Middle Earth II

by Terry Kuch and Don Miller

Introduction by Don Miller

This was the first variant based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy to be played postally. Middle Earth I was a game devised by James Wright, the map for which was published by John Boardman in Graustark No.76. We played a slightly revised version of this on a map drawn up by Terry Kuch, and found several weaknesses. We then made extensive revisions in the map and the rules, and came up Middle Earth II, which was played across-the-board twice, and found to be an improvement. The players enjoyed it, and so a postal game was started.

The board and rules were originally published in Diplomania No.2 (February 1966) with changes noted in Diplomania No.4. It is played essentially the same as Regular Diplomacy, except that Fleets are not built, but are created out of existing armies, with the reverse process also being possible. It is primarily a land game, so there is not much scope for sea-action, and few fleets have been built in games played so far. The principal weakness in the games played so far seems to be that Mordor is a bit too weak. We propose to remedy this in the new Fantasia game by adding another neutral supply centre in Ash Mountains, where it can be occupied immediately after the game begins by Mordor, and thus give Mordor one additional unit as the game progresses. I recommend this variant to persons desiring a simple variant on a different map than the one used in Regular Diplomacy.

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1. All pieces on the board at the start of the game shall be Armies.

2. Home supply centres are:

ARNOR - Amon Sul, Imladris, The Shire

GONDOR - Dol Amroth, Lamedon-Lebennin, Minas Tirith

MORDOR - Barad-Dur, Minas Morgul, Udun

RHOVANION - Dol Gulder, Northern Wilderlands, Wilderlands

ROHAN - Fangorn, Isengard, West Emnet

3. Any Army which is resting at any point in the game in a coastal province which is orderd to stand may be turned into a Fleet in lieu of a move, provided the unit is not dislodged that move. And vice versa. Fleets may not convoy armies.

4. Tolfalas counts as both a "sea" province and a "land" province; e.g., an Army may move directly from Minas Tirith to Tolfalas, or a Fleet may move from Tolfalas to Minas Tirith.

5. To win a player must have 15 units on the board at the completion of an Autumn season; it is not enough to merely own 15 supply centres.

6. Seasons. The game starts in year 3001. The seasons are called Tuile (Spring) and Quelle (Autumn).

7. Optional Rule (see above). Add a new neutral supply centre in the Ash Mountains. Increase victory criteria to 16.

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