Once Upon A Time There Was A Troll… I’m So Lonely


So I’ve kinda stopped going to week long cons because my body just cant take it anymore. I know, your all gonna miss me, whatever. It just means that Banana will be there while I sit at home playing games…alone.

When Banana is at a con and I’m not working I play Deep Space D-6, read the rules for Space Hulk Death Angel, play more Deep Space D-6, maybe a bit of Manhattan Project Chain Reaction, watch a training video of Space Hulk Death Angel, a bit more Deep Space D-6, or just angrily stare at Space Hulk Death Angel. Now one of our favorite 2-player combat games has a new expansion that adds solo and co-op play. Since we don’t do co-op games in this house…

Here’s how to play:  Gruff

Here are the rules for playing games in the house:

  1. I always lose
  2. Jenn always wins
  3. If I’m not playing the game, see #1
  4. If it looks like there may be a chance that I’ll win see #2

Sooooo, when she’s not around I like to play solo games. It feels a lot better to lose to a piece of cardboard than her because said cardboard doesn’t make me do the dishes “because” I lost. Anyway enough intro…

Unlike most “expansions” we’re presented, this is not just more of the same. Rage of the Trolls ads a whole new slant to your classic PvP, Co-op and Solo. That’s right, I said solo. You can now stand off against a lumbering, probably club wielding, green skinned Troll who wants nothing more than to beat you into a slushy pulp.

The Troll is controlled by a behavior deck that, when it’s his turn, does all the nasty stuff that his Rage will allow. The game plays almost exactly the same as regular Gruff except for the first few steps of the turn.

A solo game setup is mostly like a regular game. Choose a shepherd and three goats, collect the action cards for each of the chosen goats . Shuffle the action cards together to make your deck. Lay the Troll down in front of you, don’t forget to put the sliders on all of your cards. Shuffle up the Troll AI deck and you’re ready to get your ass handed to you.

As I said before, the turns are mostly the same as for a regular game of Gruff except for the beginning.

During the Trolls resolution phase the Troll will resolve conditions and attacks from the previous turn with its RAGE score being the amount of damage it deals to the facing Gruff.

The Troll gets angry and adds a Rage to its tracker.

In the Behavior Phase the troll draws from the AI(behavior) deck and plays all abilities up to and including it’s Rage value.

After this is the standard Gruff phases of Draw, Activation, Play, and Tactical. In a co-op game you may save excess Crazy from your turn to use during an opponents phase.

Did I mention that along with all the other new good stuff they’ve added Fury and Fester tokens that add extra effects to the game?

When all is said and done, Rage of the Trolls is a welcome addition to the Gruff universe. As far as we’re concerned, Gruff is up there with the best of the PvP combat games on the market and deserves more of your attention. With all this new stuff you’d expect it to start to get a bit old. you know, when companies start adding new stuff just for the sake of adding new stuff and not really adding any real value along with said stuff. That’s definitely NOT the case here. With the new Shepherds and Goats come new ways to play.

If you don’t yet own Gruff this is a perfect starting point. It’s a complete standalone game that is the perfect jumping-in point for the budding maniacal shepherd.

Get your butts over to Kickstarter now and pledge. Tell em herb sent ya.

editors note: This article is wayyyyyy later than we’d expected. I had a series of really funny pics of me  looking really sad losing to Gildfisk over and over and over, and for no other reason than “we bought a PC laptop” I can’t get them uploaded.

-herb (still losing)


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Herb is a self-proclaimed writer, who has walked 500 miles and then walked 500 more, just to be the man who walked a 1000 miles to fall down 5 minutes after his insurance expires.