1st Impression: Hive
I found a copy of Hive in a charity shop at the start of the year. I'd heard a bunch about it and played on every short game with a friend (short because I lost rapidly) some years before that.
Me and my partner played a few games and here were our thoughts:
- The tiles are so well done, I think they constitute a big part of why the game is so well liked. They are smooth and have a good heft which makes them satisfying to place and slide around. The minimalist art works great too at evoking a chess/abstract like feel.
- The rules are wonderfully simple, they can be taught in minutes and are intuitive.
- The lack of a board makes it very portable, we got the full size version, but even that can easily be slipped into a bag with no fear of damaging a box or any of the components. I imagine the pocket size is even more convenient (although maybe less satisfying to hold?)
- Gameplay is quick, with seemingly little chance of stalemate. Especially as defending seems harder than attacking.
- The 3D and every changing shape of the game space is novel and a lot of fun to explore
- The plastic-y fabric case with a zip is the ugliest thing I can imagine to transport it in. Compared to the tiles it feels cheap and tacky.
- Less opportunity for 'clever' moves at least initially than other abstract games. I am sure when you get into it there are but not so obvious to us.
- For us, it was a little too abstract and didn't grasp imaginations in the same way as other games, while this is very subjective so is no criticism of the game, not sure it will be one we get out too often. However, when lockdown is over me and a coworker have discussed playing it on break if we are in the office, so may become more familiar with it and grow to love it.