Step-by-step instructions on how to play Hive Board Game. This is a 1-on-1 showdown game that is a throwback to the ancient classics and is Chess meets Go. Your options are limited and it really comes down to how you play off of your opponent. Bugs play a delightful role that adds some intrigue, but it is all about the simple back and forth strategy. This is our definitive guide for how to play Hive.

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The object of the game is to totally surround your opponent’s Queen Bee whilst at the same time trying to stop your opponent from doing the same to you. The pieces surrounding the Queen Bee can be made up of a mixture of both your pieces and your opponent’s. The first player to surround their opponent’s Queen Bee Wins. Learning how to play Hive is very easy because there is not much to the rules.


Time Needed: Approximately 20 minutes.

This is a step by step guide for how to play Hive the popular puzzle-solving abstract strategy board game. Additional notions and special rules can be found below the list. These will be referenced for your convenience.

1. SETUP | Give Everyone A Set Of Bugs
Everyone is given a set 11 different bugs across 5 different types within their color as their playing tiles. This is the one and only step of how to play Hive setup.

2. GAMEPLAY | First Moves
Randomly choose a first player and that player puts down any piece in the center. The second player goes and they put any one of their pieces right up against it. This is the starting basis for your “hives” and the rules now kick in for future placements. The move goes back to the starting player with turns alternating following the below steps

3. GAMEPLAY | Option 1 | Place
For your turn you can do one of two things. If you choose to place, you take one of your not yet added to the board pieces and place it anywhere. The only rule is that it must be adjacent to one of your pieces and not adjacent to one of your opponent’s pieces.

4. GAMEPLAY | Special Rule – Get Queen Out
The only thing that differs from turn to turn is that you must get your queen bee (your most important piece) out by your fourth placement.

5. GAMEPLAY | Option 2 | Move
The other thing you can do on your turn unlocks once your queen is on the table is move. Each bug has a different rule and you move based on this. There are five different pieces. You can see a breakdown in the Piece Types section below.

6. GAMEPLAY | Pass and Repeat
After one of the two actions is selected, that is it, turn over. The other player goes and selects one of the two actions. This continues until you have a winner. The steps of how to play Hive are very easy.

7. WINNING | Surround The Queen Bee
Once your queen bee is surrounded you lose. Surrounded means that all six of the hex sides have pieces around them. It can be all of yours, or all of your opponents or a mixture of both, but once it happens it is over.



Moves one space for turn along the edges of the hive.

Moves exactly three spaces in any one direction (no shifting or backtracking)

Moves as many spaces as it wants in any one direction.

Hops directly over the hive, moving straight across from where you are.

Moves only one space for turn but can move on top of other pieces, locking them in place until the Beetle moves again.


You cannot break the hive for any reason.

You have to be able to slide in and out of a space to use it.

If you cannot make a move, you skip your turn and do nothing.

If the last move surrounds both queens at the same time, the game is a draw.


  • 1x Queen Bee (Yellow-Gold)
  • 2x Spiders (Brown)
  • 2x Beetles (Purple)
  • 3x Grasshoppers (Green)
  • 3x Soldier Ants (Blue)


We hope you can now say you know how to play Hive. This award-winning abstract strategy is incredibly beautiful in its simplistic elegance and reminiscent of the ancient game of Go. This is a fast-paced mono e mono showdown that takes ruthless aggression as well as masterful patience. There is not much to Hive but it is difficult to master.

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