Ok, maybe stealing from the superheroes not to be named, but it’s what’s needed. The Shepherds of Woe need to come together, to unite to overcome an old foe returning from the shadows. Yes, the trolls of old have returned. The trolls that blocked the bridge and led the shepherds to mutate the gruffs in the beginning. It’s time for the shepherds to unite. 

Gruff: Rage of the Trolls, the tactical card game where the finest mutated monster goats and their shepherds need to band together to take down the terrible trolls in this stand-alone expansion. The expansion adds Co-Op and Single-Player modes to “Gruff” through the addition of the trolls. With 5 new shepherds and 6 new gruffs, you can battle one of the four utterly fantastic and terrifying trolls.  

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With the introduction of trolls, and their AI cards to drive their behaviours, the designers at Studio Woe introduce solo play to the game as well as co-operative play. Each of the trolls comes with a series of 5 behaviour cards that have various abilities and actions on them. For the trolls themselves, they have stats similar to the shepherds and gruff; life for the health of the troll and fat for the defence of the troll. In place of crazy though, trolls have rage. Each round, the rage increases and based upon the rage level, certain abilities and actions are triggered.

A sample round for the Gruff troll looks like: 

  • The troll attacks if noted on the behaviour card played during the previous round. The behaviour card is then discarded. This is ignored during the first round of the game. 
  • Trolls rage Increases by 2 (1 if playing cooperative)
  • A new behaviour card is selected and the actions or abilities noted on the card up to the current rage level is applied. 

Along with the solo and competitive rules, mutation tokens are added. These tokens can be applied by a troll’s behavior card to the troll or the player’s gruffs. One side of the mutation token, fester, ensures the ability of a gruff cannot change while the other side, fury, allows for increased attack for either the shepherd or the troll. 

After the troll completes their round, the player’s round begins as it does in competitive play. 

Reflections on Gruff: Rage of the Troll

Being a solo player, I appreciate the introduction of the solo rules. Being new to the whole tactical card game, the solo play allows me to experiment with the various shepherds and gruffs to see how each plays. Figure out which ones are good in which situations. All before I take on another player, head to head, in a competitive challenge. 

As for the trolls, Studio Woe continues the fun, whimsical take on the appearance of trolls in their art and continues the fantastic style introduced in the original game. The trolls each have their own set of action cards allowing each troll to play differently. Due to this, you will have to experiment with the various shepherds and trolls to find a combination to overcome them, not an easy task. Despite the difficulty though, the gameplay is enjoyable and entertaining. 

As for the co-operative rules, I haven’t had a chance to play with a friend on this. But, given my experience with the solo rules I have a high confidence that Gruff will become a regular on game night.

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Additional Reviews for Gruff:

Gruff. A Two Player, Tactical Card Game of Crazy, Mutated, Madness.

Gruff, Tactical Card Game

The folks at Studio Woe took the tale of the “Three Billy Goats Gruff” and mutated it into a 2 player, competitive, asynchronous, deck-building card game.

Gruff: Clash of the Battle Goats

Gruff: Clash of the Battle Goats

Competitive, tactical card game with 6 shepherds, 6 gruffs, and faction rules in a stand-alone expansion.

Gruff: Stuff of Nightmares

Gruff: Stuff of Nightmares

A stand-alone expansion that adds 15 new goats, 8 new shepherds, 3 trolls, and a new faction of plushy nightmare goats called The Stuffkin.

Gruff: Whispers of Madness

Gruff: Whispers of Madness

A stand-alone expansion that adds 5 new shepherds, 15 new goats, 3 new trolls, and a new mechanic to the game, Sanity and Madness.