In the Hall of the Mountain King

A Guide to In the Hall of the Mountain King – Rules, Instructions & Strategy Guide


In the Hall of the Mountain King is a game that takes you deep into the heart of a mountain. Here, you play as trolls rebuilding your abandoned kingdom. The game is all about strategy, managing resources, and clever planning. It was created by designers Jay Cormier and Graeme Jahns and is known for its unique gameplay and beautiful artwork.

I find the game has a pretty interesting background, drawing inspiration from the famous piece of classical music by Edvard Grieg and Norse mythology. Since its release, it has gained a lot of attention for its innovative ‘cascade’ resource system and has become a favorite among board game enthusiasts.

Quick Tip for In the Hall of the Mountain King

Always plan your resource cascades carefully to maximize your actions each turn!

Rules for playing In the Hall of the Mountain King

The rules of In the Hall of the Mountain King are designed to create a balance between resource management and strategic building. Players take turns doing various actions such as digging tunnels, building great halls, and erecting statues. The game is played over a series of rounds until a certain number of statues have been erected, triggering the end of the game. Points are scored for tunnels, great halls, statues, and bonuses from spells and workshops. The player with the most points at the end wins.

Equipment and Setup for In the Hall of the Mountain King

To play In the Hall of the Mountain King, you need the game board, which represents the mountain, various tiles for tunnels and great halls, statues, resource tokens, troll cards, and player boards. Each player gets a player board to organize their resources and trolls. The game also includes spell cards and workshop tiles that give players special abilities or bonuses.

Setting up the game involves placing the game board in the center of the table, shuffling the troll cards, and creating a draft pool for players to select their starting trolls. The resource tokens are sorted by type and placed within reach of all players. Each player then selects a starting troll, which will begin their resource cascade system on their player board.

How to Play In the Hall of the Mountain King and Game Mechanics

The game mechanics of In the Hall of the Mountain King are centered around the unique cascade system. When you recruit a new troll, you place it on your player board in such a way that it generates resources for the trolls below it. This creates a cascade effect where one action can lead to a chain of resource generation.

  1. Recruit: Choose a troll from the draft pool and add it to your player board.
  2. Dig: Use your resources to dig tunnels or great halls in the mountain.
  3. Build: Erect statues in the great halls to score points.
  4. Cast Spells: Use spells for various effects.
  5. Workshop: Build workshops to gain bonuses.

Gameplay continues with players taking turns until the end-game condition is met. The game ends after the round in which the last statue is placed or the last great hall is built. Players then tally their points to determine the winner.

How to Win at In the Hall of the Mountain King

To win at In the Hall of the Mountain King, you need to score the most points. Points can be earned in various ways, such as building tunnels and great halls, erecting statues, and collecting bonuses from spells and workshops. It’s important to have a balanced approach and adapt your strategy based on the actions of other players.

Best Strategies for playing In the Hall of the Mountain King

One of the best strategies I find is to focus on creating a strong resource cascade. This allows you to take more actions and build more efficiently. Also, keep an eye on the trolls available for recruitment and plan your turns to make the best use of their abilities. Controlling the center of the board can be advantageous, as it gives you access to more building sites and potential points.

Balancing the use of spells, which can provide powerful one-time effects, is also crucial. Additionally, players should be mindful of the timing when triggering the game’s cornerstone mechanic, the “trollsmoot,” which allows for cascading actions and can turn the tides in one’s favor if executed thoughtfully.

Networking efficiently to connect different areas of the board and to reach the heart of the mountain quickly can provide a strategic advantage, as can focusing on fulfilling specific scoring conditions tied to statues and pedestals.


Good scenarios in the game often involve having a strong resource engine and being in a position to build multiple statues. Bad scenarios might include running out of resources or having your building plans blocked by other players. To turn these scenarios to your advantage, always be flexible and ready to change your strategy. Look for opportunities to disrupt other players’ plans while advancing your own.

Frequently Asked Questions about playing In the Hall of the Mountain King

Q: How many players can play In the Hall of the Mountain King?
A: The game is designed for 2 to 5 players.

Q: How long does a typical game last?
A: A game usually lasts between 75 to 90 minutes.

Q: Can I block other players from building?
A: Yes, you can build in a way that blocks others from certain areas of the board.

Q: Are there different types of trolls?
A: Yes, each troll card has different abilities and resource generation.

Q: Is there a solo mode for In the Hall of the Mountain King?
A: Yes, there is a solo variant included in the game rules.

In the Hall of the Mountain King – Burnt Island Games Publisher homepage

In the Hall of the Mountain King Review [Video]