It is September of 3018 in the Third Age. The Halfling Frodo is preparing to leave his home in the Shire and journey to Mordor to find the crack of doom, where he must destroy a ring of terrible power that he inherited from his uncle Bilbo. Frodo has three good friends, Sam, Pippin and Merry, who have joined him on his perilous journey. Other Halflings, people and magical creatures may join Frodo on his quest.
||TS Standard Rules
The Dark Lord Sauron and his slaves, the Orcs, Goblins and Haradrim, and his ally the fallen wizard Saruman, must capture the Elvish city of Rivendell and thus bring down a reign of darkness before Frodo completes his quest. Sauron himself (or any other Undead champion) must lead the assault on Rivendell.
The free peoples of Middle-earth, the Halflings, Elves, High Men, Dwarves and Rohirrim, must form alliances to defeat Mordor, but only Frodo (or any other chosen Halfling) may destroy the ring in the crack of doom to complete the quest.
The Story So Far:
The wizard Gandalf, an old friend of Frodo's, has uncovered the secret of the ring. Betrayed, he has been imprisoned for months by his evil superior, Saruman, but has escaped and is desperately trying to reach the Shire in time. Gandalf must try to help Frodo reach Mordor and destroy the ring, while at the same time gathering armies to fight off the onslaught of Sauron.
Elves allied with Gandalf are preparing for war at Rivendell and in the Elven Halls of Lorien and Mirkwood. An Elf-warrior, Legolas, is leaving the halls of his father Thranduil, King of Mirkwood, to join the quest of the ring.
Aragorn, a mysterious ranger of the north, is waiting for Frodo at Bree; he also must help Frodo reach Mordor, but is drawn by his destiny to Minas Tirith, first defence against the might of Mordor. The kinsmen and friends of Aragorn may join him wherever he travels.
Boromir, a nobleman of Minas Tirith, is in Dunland seeking Rivendell, an omen of the ring in his dreams; his brother Faramir is defending Ithilien, a belt of green woods that face the darkness of Mordor, while their father Denethor broods over his Palintir, a seeing-stone that will be his downfall. Imrahil, Prince of Dol Amroth, is preparing an army to ride to the aid of Minas Tirith.
A stout and adventurous Dwarf, Gimli, is setting out from the Dwarf kingdom of Dale to join the coming war against Mordor. His lord, King Dain, may also join the battle if needed. Balin, a friend of Gimli's family, is locked in battle with Orcs and Goblins for the ancient Dwarvish mining kingdom of Moria. In the secret places where the Dwarves horde their gold, the ancient threat of Dragons and other evil beings is always present.
In Edoras, Theoden King of Rohan is in despair for the future of his people, caught between the hammer of Mordor and the anvil of Saruman. His sister-daughter Eowyn is tending his old age while his sister-son Eomer is battling Orcs in the green fields of Rohan. Erkenbrand and Helm, marshalls of Rohan, are desperately preparing the defences of Helm's Deep and renewing the old alliance with Minas Tirith against the Orc-armies of the enemy.
In the shadows of the east, the Dark Lord Sauron is plotting the world's end in his tower of Barad-dur. The nine Nazgul, Undead wraiths of terrible power, are searching Middle-earth for the Shire and the ring. The captains of Mordor, the Mouth and Hand of Sauron, are preparing armies at Udun and Barad-dur.
Dragons, a fell breed trained by Sauron to be steeds for the Nazgul, are stretching their terrible wings above the plains of Gorgoroth. Gollum, a freed captive of Mordor, has found his way back to Moria and is searching for his precious, the ring, and with it the Halfling "thief" who took it from him.
The evil wizard Saruman is in his tower of Orthanc at Isengard, scheming Theoden's downfall and preparing for his own rise to power once he finds the ring. He faces the choice of good and evil; either to aid Sauron's assault on the free peoples, or to join Gandalf in the war against Mordor.
Saruman's lieutenant Grima Wormtongue has returned briefly from Edoras to consult with his master. The caverns under Isengard are filled with Orc-armies and the preparations for war.
The Balrog, a fell beast of fire and shadow from long ago, has risen again in the dark places under the Misty Mountains and is building an army of Orcs to join with Mordor. The Great Goblin, chieftain of the caverns east of Rivendell, has rebuilt his strength since the battle of five armies. As the war approaches these two must decide between their loyalty to Sauron and their ancient rivalries with each other.
Harad, king of the Southrons, is preparing to set sail from Umbar.
As these characters weave their many intrigues, hordes of mythical beasts and evil beings, heralded by the return of Sauron's power, are emerging and beginning their assault. Standing against them, the free peoples and beings of Middle-earth must fight for their lives.
Despite this enormously complex scenario, you can play the game of Middle-earth however you wish! To win, Frodo (or any chosen Halfling) must destroy Mordor by capturing the crack of doom, or Sauron (or any Undead) must capture the city of Rivendell. The Halflings can hide from Sauron and his servants while making the journey to Mordor; they must survive if the free peoples are to stand any chance of victory at all. Other races must ally with either the Halflings or the Undead, to support them and to share in their victory.
The game plays best as a two-player combat of Good vs Evil alliances: Player 1 plays the Halflings, Elves, High Men, Dwarves and Rohirrim, Player 2 the Undead, Saruman, Orcs, Goblins and Haradrim. These races must form alliances to be able to fight together in battles.
The game may also be won when any alliance wipes out all other pieces not allied with them, but this would be a rather ugly victory. An unequal four-player game of this kind (say Dad vs three sons) would pit the three triple-alliances of Hobbits-Elves-Dunedain, Dwarves-Rohirrim-Undead and Orcs-Goblins-Haradrim against Saruman. Saruman's huge army, rich resource base and powerful lightning altar governed with adult cunning may win against three impetuous and disagreeing boys, or then again it may not.
Note that when the chief hero of any race is killed, their struggle goes on in his name.
The island of Numenor is included as a work-around for one annoying bug in the game engine: namely when any player's pieces have all been destroyed, the game crashes and cannot go any further. The Guardians of Numenor are representatives of each player, placed so that they will survive and the game will not crash. DO NOT USE THE GUARDIANS. To avoid seeing these otherwise useless pieces, set them on "guard" (in their "party" window) so that the game skips over them on normal rounds of each player's pieces.