a game similar to the tabletop game Hive

Critters board game

The game is won if the enemy Bee gets wholly surrounded by critters of any colour. It is not allowable to go to a cell that captures your own Bee, unless it also completes the surround of the other Bee, in which case the game is drawn. Players take turns to drop critters on the board. The Bee mustn’t be dropped first. As soon as the Bee is dropped, it is allowable to make a board move instead of a drop. Black must drop his first critter beside White’s, but from then on critters must be dropped adjacent to a friendly one, but not adjacent to an enemy. The Bee must be dropped no later than the fourth move.

Critters that step and slide can only move alongside another critter (of any colour) which they are already adjacent to. While stepping or sliding, it is not allowable to move into a “cave” between two critters. (Using hexagonal pieces, this is geometrically impossible.) Each player has eleven insect/arachnid pieces: 3 Ants, 2 Grasshoppers, 2 Spiders, 2 Beetles, 1 Dragonfly, 1 Bee.

Movement rules

•  The Bee steps one cell in all directions.

•  The Ant can slide maximally five steps alongside other critters.

•  The Beetle steps one cell in all directions. It can also climb on top of another piece, except other Beetles. In the mean time, the critter beneath it cannot move.

•  The Spider always slides three steps alongside other critters. It cannot travel less steps, except when there are no more steps available.

•  The Grasshopper jumps other critters in a straight line, and lands on an empty cell immediately beyond.

•  The Dragonfly flies in any direction to an empty square adjacent to a critter. It always flies longer than one step.


Hive is a tabletop game designed by John Yianni and published in 2001 by Gen42 Games. This variant introduces the Dragonfly. Unlike in Hive, the Ant can only travel five squares, maximally, and the Beetle cannot climb on top of another Beetle. The biggest flaw is that a piece can sometimes make a move that splits the hive. Although Zillions plays the game badly, it’s an interesting game to study. Sounds (“Mosquito Buzzing”, “Spooky Water Drops”, “Squishy 2”) were created by Mike Koenig,, here. Piece graphics was derived from free icons at icons8.


Lim, M. (2011). ‘Hive Board Game – How to Play Hive’. YouTube. (here)

☛  You can download my free Critters program here, but you must own the software Zillions of Games to be able to run it. (I recommend the download version.)

© M. Winther, 2018 September