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Subject: What is your way for playing Hive with fan-made bugs? rss

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Jarek Szczepanik
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While waiting for the VASSAL engine module to be finished, I wondered about how to play Hive with more fan-made bugs. There are few things you must consider before you extend your bug army. Three most vital things are IMO: piece number per person, number and type of additional bugs and of course bugs compatibility. I came up with three different solutions, that I'd like to share with everyone. But I also want to ask you if you have your own variants.

But first, some definitions and a few comments:

- VANILLA BUGS - bugs from the basic set (Ants, Beetles, Hoppers, Spiders, Queens)
- SPECIAL (or additional) BUGS - all other bugs (Mosquito, Ladybug, fan-made bugs)
- FAN-MADE BUGS - pieces created by the fans (such as Dragonfly or Mantis)
- if you use the Tree/Orchid, it does not count as a special piece
- it's best if both players choose the same special bugs, however you can have your game as you wish
- IMO, the optimal bug number for each player is 12-13. I don't like to use more than that

Here are my three playing variants:

I. Hiver's dozen (A hiver is a person who collects bees into a hive, or a member of the Hivers race from the Traveller role-playing game series):

- each player takes 13 bugs
- they are all 11 vanilla bugs and 2 special bugs of player's choice

II. Sacrifice:

- use 12 bugs per player
- you can choose 3 special bugs and add them to your reserve
- if you play only one, you can use all vanilla bugs
- in order to play a second or even a third special bug, you must sacrifice one or two vanilla bugs respectively
- you can sacrifice only one of your Ants and/or one of your Hoppers
- the bug that has been already played can't be sacrificed
- the sacrificed vanilla bugs can't be played later

III. Ten-coloured Hive:

- you are allowed to have 12 bugs
- you discard one Ant, one Hopper, one Spider and one Beetle from your vanilla set
- you choose 5 special bugs and add them to your army

That's all folks. And what are your variants for the game with many bugs?
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Trent Boardgamer
Western Australia
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All good options depending on how long you want the game to go and whether you want to ensure both players are using the same pieces. By varying the pieces each player may be using, you are dramatically changing the strategies each player would be using.

I like to think of this game as a chess replacement (sort of at least) and the idea of each player selecting different peices breaks down that connection, although opening up a whole new level of strategy at the same time.

It would be interesting to see how this mixes up the win/lose ratio between two regular opponents.

I'm still mastering the basic play at this stage, so please take my comments accordingly. Very interested to see what more advanced players think and which of the above options they find the best to implement and at what level of play (i.e. beginner, intermediate or advanced).

I do really like how you've restricted the use of special pieces as they tend to be the make or break peices in most games I'm playing at present.
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Garrett G
United States
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50 - 50 Playing field variant (or close to it at least)

11 Piece variant (Vanilla Bugs) with both expansions Ladybug, Mosquito

From reading forums on this website using one expansion first player has a around a 70% chance of winning, using both expansions (L&M) first player has around a 80-90% chance of winning if both players are on the same level.

This is the variant my wife and I have come up with. It has been play tested over and over and over.

Each person starts with their 13 pieces, Base set of 11 plus the Ladybug and Mosquito. Throughout the game each person is only allowed to play 11 pieces total, one of which could be an expansion piece. Of the 11 pieces played only one expansion piece can be played (each player can decide for themselves). I.E. Mosquito is played by white so white has to discard the ladybug. Black may later in the game decide to play the ladybug so the black mosquito must be discarded). If a player decides to play an expansion piece they must choose to discard one of the base set pieces (excluding the spider and of course the queen). They can choose to discard the piece at any time during the game. Usually which base piece to discard is the last one that you have in your reserves besides the spider. Spiders are not allowed to be discarded as they are the weakest piece. Of the one base set piece that can be discarded if an expansion piece is played is an ant, grasshopper or a beetle. I have found that only playing 11 pieces of the base set + the L & M expansions seems to even out the playing field for first and second player. We have also allowed a 12 piece to be played if an only if the 12th piece is a mini-bug (Pseudoscorpion for example) as they can't fill holes around the queen. We have not ventured into other user-based expansion pieces yet so my variant is just for the base game plus ladybug & Mosquito and for those that are up for it the Mini-bugs.

So in brief:

-Reserve: The pile of pieces that you can choose between to play during the game.

-Start with the 11 Base pieces in the reserves: 3 Ants, 3 Grasshoppers, 2 Spiders, 2 Beetles, 1 Queen Bee

-Add the two expansion pieces into the reserves: Ladybug & Mosquito for a total of 13 pieces in each player’s reserves

-Each player starts with these 13 pieces.

-Only 11 pieces can be played per player the other 2 must be discarded. Which piece the player wants to discard can happen at any time during the game.

-Each player can only play up to one expansion piece. They can decide to discard both expansion pieces and play with the base set if the player so chooses to. Once one expansion piece is played the other is discarded and removed from the game. What one player decides to play does not influence what the other player has to do. Both players could be using different expansion pieces. White could be using the ladybug and black could be using the mosquito. Once one expansion piece is played the other expansion piece of that player’s is immediately discarded.

-If a player chooses to play an expansion piece they not only have to discard the other expansion (the other expansion piece is discarded immediately) piece but they have to discard a base piece by the end of the game. The base piece that each player is allowed to discard is restricted to only the Ant, Grasshopper or Beetle. The Spider is not allowed to be one of the base pieces discarded. Each player could discard a different piece. Usually the base piece that is discarded is usually one of the last pieces remaining in the base set.

-Once 11 pieces are played the player may not play any more pieces.

Mini-bug Variant.
If mini-bugs are played both players must agree that mini-bugs are allowed in the game. Adding a mini-bug (Pseudoscorpion for example) or mini-bugs to the reserves does not count toward the 11 total pieces played as they can’t fill gaps around the queen, change the color of the stack, or pin pieces on the base hive level. The Mini-bugs added are extra pieces that the player can choose to play from their reserve pile but does not affect the rules listed in the 50 – 50 playing field 11 piece variant listed above.

When the Pill bug is released I plan on increasing the number to 12 pieces and one can choose to play. Each player can only play 2 of the 3 expansion pieces from the ladybug, mosquito, and/or the pill bug).
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United States
San Francisco
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Why not start with 14 pieces including the Pillbug? Or better yet a variant where both players will only have 1 of each bug.

These official bugs must be used:

Players can choose which other 5 fan made bugs they will play:
Shield Bug
etc. etc.

Then add a couple of mini-bugs, maybe once all regular bugs have been played.

I would even go further, with so many pieces with special abilities, in that I will limit the superpower of the Mosquito to only mimic the movement of the pieces next to it but not mimic their special abilities. Also, that it can only mimic adjacent pieces on the same level it is on. If it climbs up and has no piece adjacent to it, the only way for it to move is to climb down the Hive. This will make for more interesting and less complicated play because a player can focus more on the game itself without worrying about the Mosquito everytime.

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