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The Rules


In a game with so many unique and exciting characters and creatures, there will be occasions where a situation will occur that is not fully covered in this rules manual. For example, you cannot seem to find the exact point in this rules manual to work it out, or there is a disagreement about the interpretation of a specific rule that you cannot come to a logical conclusion on.

Because wasting time arguing is not fun for either player (and more importantly is eating into the time that you could be using to have an awesome game instead), often it is good practice to interpret the rule in a way that suits both players equally at that point in time. This game is designed to be played in a generous spirit, in a manner befitting the gentlest and noblest of Hobbits, and you'll find that if you keep that spirit of kindness and fair play in mind, you can resolve almost every instance of disagreement.

If you find that you and your opponent still cannot agree upon the application of the rules, or another situation, simply roll a dice to see whose interpretation you will use for the rest of the game — on a 1-3, the Evil player gets to decide, on a 4-6, the Good player gets to decide. Then you can put the disagreement behind you and return to the much more important matter of the battle at hand. Once the game is over, you can continue the discussion (preferably over a mug of tea and a seed cake) and arrive at a consensus for future games.


There are a few basic principles that govern games which are worth explaining before you get started.


All of the warriors, heroes and creatures that roam the lands of Middle-earth can generally be described as either valorous and noble of heart or cruel, vicious and twisted beings of darkness. In our games, we distinguish this difference by referring to them as either Good or Evil. When you are playing your games, you will command either the forces of Good or the forces of Evil, with each side being represented by a number of models that are controlled by one or more players.

There must always be at least one player for each side, so for larger games it's a good idea to split into teams of roughly equal size — a Good one and an Evil one. More players can easily join in, they just need to choose a side to join.


Like many other games you will likely have played, the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game is divided into a series of turns. Each turn players will move, make shooting attacks, fight in Duels and do anything else that they are able to do with each of their models. Some games will continue until a set number of these turns has passed, whilst others will continue until a certain mission or objective has been accomplished by one of the sides. Whatever the case, it will be made clear.

D6, D3, 2D6

Throughout this rules manual there are instances where abbreviations have been used to explain which dice to roll or how to apply the result. Ordinary dice rolls are referred to as D6 — and where you see this it means a single six-sided dice.

Sometimes you will see D3 used. This is where you roll a single ordinary six-sided dice and halve the score, rounding up. This means that a score of 1 or 2 would be a 1, a 3 or 4 would be a 2 and a 5 or 6 would be a 3. A D3 roll will always be between 1 and 3, hence the expression D3.

Finally, where you see the term 2D6, it means that you roll two ordinary dice and add the scores together — giving a result between 2 and 12.


During the game, there are instances or abilities where a model's characteristics may be increased or decreased. Certain characteristics can only be increased to a certain maximum or decreased to a specific minimum. Fight, Strength, Defence and Courage can only ever be increased to a maximum of 10 and decreased to a minimum of 1.


The dice rolls that you will make will determine the effectiveness of your models' actions. In this game we use ordinary six-sided dice. Sometimes our dice rolls will have modifiers applied to them (such as a -1 or +1 modifier). For example, Goblins are especially good at scrambling up the rocky surfaces that they dwell around, so they receive a +1 modifier to any Climb tests they may have to take. In this example, roll the dice for the Goblin then add 1 to the result. Regardless of the modifiers that are in play, a dice can never be modified above the score of a 6 or below the score of a 1.

'Cocked' Dice: Because of the exciting, three dimensional nature of our battlefields, sometimes a dice won't land completely flat (or worse yet, will roll off the table completely). In these situations, both players should agree to just roll it again. If you're playing on an especially lumpy or textured surface and dice keep ending up 'cocked', just get an empty box lid or tray and roll them in that instead. Simple.


There are occasions whereby a dice may be re-rolled, either due to a piece of wargear or a special rule. In these circumstances the second roll will always stand, even if it is worse than the original. Once a dice has been re-rolled, it may not be re-rolled again under any circumstances — unless, of course, the dice is cocked.


Certain special rules will state that they require the roll of a 'natural X' where X is a number on a D6. What this means is that the score on the D6 must equal the value of X without being modified in any way (such as having Might used to increase it).


At many points during a game, we will need to work out if a model is able to see a target. The best way to do this is to get down to the 'model's eye view' and see if you can see the target. This is the model's Line of Sight. If for whatever reason you cannot get down to the model's eye view, trace a line between the model and its target using a tape measure or range ruler instead.

Whilst in reality our models are static, we imagine that they are much more dynamic, swirling through the maelstrom of battle to slay their foes. Because of this, we don't penalise models for the wargear that they happen to be carrying or their dynamic pose. Therefore, a model has Line of Sight to another model only if it can see part of its head, body, arms or legs. If only banners, wings, tails, weapons or other such items can be seen, then the model is not in Line of Sight — it's always best to apply a degree of common sense to checking Line of Sight in your games. If you are not sure if a model has Line of Sight, it is good practice to ask your opponent for their opinion and agree together — don't forget to play in a generous spirit!


Throughout the game, you will need to measure distances across the battlefield, whether this is for moving a model or checking the distance to a target. All of our measurements are done in inches, so it is perfectly acceptable to use a normal everyday tape measure so long as it has inches marked on it.

To measure between models, always measure between the closest two parts of the base — ignore any overlapping elements such as limbs, wings or bits of base decoration.

As you play, you may measure any distance at any time as often as you wish.


Every model in the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game has a series of keywords underneath its name. These denote a variety of things such as a model's race, faction or other important information.

Some rules will contain words or phrases in bold; these will show which models are affected by that particular rule. For example, a model may have a rule that affects 'all Mordor models'. This means that the rule would apply to all models with the Mordor keyword.

Some rules may list more than one keyword. Where this is the case, a model must have all of the keywords listed in order to be affected by that rule. For example, a model may have a rule that affects 'all Mordor Orc models'. This means that the rule would apply to all models with both the Mordor and Orc keywords — a model must have both keywords in order to be affected.


All of the models within the Middle-earth Strategy Battle Game can be divided into one of three categories: Infantry, Cavalry or Monster. If you look at the keywords in a model's profile, it will state whether it is Infantry, a Monster or Cavalry. It is possible for a model to have more than one of these keywords. A model could be both a Monster and Infantry for example. If the model is Cavalry ([see page 56]) or a Monster ([see page 76]) then they will have a number of additional special rules that govern them, as listed later in this manual. If an Infantry model purchases a mount as an option, then whilst they remain mounted, they will replace the Infantry keyword with the Cavalry keyword. If a Cavalry model is dismounted, it will replace its Cavalry keyword with the Infantry keyword.


Every profile, whether Hero, Warrior or otherwise, is represented by a Citadel or Forge World model, which acts as the character or creature during the game and is moved by its controlling player during the course of the battle. Each of these models is mounted on a base, the size of which will vary from model to model. This base represents the amount of space that the model needs when moving and fighting. Models must always be mounted upon the base size that they are supplied with; this is the base that best suits that particular model. Bases cannot overlap each other during the game, and should not be piled upon one another. If a model's base is touching something else, it is said to be in base contact with it.

Whenever you measure from one model to another (or a particular point on the battlefield), always measure from the closest edge of the model's base. There are a few models that are not actually mounted upon a base, a Battlecry Trebuchet, for example. In these instances, measure from the closest edge of the model itself.


Some abilities or special rules will make target models move directly away from another model, Siege Engine, etc. When this occurs, draw an imaginary line through the centre of the base of the model causing the ability and through the centre of the base of the target — this is the direction that the target must move.