Review Hive: “God save the queen”… of bees

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Steven L. Ken
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As the Sex Pistols sang "God save the queen", but in this case it is the queen bee. Get ready for the most infesting review ever, Hive's bugs are ready to go to war for domination of the entire hive

Award-winning board game, Hive is a strategy abstract created by John Yianni and was produced by Gen42 Games and distributed in Spain by Uplay.it Edizioni. Very similar to chess as game mechanics, it has, unlike them, a very original theme, namely that of the hive, precisely Hive.



This time we should not defend a king, also because there is no one, but the queen. The aim of the game is to keep our queen bee free and to surround the opponent's, only in this case can we declare victory.

There are three versions of Hive: the classic, Hive Pocket and Hive Carbon. Let's see how they differ:

  • Hive (classic): 22 basic pawns with colorful insects and a pouch with zip.
  • Hive Pocket: 22 basic pawns with colorful insects and a drawstring pouch. In this version the pieces are a little smaller and two expansions are already integrated: mosquito and ladybug.
  • Hive Carbon: 22 basic pieces with insects which in this case are in black and white, the size of the pieces is the same as the classic version and also in this case there is a bag with a zip.

All three versions are equipped with a bag to make the game easily transportable.

As already mentioned above, there are expansions of Hive, three to be precise: the ladybug, the mosquito and the oniscus. The first two are already present only within the Pocket version, while the onisco is sold separately for all three.



Components | Hive review

First of all, the thing that immediately catches the eye is the lack of a game board. To play Hive all you need is a smooth surface to lean on and nothing else.

As for the pieces we have 22 (11 white and 11 black) and they are all hexagonal in shape. Each player has the following basic pieces available:

  • Queen bee - 1 piece: it is the most important, it must be protected from other insects and we must ensure that it is not surrounded. He can only move one space per turn
  • Beetle - 2 pieces: moves one space at a time. It can also stand on top of another piece and prevent its movement
  • Spider - 2 pieces: it can only move three spaces around the hive
  • Grasshopper - 3 pieces: it is the only insect that does not move around the hive, but that jumps the other pieces to the nearest empty space
  • Ant - 3 pieces: moves as many spaces as it wants around the hive

With the addition of the expansions you will also have:

  • Ladybug - 1 piece: moves twice over the other pawns and once around the hive
  • Mosquito - 1 piece: copies the movement of any one of the pawns next to it
  • Onisco - 1 piece: it moves one space or stands still and any piece next to it moves in its place

There is an instruction booklet containing explanations and patterns of the moves of each individual insect. Each expansion has its own separate instruction book.


Rules | Hive review

First of all we have to decide whether to use only the basic pieces or whether to add one, two or all three sets. After that we choose whether to play with the whites or the blacks and decide who will be the first player. 


After all this we can start with the placement of the first pieces.

It is played in alternate turns. The pieces are placed next to each other.

Between the first and fourth round it is mandatory to place the queen bee, only after its placement is it possible to start moving your pawns.

During your turn you can bring into play a new pawn, which must be placed adjacent to the pawns of your color and not those of the opponent, or move a pawn already on the field.

The most important rule is that the hive cannot be divided.

The objective I say surround the opponent's queen bee and block it from all six sides, the pieces that surround it can be either your own or your opponent's. If we can do that we won the game.

Game Impressions | Hive review

I met this game after a chat with a friend and since that day it has been fixed in the top 10 of my favorite games.

Among the three versions I prefer the Pocket, which is the one I bought, because it is the most comfortable to carry around in order to play anywhere; it also already has two built-in expansions and costs less than the other two variants. The one I like least is the Carbon, because visually speaking the choice of black / white also for insects has raised a pinch of liveliness and also for board games the eye wants its part.


The classic version and the Carbon version also have the flaw of having only the basic pieces, of not being very comfortable to carry around and are the ones that cost the most.

I find Hive to be a great game to approach chess or to replace it if we like the idea of ​​playing something strategic, but less cumbersome.


Technical details

  • Name: Hive
  • Creator: John Yianni
  • Publishing house: Gen42 Games
  • Spanish distribution: Uplay.it Editions
  • Exit date: 2001
  • Players: 2
  • Duration: 20 minutes
  • Age: 9+
  • Price in Spain: variable between € 14 and € 30 depending on the version. The cost of the expansions is around € 8. 

Both the game and expansions are currently out of production. It is still possible to find it on some sites, but at much higher prices than those mentioned above.

9.5 Almost perfection!

Points in favor

  • Variable difficulty based on how the expansions are used
  • Also suitable for those who do not like or are not very good at chess
  • There is a Pocket version with two integrated expansions

Points against

  • Hive (classic) and Carbon are quite bulky and not very practical to carry around
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