Gave Hive a try the other day with my wife. It’s a quick little strategy game that involves moving tiles representing various insects around the table in order to pin in the opponent’s queen bee.
The game’s tiles are quite nice. They are heavy bakelite, and they have the kind of heft of a good mahjong set, so they make satisfying clack sounds on the table. The game doesn’t use a board, but all tiles must touch other tiles in certain ways, so the game is still constrained. Each of the tile insects can move a certain way–some move one space, some leap in straight lines over intervening insects, some crawl on top of other insects, etc. My wife (who refuses to learn to play chess) noted, while I explained the rules, that she thought I was just sneaking in a chess lesson on her. In a sense, she’s right. There’s a lot in common between this game and chess, and I imagine that after repeated plays, the more strategically-minded player will win most of the time. In our game, my wife won–which doesn’t support my previous argument all that well. (Usually she kills me in games relying on luck, and I win the strategic contests.) But she won this time, and despite her initial reluctance to play, she agreed that she would like to play again. The whole game only took about 20 minutes, so it’s another good filler game.