This past year, I had the pleasure of working with Calliope Games to illustrate one of their latest board games – Hive Mind! Created by Richard Garfield (of Magic the Gathering!) the game is part of their Titan Series Kickstarter, and was released in late 2016 with the first wave of titles. Others in this release include Running with the Bulls and Menu Masters. Each title has its own unique features and fantastic artwork that brings the concepts to life. Whether you are an avid board game player or just looking to add a few titles to your down time with friends and family, these are all top notch additions.
Hive Mind tells the story of a bee hive preparing for winter. There is limited food and the Queen needs to figure out which bees will be able to work with her and support the hive – by thinking alike – and which bees will need to leave. Rather than focusing on a single winner, the game objective is learning about the people around you. Think you know your friends’ favorite colors? Trying to break the ice with a new group of people? The questions on a variety of topics carry along the conversations and strategies as you work your way through the hive.
One of the major hi-lights of working on this project was the variety of characters I got to create. Each of the “beeples” represented one of the question categories in the game, and it was fun translating those themes into their unique styles and personalities.
When designing the Geek Bee, I wanted to include lots of references for people to find in his attire. His scarf is inspired by Harry Potter (Ten points to Hufflepuff!) his t-shirt has a TARDIS, and his belt buckle has everyone’s favorite caped crusader. He also has his trusty light saber, and waves a vulcan salute. While it wasn’t intentional, someone did point out that he resembles Finn from Star Wars: The Force Awakens and that became his nickname while I was coloring him.
The Queen was one of the first characters I sketched so it’s interesting to see how her character evolved as I sent in concepts to the game’s art director Andrew Hepworth. His feedback was vital in developing the overall look and feel of the game. Her shoes are possibly one of my favorite details and I am very tempted to sew her costume for a future convention… Who wouldn’t want to be queen for a day?!
Science Bee is probably the feistiest character in the hive. I picture her as something of a mad scientist, always hard at work figuring out the next great advance in honey production technology while hopefully not blowing up the lab. It was great to have a female character to represent the sciences, and I loved that she made it to the cover of the box.
The hive is buzzing with the music of the “Bee-tles”, but before his design was selected, this category created one of my favorite concept sketches – Daft Buzz. While this character never made it into the game, there were several bees from the early sketches that added a lot of personality to the hive’s levels including an air guitarist with his “AB/CB” t-shirt, and painters Bob-bee Ross and his friend Bee-onardo Da Vinci.
I hope you have enjoyed this glimpse into the characters and setting of Hive Mind. It was an amazing experience to see these designs move from sketches to a finished, published board game and I am honored to have had the chance to work with such an awesome game developer. Bee sure to check out a copy at your Friendly Local Game Store today!