It’s no secret we’re big fans of Hive around here. It’s one of the most played games in the cafe, and currently at the top of David’s Board Game Stats play count. To help add new twists after playing it so often, we’ve come up with a few variants. Give them a go and let us know what you think!

Blind Mode

The small pile has the queen bee shuffled in, to ensure she emerges within the first four moves

Blind Mode was the first variant we started playing. We like this one because it pushes the limit of how much strategy can help you, because you need to rely on getting the right tiles out quickly enough. We actually end up playing blind more often than playing normally.

All tiles are organised into face down piles. When placing a new tile you always pick the one at the top of the pile, meaning you have zero say in which tile gets placed. Much like Tetris, this is all about how you place and move the tiles rather than agonising over which tile to use.

How to set up

  1. Pull the queen out and leave her to the side.
  2. Flip all other tiles face down and shuffle them.
  3. Select three tiles at random. Mix the queen face down with these tiles and then keep them in a pile.
  4. Place all of the remaining tiles into their own face down pile.
  5. When playing use the short pile first, as this ensures the queen will emerge within the first 4 moves as per the normal rules.
Tiles have sticker film on the back, with the players’ custom symbols to show which is which

Obscured Mode

Obscured Mode is when we come up with our own symbols for the insects. We put a small square of sticker film on the back of the tiles and come up with our own symbols, in the idea that the other player would have trouble remembering which is which.

How to set up

  1. Use sticker film (or those little sticker dots you can buy at Officeworks) to put a drawable space on the back of each tile.
  2. Figure out your own code so you can tell the insects apart.
  3. Play as normal, while keeping an eye on the other player’s movements so you can figure out their code.
Use the timer on your phone, set to either 5 or 10 seconds

Speed Mode

Speed Mode really doesn’t require additional explanation. Using the timer on our phone, we ensure each move takes no more than 5 or 10 seconds. When you finish your turn (or when the timer runs out) it’s your job to double tap to reset the timer before the next person starts theirs.

If you are still holding a tile when the timer runs out … you lose it. So be careful!

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