Many party games ask you to try to come up with answers to questions or name specific items in a group. Most of the time they want you to think outside the box and attempt to give an answer different from everyone else. What if instead your goal was to try to match everyone else in your group? That’s the premise of one of the first games in the Titan series from Calliope Games, Hive Mind by Richard Garfield.
The premise behind Hive Mind revolves around bees. Apparently too many work bees inhabit the current hive. The Queen Bee has decided that she will keep the bees that think the most alike while forcing the fringe bees out of the abode and let them fend for themselves.
The board has two different sections. On the left side the hive shows where the bees are, and twelve “beeples” are included. They all start at the top and try not to be forced down and out of the hive. A few gates are placed at the bottom of the hive when the player count is low to try to help to slow down the demise of the bee workers.
The right side of the board shows a flower path. Before each turn a die is rolled and the Queen Bee workers her way along the path. These have one to three bees already in them, and that number is how many bees are forced down the bee hive that round. A few of the flowers have a symbol that shows that one bee will be forced down while the bee with the highest score for that round gets to move one level towards the top.
Once the Queen Bee has moved, one player reads a question. These are similar to Family Feud or other party games, like “Name five girl’s names that start with the letter A.” or “List three European cities.” Each card has several questions to choose from and the cards have questions on both sides, providing a lot of replayability with the set included.
After the question is said, everyone gets two minutes to write down their answers. A sand time is included, but it is honestly easier to just use the timer on your phone. An app is also available specifically for Hive Mind that counts down those two minutes, and if you have the sound on it plays Flight of the Bumblebee of course. However, that might be a little to jarring for everyone playing, so you may want to use the sound sparingly, if at all.
When the two minutes are over, the person who read the question reads off their answers one at a time. Everyone else then raises their hand if they had that answer too. Points are scored on each answer by giving everyone a point for who had the same answer. For instance, if three people had the same answer, then those people would gain three points. Any answer written down scores at least one point to the person who wrote it down, even if the answer is completely wrong. You may want to use this strategy for the times when the clock is almost out and you don’t have a full complement of answers.
After everyone has gone through their answers, everyone totals their points for the round. The players with the lowest scores move down, depending on the space the Queen Bee is on. The rules say that if the players are tied all the players move down, but it doesn’t say if the player with the highest score is immune from moving down. For instance, in a four player game if the Queen Bee is on a space that requires three players to move down, and two people tie with the highest score, it sets up the possibility for everyone to move down. I did end up playing it this way to help move the game along faster, but this can be house ruled how your group wants to play. Larger groups shouldn’t have this issue come up often.
Hive Mind also comes with a pad of paper and several sharpened pencils. I appreciate the fact that they’ve included this in the game. It means you don’t have to search for scratch paper and writing utensils if you don’t want to.
Designed by: Richard Garfield
Published by: Calliope Games
Players: Three to twelve
Ages: 8 and up
Time: 30-90 Minutes
Mechanics: Party game
I was actually surprised at how well received Hive Mind was when I played it. This isn’t a game that you’ll probably take along to your weekly gaming group, but it works quite well with non-gamers for things like family get-togethers or hanging out with friends and staying in. If you want a party game but are sick of the social deduction and Apples to Apples style of games, check out Hive Mind.