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Subject: A Light Review for a Light Game rss

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Scott aka SuperRadScott aka
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This review just ran in the Sacramento-based "Davis Enterprise" newspaper. Reprinted with the permission of the author...

Because I am the author :


Since making my 2010 resolution to play more traditional tabletop games, Mrs. Game Guy and I have rekindled a hobby that has been dormant since the time I insisted the Backgammon set she inherited from her grandmother was haunted.

I mean, how is it possible for me to lose every single time? Haunted game board, that's how.

So in my desire to find other, non-cursed, two-player games, I discovered this delightful game from 2001 that carries the "Mensa Select" seal of approval.

"Hive": a simple, light-strategy game that's most akin to chess. Each player has 11 hex-based, domino-quality tiles that have one of five insects etched into it. Each player has only one Queen Bee tile and the goal of the game is to have your opponent's Queen completely surrounded with any combination of either your or your opponent's tiles.

Players take turns placing tiles on the table to create "The Hive." The Hive, for all intents and purposes, is the game board which must remain in-tact throughout the game. Players will eventually begin moving insect tiles around the Hive in an attempt to surround their opponent, but at no time can the Hive be divided; so if you happen to have a critical piece that you want to move, but is also keeping the hive together, you are out of luck.

Each insect has a specific movement associated with it: Queens can only move one space; Spiders can move three spaces around the outside of the Hive; Grasshoppers can leap across the Hive; Beetles can move on top of other pieces to block them from moving, or drop into closed-off spaces; and the all-powerful Ants can move any number of spaces around the outside of the Hive.

Because tiles are never removed from the game once in play, "Hive" becomes a game of out-thinking your opponent as to when to place tiles and when to move, in order to work your opponent into a corner. However as you jocky for position, your opponent is doing the same; and as the Hive constantly changes shape because of tile movement, what you thought was a sure-fire win can change quickly as your opponent slips out from a trap, or uses a well-placed tile to block you.

"Hive's" light gameplay means that a game is easily over within 15-20 minutes, and the rules are easy enough for kids or anyone who hasn't picked up a board game in a while. The tiles have a nice solid weight to them, and come with a nylon bag that almost says "Please take me with you to the coffee house or pub!"

In fact, I can't think of another game that would seem more at home being thrown into a bag, in order to be played over a pint. Highly recommended for you gaming couples out there.

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Moshe Callen
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ἄνδρα μοι ἔννεπε, μοῦσα, πολύτροπον, ὃς μάλα πολλὰ/ πλάγχθη, ἐπεὶ Τροίης ἱερὸν πτολίεθρον ἔπερσεν./...
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μῆνιν ἄειδε θεὰ Πηληϊάδεω Ἀχιλῆος/ οὐλομένην, ἣ μυρί᾽ Ἀχαιοῖς ἄλγε᾽ ἔθηκε,/...
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Welcome to BGG and good review.
 
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Betty Dingus
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Austin
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Hmm, we don't have pubs and pints here in Texas, we have bars and beers (aka longnecks). Is California the new England? Anyway, nice description of the gameplay. I think some folks might object to Hive being called such a "light" game. Almost 6000 people here own it, about a third of that have commented on it, and very few thought to rate its weight. But of those who did care, only 117 called it "light" and 666 rated it as medium-light to heavy. I don't understand the "fluffy" vs "meaty" designations here as hard and fast rules. Light games might be short, and short games, light, but there is an awful lot of thinking going on in Hive.
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Everett Warren
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Dingus wrote:
...but there is an awful lot of thinking going on in Hive.


And when there isn't, your son pounces on you and surrounds you and wins before you realize you're in bad shape.

Not that I speak from this evening's experience or anything...
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suPUR DUEper
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ellyssian wrote:
Dingus wrote:
...but there is an awful lot of thinking going on in Hive.


And when there isn't, your son pounces on you and surrounds you and wins before you realize you're in bad shape.

Not that I speak from this evening's experience or anything...


I hear you! I was a devotee of the "all powerful ant" philosophy until my son showed me the firepower of this fully operational Battle Beetle... Sorry, didn't mean to go all Emperor from Return of the Jedi there.... But the beetle is one nasty creature if you know how to use it.
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Scott aka SuperRadScott aka
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Dingus wrote:
Hmm, we don't have pubs and pints here in Texas, we have bars and beers (aka longnecks). Is California the new England? Anyway, nice description of the gameplay. I think some folks might object to Hive being called such a "light" game. Almost 6000 people here own it, about a third of that have commented on it, and very few thought to rate its weight. But of those who did care, only 117 called it "light" and 666 rated it as medium-light to heavy. I don't understand the "fluffy" vs "meaty" designations here as hard and fast rules. Light games might be short, and short games, light, but there is an awful lot of thinking going on in Hive.


True, maybe I chose the wrong word when saying it's a "light" game. There is certainly a lot of thinking involved in Hive, but I wouldn't call it a burner, and the rules make it instantly accessible for most - factor in the time of each game and the combination of all three is where I came up with describing it as "light" game.

Regardless of its weight, "Hive" is a treasured part of our game collection.

Too bad you don't have any pubs in TX- there's something to be said for a wooden booth-laden watering hole without a pool table or juke box, where you can grab a pint (or longneck if you prefer) and settle in for some close-quarters conversation and games. In my opinion, a pub is a place that would welcome some board gaming - a bar is a place that'd kick you out for trying that type of thing.
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Russ Williams
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Dingus wrote:
Hmm, we don't have pubs and pints here in Texas, we have bars and beers (aka longnecks).

Hey Betty, you know there are certainly pubs and pints in Austin!

Whether Austin should really be considered as a representative part of Texas is another question.
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Betty Dingus
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There probably are some pubs somewhere, but as the "Live music capital of the world," there are almost always (pretty good) bands playing, too. (The reason I neglected games for, oh, twenty years or so!)

For sure there are a million or two coffeehouses that are pretty welcoming for gaming (if you don't mind the clicking laptops all around and UT kids trying to study). And there are plenty of slow-service restaurants. We tried Hive last weekend at "Matt's El Rancho," but the food came well before we were anywhere near done. With the chips, salsa, tortillas, drinks and searing hot platters of TexMex, even boardless Hive was soon pushed aside.

It's too bad that two-player games are pretty much ignored at game nights, even good ones like Hive, but with all those people it's just better to play a 3-6 player game -- after all, that's what the people who come are there for (whether hesitantly balancing a small stack of games or lumbering in with overflowing bins).
 
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Betty Dingus
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Hi Russ, I wrote that response (above) before I saw your post, so yes, I do admit that somewhere (north of the river?) there must be relatively quiet, cozy pubs with warm, dimly lit booths and no football on 40 TVs. Maybe it's that I need every shred of alertness that I can muster, for games, so for me coffee is a better fit than alcohol. (And no one I know says, "Oi, mate, fancy a pint down the pub, eh?" Maybe as a world citizen :jealous: you've forgotten?)

Actually, the "Alligator Grill" at the entrance to my neighborhood just closed, and there's been a flurry of discussion on our listserv about how maybe a friendly hangout will replace it (and not an auto parts store or tanning salon). "Oh, look, there's Betty and she's brought Hive!! Slide on in this booth, gal. Can I get you a beer, or some coffee?"
 
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Russ Williams
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I knew various folks who liked to go to pubs pretty often in Austin. Though they didn't usually say so with a British accent...

I've been to some that pop up here:
http://www.google.com/search?q=austin+pub

So go have a pint somewhere!
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