22 May 2017
We check out the simple but sweet trivia game from the creator of Magic: The Gathering and King of Tokyo
The last entry in the first run of Calliope’s Titans (following Menu Masters and Running with the Bulls) is perhaps the most prominent, coming from the brain of extolled Magic: The Gathering, King of Tokyo and Netrunner creator Richard Garfield. Given Garfield’s eminence, Hive Mind may also be the most surprising, offering a simplistic party game spin on the Family Fortunes trivia format.
The thematic setup is hilarious, plonking players in the yellow and black bodies of bees trying to impress their queen – or risk getting booted out of the hive, which features a cinema, gym and band practice area (all complete with plenty of bee puns and celebrity parodies).
To convince their queen they deserve to stay, the competing bees respond to question cards by writing down lists of answers. For every answer they match with another player they gain a point, while the bee that fails to think along the same lines as their fellows gets demoted in the hive by the number of levels denoted by the current space on the board's ring of flowers, with the queen moved each turn by a simple die roll.
The components are barebones, the mechanics one-note and the gameplay repetitive, but there remains a back-to-basics pleasure in attempting to predict what your fellow players will answer to each question, with the cards offering a satisfying range of head-scratching prompts. Perhaps honey is the ideal comparison: a sweet, simple treat best enjoyed in moderation.