote:

I also think that restricting the number of possible Spiders to 2 is a natural way of fixing the problem of them costing fewer points and people choosing lots of them.

The reason there aren't many more cheaper bugs is I have included the bugs I wanted to see represented that are sufficiently distinct, simple as possible, but also fit reasonably well to the Bug chosen with their movement and powers. I also came at this thinking most people will include most of the base bugs then augment with expansions as desired, though you could take an entirely different approach if you preferred with more expansion bugs.

Any suggestions on further bugs you'd like to see in particular?

Cheers,
Ste.


The classic game is very balanced so it is logical to use it as a reference for the maximum points allowed. But from there the classic game should be left. A player should be allowed to choose the number of a certain type of bug (e.g. 5 spiders). In case this should become a commercial product the number of bugs won't be a problem.

Of course it is possible to try to get some diversity in the bugs a player has to choose. A mechanism that could work is to make the second bug of a certain type more expensive than the first one. Add for example one point extra for the second bug of the same type, and two points for the third one, etc. Or the second bug costs 1,5 times as much as the first one, the third 2 times as much etc etc. Will this be complicated? Not really. Just supply a table in which you can see how much for example 4 spiders will cost.

I would like to see cheaper bugs, because they will be the base of the game, not the fancy ones. So, use a Slug that moves like a Queen Bee and a Flea that moves like a Queen Bee and can jump in a straight line over one other piece.

Furthermore I like the variant of Randy in which you have to bid for the bugs. However I see that as a different (but valid) variant of the game. With the bugs as building blocks it should be possible to come up with several decent game variants.

H
 
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Russ Williams
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rmingersoll wrote:
TREE - The Tree can be removed by either player if doing so does not break the One Hive rule. If one player is shutout and has no legal move except removing the Tree, must he do so?

Standard Hive rules are that you cannot pass voluntarily, so I would assume that's true with all the various optional/variant pieces too, unless they explicitly say otherwise.
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Stephen Taylor
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Chlorix wrote:


The classic game is very balanced so it is logical to use it as a reference for the maximum points allowed. But from there the classic game should be left. A player should be allowed to choose the number of a certain type of bug (e.g. 5 spiders). In case this should become a commercial product the number of bugs won't be a problem.

Of course it is possible to try to get some diversity in the bugs a player has to choose. A mechanism that could work is to make the second bug of a certain type more expensive than the first one. Add for example one point extra for the second bug of the same type, and two points for the third one, etc. Or the second bug costs 1,5 times as much as the first one, the third 2 times as much etc etc. Will this be complicated? Not really. Just supply a table in which you can see how much for example 4 spiders will cost.


If this became a commercial product then you would need to have at least
as many of each Bug so you could spend all your points on that one Bug alone. You could put an arbitrary limit on the number of each Bug or rely on the points multiplier for each additional Bug of the same type limiting how many of each type you'd need. Even if you did use this multiplying points method you have described, at 1.5 times for each additional Bug you'd need 6 spiders and 3 Mosquitos just for Hive25. This would soon add up to you requiring many more Bugs than the original game. If you wanted to play Hive95 then you'd need to have some limit or you'd have hundreds of Bugs.

In the Original Hive + expansions there are 14 pieces (including Mosquito, LadyBug and PillBug), that's 28 actual pieces if you count black and white.
I have listed an additional 14 expansion pieces (an aditional 28 when considering black and white).

Thankfully the Orange Hive pocket bag was oversized such that it can accommodate all these additional pieces( not that this should be a limiting factor, but it's a good indicator of what would be needed ). It could probably handle a few more pieces as well but certainly not the amount that would be needed to choose any number of a particular Bug. In principle the idea is sound and it adds potentially a lot more choice. Along with which will come many more strategies. Though it could be said that we are already faced with more than enough complexity with the fixed number of pieces I have currently proposed. I think it would also cost a lot more financially to produce all these additional copies as well. It would also be good if Hive: Swarm could just be added onto an existing base Hive set and not require additional original pieces.

Chlorix wrote:


I would like to see cheaper bugs, because they will be the base of the game, not the fancy ones. So, use a Slug that moves like a Queen Bee and a Flea that moves like a Queen Bee and can jump in a straight line over one other piece.


I see the basis of the game as the original Bugs so I don't think we need a piece that moves one space just like the Queen, what do other people think? The Flea is a possibility. I originally left it out as it is just a reduced power grasshopper. I had also thought of a Cricket or Locust which could hop as many times as it liked in one turn (surprisingly the number of places this can reach is still limited) but I ruled this out for similar reasons as its just a powered up grasshopper. Maybe I should reevaluate this as the Spider is just a weaker Ant after all?

Chlorix wrote:

Furthermore I like the variant of Randy in which you have to bid for the bugs. However I see that as a different (but valid) variant of the game. With the bugs as building blocks it should be possible to come up with several decent game variants.
H


I agree, there's lots of scope for different variations all of which are equally valid. However, my hope is for us all to collectively work and agree upon on a particular variant that we can solidify into a game which then remains fixed so that people can then learn the tactics and strategies and play against each other. If we are spread too thinly with lots of different variants then there won't be enough ground swell to develop one variant to the required level for it to be really great. We should always be aiming to keep this variant as simple as possible (with an eye on practicality) whilst maintaining as many interesting features as we can.

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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Stephen Taylor
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russ wrote:
rmingersoll wrote:
TREE - The Tree can be removed by either player if doing so does not break the One Hive rule. If one player is shutout and has no legal move except removing the Tree, must he do so?

Standard Hive rules are that you cannot pass voluntarily, so I would assume that's true with all the various optional/variant pieces too, unless they explicitly say otherwise.


Yes, with all the pieces used in Hive: Swarm you cannot pass voluntarily. I would say this comes under the standard game rules.
 
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thefurrybadger wrote:
Chlorix wrote:


The classic game is very balanced so it is logical to use it as a reference for the maximum points allowed. But from there the classic game should be left. A player should be allowed to choose the number of a certain type of bug (e.g. 5 spiders). In case this should become a commercial product the number of bugs won't be a problem.

Of course it is possible to try to get some diversity in the bugs a player has to choose. A mechanism that could work is to make the second bug of a certain type more expensive than the first one. Add for example one point extra for the second bug of the same type, and two points for the third one, etc. Or the second bug costs 1,5 times as much as the first one, the third 2 times as much etc etc. Will this be complicated? Not really. Just supply a table in which you can see how much for example 4 spiders will cost.


If this became a commercial product then you would need to have at least
as many of each Bug so you could spend all your points on that one Bug alone. You could put an arbitrary limit on the number of each Bug or rely on the points multiplier for each additional Bug of the same type limiting how many of each type you'd need. Even if you did use this multiplying points method you have described, at 1.5 times for each additional Bug you'd need 6 spiders and 3 Mosquitos just for Hive25. This would soon add up to you requiring many more Bugs than the original game. If you wanted to play Hive95 then you'd need to have some limit or you'd have hundreds of Bugs.

In the Original Hive + expansions there are 14 pieces (including Mosquito, LadyBug and PillBug), that's 28 actual pieces if you count black and white.
I have listed an additional 14 expansion pieces (an aditional 28 when considering black and white).

Thankfully the Orange Hive pocket bag was oversized such that it can accommodate all these additional pieces( not that this should be a limiting factor, but it's a good indicator of what would be needed ). It could probably handle a few more pieces as well but certainly not the amount that would be needed to choose any number of a particular Bug. In principle the idea is sound and it adds potentially a lot more choice. Along with which will come many more strategies. Though it could be said that we are already faced with more than enough complexity with the fixed number of pieces I have currently proposed. I think it would also cost a lot more financially to produce all these additional copies as well. It would also be good if Hive: Swarm could just be added onto an existing base Hive set and not require additional original pieces.


You are thinking about one box you can buy with all pieces included (like the current box). In this case you should compare it more like the collectible card and collectible dice games. One base game (one could use the current game for that) and boosters containing the extra pieces. Boosters are more expensive and therefore make up for the higher production costs. Commercially very interesting.

One could also play with different rarities of bugs. The cheap bugs (like Spiders) could be included as Commons and the more expensive bugs (like Pillbugs) as Rares.

It will probably attrack another public compared with the current playerbase that Hive has.

H
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Chlorix wrote:


You are thinking about one box you can buy with all pieces included (like the current box). In this case you should compare it more like the collectible card and collectible dice games. One base game (one could use the current game for that) and boosters containing the extra pieces. Boosters are more expensive and therefore make up for the higher production costs. Commercially very interesting.

One could also play with different rarities of bugs. The cheap bugs (like Spiders) could be included as Commons and the more expensive bugs (like Pillbugs) as Rares.

It will probably attrack another public compared with the current playerbase that Hive has.

H


Ah, now I see what your getting at I really like this idea as well and think it could be very interesting if we could build the community to make it worth while. It could probably work along side the traditional expansion pack route of Hive: Swarm I am proposing. Hive: Swarm could be the first step to establish the game then bring out the additional boosters.

You could either buy individual Bugs or packs of 3 as you have said to build up your army. These could include the ones featured in Hive: Swarm alongside rarer bugs such the Cicada for example. In this scenario the Hive: Swarm pack would present itself as a desirable add on to purchase as you would be able to get a lot of expansions all in one go for a discounted price. You could then continue to augment your army with more of a particular Bug via the boosters.

I guess it all depends if it was financially viable to follow this booster model as well.

I could see Hive: Swarm coming with a travel bag like the one used for Hive pocket which can fit all the Swarm + Original pieces and expansions in altogether.

I have even devised a stand alone game called: King Of Wasps which works with just the pieces included in the Swarm pack.

http://boardgamegeek.com/article/13545464#13545464

what do you think?

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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It is going to be very difficult to create a game like this that is balanced (like the classic game). Each bug has to be checked and double checked if they are not overpowered on their own or in combination with other bugs.

You just cannot throw a lot of bugs together and play the game. Especially with strong pieces the white player will have a tremendous advantage. This is the main reason why I stress the importance of weaker pieces.

It is only possible to tell which bugs will be suited for the game after a long long period of testing. And as the Ladybug already showed, even a seemingly modest bug can turn out to be quite strong.

The first step is to come up with the general game structure. The decision of the actual bugs that are going to be used is step two.

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Chlorix wrote:
It is going to be very difficult to create a game like this that is balanced (like the classic game). Each bug has to be checked and double checked if they are not overpowered on their own or in combination with other bugs.

You just cannot throw a lot of bugs together and play the game. Especially with strong pieces the white player will have a tremendous advantage. This is the main reason why I stress the importance of weaker pieces.

It is only possible to tell which bugs will be suited for the game after a long long period of testing. And as the Ladybug already showed, even a seemingly modest bug can turn out to be quite strong.

The first step is to come up with the general game structure. The decision of the actual bugs that are going to be used is step two.

H


I think this goes without saying, nothing worth doing is ever easy. This is the reason why I want to first focus on the Bugs in Hive: Swarm that I have already suggested. I was hoping that people would have a go at the game and different Bugs to help work out their relative strengths and weaknesses. I personally think we already have enough weaker pieces in the original Hive set without needing any more, could you give an example of why you think we need more weaker Bugs?

I agree that the most difficult thing to get a handle on is how the Bug strengths might change when combined with other Bugs. This is an interesting challenge but I believe it is possible to work this all out, albeit as an iterative process.

I think it is premature to suggest that with stronger pieces the White player will have the advantage. Both players have the opportunity to have the same Bugs. It might be that the stronger pieces actually serve to balance out White's advantage for all we know at this stage. The reason the Ladybug had such an impact was due to it being another insect which could fill a surrounded space and from long range as well. Some of the new Bugs also possess this ability but many do not. Many also provide lots of different defensive capabilities as well.

I agree about focusing on the game structure. I have suggested a few different ways to setup Hive: Swarm as you have also. Along with suggesting slightly different points totals etc.. It'd be good to be able narrow this down further to a smaller set of game types and ultimately to a preferred game format which can then be focused on.

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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thefurrybadger wrote:

I think this goes without saying, nothing worth doing is ever easy. This is the reason why I want to first focus on the Bugs in Hive: Swarm that I have already suggested. I was hoping that people would have a go at the game and different Bugs to help work out their relative strengths and weaknesses. I personally think we already have enough weaker pieces in the original Hive set without needing any more, could you give an example of why you think we need more weaker Bugs?

Cheers,
Ste.


I think that the original set only has two weak pieces, the Spider and the Queen Bee. The Grasshopper is also quite weak, but can enter an enclosed field and is therefore often the piece that finishes off the opponent. If you compare this with the number of bugs you added (which are all pretty strong) then there seems to be a disbalance.

One of the reasons why more weak pieces are needed is from a tactical view. It should also be possible to create a swarm that consists of a large number of weak bugs as opposed to a swarm with several superstars. Therefore some differentiation whould be nice. Another reason is of course that the Mosquito becomes a monster when it can mimic a lot of strong bugs.

The Swarm shouldn't suffer from powercreep right from the start. That's also why I still find it a petty that the Pillbug is around, which is just so strong that nobody can affort not to use it. The Pillbug hurts this concept and other variants a lot.

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Chlorix wrote:

I think that the original set only has two weak pieces, the Spider and the Queen Bee. The Grasshopper is also quite weak, but can enter an enclosed field and is therefore often the piece that finishes off the opponent. If you compare this with the number of bugs you added (which are all pretty strong) then there seems to be a disbalance.
H


Of the new Bugs I have suggested I think the Cockroach and Scorpion are fairly weak, as is the Earwig. The Shieldbug could also be considered as weak depending in the circumstances. Admittedly the original idea when putting the Swarm together was that they would provide an interesting selection of Bugs with which to augment the base set hence them being mainly more interesting Bugs than just "moves exactly four spaces". I do think you make a good case for there being some weaker Bugs as well but for now I like symmetry of the number of Bugs in the Swarm with the original and expansion Bugs and they fit well with the King Of Wasps, so am going to focus on them for at the moment.

To create some other simpler weaker pieces I can imagine ones which are subsets of existing Bugs. For example a Bug that can only jump over one piece or maybe up to two or three pieces maximum. Maybe they could either move one or jump one. Being able to move four spaces exactly or five but allowing backtracking. With four you can effectively move 2 or 4 spaces in one direction. With Five you can move 1,2,3 or 5. You could only move an odd or even number of spaces (slightly harder to count admittedly). Of course there are lots of other possibilities when considering exact movement patterns or movement based on contiguous colours or starting and ending touching a certain colours etc.. but it is becoming more difficult to get them to match the Bugs behavior and fit cohesively with the other Bugs. It is possible though and I'm sure there are still things we haven't considered.

I've not yet ventured into Bugs which employ exceptions to the standard rules or inhibit the movement of other Bugs which could be a possibility. There are plenty of other examples of these types of Bugs already out there but I'd prefer to avoid these and stick with Bugs which always follow the official rules as best as possible.

Chlorix wrote:

One of the reasons why more weak pieces are needed is from a tactical view. It should also be possible to create a swarm that consists of a large number of weak bugs as opposed to a swarm with several superstars. Therefore some differentiation whould be nice.
H


I think there are just enough weaker bugs to do this now though we could look to extend this in the future.
I wouldn't imagine we'd want too many weak bugs as you would then probably be able to build a swarm with more bugs than we'd want for say Hive25 in which running out of bugs is a more of a feature. Though I can see that if you did have fewer weaker Bugs you might be able to cleverly pin your opponents stronger bugs and win by out numbering them which could be a nice strategy. The problem is that the weaker bugs unless they have an interesting feature like the scorpion generally aren't as appealing as an expansion.

Chlorix wrote:

Another reason is of course that the Mosquito becomes a monster when it can mimic a lot of strong bugs.
H


This has been debated many times. I would have preferred the Mosquito have only mimicked movement but it's not my call and I want everything to fit with the existing rules as John has wished of any future expansions.

A house rule could be employed here as a solution. That said both sides can have a Mosquito and it could actually be a risk to choose it depending on what pieces your opponent picks.

There is also something kinda cool about a Super Bug though, it does provide more possibilities.

Chlorix wrote:

The Swarm shouldn't suffer from powercreep right from the start. That's also why I still find it a petty that the Pillbug is around, which is just so strong that nobody can affort not to use it. The Pillbug hurts this concept and other variants a lot.
H


I don't know, I like the Pillbug as it can create some interesting games. If think if it's given the correct value it should be balanced with the other others Bugs. I am personally more interested in the new Bugs and the interesting new game play they throw up as I think the original Hive without any expansions does an excellent job of covering the well balanced, simpler pieces game. I don't believe there are any other pieces yet to be discovered that are as elegant, though I might be wrong.

Cheers,
Ste.
 
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Guys! You may want to check out a new slew of creatures that I've developed for Hive in my Geek list. All 16 of them including the Assassin bug which I discussed with thefurrybadger on another thread ----- plus a surprise piece! Open to comments.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/163384/hive-potential-...

(I would like to move this post and the responses to it to an appropriate thread. How do i do it? Or perhaps an administrator can transfer it here:

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1049946/hive-potential-e...

Thanks!)
 
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Abstracticon wrote:
Guys! You may want to check out a new slew of creatures that I've developed for Hive in my Geek list. All 16 of them including the Assassin bug which I discussed with thefurrybadger on another thread ----- plus a surprise piece! Open to comments.

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/163384/hive-potential-...


Hi Abstracticon,

Good work with your bugs. I think they would need some further consideration though for them to be compatible with the bugs I have been developing for Hive: Swarm ( not that they have to be of course, the following feedback is particular to this consideration ).

I have looked at bugs myself which use the direction a piece or sting is facing but there are a few problems with this which have caused me to avoid it. It is OK when playing in person but will require additional programming to work on boardspace or other software to enable you to rotate a piece. It also makes recording the moves more difficult as the notation has to say which way a piece is facing. Allowing a piece to rotate in place doesn't physically move the piece which could be considered against the rules, it also allows you to move a piece when otherwise you couldn't (though I guess you could say you can only rotate if the piece is free to move). What happens if you have a piece which paralyses any piece that it is pointing to then you rotate your piece which forces a piece to move to point to the same piece? None of the original bugs did this so it would introduce a new mechanic, which in itself is not necessarily a bad thing but something I would prefer to leave to the designer as was the case with the Pillbug not allowing pieces moved to be used for a turn. With this additional mechanic it's one more thing to look out for, to check not just which piece you are touching but also whether certain bugs are pointing that direction.

One of the things I have also been trying to do is create bugs which do not contravene the original rules and are fully compatible with the original bugs, so they all must for example allow the Mosquito to mimic the movement and special powers. Specifying that certain bugs are immune from the powers of other bugs is also something which would be best avoided. If a bug can stay on top of the Hive then they are to work with other pieces that can transport them off the Hive to the ground level. I don't thing a rule to say certain bugs can't be transported down is appropriate, rather they must handle being moved down themselves.

You have also taken many of the existing bugs and special abilities that have already been developed and with slight changes redistributed them to different bugs and switched things around a fair bit. This makes it very difficult to include them along side the existing bugs as they are in many cases not sufficiently distinct. I'm just concerned about diminishing the uniqueness of the existing bugs by having other bugs with powers or movements which are too similar.

That said I'm sure there are some good usable ideas here, thanks for you post.

Maybe it's the Human the bugs should be trying to surround

Cheers,
Ste.

 
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Yes, there may be a few critters that have been introduced before, i.e. Butterfly, Centipede, and Cockroach, but that's why I included alternative creatures. I only used them because those bugs are more familiar but I can always change them. As for the Assassin bug and the Shield bug, I kept my original ideas that I mentioned to you before but I have replaced the Shield bug by developing the Vinegaroon. Because the Shield bug is also known as the Stink bug, I wanted a piece that would have the ability to repulse other pieces. One way to do this is to prevent enemy pieces from moving next to it. I also like your idea for your Shield bug so instead I gave this repellent ability to my Assassin bug and to a lesser degree, to the Vinegaroon.

The Assassin bug is really handy for games that is played with a lot of expansion pieces that may increase the playing time a little too long. My idea behind it is to shorten the game. Being the Assassin, its sole mission is to kill the enemy Queen Bee and win the game outright without having to fully surround the enemy Queen but it only comes into play once all of your pieces have been deployed. Unlike the Mosquito, it's slow to develop (enemy pieces cannot move next to it), can only mimic enemy pieces and is easier to defend against.

As for the movement mechanics, I see varying movement mechanics of bugs currently in the Swarm, that are quite different from the standard Hive. You comment about the "rotating" mechanic and I don't understand as to why that would be complicated to program. We have the Dragonfly "transporting" another piece, we have the Earthworm (which inspired my Silverfish) "swapping" places with another piece, the Tick being able to move your opponent's piece, the Wasp with its sting and the Firefly with its bioluminescence forcing your opponent to move their piece, the Assassin and the Mantis being able to remove a piece off the board. In rotating a piece in person, you actually need to physically touch to rotate it so it counts as a move. And yes, you can only rotate if the piece is free to move (lifting a piece to reconnect a Hive is against the rules as it disconnects the Hive even for just momentarily, basically the piece cannot rotate because it is pinned).

Quote:
"What happens if you have a piece which paralyses any piece that it is pointing to then you rotate your piece which forces a piece to move to point to the same piece?"
I can't quite picture what you meant by this. Can you cite an example and how this would happen?

There is no memorization involved in what direction a bug is pointing to as it is all there to see out in the open. This is no different from looking out for which bugs are next to the Mosquito to mimic or which bugs are paralyzed by the Scorpion, or how far the Centipede can move to pin a piece or reach the Queen, or which pieces are prone to attack by the Mosquito, Pillbug and Shield bug when they are next to each other.

Quote:
"Specifying that certain bugs are immune from the powers of other bugs is also something which would be best avoided."


Your statement is contradictory to the Dragonfly, the Assassin Bug, and the Moth as they have the ability to prevent the Mosquito from copying their special ability (which I prefer). The Shield Bug of course is immune to any attack. I am one of those against a super bug. I really think that Mr. Yianni never saw this coming. He actually changed the movement of the Pillbug after learning that it was too powerful moving into gaps in the Hive. I'm sure he'll react the same way once he sees that his Mosquito has been wrecking havoc with every addition of an expansion bug.

From a board game designer's standpoint, it's a nightmare to have the Mosquito mimic both movement and special ability of bugs around it.
Having it do both creates more complications with the rules which makes it chaotic resulting to missing some moves that would be otherwise obvious to an AI opponent especially if you are playing quite a number of expansion pieces with varying special abilities. For preserving the elegance of the game, I find it best to just keep it simple and leave the Mosquito to copy just the Pillbug's special ability (as we need additional defensive bugs). In reality, because the new bugs are fan made, then it's up to that creator to create the rules for that bug as it interacts with the Mosquito. And frankly, it gives the unique ability of a bug more special because the Mosquito can't copy it. That being said, I chose for all expansion bugs that I created to prevent the Mosquito from copying their special abilities so I (and players) don't have to deal with the complicated interactions in the game that turn off many.

The two creatures I proposed that has this immunity from attack are the Assassin bug and the Vinegaroon which are basically similar to your Shield bug. But unlike the Shield bug, enemy pieces cannot pass or end their move next to them (or the Vinegaroon's tail) so that prevents other pieces from directly attacking them (Vinegaroon can still be attacked on other sides) but they can still be attacked on top (by Dragonfly, Wasp, Moth, Beetle, etc.) or when they themselves move next to an enemy piece like the Pillbug which can lift and immobilize them.

By design, my Centipede's and Millipede's movements cannot be copied by the Mosquito because it moves in tandem with their other components that would be impossible for the Mosquito to mimic. The Dragonfly also cannot transport all 2 or 3 pieces because it can only carry one piece at a time, and same with the Pillbug moving it for it is not allowed to break the connected pieces of the Centipede or Millipede. However, they could move one piece if that piece is also reconnected to the other part(s) of the piece on the same move. So I guess the Dragonfly can rearrange them while the Pillbug can immobilize one of their components.

I know that there are other existing bugs that may have been unofficially developed already that has similar capabilities as what you have in the Swarm now but these are just my take and I wasn't too familiar or aware of a few of the bugs that are currently included in the Swarm. I said 'unofficially', as we haven't realized the potential conflicts that may rise interacting with each other with their special abilities. However, like you said, there are some good usable ideas on some of the game pieces I've proposed on the list so there is possibility that a few may be considered in the Swarm. We can collaborate on it if you like to see how their special abilities interact with each other and other existing bugs.

The Mudflap Man is my attempt at humor and I'm glad you liked it.

I would like to move your reponse and this post to an appropriate thread but I don't know how. Perhaps an administrator can help?

http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/1049946/hive-potential-e...
 
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