Whether it be social, recreational, or professional, some of what represents me is here. Post a comment, or contact me at should you so desire.

The posts are in reverse chronological order, and are pegged by topic on the links to the left. For more of an introduction, please see the About this site page listed above.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

The Hobbit Board Game

There has been a considerable lack of Dungeons and Dragons in my life as of late. Understandably so, as I just moved to Edmonton, only know a few people here, and getting a bunch of people together to play is hard enough, let alone when you don’t know a lot of people, or the ones you do are busy with work and living 2 time zones away. So, exploring the city as I have been, I was lucky enough to come by a comic book shop a couple of blocks from my new apartment.

I was looking for something interesting to play, something D&D related, and could be possibly played by 2 people. I didn’t want to pay a lot, and I’m not too sure about the newer D&D board games. My online search yielded two games which might prove interesting, namely Dungeon and The Hobbit board games. The problem with these is that they are hard to find as Dungeon was released in 1975 and even though several editions have been released, it’s not exactly flying off the shelves. The Hobbit has a similar history.

My mom says I am lucky, actually, the exact wording she uses is a little more colloquial, but the meaning is the same, haha. Suffice it to say, as I was perusing the wares of this comic book shop, a Happy Harbor Comics, which is an amazing place full of games, comics, and all sorts of things, I came across The Hobbit board game!

It was on the bottom shelf, behind some old science-fiction books, used, and had a slight hole in the bottom of the box. I thought, well, I’m here, I might as well ask and see how much it is. The employee at the store looked at it, raised an eyebrow, looked at me and said, “Really?” I laughed and asked how much it was.

He didn’t know. Apparently, they forgot they had the game, and it wasn’t in their system. He told me that he didn’t even think the game had all of its pieces. I joked that it must be pretty cheap then.

I paid $10, which is a steal for a board game, old or not, and I brought it back to my place thinking that as long as the instructions were there, I could make any piece which was missing. Turns out, I didn’t need to, the pieces were all there, and in great shape!

Now, enough about how I got the game, I’m sure you want to hear more about the game itself!

First thing I have to say is that the game concept is unique, as far as board games are concerned. When I think of board games, I usually think of Monopoly, Risk, or party games. Classic games, but not what I was looking for. In The Hobbit, the goal of the game is to steal from Smaug the dragon. Seen here on The Lonely Mountain, he is surrounded by a hoard of jewels he has presumably collected.

Starting at Bag End, you play as adventuring hobbits, making your way to the Lonely Mountain, passing through some of the familiar areas from The Hobbit novel like the Misty Mountains and Mirkwood.

Along the way, you may run into goblins, have trouble crossing rivers, or navigating dark mountain passes. You may also run into Gandalf from time to time who offers you some assistance in the ways of a gift. Each time you land on an Adventure tile, the one with a sword on it, the player to your left draws the next adventuring card and describes the encounter, like the one below. You immediately succeed on the encounter if you have the right gift from Gandalf, but if you don’t have the right gift, you spin the wood/water/sword spinner hoping the gods of chance are in your favour. You can steal from Smaug before you get the mountain, but if you fail, Smaug steals from you, adding to his hoard.

Once you arrive at the Lonely Mountain, you can steal from Smaug using a system which is inherently backward if you’ve ever played D&D. You roll a d20 (20 sided die), and hope to have a result less than or equal to the sum of your adventuring points (gained by succeeding on encounters) and jewels (gained in a variety of ways). It was a little odd at first to be hoping to roll a low number, and how a critical failure in D&D would be a critical success in this game, haha.

All in all, I found the game to be enjoyable. It was different from most board games, featured some of the lore and spirit of The Hobbit, and was an amusing way to pass the time. The entire game is pretty much chance as you win encounters and jewels by the roll of the dice or by drawing the right card, but where it lacks in strategy, it makes up for in just plain, simple fun!

1 comment:

  1. It's a good thing all of the pieces were still present and intact. It would have been a shame if you had to replace Fili, Kili, Oin, Gloin, Thorin, Dwalin, Balin, Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Dori, Ori, or Nori's piece.