Haupz Blog

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A Hobbit-Themed Card Game

2020-12-26 — Michael Haupt

Months back, a friend introduced me to the card game "Der Hobbit: Kampf um den Arkenstein". It's a clone of another game named "Love Letter" that I've never played, so everything I have to say is about the Hobbit variant. Since I enjoyed it quite a bit, I got myself a copy and played some rounds with the family, who warmed up to it quickly.

The game is simple. There's just a bunch of large and robust cards, a short rule book, and some wooden crowns my daughter chose to name "duck feet" for their shape. The game is about staying in the game or having the card with the highest value in the end once all cards have been played. Players can have only one card in hand, and drawing another means that one of the two must be dropped. Each card enabled a distinct move that can involve swapping cards with another player, taking a peek at another player's hand, making a player drop their card and draw a new one, and so forth. It's really quite simple, and the mechanics are explained on the cards in enough detail to get started in 5 minutes.

It's fun. Keeping track of what cards have been played is important - and not too hard because there are only 17 of them (and 8 different types, which exist in different quantities). The mechanics allow for some surprising moves and quick turnarounds in the gameplay.

I'd recommend it for just about any audience. :-) The Hobbit theme isn't necessary (although this variant of the Love Letter brand has one more card that makes for another surprising turn), so one of the other variants could work as well.

Tags: games