R T
United States
Hesperia
California
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At the highest levels of this game it is understood that White has a significant advantage (at least with Mosquito and Ladybug added, as they are powerful offensive pieces). I have seen Mr. Ingersoll propose many variant bugs to provide some defensive resources in the game. I like some of these bugs, but I wonder if there is a simpler way of solving the problem.

I also admit with all respect to Mr. Yianni that I was never happy with the spider thematically. In nature the spider is something to be feared, and here it is in most circumstances the weakest bug. My suggestion is a variant where the ant is afraid of the spider. More specifically:

1.) When moving, the ant may not land touching an opponent's spider.

That's it, aside from a note relating to that pesky mosquito:

2.) When moving, the ant may not land touching an opponent's mosquito which touches a spider.

I did some playtesting and found that the spider becomes a strong defensive resource when positioned near the queen. It also improves mobility since the ant can't lock a spider down. In one game I had to transfer the defensive spider to surround the opponent's queen. This left my own queen vulnerable.

P.S. I know some people really hate the idea of changing an existing bug, so I could also say replace the spider with the antlion with these characteristics. (Although thematically an antlion would only move one square at a time I think.)

P.P.S. Note that the ant is still a very good defensive piece for everything but the spider/antlion. Again, in order to attack with the spider/antlion you have to abandon your own queen which entails risk.

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Christian Sperling

Brisbane
Australia
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Interesting suggestion...this will change opening theory dramatically. If you start with a spider attacking the opponent's queenbee early it might happen that White's start player advantage increases even more because it cant be defended by ants who are essential to be played early in the game to gain flexibility, counter attack options and so on. Therefore freshly placed spiders can only be pinned by another spider or in some cases by hoppers. Ants are the only long distance bugs to pin down anything. If there are exceptions the game balance will tip over...hopefully not too much.

I read often about defensive and offensive pieces. I don't share that kind of view. In my opinion depending on the situation EVERY Hive bug has both qualities. The ladybug for Black will be most of the times used as an defensive bug in the start sequence while the white Ladybug will be used as an additional aggressor piece. Later in the game the Black Ladybug might change its nature and become a more aggressive piece once Black has overcome his defensive position in general.
 
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Teeka
Netherlands
Naarden
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I like this.

I guess most veterans will be opposed because it does mean quite a change in overall strategy.
But I have always disliked not necessarily the 'weakness' of the spider, but rather the fact that spider and ant are the same in every way except the ant having unlimited movement. (While all the other pieces all have their own unique pro/con combination.)
This fixes it by not just 'effin' with the spider, but by having both pieces bridge the gap half-way.

Please post any playtest-results on this, should you have them!
 
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Todd Adair
United States
Barrington
New Jersey
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Teeka wrote:
I like this.

I guess most veterans will be opposed because it does mean quite a change in overall strategy.
But I have always disliked not necessarily the 'weakness' of the spider, but rather the fact that spider and ant are the same in every way except the ant having unlimited movement. (While all the other pieces all have their own unique pro/con combination.)
This fixes it by not just 'effin' with the spider, but by having both pieces bridge the gap half-way.

Please post any playtest-results on this, should you have them!


I'd think that every opening would be spider-bee-spider in I formation.
It render ants useless in attack.
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Teeka
Netherlands
Naarden
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southj95 wrote:
I'd think that every opening would be spider-bee-spider in I formation.

I agree that'll be a nice 'safe' standard opening, but keeping that defensive formation intact will mean 3 pieces completely immobile just to keep the ants away.

southj95 wrote:
It render ants useless in attack.

Until a beetle crawls on one of those spiders and wrecks that plan.
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Rich Gowell
United States
Michigan
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Yeah,I think that opening would have plenty of trade offs to not be as great as it sounds. I really like the idea. Worth pursuing.
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Mate Cziner
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Tried this variant and really liked it. The spider gains a very nice presence on the board with this change.

Lead to longer games with more pieces coming into play, ants were used much more for pinning. More interesting endgames because it's up to the trickier bugs to close the final gaps.
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