Cave Troll: Boardgame Review

 |  March 1, 2018

“Deep inside the dark unending forest and within the high mountains live the trolls. They are huge and strong and surrounded by vast riches. Once the sun has set, it is the trolls who hold sway.” Lumbering, ferocious monsters with a penchant for hunting humans (especially children!), these are trolls as we have come to know them, detailed amidst the collected Norwegian Folktales of Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe and most prominently rendered by the popular Norwegian painter and illustrator Theodor Kittelsen. More than a century later, the savage grotesquerie of the troll endures: from the memorable cave troll melee deep in the depths of Moria in Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring to the mountain troll terrifying the young witch Hermione and smashing the Hogwarts girls’ bathroom to splinters in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to the Darkspear jungle trolls of the Warcraft franchise, and decidedly more besides — role-playing and board games included.

Set in the bone-strewn dungeon lair of the eponymous beast, Cave Troll is a competitive (verging on cut-throat!) strategy game in which treasure-hungry adventurers vie for riches in a fantasy romp where riches equal victory. Each player commands a party of heroes —knights, dwarves, barbarians, thieves, and other adventurers — with the objective of occupying and thereby ‘controlling’ rooms. Every room has a particular gold value, and when rooms are scored the player with the most heroes in a room ‘controls’ that room and gains the amount of gold assigned to that room. Players can also wield magical artifacts and summon and deploy monsters — including bloodthirsty orcs, undead wraiths and rampaging cave trolls — to ‘disrupt’ already controlled rooms and otherwise thwart the efforts of their opponents. With certain monsters and heroes able to push others from occupied rooms, or block their passage entirely, strategic maneuvering emerges as the key to successfully looting the subterranean labyrinth.

Game play — comprised of player turns allowing the performance of up to four actions (e.g. drawing a card, playing a card or an artifact, moving a character, or using a character action) — is straightforward and succinctly summarised in a well-illustrated and easy-to-read six page booklet. This updated third edition of Cave Troll contains a detailed, suitably grim game board (showing rooms, staircases and pits), 104 illustrated player cards and four accompanying reference sheets (listing the actions and abilities of heroes and monsters), 68 plastic miniatures, six magical artifact cards, and four gold counters. Rules for a variant game — enabling players to utilise ‘advanced’ heroes and monsters like giant slayers, paladins, berserkers, assassins, grunts, and banshees — are also included.

Cave Troll is available in Chiang Mai from Golden Goblin Games
Mobile: +6684 901 7762 (JS) and +6681 802 4122 (Bow)
Line ID: @Goblin