22 July 2015 | Cave Troll

Controlling the Dungeon

Preview the Gameplay of Cave Troll


The dwarf gripped his axe and shifted his feet. The treasure chest beside him lay open, spilling priceless coins and jewels that scattered the torchlight is a thousand shimmering colors. He could see shadows moving beyond the multicolored light of the treasure: orcs, wraiths, and creatures without name. He would not sit here passively and wait for his demise. With a snarled curse, the dwarf charged out into the dark.

The lust for treasure drives your every action in Cave Troll, a classic board game of heroes, monsters, and the race for riches! An ancient dungeon has been excavated, and the stories say that it’s filled with treasure – but unfortunately, these stories are no secret. You’ll need to race against three opponents to claim the most gold and control the dungeon’s secrets.

Designed by Tom Jolly, Cave Troll challenges you to strategically position your forces throughout the dungeon to establish your dominance. All players command both heroes and monsters: you’ll use heroes to grab treasure from the dungeon’s chambers and you’ll dispatch monsters to attack and rout your opponent’s heroes. 

Today, we’ll explore the gameplay of Cave Troll by running through a sample turn in the preview below!

The Treasure Is Mine!

Your ultimate goal in Cave Troll is to claim more gold than any of your opponents, using the heroes and monsters at your command to control chambers throughout the dungeon. Each turn, you have four actions that you must use to strategically position your figures and claim control of crucial chambers.

The first action that you may execute lets you bring a new hero or monster into the dungeon under your control. You bring figures into play with your player cards, each of which corresponds to a certain hero or monster. Each player starts the game with one player card, and when you choose to bring a new hero or monster into play, you draw a second player card. Then, you must choose and play one of the two cards in your hand, bringing a new figure into the game. 

As an example, we’ll follow one player through his turn. As his first action, Bartholomew chooses to bring a new figure into play. Bartholomew currently holds a Knight card in hand and he draws a Cave Troll card. The Cave Troll is massively powerful, but only heroes can establish control of rooms and claim the gold within. Therefore, Bartholomew plays the Knight card and places his Knight figure on a staircase, as shown in the diagram above.

After placing the figure, Bartholomew decides to move his Knight into position. He spends two actions to move his Knight two spaces into a room that boasts five gold – one of the highest-valued chambers. Unfortunately, some other heroes have already occupied the chamber. The green player has a Dwarf and a Barbarian and the red player has two Adventurers in the room. To gain control of a room and the treasure inside, you must have more heroes in the room than any other player. If this room was scored immediately, Bartholomew would receive no share of the gold. Fortunately, Bartholomew still has an action remaining. 

As his final action, Bartholomew plays an artifact that he received earlier by playing the Find an Artifact card. Bartholomew’s artifact is the Idol of El'darr , and it allows him to take all opposing heroes from one room and place them on any staircase. By playing this artifact, Bartholomew takes the four opposing heroes from the chamber and deposits them on a staircase on the other side of the board, where they’ll be much less useful to their owners. 

Playing the Idol of El’darr does not come without consequences, however. Every artifact has a gold value on it. If you haven’t used your artifact by the end of the game, its gold value is added to your total gold as a bonus. The gold value on the Idol of El’darr is four, however, and Bartholomew has used it to gain a room worth five gold. His Knight’s ability will prevent enemy figures from entering, which means that he stands a good chance of holding this room until the next time the board is scored.

Scoring the Board

Although you’re constantly struggling to claim chambers and gold throughout the dungeon, you can’t just seize gold whenever you want. During a game of Cave Troll, players receive gold from the rooms they control when the board is scored. The board is scored at the end of the game, but also several times throughout the game. Certain player cards, such as the Adventurer card shown to the right, have one or more scoring icons at the bottom of the card. When these cards are played, they are set aside, and when there are five or more scoring icons set aside, the board is scored as your heroes plunder the rooms for gold and lost treasure.

As you play the game, you must carefully track how close the board is to being scored. If you advance your plans and move your figures into position too soon, your opponents will have a chance to respond to your actions and oust your heroes from their carefully planned positions. And yet, you can’t delay too long or the board will be scored before you’ve seized control of as many chambers as you can. Determining exactly when to claim crucial rooms is a key to victory in Cave Troll

Riches Await

With every turn in Cave Troll, you’ll use your actions to move your heroes and monsters throughout the dungeon, claiming treasures and destroying your opponent’s plans. Descend into the labyrinth and take the riches that are rightfully yours!

Pre-order Cave Troll at your local retailer today.

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