Hive, by designer John Yianni in 2000 gets a boost at the studio
Hive Live 2022 was a chance to get hands-on instruction from some of the game’s best.
YORKTON – When it comes to games, there are always a few – usually very few – that stand out from the first game and hold your long-term interest.
Among abstract strategy games, there has been a real renaissance decade in terms of notable new games from 2000. Several outstanding games have emerged.
And of these, arguably Hive, by designer John Yianni in 2000, is the best of the bunch. The game is easily among the top five games released in the last half century.
For those unfamiliar with Hive – which we’ve already covered here – it’s a boardless game, much like a modern version of chess in that different pieces have different moves and you aim to capture the game. ‘opponent. bee.
The pieces are big, chunky, and strong, so it’s an heirloom game in that it should last forever and can be played easily on cafes, park benches, or the kitchen table.
So why revisit Hive?
Well, recently, a “workshop” on the game was held in Minneapolis in September.
Hive Live 2022 was an opportunity to get hands-on instruction from some of the game’s best, and for those who couldn’t attend the sessions, they were also on Zoom.
“I fell in love with the game at the start of 2019,” organizer John Sandahl explained via email. “Within a few months I was playing 20 turn-based games online at once and quickly learning that the high end of the community was pretty friendly.”
The idea of a workshop was therefore born, with the first Hive Live organized in 2020.
“I wanted a community of local gamers to play with,” Sandahl said.
Then Sandahl went to seek out “expertise” to help organize the events.
“If I could attract players with skills and knowledge from other places, that would probably help increase local interest,” he said.
“I found out that Joe (Schultz – Jewdoka online) had been working on a book and was based near my home in South Dakota and came that way semi-regularly.
“I reached out to Randy (Ingersoll) of Hive YouTube fame to connect about a possible appearance.
“Both players have agreed to come for a one-day session in 2020 on the day of the lead – around 10 days before the lockdowns start. We had six to eight local players plus Joe and Randy and hardly any online involvement because Zoom wasn’t as common back then.
By attracting Schultz and Ingersoll, the event had two of the top entrants.
You kind of know when a game is maturing and gaining interest when books start appearing to push strategies forward, and there are a few on Hive. A couple to recommend are Play Hive Like a Champion: Strategy, Tactics and Commentary Paperback by Ingersoll and The Canon Of Hive: Groundwork by Schultz.
“I decided to get involved because I was asked to, and thought it would be a good way to make the Hive community bigger and stronger,” Schultz explained.
“As you must already know, I’m kind of in love with Hive. As a reformed chess fan, it helps fulfill my need for an abstract two-player game,” Ingersoll said. “John invited me and I thought it was a great idea. In addition, I was able to meet Joe Schultz in person.
Although the event did not attract many people this year, it has a ripple effect.
“I think about 10 different people participated online – some on zoom and some just on the YouTube live stream,” Sandahl said. “Live, we had Randy and Joe – and we had another California player flown in, and then four more local players joined for games.
“Yes – none were rank newbies. We had one online and one local who had a lower level of experience, but they were still able to stick with content throughout the weekend.
Schultz added, “It was also live on YouTube and it looks like it got a couple hundred views, so I think YouTube was the mode people were tuning in on.”
So what interested those involved the most?
“Everyone seems interested in Hive openings. Which is a good thing because I’m writing a book about it,” Schultz said.
“I did a ‘case study’ of my quarter-final match against a player called RaiD. I explained my research into the guy’s plays and how I formulated my opening approach.
Sandahl added that most just want to better understand the game’s thinking.
“Most of the time, gamers have expressed interest in anything that allows them to find out what other people are thinking – and so hand/brain games are a great way to think about the game,” he said.
The best news for Hive is that the event will return for 2023.
“Yeah, I see it becoming an annual event,” Ingersoll said.
“I hope we can generate more interest and attract more people in person. The pandemic has severely affected the event this year. I wasn’t sure I would be comfortable attending until less than a month before the event.
“This uncertainty has led to less than complete planning.”
But, Ingersoll expects better things to come.
“We’re working on getting it much more organised, both in person and online, for next year.”
“Yeah, I think it’s going to get bigger every year,” Schultz said. “We are taking steps to be better organized and also trying to connect with an overseas group to do a similar thing in tandem.”