Hive is an Abstract Strategy Game for two players. Much like chess, both players control a handful of different figures with unique movesets and abilities. Unlike chess, though, the figures are insects and other bugs.
During the game, the players need to place and move the following hexagonal pieces on the table, next to one another:
- One Queen Bee: Much like the King in chess, the goal of the game is to capture her. This can be done by surrounding her with six pieces of either color. Also like the King, she can move only one space at a time.
- Two Beetles: Similarly to the Queen Bee, they can only move one space at a time; but uniquely, they can climb on top of adjacent pieces and stopping them from movement.
- Two Spiders: They can move precisely three spaces at a time, around the circumference of the game field.
- Three Grasshoppers: These can only move in a straight line, "jumping" over as many pieces as necessary to reach the closest adjacent free space.
- Three Soldier Ants: Like the Spider, these also move around the circumference of the game field, but they can move as many spaces at a time as the player wants.
- One Ladybug: Moves by temporarily climbing atop of an adjacent piece, moving on top of a different piece, and then climbing back down to an open space.
- One Mosquito: It can copy the moveset of an adjacent piece.
- One Pillbug: This one, instead of moving around, can force pieces adjacent to it to move to a different, empty space adjacent to it.
The game's big advantage is that it doesn't require a board, and thus can be played on any flat surface.
This game features the following tropes:
- Abstract Strategy Game: It's a turn-based game whose progression is dictated entirely by the players' decisions, the ruleset is rather minimal, and the Ant War theme amounts to an Excuse Plot.
- Ant War: Not just ants, but all sorts of bugs, trying to capture the opponent's Queen Bee.
- Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The Queen Bee is yellow, the ants are blue, the spiders brown, the grasshoppers green and the beetles purple. The expansions add a gray mosquito, red ladybug and teal pillbug.
- Excuse Plot: The Ant War theme is little more than an excuse for the gameplay.
- Hive Caste System: With the variation that the different castes are filled by different species of bugs.
- Instant-Win Condition: The moment a Queen Bee is surrounded by six pieces, the game ends.
- Mighty Glacier: The Beetle can move only one space at a time, but its ability to climb on top of other pieces and thus immobilize them makes it a very powerful unit.
- Pest Controller: Both players control a handful of bugs.
- Pinned Down: One of the most important rules is that the Hive always needs to stay connected. If a piece cannot be moved without breaking up the hive, then it has to stay in place.
- Power Copying: This is the Mosquito's ability, copying the moveset of an adjacent piece.
- Tough Beetles: The Beetle is the most powerful but least mobile piece in the game; it can only move one hex per round, but, uniquely, it can climb on top of other pieces and dominate them.