The Downfall of the Lord of the Rings
and the Return of the King

Rules for the Thirteenth version, by Iain Bowen

Adapted from Definitive Downfall which was designed by Glover Rogerson & John Norris

Acknowledgements to Richard Egan, Martin Lewis, Brian Betts, Graham Staplehurst, John Breakwell & many others.

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0. Copyright : These rules may be freely reprinted as long as the credits above are given.

1. The standard rules of Diplomacy apply, except as where noted below.

2. Initial Placement

DWARVES : A(Iro), A(Ere), A(Blu), Dain(Ere).
ELVES : A(EKH), A(Lor), A(Iml), R(Iml), F(GHa).
GANDALF : R(FEr), R(Shi), Fe(Iml), Aragon(Iml), Gandalf(Any area west of the Misty Mountains & north of Druwaith Iaur.
GONDOR : 2*A(MTi), A(Pel), A(Lam), C(DAm), R(Osg), Faramir(MTi).
MORDOR : 2*A(Bar), 2*A(Udu), 2*A(MMo), A(DGu), A(Gun), A(SRh), A(Nur), 3*A(Off), Lord of the Nazgul(MMo), Nazgul(DGu), Sauron(Bar).
ROHAN : C(DHa), C(Eas), A(HDe), Theoden(DHa).
SARUMAN : A(Ise), A(Dun), A(KDm), Saruman(Ise).
UMBAR : 2*F(Cit), A(Hav), C(Hrd).

3. Excess Supply Centres

Mordor has 6 units more than its s.c.s ; it loses these 6 logical supply centres if the Ring is put on or it loses Barad-dur.

Gondor has 1 unit more than its s.c.s. ; it loses this logical supply centre if it loses Minas Tirith OR if Faramir is slain.

Umbar has 1 unit more than its s.c.s. ; it loses this logical supply centre if it loses the City of the Corsairs.

4. Multiplicity Rules

This adds two new orders : M for Merge and D for Divide.

The game starts with multiple units in various centres. These are indicated by n*A or n*F. These units are assumed to be merged into a single stack. Should they wish to divide, a sample order would be :

3A(Off) D 3*A(Off) : A(Off) -Nrd, A(Off)-SRh , A(Off)-NRh.

If units wish to merge, then there are two methods of performing this :

(i) Two or more units can move to the same province and Merge :

e.g. A(MTi)-Los M A(Pel)-Los : 2A(Los).

A unit or units can merge with a unit or stack that is holding :

e.g. A(Los)-MTi M A(MTi) : 2A(MTi).

The Merge order must be explicit ; the self-standoff can still be performed. A unit may not give support and be involved in a merge. Units of different nationalities but the same alignment may merge into mixed stacks. Units in a mixed stack may either be ordered by a proxy by one player in the stack, or ordered independently. If the players in the stack submit different orders, there is an implied Divide as the moves take place. If a stack becomes untenable due to alignment changes, there is an implied Divide. Units belonging to the weaker alignment will have to retreat at the end of the turn if they are still in the same area.

If a supply centre is occupied by a mixed stack, it belongs to the nation with the most units in the stack (including Personality & Special units). If these are equal, then if the supply centre was previously occupied by one of these nations, it is still owned by that power. If there is still no resolution, then each power still tied is credited with the appropriate fraction of a supply centre. Fractions are always rounded down in the adjustments, so a power will need several split centres in order to count for a build.

5. Personality Units

There are six personality units : Faramir, Dain, Saruman, Sauron, Lord of the Nazgul and Theoden. Personality units move as a normal unit. They have a combat strength of zero, but add one to the strength of any units of the same alignment that they are stacked with. Sauron, Theoden and Dain always have their movement reported. Faramir, Saruman and the Lord of the Nazgul only have their movement reported :

(a) when they move with a unit.

(b) when they end their move sharing a space with another unit, when that player only is informed.

A personality unit may be destroyed by any ordinary unit with which it shares a space at the end of a move. This must be explicitely ordered, and may be conditional on moves, but not retreats or adjustments. Personality units require no s.c. for support, and may continue to be ordered even if the player has no s.c.s. left.

If Sauron is destroyed, Mordor is eliminated and all units stand as stacks in Civil Disorder. Sauron may not move outside Mordor (Udu, Oro, MMo, Gor, Bar, ELi, Nur, Nrd) until Gondor is eliminated (i.e. has no s.c.s).

Theoden may not act at all until Gandalf or the Fellowship reach Dunharrow. He is then awakened for 10 turns and then dies.

6. Special Units

a) Gandalf

Gandalf moves as a normal unit, and may cross mountain ranges with no penalty. He may not enter sea spaces, but may be convoyed as a normal unit. His whereabouts are not reported unless :

(a) he exercises his powers

(b) he shares an area with a stack, when that player only is informed.

Gandalf's powers are as follows :

(i) He may support a stack as if he were a normal stack.

(ii) He may move with any Good or Neutral stack, and augment that stack's strength by that of an additional unit.

(iii) If, after moving, he shares an area with any Good or Neutral single unit, he may order that unit in the next season.

(iv) Any unit he moves with, or supports, completely ignores the effects of the Nazgul.

(v) He may enter Khazad-dum and destroy the Balrog. Gandalf then misses between 1 and 6 turns before reappearing in any area he chooses to the West of the Ring Line. Gandalf will be informed the turn before he is due to reappear by the g.m. and asked to choose a location with his next orders ; the other players will be told on the turn Gandalf reappears that he's back, but not where he is, unless (a) or (b) above applies.

(vi) He may protect Ranger Units or the Fellowship units by moving with them.

(vii) If he moves into Rohan (Eas, Wes, DHa, HDe, EEm, WEm) then he gains Shadowfax for the rest of the game, and has a movement ability as a cavalry unit.

(viii) If he moves to Dunharrow, he may awaken Theoden.

(ix) If he enters an area with a unit that is CARRYING the Ring, he may claim the Ring.

Gandalf may be destroyed by any Stack that he shares a space with at the end of a move. This must be explicitely ordered, and may be conditional on moves, but not retreats or adjustments. In this context, a stack includes a single unit augmented with a personality unit, but not a single unit.

b) Aragorn

Aragorn moves as a normal unit, and may cross mountain ranges with no penalty. He may not enter sea spaces, but may be convoyed as a normal unit. His whereabouts are not reported unless :

(a) he exercises his powers

(b) he shares an area with a stack, when that player only is informed.

Aragorn's powers are as follows :

(i) He may support a stack as if he were a normal stack.

(ii) He may move with any Good stack, and augment that stack's strength by that of an additional unit.

(iii) If, after moving, he shares an area with any Good single unit, he may order that unit in the next turn.

(iv) He may protect Ranger units or the Fellowship unit by moving with them.

Aragorn's special power is as follows :

If the unit enters Dunharrow, it may move, via the Paths of the Dead, to Mothond Vale, where it is augmented with the Dead. Any unit in Morthond Vale will retreat, no matter what strength, unless stacked with Sauron, the Lord of the Nazgul or Gandalf. In which case, if the stack has a strength of less than 3, the Dead will still dislodge the stack. Only if the stack in Morthond Vale has one of the above units with it and a strength of 3 or more, will the move through the Paths of the Dead fail, and Aragorn remains in Dunharrow.

The Dead count as a double unit, but they may not divide, nor may they leave Aragorn. No other unit may stack with the Dead. They are activated for 6 turns. Aragorn and the Dead may not claim a Gondor home centre still owned by Gondor as their own ; if they occupy one in an adjustments turn, it remains Gondor's. When the Dead are activated, Fornost Erain becomes a GANDALF home supply centre owned by Gandalf. If any of the two Ranger units of Gandalf and the Elven Ranger unit are still extant, they all disappear, and reappear as a single Army in Fornost Erain. Any single unit of another power in Fornost Erain is forced to retreat. If the unit in Fornost Erain is a stack, the new Gandalf Army starts in a random adjacent unoccupied area.

Aragorn may be destroyed by an Evil stack that he shares a space with at the end of a move.This must be explicitely ordered, and may be conditional on moves, but not retreats or adjustments.

c) Nazgul

The Nazgul move up to two spaces a turn, and may cross mountain ranges without penalty. They may not cross sea spaces, nor be convoyed. The location of the Nazgul is not reported unless :

(a) it exercises its powers

(b) it shares an area with a stack, when that player only is informed.

The Nazgul's power is :

To bend its will to affect any single unit whose area it occupies, or any single unit in an adjacent area. Any such unit is paralysed with fear, and may not give support. This does not affect a unit that shares an area with Gandalf, nor a stack.

d) Stacks

A single attack on a Stack cuts all its support. If a Stack is forced to retreat, it only retreats with the force of a single unit. The units in mixed stacks need not all retreat to the same space, but all the units belonging to one player must retreat together. Personality units, Gandalf, Aragorn, and the Fellowship need not retreat to the same space as a stack they are travelling with, but they must be explicitly retreated, either with the stack or elsewhere.

e) Off Board Units

Mordor's Off Board Units may move or merge to the following areas : North Rhun, South Rhun, Nuriad. No unit may move or merge off the board, and no further units may be built off the board.

f) Cavalry Units

Gondor, Umbar and Rohan own cavalry units. Only Rohan may build extra Cavalry units. It may always have up to two Cavalry units provided it has enough s.c.s. ; and it may have a further Cavalry unit for every 4 s.c.s above the 3 s.c.s it starts with, up to a maximum of 4 more cavalry units. (i.e. 2 s.c.s. = max. 2 cavalry ; 7 s.c.s = max. 3 cavalry ; 19 or more s.c.s = max. 6 cavalry.) Neither Umbar or Gondor may rebuild their cavalry unit if it is lost.

Cavalry units may move up to two spaces a move. Their first move takes place with normal movement. The second takes place after normal movement. 'C' units may only be supported as normal in their first phase movement. It may only be supported in its second phase by other 'C' units which have not moved in their first phase. 'C' units may either move, support a normal or cavalry unit in the first phase, or support a cavalry unit in the second phase. They retreat as a normal unit.

'C' units' second phase movement may not be made conditional upon the results of the first phase movement. If stood off in the first phase, no second phase movement is possible.

'C' units may be stacked with Armies or other 'C' units. If stacked with an army, it loses it second move unless it Divides from the army. Gandalf, Aragorn, the Fellowship and any Personality Unit stacked with a Cavalry Unit may move with the 'C' unit on the second phase, but may only move away on the first phase (i.e. they will be loaned a horse, but they can't take it with them). If Gandalf already owns Shadowfax, this restriction does not apply to him.

Marshes are impassable to 'C' units. 'C' units may only move one space at a time through Forests. 'C' units may not move to sea, nor be convoyed.

g) Fleet Units

Downfall XIII uses the Abstraction II Army/Fleet Rules ("piggyback" convoys).

Fleets may not Divide or Merge with units other than fleets.

If an A/F or a Fast Ferry (FF) are being performed for a stack of Armies/Cavalry, then the Fleet stack must be of an equal size or greater to perform the action. Personality units, Gandalf, Aragorn, and Ranger units do not add to the size of the convoyed stack for this purpose.

Umbar may build up to 4 more fleets during the game. The Elves may build up to 2 fleets during the game. Gondor may build up to 2 fleets during the game. Any player other than Umbar who owns the City of the Corsairs may build up to 2 fleet units there, unless they are the Elves or Gondor, in which case they may build 1 additional fleet there. If a player loses then regains the City of the Corsairs, they do not gain the right to build additional fleets beyond the rights already gained.

Fleets may only be built in the City of the Corsairs, Pelagir and the Grey Havens.

h) Ranger Units

A Ranger Unit has no combat value. It moves as a normal unit, but its whereabouts are not reported unless:

(i) It exercises its powers

(ii) It shares an area with a stack, when that player only is informed.

The 'R' unit may neutralise any unoccupied non-fortress supply centre, in either season, simply by moving into the area and declaring the intention to neutralise. The centre then becomes unowned, and must be reoccupied in the usual manner.

The 'R' unit may be destroyed by any Evil unit, or any unit belonging to a player who has had a centre neutralised at any time by that Ranger Unit or any other Ranger Unit belonging to the same power. This may be done when the 'R' unit ends its move with such a unit. If the Ranger Unit is stacked with Gandalf, the 'R' unit may only be destroyed if Gandalf is. Ranger units may not move to sea, but may be convoyed as a normal unit.

i) Fellowship Unit

The Fellowship (or Hobbit) Unit starts at Imladris and has no combat value. It moves as a normal unit, and its whereabouts are only reported when it encounters another unit. The Fe unit may not move to sea, nor may they be convoyed ("boating accidents"). The 'Fe' unit may only share another province with another Gandalf unit, or the Elven Ranger Unit, or stacked with these units. If, during movement, it attempts to enter an area with any other unit, it is stood off. If after movement any other unit occupies its area, it must retreat. If unable to retreat, it is destroyed.

The 'Fe' unit has the advantage of preferential retreat ; i.e. it retreats before any other unit. No unit may retreat to an area already occupied by the Fellowship.

If the 'Fe' unit reaches Fangorn, it may march with the Ents to Isengard and destroy that area's fortifications, provided it is not occupied by an army. The Ents return to Fangorn the next move.

If the 'Fe' unit reaches Dunharrow, it may awaken the Theoden personality unit.

7) Special Areas

a) The Ring Line

The Ring Line stretches from between the Eastern Waste and the Iron Hills to the province of Caer Andros ; thence along the White Mountains and down to the sea on the western border of Lamedon. Other than determining where the Ring can initially be placed and where Gandalf may return after fighting the Balrog, it has no other significance.

b) Garrisons

The three Dwarven home supply centres, plus Khazad-dum, Minas Tirith, Barad-dur and Isengard are all garrisoned centres. This garrison gives the area an intrinsic defensive strength of one if the area is unoccupied. All of these garrisons are destroyed if the centre is taken, and may not be replaced, with the exception of KDu, which, if the Balrog is cleansed and is taken by the Dwarves, will gain a Dwarvish garrison.

Imladris and Lorien are garrisoned against Evil and Neutral Units.

The Shire is garrisoned against Evil Units.

Note that all Garrisons (except the Shire) are also Fortresses of various kinds (q.v.)

c) Fortresses

Barad-dur, Isengard and Minas Tirith are all double fortresses. This means they add two to the strength of any stack in them.

Dunharrow, Helm's Deep, Minas Morgul, Udun, City of the Corsairs, Dol Amroth, Dol Guldur, Blue Mountains, Iron Hills, Erebor and Mount Gundabad are all single fortresses, and add one to the strength of any stack in them.

Grey Havens, Imladris, Lorien and Elven King Halls are single fortresses for the Elves only.

Fangorn will act as a single fortress for Good units only.

Fortresses may not be destroyed (except for the Ents destroying Isengard). Units which attempt to support or move out of a fortress do not have their attack augmented, but still gain the extra defensive strength if attacked.

d) Mountains

The lines of mountains marked on the map are impassable to all units except Aragorn, Gandalf and the Nazgul. The Ring may not be passed across the mountains, but may be carried across by one of the quondam units.

e) Fangorn

The Ents will destroy any single Evil or Neutral Unit entering this province.

f) Tyrn Gorthad

If the Fellowship unit, or any unaccompanied personality Unit (except Saruman, Sauron or Lord of the Nazgul) enters this province unaccompanied, they are destroyed by Barrow-wights.

g) Khazad-dum

In addition to being a fortress, Kazad-dum has two other special features :

(i) The Balrog. Any non-Saruman or non-Mordor single unit that enters Khazad-dum is killed by the Balrog. The Balrog may only be destroyed by Gandalf. The 'R' units and the 'Fe' unit and personality units may enter Khazad-dum, but have a 1 in 6 chance of being killed by the Balrog for each turn that they remain there.

(ii) The Hollin Gateway. Units may pass from KDu to Hol and vice versa. A unit moving from KDu to Hollin may receive support for this move, but no support may be given through the gateway by any unit in KDu. A unit in Aza may not give support to, nor receive support from, a stack in Hollin.

h) Wide Rivers

There are four wide river provinces on the map :

ETHIR ANDUIN -- which may only be crossed from Pelagir to South Ithilien and only in that direction. This may not be done if a hostile fleet is in the river.

ANDUIN -- which may be crossed from MTi to Osg and vice versa if no hostile fleet is in the River. The province of Caer Andros is split by the Anduin, but units may move through it.

GWATHLO -- is only passable at Tharbad.

BRANDYWINE -- is not passable. All four rivers are accessible to fleets. Fleets in rivers may convoy.

8. The Ring

The Ring is the only piece in this game. It has no movement capabilities, but may be carried by any unit. The Ring is placed by the g.m. in a random province to the North and West of the Ring Line, excluding Mount Gunderbad. It may be claimed by the first unit to enter that province. In the event of conflict, the order of claim is as follows : Gandalf, Aragorn, The Fellowship, A Ranger Unit, Nazgul, Personality Unit, Other Unit.

The Ring may be moved with a unit during its normal movement ; at the end of movement, the Ring may be passed to another area.

A successful attack on a unit or a personality carrying or wearing the Ring deprives that unit of the Ring. The unit is not forced to retreat. N.B. The Fellowship may retreat with the Ring, no other unit may do this.

The Ring may be put on, subject to the following (All extra units appear stacked with the ringwearer, and are sustained by extra logical supply centres) :

(a) Dwarves or Umbar : Any unit may put the Ring on. They gain one extra unit They turn Neutral immediately. Umbar becomes Evil 6 turns later ; the Dwarves turn Evil 18 turns after putting the Ring on.

(b) The Elves : They may only put it on if it is offered to them in Lorien by the Fellowship.The Elves gain Galadriel as a personality unit and two extra units in Lorien. They immediately turn Neutral, and 24 turns later they turn Evil.

(c) Gondor : If the Ring is brought to Minas Tirith by the Fellowship unit, Boromir may seize the Ring, slaying the Fellowship unit. Gondor turns Neutral immediately. Boromir is gained as a personality unit, and two extra units accrue in MTi. 4 turns later, Faramir defects to Rohan (if still Good) or to the Gandalf player. 12 turns after putting the Ring on, Gondor turns Evil.

(d) Rohan : If Rohan is Neutral, and MTi is not held by Gondor, then any Rohan unit may put on the Ring. They gain Eomer as a personality unit and one extra unit. They turn Evil 9 turns later.

(e) Saruman : If the personality unit still exists, then only Saruman may put on the Ring. If he does, he immediately turns Evil, gains two extra units, and the Balrog (if still alive) as a personality unit starting in KDu. If the Saruman personality unit is not extant, any Saruman unit may put the Ring on. They only gain one extra unit, and turn Evil immediately.

(f) Mordor : Only the Sauron unit may put on the Ring. If Sauron puts on the Ring, Mordor wins. Game Over.

Once put on, the Ring may not be voluntarily taken off. If any other player than Mordor puts on the Ring :

(i) Mordor loses its 6 logical supply centres.

(ii) The Lord of the Nazgul and the Nazgul are controlled by the Ringwearer until they are eliminated, when they revert to Mordor.

If any player puts on the Ring and subsequently loses it, they are eliminated and their units stand in Civil Disorder. They lose their extra logical supply centres gained when the Ring was put on. The Ring may be destroyed by a unit reaching Orodruin with the Ring and ordered its destruction. If a Good player does this -- they win outright. If a mixed stack of Good players do it, they all share equally in a draw. If any other player does this, Sauron, the Lord of the Nazgul and the Nazgul are destroyed, Mordor loses its 6 logical supply centres and all Mordor units stand in Civil Disorder.

If a player throws the Ring into a river (AND, ETH, GWA, BRA) there is a 1 in 10 chance that it will be washed up in a random province along that river each successive turn.

If the Ring is thrown into the Sea, it is lost.

9) Alignment

Players are defined as Good, Neutral or Evil. A Good player may not support or be supported by an Evil player, nor may they convoy each other's units.

Players are defined as follows : GOOD : Elves, Gandalf, Gondor, Rohan. EVIL : Mordor.

With the first set of orders, the other three players declare their alignment. Saruman may choose any alignment. The Dwarves may choose Good or Neutral. Umbar may choose Neutral or Evil.

Rohan may declare itself Neutral at any time if Gondor is eliminated and Theoden has not been awakened.

Umbar may declare itself Evil if Mordor enters Haradwaith, Harad or Sutherland. Mordor gains control of Umbar's units for 2 turns and may not attack Umbar units or supply centres for 6 turns.

Saruman may declare himself Neutral or Evil at any point. Note that the movement is Good to Neutral to Evil, and can never be reversed.

Saruman and the Dwarves can lose Good status by taking a fellow Good players home supply centre. They then become Neutral.

10) Victory

Any player can win by controlling 35 actual supply centres.

A Good player can win or share a draw by casting the Ring unto the fire (see above).

If Sauron puts on the Ring, Mordor wins.


Adr Andrast And Anduin (sc) Anf Anfalas Ang Angmar Ano Anorien (sc) Aza Azanulbizar Bar Barad-dur (sc)(+) Blu Blue Mountains (sc)(+) BMa Beorn's Marches Bre Bree (sc) Bro Brown Lands CAn Caer Andros Cdl Cardolan CDm Carn Dum (sc) Cel Celebrant Cit City of the Corsairs (sc)(+) CMi Central Mirkwood (f) Crk Carrock (sc) Crn Carnen Dag Dagorland DAm Dol Amroth (sc)(+) DGu Dol Guldur (sc) (f)(+) Dha Dunharrow (sc)(+) DMa Dead Marshes (sw) Dor Dor-en-Ernil Dru Druaith Iaur (sc) Dun Dunland (sc) Eas Eastfold (sc) EEm East Emnet (sc) EKH Elven King Halls (sc) (f)(+) ELi Ered Lithui EMi East Mirkwood (f) Emy Emyn Muil Ene Enedwaith Ent Entwash (sw) Eot Eothed (sc) Ere Erebor (sc)(+) Esg Esgaroth (sc) Ett Ettenmoors EWa Eastern Waste Fan Fangorn (f)(+) Fcl Forochel Fdn Forlindon Fdw Forodwaith FEr Fornost Erain (sc) FHa Far Harad Fld Forlond (sc) Gap Gap of Rohan GHa Grey Havens (sc)(+) Gla Gladden Fields (sw) GMo Grey Mountains Gor Gorgoroth Gun Mt Gunderbad (sc)(+) Har Harlond Hav Havens of Umbar (sc) HDe Helm's Deep (sc)(+) Hdn Harlindon (sc) Hdw Haradwaith Hrd Harad (sc) Iml Imladris (sc)(+) Iro Iron Hills (sc)(+) Ise Isengard (sc)(+) KDu Khazad-dum (sc)(+) Kha Khand Lam Lamedon (sc) Lor Lorien (sc) (f)(+) Los Lossarnach Min Minhiraiath MMo Minas Morgul (sc)(+) MoM Mountains of Mirkwood (f) MTi Minas Tirith (sc)(+) MVa Morthond Vale NDo North Downs Nen Nenuial NHa Near Harad NiE Nin-in-Eleph (sw) Nin Nindalf (sw) NIt North Ithilien NMi North Mirkwood (f) Nrd Nuriad NRh North Rhun Nur Nurn (sc) NWa Nothern Waste Off Off Board OFR Old Forest Road (f) Oro Orodruin Osg Osgiliath (sc) Pel Pelagir (sc)(+) Por Poros Rhu Rhuadur RRu River Running (sc) SFo Sarn Ford SGo South Gondor (sc) Shi The Shire (sc)(+) SIt South Ithilien (sc) SRh South Rhun (sc) Sut Sutherland Tha Tharbad (sc) Tol Tolfalas Tyr Tyrn Gorthad Udu Udun (sc)(+) Wea Weatherhills WEm West Emnet Wes Westfold Wil Wilderland Wit Withered Heath Wol Wold (sc)


AND Anduin (riv) BRA Brandywine (riv) ETH Ethir Anduin (riv) GUL Gulf of Lune GWA Gwathlo (riv) ICE Ice Bay NBY Northern Bay NTH Northern Sea SBY Southern Bay SOU Southern Sea SUN Sundering Sea WES Western Sea


(sc) Supply Centre (f) Forest (sw) Marsh (riv) River (+) Fortress/Garrison (see rules for details.)

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