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Subject: How to Handicap Hive rss

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Gabriel Kitterman
United States
Silverton
Oregon
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To really enjoy this game you need at least one good opponent. If you aren’t lucky enough to have one on hand, using a handicap is vital. I have been playing with a number of people at different skill levels and I’ve worked out a Handicap system that is working well. Here is how it works:

How to Handicap Hive
1) Other player goes first
2) You draw blind, except for your queen bee
3) 1 ant and 2 beetles are the last 3 pieces in your army (separate pile of 3)
4) Remove 2 of your ants from play entirely (you’ll have 2 less pieces than opponent)

Whenever you opponent wins, they must choose one of your handicaps to drop or change. If you win, you get back one of your handicaps. In that way the handicap will adjust after every game and hopefully keep both players challenged.

The 3rd and 4th handicap can be altered in small steps. So there are at least seven handicap levels. This should keep the game challenging for a wide variety of opponents.

Another handicap is to give your opponent a ladybug after they have mastered the basic pieces.
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Jarek Szczepanik
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Warsaw
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I tried a handicap with expansions:

(i) the weaker player gets an additional bug (either the Mosquito or the Ladybug)

(ii) the weaker player gets the Mosquito and the stronger - Ladybug

You can also try a variant where the stronger player gets only one expansion bug and the weaker one can have both, but I don't like to use both the Mosquito and Ladybug.

Variants (i) and (ii) work pretty well and if the weaker opponent learns quickly, you can safely switch back to the standard game.
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Gabriel Kitterman
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Using all of these handicaps makes for a strong handicap.

Eventually you will get an ant but not until late in the game. I actually find playing this way is pretty challenging and fun. It forces you to get better at positioning you grasshoppers and utilizing you spiders.
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