A hexagonal board game.

Bees! is a two-player game played on a hexagonal board, with six hexes per side. It is suitable for playing by email, using the notation I use here, or ideally on a proper board with proper pieces.

The idea of the game is to kill your opponent's Queen, thus claiming the hive for yours.

There are three types of piece - the Drone, which occupies a single hex, the Warrior, which occupies two adjacent hexes (one with its thorax, one with its head), and the Queen, which occupies a triangle of three hexes.

The hive starts out in this alignment:

     H . O O . D           AB  CD  EF  GH - black warriors
    G X X O X X C               XXXXXXXXX - black drones
   . F X X X X B .                    O O
  . . E . X . A . .                    O  - black queen
 . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . .
 . . . . . . . . . .
  . . a . x . e . .                    o  - white queen
   . b x x x x f .                    o o
    c x x o x x g               xxxxxxxxx - white drones
     d . o o . h           ab  cd  ef  gh - white warriors

The Warriors in the diagram are distinguished so that it remains easy to tell which head and thorax belong to which Warrior - A,C,E and G are the head-pieces.

The Bees

A Warrior can move any distance in the direction it is facing (including zero distance), optionally including a one-hex push against a single Drone or Warrior. After moving, a Warrior may rotate around its thorax (ie. the thorax remains stationary; the head can go anywhere adjacent to the thorax).

A Drone can move one hex in any direction. Drones can act as a group - lines of Drones can move all at once, in single-file, in the direction of the line.

The Queen can move one hex in any direction.


A Warrior is killed if its thorax is surrounded (edge-of-hive counts towards surrounding).

A Drone is killed if it is surrounded, or if an enemy Warrior's head, or an enemy Drone, occupies hexes on two opposite sides of it.

The Queen is killed if it is entirely surrounded, or if all its Soft Spots are occupied by enemy Warriors' heads or enemy Drones. The Queen's Soft Spots are those hexes that are adjacent to two parts of the Queen.

Any Bee is killed if it is pushed off, or partially off, the hive.

A Drone in the Soft Spot of a Queen, or a Warrior whose thorax is in the Soft Spot, cannot be captured by surrounding.

Kills take place only at the end of a move (ie. you can't surround a bee before rotating a Warrior, then rotate it - though you can rotate after pushing a bee off the hive). Kills of enemy bees occur first, and simultaneously, followed by any remaining kills of friendly bees. Kills are mandatory.


Warriors can push either single Drones or single Warriors, so long as the hex/hexes behind the target is/are unoccupied.

A single Drone cannot push; however, several Drones acting in concert, by pushing along the same line, can push a Warrior, or a number of Drones equal to or less than their own number.

The Queen can be pushed if either two Warriors act side-by-side, three Drones push in a triangle formation, or one Warrior and two Drones act side-by-side. Warriors cannot charge and push the Queen in the same turn.

A turn cannot be spent returning a push that was just made (eg. two Warriors cannot be deadlocked pushing back and forth). A return-push using greater numbers than were moved is allowed.

Any bee pushed off, or partially off, the hive is killed.


If you have five dead Drones (from your opponent), you can play one of them at any edge of the Hive under your control, as your turn, on the condition that it doesn't cause a kill immediately.

If you have two dead Warriors (from your opponent), you can play one of them at any edge of the Hive under your control, as your turn, on the condition that it doesn't cause a kill immediately - it must also be played so that both head and thorax are on an edge.

Order of Play

Black plays first. Players take it in turns to make a move. First Queen killed loses. Exception - if your Queen can be killed on the next turn, when you kill the opponent's Queen, the game is a draw.

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