Dig and Rule In the Hall of the Mountain King: A Kickstarter First Look | Casual Game Revolution

Dig and Rule In the Hall of the Mountain King: A Kickstarter First Look

In the Hall of the Mountain King

Driven from their home years ago, the trolls have at last returned to reclaim what is theirs with digging, spells, and careful planning.

Currently on Kickstarter, In the Hall of the Mountain King has players take on the role of trolls, trying to carve out a home in the mountain and competing to be named the mountain king!

In the Hall of the Mountain King
Photo courtesy Sean Jacquemain from The Daily Worker Placement


On your turn you will take the following four actions in order: 1) you cast a spell and activate your workshops, 2) recruit a troll or dig a tunnel and score, 3) dedicate a great hall, and 4) move statues. At any point on your turn you may trade any four resources for any one resource.

When recruiting trolls, you may recruit a level one, two, or three troll. If recruiting higher level trolls, you will be forced to place gold as bribes on the lower level trolls. When a player recruits a troll that has been bribed, they get both the troll and the all of the bribes placed on it.

Each player starts the game with five trolls. When you add a new troll to your collection you place it above two other trolls, so that you are slowly forming a troll pyramid. When a troll is placed it gains the resources shown on its card, as do the trolls below it in the pyramid.

When placing a tunnel, you pay the necessary resources and take one of the tunnel tiles and add it to the board, placing it so that at least one edge is connected to your tunnel network. This extends your troll clan's tunnel network and earns you points. When you place a tunnel on the board it may be placed over squares that show rubble (in which case you must spend a hammer to place it there), resources (in which case you collect them), or a buried statue which will then become available to move.

There are also empty workshop icons on the board. If a tunnel is placed adjacent to one of these, you may choose any of the remaining workshops and add it to this spot.

Workshops allow you to take a special action, where you would turn one resource into another, for example. Spells offer special effects that will help you over the course of the game; however, you lose a spell after it has been used three times.

When placing a great hall, it must be placed over a large enough area of tunnel systems without any gaps below the great hall tile. Great halls are worth points at the end of the game.

Finally, using the carts resource, players may move any statues that are within their tunnel system. Statues are worth points at the end of the game based on their position on the board, and whether they are in a great hall or on a tunnel tile that has a pedestal.

The first two players to acquire ten trolls earn extra points and trigger the end of the game, allowing each player a final two moves. Then the player with the most points wins.

In the Hall of the Mountain King
Photo courtesy Sean Jacquemain from The Daily Worker Placement

First Impressions

In the Hall of the Mountain King has a creative fantasy theme with its focus on trolls and digging through a mountain. The theme seems to work quite well with the tile placement elements. Each player must also keep their tunnel network away from their opponents', since you cannot place a tile adjacent to an opponent’s tile, which adds an extra, interesting layer to the tile placement mechanics as you plan your way through the mountain, as well as offering a way to block one another.

The pyramid placement of your trolls also seems to be a unique way to gather resources that adds weight to your early choices. Players choose their five starting trolls during setup, and since these are the trolls that will produce resources the most frequently during the course of the game, this setup step is important and allows you to adapt the strategy you wish to focus on.

Game time is over an hour, so it may be a little long for some players, and while the gameplay rules don’t seem overly complex, there appear to be a lot of small elements you have to cover — so it may take a little bit of time to teach and learn.

Overall, the game appears to be strategic and layered, with lots of ways to adapt your strategy and plenty of ways to score, and a number of choices to be made each turn. In the Hall of the Mountain King looks to be a nuanced game perfect for strategy lovers who enjoy planning several turns ahead, and well worth checking out on Kickstarter.

Pros: Weighty early decisions, theme pairs nicely with tile placement, multiple choices on your turn

Cons: Lengthy game time, rule explanation time might go a bit long

Disclosure: this preview is based on our first impressions of a draft of the rulebook and game components, which are subject to change prior to publication. We received a modest payment to write this article.