I've been thinking, lately, on what the best strategy is to win on the hive map. I'll share a little of my thoughts here, but what I'm really looking for are insights from experts who have got this map down to a science. This map is becoming a favorite of mine because it seems to require a delicate balance between the skills of strategy and diplomacy. Here are some thoughts depending on game settings:
No spoils, no trench - with or without fog of war:
I think that the best strategy here is to not rapidly gain territory bonuses too fast. This is probably true on most maps, but on hive, especially with multiple players, there are just too many backdoors to guard against. I have been falling victim to this lately, I start off gaining bonuses pretty quick and feel proud of myself for "winning". But then everyone will start to gang up on me and then I ruin whatever gains I've made because, even with my relatively big troop stacks, I just can't hold everyone back. Instead, I'm going to try and adopt a "middle of the pack" approach and just build up my overall troop count with stacks that are not directly on my boarders. Then once the top contenders thoroughly waste themselves, I'll be in a better position to spread.
Trench - no spoils:
I'm starting to really like trench on this map. I think the strategy here is almost the opposite of the above. One should try to gain bonuses as quickly as possible, but make sure to keep at least a one region buffer between opponents and the bonus territories. I also think that, with trench, you should NOT try and build large stacks, instead try and spread as much as possible with assaults happening over multiple areas against multiple opponents. The quicker you are with doing this, the harder it becomes for others to stop your spread, and your bonuses keep increasing.
Escalating spoils can be fun, but the problem is that after a certain point the spoils far outweigh troop bonuses, and the game ends up something like this: a stalemate occurs between the remaining few players, who just focus on gaining spoils and stacking, and stacking, and stacking... and stacking some more, until someone cracks under the pressure and bursts the dam. In that scenario, it is whoever wasn't in the direct line of fire of the player who cracked that will win. They'll be presented with a map where everyone else has spent their enormous troop reserves, then they will conveniently cash in their spoils, and sweep up the leftovers.
Ok, now, someone who knows more than me please add your thoughts or take apart what I've said.