The Journey continues


Der Hobbit Smaugs Einöde


and is full of dangers



The journey to the Lonely Mountain which Bilbo has begun in the company of 13 dwarves and Gandalf, is continuing. The fellowship faces new challenges and dangers. The greatest danger of all is Dragon Smaug who is guarding the Lonely Mountain and the treasure of the dwarves. This story is not only the topic of a film of the same name, but also of a board game.

To be able to begin the journey you place the board on the table and each player chooses two dwarves of one color. Those two dwarves, together with those of all other players and with Bilbo and ring, are placed at the start. Gandalfs journey begins on another path, so that he begins also on another starting position.


Together with his dwarves a player receives four movement cards of the same color which he uses to move his dwarves in the course of the game, from one square to the next. At the start of the game those movement cards are displayed openly on the table. The remaining cards are sorted by symbols on their back sides and you remove cards that cannot be used if you play with two or three playes. Then you shuffle the stacks separately and put them face-down on their positions on the board. From the stack showing the Beorns house symbol each player is given three cards, if there are cards appearing with a red background these cards must be instantly implemented and players draw replacement cards.


The oldest player at the table is given Thorins Key and is the starting player, we play in clock-wise direction. For movement on the board you use your movement cards. The Bilbo marker is moved by all participating players by playing of cards from their hand. When dwarves end their movement on a spot marked as adventure spot there will be conflict. In order to win those conflicts you need cards showing dwarves or allies. Gandalf, too, can support the group when his marker is next to the group on the board.


In accordance with the book Thorins Key is used to open up the path into Erebor Mountain. On the path on the board a key spot is pictured. All characters can only move thus far until the player holding the Key card has arrived - now all characters can move - the door has to be opened to enable players to reach their journey's destination.


When it is your turn to play, you implement a number of actions in this order: First you use on of your movement cards to move one of your own dwarves. Then you can play as many cards from your hand as you like. You can also exchange cards with other players. At the end of the turn you draw two cards; this drawing of cards indicates that the turn passes to the next player.


You have four different movement cards of different values on the table that enable you to move one of your dwarves. You choose a card and advance one of your dwarves the corresponding number of steps. Then you turn the card upside down to indicate that it has been used. This feature is very important, because you can only use that card again when all movement cards have been used, turned over and then turned back face-up again. If you forget this you might get muddled up, which has happened several times and we found it not easy to reconstruct the sequence of movements.


The movement card of value Three is a special card. You can use it to move your dwarf and another character, this character can be Bilbo or the dwarf of another player. Both characters can be advanced a maximum of three steps. When using the movement card showing values 1 to 3 you can decide which value you want to use to advance your character.


When one of your characters ends up on an adventure spot at the end of his movement you must immediately draw and reveal the top adventure card from the stack corresponding to the area and implement its instructions. This goes for dwarves as well as for Bilbo while he is not wearing the ring. In the course of the game it can happen that characters must move backwards; in such cases the adventure spots where the might end up are not considered to be adventure spots.


When the adventure card you drew shows an opponent you must fight him. To win against the opponent you must play one or several dwarf or allies cards which in sum equal the combat value of the opponent's card. When Gandalf is present, you may double the value of one of your combat cards. Would you manage in this way to defeat your opponent, the card is taken out of play. If you lost the conflict you might have to move back 10 steps, but with a little luck when rolling dice you may be able to reduce this number. The rule that there can only be a maximum number of two characters on any given spot is valid when moving forward as well as when moving backwards. Should your target spot be occupied by two characters you jump over it. Two characters on a spot fight jointly against an opponent.


If an opponent card was not defeated to put it back, open-faced, on the adventure deck. The next player who is forced to move onto an adventure spot of the corresponding area must fight this opponent again and try to defeat him. The only advantage for any player in such a situation is that you know the strength of your opponent in advance.

The only problem in fighting is that some of the opponents are very strong and that dwarves or allies that fight alongside are not really strong at all. In most cases you have to fight those creatures alone. The first opponents are a bit easier to defeat because you hold more cards, but the more often you have to fight the fewer cards you hold, despite drawing two cards at the end of each turn.


Again, this is really quite some problem, as dwarves and allies are really weak. In order to defeat an opponent you must use a lot of those cards, which in turn results in your having even fewer cards for the next fight. Of course, it is obviously easier when you fight in teams of two as you can choose which cards you use together. But to achieve this advantage you would have to play solely with the intention that always two characters of two players are together on a spot and that takes a lot of cooperation, communication and coordination.


If you do not realize those consequences in your first game it can happen very quickly that you have lost the game. You must always keep in mind that you are playing a cooperative game, which is essential in conflicts.


When you have finished your movement phase you can play as many cards from your hand as you want. The cards depict what you can do with them. You can also swap cards with other players, but keep in mind that swapping cards with another player costs this player two cards which he must discard unused.

In order to win the game for the fellowship players must reach the finish spot with at least one character. It is important that each player can move one of his two pieces onto the finish when he has crossed the dwarf rune with his second dwarf - unless he was defeated by the dragon.


As this is a cooperative game, the game ends when each player has reached the finish with at least one dwarf and Bilbo is also present at the finish, he does not have to wear the ring. If this situation happens, all players have won together with Bilbo and the dwarves. All have lost the game when Smaug reaches the Dragon Spot of Esgaroth or when Bilbo, not carrying the ring, was defeated by the Dragon or when both dwarves of a player were defeated by Smaug.


As already mentioned, Smaugs Einöde is a cooperative game, albeit in my opinion a very imbalanced one. There are many more ways and possibilities to lose the game than to win the game. It is, in any case, very important that players talk freely about their actions and intentions. In my opinion, the key to win the game is communication.


The rules are written a bit complicatedly, more simple phrases would have been better. I noted especially that the important parts, which, at least in my opinion, should be together in the explanations, are unfortunately placed in different parts of the rules. If you have problems with some part of the rules you must search actively for those bits. A small problem, but a problem, because those ambiguities spoil the game for an inexperienced player. You must give the game some time and put some effort into it, but for some this will be too much work and therefore some clearly formulated rules would be of assistance.

All in all, as a sequel to "Der Hobbit Eine Unerwartete Reise" the game is well-made and fits seamlessly with its predecessor.


Isabella Schranz


Players: 2-4

Age: 10+

Time: 60+

Designer: Andreas Schmidt

Artist: Pohl & Rick, Bernd Wagenfeld

Price: ca. 25 Euro

Publisher: Kosmos 2013

Web: www.kosmos.de

Genre: Cooperative, events

Users: With friends

Version: de

Rules: de

In-game text: yes



Cooperation and communication are essential

Flow of the game is unbalanced

Rules are not well-formulated

Not easy to win


Compares to:

Der Hobbit Eine Unerwartete Reise and, as to topic, all games featuring The Hobbit


Other editions:

Announced from Devir, Hobby World, Kaissa


My rating: 4


Isabella Schranz:

A challenge for communication between and cooperation among players, this game cannot be won with lone warriors!


Chance (pink): 2

Tactic (turquoise): 3

Strategy (blue): 3

Creativity (dark blue): 0

Knowledge (yellow): 0

Memory (orange): 1

Communication (red): 3

Interaction (brown): 3

Dexterity (green): 0

Action (dark green): 0