Hive is a 2-player game designed by John Yianni.  It’s a tile laying game, in the same fashion as Carcassonne.  The playing pieces are the board.  Hive is also highly portable.  We sometimes take it with us if we are going to a fast food restaurant so we can play while we wait and/or eat.  Each game takes about 20 minutes.

What’s in the Box?

Hive was recently redesigned with parts made from bakelite plastic.  The previous version was made from wood and apparently had some problems with durability and flaking. These parts are great.  I really like their weight and size.  The game comes in a box and has a zipper pouch included where you can store all the tiles.  Very convenient.  We just take the pouch with us when we go out.

Game Play

The game has simple rules.  The object of the game is to surround the opponent’s queen.  Surrounding means with any piece, including it’s own.  Each piece is an insect, and there are an equal number of each kind for each player.

Queen  – 1 piece.  Can move 1 in any direction.



Beetle – 2 pieces.  Can move 1 in any direction.  Can climb on top of other pieces.  When a Beetle is on top of another piece it cannot move. Beetles can stack on top of Beetles.  The Beetle is the only piece permitted on top of other pieces.


Grasshopper – 3 pieces.  Hops in a straight line over the top of other pieces.


Spider – 2 pieces.  Moves exactly 3 sides.



Ant – 3 pieces.  Moves any number of spaces around outside of hive.



Like other tile-laying games, each player places a piece on the table and adds to the hive.  A player cannot place a new piece onto the hive if it touches pieces of the opposite color.  And, no pieces may move until the Queen is placed.  The Queen must be placed by the 4th turn.  And finally, a moving piece cannot break a continuous hive.


The game plays like chess and moves pretty quick.  It also feels like a chess game.  On more than one occasion I have found myself concentrating about what my opponent might do and what I could do next.  Planning more than one move in the future is quite natural while playing Hive.

We can often get about 3 games finished while eating a fast food meal.  But even in a home / table environment the game is great fun.  When we want a 2 person strategy game that is easy to play and pretty quick, we select Hive.  I suppose there are folks out there that make this game a regular “meal”, perhaps playing it daily.  I think it has that kind of potential and attraction.  We use it as a quick game or filler and enjoy the experience each time we play the game.


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