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In the game of Hive, envision the following sequence of turns to start the game:

  1. White plays Beetle
  2. Black plays Queen
  3. White moves Beetle on top of Queen

At this point, Black cannot lay any pieces, since every potential spot on the Hive touches White, and Black's only played piece (the Queen) cannot move since it is covered by the Beetle.

I know the rules say that if one side cannot move, then the other player continues to play until the game ends or until there is a legal move for both players. Is this just a degenerate version of that scenario, and White wins in a ridiculously fast manner by placing all of its pieces around the Beetle/Queen stack?

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up vote 9 down vote accepted

The rules say you can't move any pieces until you've played the queen. I don't know, it may still be possible to have no legal moves, but the scenario you gave isn't legal.

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Excellent, thank you. I'm new to the game and completely missed that rule. It was a very odd moment when I saw my opponent (also new) do this to me, and I thought to myself, "Well, there's the quickest game in the history of Hive!" –  Matt Dillard Oct 26 '10 at 13:58
    
Re whether such situation can arise: White places Queen, Black places Queen, White moves Queen, Black places Beetle, White moves Queen towards Beetle, Black moves Beetle on top of Queen – no legal move left. –  Joachim Breitner Apr 14 '13 at 9:24
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