How To Make "Trouble" Way More Complicated Than It Needs To Be  

Posted by Spenser Isdahl in ,

As Michael mentioned a few days ago, over spring break we had a bit of fun with the board game Trouble. For those of you not familiar with the game, it's very much like a simpler version of Sorry! Basically, you roll a die, move your pegs (each player has four), and if you land on an opponent, they go back to start (full rules can be downloaded here).

The game is vastly simpler than anything you've probably read about (or would be interested in reading about) on this or any other role-play gaming blog. Reasonably so, since its target seems to be young children (presumably very young children, since even 5-year olds are roleplaying these days). However, while this might satisfy a band of sugar-crazed rapscallions, we could only play through one game before getting our houserule on.

First, before we get into any variants, it is the opinion of both Michael and myself that you should be able to get a peg out of the start area on more than just a 6. The existing rule often leaves players with nothing to do for many turns, which is boring for everyone. I recommend each payer begin with one peg on the board, and allow a new peg to leave the start area on a roll of 1 or 6.

Trouble Brawl

When one player's peg passes another player's peg on the board without landing on it, the second player rolls the die. If the second player rolls less than the result that the first player rolled for his or her peg's movement, the second player's peg goes back to his or her start area.

For example, if I roll a 4 and move my peg past Michael's peg, he rolls the die. On a 4 or higher, his peg remains. On a 3 or lower, his peg goes back to his start area.

This represents one peg skirmishing with another. When one peg lands directly on another, this is a sneak attack, and thus no roll is necessary to push the other back to start. The rule is a simple variant that adds a small but easily manageable amount of strategic and tactical play to Trouble.

Adventure Trouble

This is a much more elaborate variant. The default rules are different in Dungeon Trouble. It uses the Trouble Brawl rules from above. However, go through the same process even when a peg lands directly on an opponent's peg, and, in such situations, when the defenders wins, the attacker goes back to start.

Mark the pegs with the letters C, M, R, and W, so that each color set has one of each letter. Each letter represents a class, each with its own class abilities.

Cleric (C): The cleric can cure wounds and resurrect. When the cleric is adjacent to an allied peg, the cleric can cure all the allied peg's wounds, effectively making that peg immune to being sent back to start. In addition, whenever the cleric's player would be able to move a peg out of the start area, he or she may have the cleric resurrect that peg, and may place the peg adjacent to the cleric peg rather than in the normal slot.

Mage (M): The mage can fire a magic missile. After the die is rolled, the mage's player can forfeit moving his or her pegs to have the mage fire this magic missile, targeting one peg on the board. That peg's player must roll equal to or greater than the mage's player's roll or have his or her peg sent back to start.

Rogue (R): The rogue is stealthy and can sneak attack. Stealthy allows the rogue to pass an opponent's pegs without skirmishing. When it lands directly on an opponent's peg, this is a sneak attack, and the defender goes back to start without getting a chance to defend itself.

Warrior (W): The warrior can power attack and opportunity attack. Power attack allows the warrior is the attacker, it wins ties (the defender must roll higher than the warrior to win the skirmish). An opportunity attack occurs when another player's peg attacks the warrior while passing; if the warrior's roll is greater than the attacker's movement roll, the attack is sent back to start.

This entry was posted on March 24, 2010 at Wednesday, March 24, 2010 and is filed under , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


I can definitely see my group playing this modified version on days when not everyone shows up for the session.

Especially if bee is involved.


March 24, 2010 at 12:46 PM


I mean BEER.

March 24, 2010 at 12:48 PM

Can clerics rezz into the score zone?

March 24, 2010 at 4:12 PM

Good catch. No, has to rez into non-score zone.

And beer should definitely be involved.

March 24, 2010 at 4:18 PM

This is BRILLIANT. And yes, I totally agree that beer should be involved. I think this might have just gotten added into the rotation with Munchkin for off-day games.


March 30, 2010 at 10:55 PM

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