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1st Impression: Hive

Review

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:

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Overall

  • 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.

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5 months ago

I'm a fan of this little game. So far I haven't found a partner who enjoys it to the same level that I do, so I haven't gotten to play too many times.

5 months ago

I hope you find someone, it is a very elegant design for a game

5 months ago

Do you and your partner typically enjoy abstracts? Have you tried Onitama?

5 months ago

Not specifically, we do love a good theme and a bit of chance. But we did like a lot of the aspects of this one. Just maybe not enough

I have played Onitama, got the app. I liked it well enough, something nice to play on the bus.

5 months ago

I would say that there is not a lot of chance in Hive lol. Good game, but it is closer to chess/checkers than it leads on at first-glance!

For sure on Onitama, I can see the app being an ideal play space for that!

5 months ago

No, no chance at all, which I get the appeal of but it often means there is a 'best' move whereas in games with some unknowns I sometimes enjoy being able to decide between playing it safe or taking a bigger risk in the hope of a bigger reward.

5 months ago

I can get behind that sometimes. I prefer the unkowns to be based on how the other players will interact with the board. I am thinking of my play of Bus this weekend, there were plenty of times where I was not sure if I was making the right moves or if people were going to steal my passengers, and that brought great tension to the game!

5 months ago

Absolutely, similar to something like #Food Chain Magnate, which is complete information and entirely abstract, and it is a lot of fun as there is a significant amount of player interaction.

Also, I enjoyed playing #Pipeline which while it does have some small random elements, it is mostly abstract.

5 months ago

Ohhhh both  of those are games I would like to play one day. How has FCM gone over for you?

The only random thing I can think of in Pipeline is new pipe tiles coming out? I have not seen a playthrough for a couple months so I could be wrong. 

5 months ago

FCM was a bunch of fun, though I have only played it once. It is pretty brutal at times, as you are all trying to undercut each other or create advertsing that cuts the other player out of the market. SO you have to be prepared for that, it is definitely not a multi-player solo game like #Paladins of the West Kingdom or similar. Not sure it is a game I will buy ever, but will always be up for a game.

#Pipeline, the randomness of the pipes is the biggest one, and where they are placed relative to each other. Also the contracts available are randomised I believe, but both are relatively minor. So yeah, mostly abstract.

5 months ago

Interesting, I am fascinated by Splotter games and this one gets brought up a ton. It feels a little overwhelming though, I am cool with the cutthroat nature of it, but does it feel like there is just a ton going on all the time?

Both of those are set before the game begins though correct? Or do they randomly come out?

5 months ago

That is an excellent point now that I think of it, you are correct. I think maybe some contracts are revealed each round randomly? But the pipes are all there from the start.

5 months ago

Ok yes, now I remember the contracts being on the random side!

5 months ago

But they only play a pretty small part of the game, and are similar enough that it is unlikely to ruin you.

5 months ago

For sure, I would love to one day play this game, not sure it fits my group at all but I think it fits me lol. 

5 months ago

It is quite a heavy one, plus it can be quite unforgiving. If you don't build a decent engine before you run out of cash, I can imagine you getting into a really tricky place

5 months ago

I am not sure it is the complexity that would not fit well, I think it is the multi-player solitaire aspect that would get tricky. I have found that people prefer more interaction in our games!

5 months ago

Yeah, I can see that. Although when someone buys all the oil you wanted it does make it feel interaction-y. However for the most part it is a solo puzzle.

5 months ago

Oh for sure, There are other ways of getting oil though from what I can remember, it just makes it more difficult/expensive. 

5 months ago

There are two sources of each colour of oil, although one is more expensive and each source gets more expensive as people take from them, so especially early game where money is prohibitive you can get priced out.

5 months ago

I got to play Onitama for the first time the other day. Fun game!

5 months ago

Ya, it is a nice little abstract! It reminds me of Hive in a way.

5 months ago

The mechanism of constantly trading movement cards feels really fresh to me!

5 months ago

It's not a mechanic you see often, especially not at the core of a game

5 months ago

It is pretty fresh! You have to evaluate if you are ok with the other person having that card in the future! It does require a lot of fore-thought to play well...or you can just fly by the seat of your pants lol. 

5 months ago

Haha, yeah. Having only played twice now, I feel like I'll be flying by the seat of my pants for a while. It's tough to strategize!

5 months ago

Absolutely, I can usually only get one-two moves ahead and then my brain can't plan much further

5 months ago

I kind of feel that way with most abstract games, haha. This one just feels exceptionally enigmatic in terms of strategy. Again, I've only played twice, so that could change.

5 months ago

For sure, I also like how retreating is a significant part of the game, and letting the other player attack you can end up putting you in a much stronger position.

Supporter5 months ago

I've never played Hive but I imagine my response to the game would be incredibly similar to yours.  The more experience I have with board games the less patience I have for abstract or games with little theme.