Dwarves & Trolls: Rules of the Game

thud-1cgame board

What follows are rules for the game currently being played between myself and Gandalf the Grey.


The game begins with 8 trolls and 32 dwarves.  The central rock represents the troll’s cave and treasure hoard. Dwarves try to eliminate all trolls and gain access to the cave. Trolls attempt to put dwarves in sacks for later disposal.


Dwarves have the first move. Dwarves can move any distance in a straight line (forwards, backwards, sideways and diagonally).

A dwarf can end its move on a square next to a troll without being instantly captured.

A troll moves one square in any direction (forwards, backwards, sideways and diagonally).

No piece can pass through a square containing any other piece. Nor can any piece land on, or jump over, the central rock, which remains stationary.


A troll captures dwarves by moving next to them and thumping them on the head with its club.

Dwarves can defeat a troll by forming a line and launching the front dwarf straight at it.

Capturing is not compulsory.
Captures are made in straight lines – including diagonally.


A troll captures one or more dwarves by moving to a square next to it (or them).
There are up to eight squares next to the square the troll is on. The troll must move to make a capture.


Trolls can also make captures by forming an unbroken line of trolls. Instead of an ordinary move, the front troll is shoved by the rest in the line, who remain where they are. The shoved troll moves directly forward as many squares (or fewer) as there were trolls in the line.

A troll can only use a shove to make a capture. It cannot use the shove as an ordinary move. Remember, that trolls capture by landing on the square next to one or more dwarves. They cannot land on the square a dwarf is occupying.


A dwarf captures by having a straight, unbroken line of dwarves aimed at a troll and launching the front dwarf straight ahead to hit the troll. The troll is removed and the dwarf occupies its square. BUT, the attack can only be made if the distance in squares between the front dwarf and the troll’s square is less than the number of dwarves making up the line.

So, for example, 4 dwarves can attack a troll if there are 0, 1, 2, or 3 empty squares between the front dwarf and the troll. Dwarves cannot have an ordinary move and capture in the same turn. Just as the trolls cannot shove without making a capture, so the dwarves can only launch a dwarf if it will then make a capture.

(Note: 1 lone dwarf can form a line of 1 by moving to a square adjacent to a troll and then waiting for the next turn to launch into the troll, assuming the troll hasn’t captured it by then.)

Remember: Shoving and hurling captures can be made in any straight line, including diagonally.


not allowedNo additional pieces may be found or created.  Hostages may not be taken.  Use of magic is not allowed. Players may not threaten each other with weapons during gameplay (other verbal threats and insults are acceptable).

drinkingDrinking is mandatory.

1462618_732453773449191_1771084759_oSmoking is optional.

[Space reserved for further additions as I think of them – T. Oakenshield]


When the players agree that it is clear that no further captures can be made then the battle is ended. If they cannot agree, the battle continues until agreement is reached. Having agreed to end the battle, the points scored by each player is calculated according to the number of pieces each has left on the board.


Each dwarf counts as one point. Each troll counts as four points. The winning margin is the difference between the scores.

If both players have the same number of points, then the game ends in a draw and no points are scored.

3 thoughts on “Dwarves & Trolls: Rules of the Game”

  1. King Thorin Oakenshield said:

    You may notice some vague similarity to this game > http://www.thudgame.com/rules
    I am sure it is only coincidence.

    • Mohamed Ghita said:

      Oh Really, Master Thorin? :p Of course the humans wanted to copy your game and give it other name..you must excuse them, really. Haha :p

  2. Oh good! I am so glad you posted the rules. I am actually not one for playing games, so I mainly watch the reactions of the players. This will help me follow along. Thank you! 😉

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