During the Third Age, Sauron the Dark Lord returned and threatened to enslave all of Middle-earth. However, having been defeated and almost destroyed in the Second Age, Sauron hesitated — he wanted to restore himself to full power before starting his final assault on the Free Peoples. This meant he needed to marshal overwhelming tactical and strategic resources; and if possible, he needed to recover the lost reservoir of his vast might, The One Ring.
Sauron wanted to remain in the safety of Barad-dûr, in the center of his web of control. So his chief tools for gathering resources were his Ringwraiths, the Nine Nazgûl. While Sauron could automatically exert control over any Nazgûl, the Nazgûl maintained a large amount of independence and free will — they were of little use to Sauron without it.
In Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye (MELE), you play one of these nine Ringwraiths, the Nazgûl. Your goal is to marshal enough resources so that the Dark Lord will be confident enough to send you and your armies to launch the first blow necessary to crush the Free Peoples. Since your fellow Ringwraiths do not agree on how best to accomplish this goal (and of course none are as worthy as you), you must compete with them to be the first to gather enough forces to gain the Dark Lord’s confidence. If your opponent has access to Middle-earth: The Wizards (METW) cards, you will also be able to play a Ringwraith against a Wizard.
In The Lord of the Rings, the Witch-king of Angmar was the first Ringwraith to succeed. Sauron dispatched him and his armies to destroy Gondor. However, due to a subtle twist of fate, he fell on the brink of victory, not against a man” of great power, but against a woman (Éowyn) and a single Hobbit (Merry).
“Dangerous forces” in Middle-earth: The Lidless Eye are represented by hazards that the players use against one another. For example, if you move a character into the Lonely Mountain, your opponent could play a Dragon card as a hazard. These hazards are not “controlled” by the Ringwraiths, but rather they represent the dangerous forces that are abroad in Middle-earth, threatening everyone, good and evil characters alike. All Ringwraiths are working to bring Sauron to full power, so conflict takes the form of hazards and direct attempts to “persuade” or “dominate” each other and each other’s characters and forces, rather than the form of direct conflict.
These rules are organized into five sections: the Starter Rules, the Standard Rules, the Optional Rules, Using MELE with METW, and the Appendices. The Starter and Standard Rules are for a two-player game; multi-player rules are provided in the Optional Rules.
The “Using MELE with METW” section contains the essential rules for integrating METW cards with MELE. See the Full Player Turn Summary is a great reference for getting started.
Note: The rules for MELE are very similar to the rules for Middle-earth: The Wizards. Passages with major rules differences are marked with a line of bullets as a sidebar (just as this paragraph is marked). Experienced players of METW can examine these passages and proceed with playing.
The Standard Rules — These rules assume you have already played several games using the Starter Rules. The Standard Rules consist of additions and extensions to the Starter Rules that make play and deck building more flexible, exciting, and interesting. We recommend that experienced MELE players use all of the Standard Rules.
The Optional Rules — Interesting variations to the standard rules. Before play begins, both players must agree on which optional rules are to be used.
Using MELE with METW — these guidelines explain how play proceeds when one player is a Ringwraith and one player is a Wizard. This section also describes how to integrate cards (usually hazards) from METW (and vice versa) even if both players are Ringwraiths (or Wizards).
The Appendices — This section contains a Full Player Turn Summary, a glossary, a color insert with card keys and a Middle-earth map (see the center of this book), and conventions of tournament play. These conventions of tournament play are also widely adopted for casual play.
Note: MELE is a collectible card game — each player usually has a large number of MELE cards available, but only a limited number are used in any one game. Before each game, a player must choose the cards he will use for that game. This process is referred to as “deck construction.” Often deck construction is just as important (if not more important) than actual play.
Play consists of a series of “Player Turns.” During your turn, follow the steps outlined in this turn summary. Then, your opponent does the same during his turn. You and your opponent alternate turns until the game ends.
This brief player turn summary is included here to give you a very basic idea of how play proceeds; refer to the Full Player Turn Summary.
Untap Phase — Heal (if at a Darkhaven site) or untap your characters and other tapped non-site cards.
Organization Phase — You may play a character, reorganize your companies, transfer/store items, and decide where each of your companies is going to move.
Long-event Phase — Remove and play certain “long-event” cards.
Movement/Hazard Phase — You may mover each of your companies to its new site, while your opponent plays hazards on each of your companies.
Site Phase — You may have each of your companies enter its current site to attempt to play an item, ally, faction, etc. End-of-Turn Phase — Your turn ends.
End-of-Turn Phase – Your turn ends.
Note: For purposes of readability, these rules use the standard masculine pronouns when referring to a person of uncertain gender. In such cases, these pronouns are intended to convey the meanings: she/he, him/her, etc.
To get a general idea of how to play, read the Starter Rules sections that are not boxed. Later you can refer to the boxed sections for more information on special situations.
Note: These rules apply to a Ringwraith player playing a Ringwraith player. See Part IV (page 73) for guidelines for handling a game between a Ringwraith and a Wizard.
Note: In MELE you will draw multiple cards each turn, and in some cases you will have to discard a number of cards each turn. Don’t let this worry you, it’s part of the flow of play. Just keep cards that are immediately useful during the next turn or that are crucial to your overall strategy.
Two six-sided dice (2D6) should be used to generate random values during play. This is called “making a roll.” To make a roll, roll 2D6 and add the two results together.
Note: If dice are not available, a random value can be generated by drawing a card from your play deck. Each card in a play deck has a number on the right side just below the center. You can use this number as the random value, then discard the card. Do not use this method if dice are available!
The game ends when one of the following occurs during play:
1. If your Ringwraith is “eliminated” (i.e., fails a body check) — your opponent wins.
2. If you move The One Ring to Barad-dûr — Sauron is reunited with the One Ring and you win. (See page 44 for more on Rings.)
3. Otherwise, the winner is decided at the Audience With Sauron. This audience is called when one of the following occurs:
- When each play deck has been exhausted once, the audience starts following the current turn.
- If your play deck has been exhausted and you play a Sudden Call card as a resource during one of your turns, the audience starts following your opponent’s next turn (i.e., your opponent gets one last turn).
- If you have at least 20 marshalling points and you play a Sudden Call card as a resource during one of your turns, the audience starts following your opponent’s next turn (i.e., your opponent gets one last turn).
Note: In the Standard Game, you may also use a Sudden Call card as a Hazard to cause the Audience with Sauron to be called (see page 54).
Note: If one or both players only has access to a starter deck (76 cards), this requirement of 20 marshalling points should be lowered to 18.
THE AUDIENCE WITH SAURON
Just before the Audience With Sauron, each non-Ringwraith character must make a corruption check. The player who took the last turn makes corruption checks for his characters first.
At the audience, Sauron decides which Ringwraith has been the most successful and will deliver the first massive blow against the Free Peoples. This is based upon a comparison of the resources each of the Ringwraiths has marshalled.
Clarification: Characters do not automatically untap when the audience is called. A character may only untap during his own untap phase.
Clarification: A character that fails his corruption check by two or more prior to the Audience With Sauron is eliminated. That character and any non-follower cards he controls are not available at the Audience With Sauron — thus, they do not count towards the marshalling point totals. A player may play resource cards that can affect his characters’ corruption checks made prior to the audience. Hazard cards may not be played.
The winner of the game is the player that has gathered the most marshalling points from:
- Control of resources: characters, allies, items, and factions.
- Defeating certain creatures.
- Carrying out the instructions on resource cards.
Marshalling points are printed on the top left corner of the cards.
Note: You may find it useful to use pencil and paper or extra dice to keep a running total of marshalling points.
Clarification: If both players have the same number of marshalling points at the Audience With Sauron, the game ends in a tie.
Our two players are Wendy and Nick. Wendy has 20 marshalling points and Jason only has 18. During her turn, Wendy plays a Sudden Call card — Sauron calls the audience. Each player has one company in Carn Dûm (CPs = Corruption Points, MPs = Marshalling Points):
|Orcs of Angmar (faction)||0||2|
|Seize Prisoners (miscellaneous)||0||2|
|Dwar the Ringwraith (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||0|
|The Warg-king (ally)||0||2|
|Troll-chief (controls:)||Total CPs: 5||2|
|Black Mace (item)||3||2|
|Magic Ring of Fury (item)||2||2|
|Troll Lout (controls:)||Total CPs: 1||1|
|Saw-toothed Blade (item)||1||0|
|Shagrat (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||2|
|Grishnákh (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||1|
|Orc Tracker (controls:)||Total CPs: 1||1|
|Indûr the Ringwraith (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||0|
|Ciryaher (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||2|
|Tarcil (controls:)||Total CPs: 5||2|
|Palantír of Orthanc (item)||3||3|
|Magic Ring of Enigma (item)||2||2|
|Orc Captain (controls:)||Total CPs: 2||2|
|Saw-toothed Blade (item)||1||0|
|Foul-smelling paste (item)||1||0|
|Lieutenant of Morgul (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||3|
|Orc Captain (controls:)||Total CPs: 0||2|
Since Wendy plays the Sudden Call card, Jason gets one final turn. Nick brings his company to Cameth Brin. After facing hazards, he plays the Hillmen faction for 4 more MPs. Nick now has 22 MPs and will win the game if he does not lose any MPs due to characters failing corruption checks.
In this example, any character with 4 or more corruption points (the Troll-chief and Tarcil) could fail his corruption check (see pages 35-38 for a detailed explanation and example of corruption checks). If the Troll-chief fails his corruption check, Wendy loses 6 of her MPs. If Tarcil fails his corruption check, Nick loses 7 of his MPs.
There are four types of cards: site cards, character cards (including Ringwraith cards), resource cards, and hazard cards.
Site cards — have a grey parchment background on the front.
Character cards — (non-Ringwraith) have a rusted-purplish iron background on the front. Each Ringwraith card has a blood-red stone background.
Resource cards — have a grey-blue steel background on the front.
Hazard cards — have a steel gray metal background on the front.
Site — (i.e., location cards) have a map Middle-earth on the back.
Character, resource, and hazard cards — have the burning eye on the back.
Note: MELE doesn’t include region cards. If you have METW region cards, you can use region movement as outlined on page 78.
Clarification: For emphasis, a value used during play is often provided both in a card’s text and in another place on the same card. For example, a character’s corruption check modifier is stated both in the text and the lower right corner of the character’s card.
Note: Each starter deck has a small pack of cards called a fixed set. There are 5 fixed sets in all. One appears randomly in each starter deck. The top facing card of all fixed sets is a Ringwraith and is different for each fixed set and can be seen through the window of the starter deck box. A fixed set is included in each starter deck to make a starter deck playable without any other cards.
During play, your cards are organized into 2 decks and 3 piles:
Location Deck — This deck consists of your site cards. You may examine and select cards from your location deck as required by play (i.e., do not randomly draw them). After being played, your non-Darkhaven site cards are sometimes discarded and placed in the discard pile (i.e., when one of your companies leaves a tapped site, it is discarded).
Note: site cards and region cards represent the geography of Middle-earth. They are used to control the acquisition of resources. Each turn, examine the resources in your hand and select a nearby site to travel to. Do not worry too much about which site to use, just pick one that has the resource type you want to play. It also helps if you preselect the location cards you are most likely to use. See the color insert for a map of Middle-earth.
Play Deck — This deck consists of your resource cards, hazard cards, and character cards. You randomly draw cards from this deck during play. Your play deck starts with an equal number of resource cards and hazard cards.
You can use resources at certain sites and under certain conditions. Resources include: items, factions, allies, events, etc. You may only play resource cards during your own turn. You use hazards to hinder and attack your opponent’s characters in order to prevent them from marshalling resources. You may only play hazard cards during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase.
Clarification: The card, Twilight, is an exception to this rule — it can be played at anytime, either as a resource or as a hazard (it does not count against the hazard limit). Certain other cards specifically state when they may be played as exceptions.
Discard Pile — Your discarded cards are placed face down in your discard pile. When your play deck is exhausted, location cards in your discard pile are returned to your location deck. You shuffle the other cards in your discard pile and they become your new play deck.
Clarification: Your play deck is “exhausted” when you draw its last card. Some cards require that your play deck be manipulated and then reshuffled — this does not “exhaust” your play deck.
Out-of-play Pile — Your cards that are removed from play after being used and that do not award marshalling points are placed in your out-of-play pile.
Marshalling Point Pile (MP pile) — In addition to marshalling points from cards in play, you gain marshalling points when certain cards become inactive. When you store certain resource cards (e.g., items, information cards, etc.), they are placed in your MP pile. When you defeat all of the strikes from a creature that has its MPs marked with an “*” in the upper-left corner of its card, the creature’s card is placed in your MP pile.
Note: When you defeat all of the strikes from a creature that does not have an “*” next to its MP value, in the upper-left corner of its card, the creature’s card is not placed in your MP pile. Unlike METW, you do not get MPs for defeating certain creatures — after all, many creatures are fighting the Free People too.
Note: Because hazard cards are distinct from resource cards, you may not play your hazards on your side of the playing surface. At the end of a game, it will be obvious whose cards are whose, i.e., hazards in your area must belong to your opponent. We suggest adopting a neutral zone between each player’s side of the playing surface. Non-targeted long-events and permanent-events can be played in this neutral zone.
Note: You may freely examine the contents of your discard pile; your opponent may not. The contents of your out-of-play and marshalling point piles may be freely examined by you and your opponent.
Clarification: In general, cards in your out-of-play pile and your marshalling point pile are considered to be actively in play for the purposes of being unique (if the card states it is unique).
Several types of cards are referred to by the keyword included in the first few words of a card’s text. For example, the text of a “spirit-magic” card starts with Magic. Spirit-magic; the text of a “wolf” card starts with Wolves; the text of a “Palantír” starts with Unique. Palantír.
Keywords do not necessarily carry any rules (though some do like Unique and Corruption). Keywords are used to determine if an effect in the game affects a card.
Often combinations of several cards and other actions are required to achieve a desired result. For example, to bring The One Ring into play requires: traveling to a site to play one of the Gold Ring cards, some sort of “Test” card or ability, The One Ring card, and a high die roll. In addition, the Scroll of Isildur card will dramatically improve the chances of successfully getting The One Ring into play.
TAPPING AND CARD POSITIONS
Normally, during play, each of your cards is placed on the playing surface so that its top is towards your opponent and its bottom is towards you. During play certain cards must be “tapped” when they are used — this is a record keeping mechanism to keep track of card usage. To tap a card, rotate it 90° so that it is turned sideways — to untap a card, rotate it back 90° to its normal position.
When one of your characters is wounded, his card is placed with its top towards you (i.e., rotated 180° from an untapped position). All restrictions to tapped characters also apply to wounded characters.
Note: At any given time during play, each character in play must be in one of the three “states:” he must be either untapped, tapped, or wounded.
Clarification: A tapped (or wounded) character can perform any action that does not require the character to tap. For example, a tapped (or wounded) character can move normally, he can fight with a penalty (if the attacker chooses him as the target of a strike), he can transfer items, etc. A tapped (or wounded) character may not tap to acquire an item, to influence a faction, to play a card requiring that he tap, etc. Items and characters tap independently.
UNIQUE & “MAY NOT BE DUPLICATED” CARDS
If a card states that it is “unique” or that it “may not be duplicated,” only one such card (or its effects) may be in play at a time. The first card played takes precedence (influence checks may change this). This restriction applies to all cards in play, i.e., both yours and your opponent’s.
Only one of each “unique” card may be included in your play deck and starting cards combined. As an exception, two of the same Ringwraith may be included in your play deck (to give you a better chance of drawing one early).
Note: If a unique card is eliminated, that card may not be brought back into play by either player.
Follow these steps to get ready to play:
- Place your site cards in your location deck. This deck should contain all of your Haven cards (i.e., Minas Morgul, Dol Guldur, Carn Dûm, and Geann a-Lisch). You may include any number of Haven cards, but only one of each non-Darkhaven site card.
- Place between 25 and 50 Resource cards and an equal number of Hazard cards in your play deck (if you have fewer than 25 of either available, just use all of the cards you have). Only one of each “unique” card may be included. No more than three copies of any one non-unique card may be included.
- Place one to six starting minion characters (no Ringwraiths, no minion agents from Dark Minions) face down in front of you. The combined mind attributes (see page 18) of these characters must be 20 or less. You and your opponent reveal your characters simultaneously, placing any duplicated characters into your play decks. Then organize your starting characters into followers and companies and place them at Minas Morgul (i.e., place a Minas Morgul site card next to them).
- You may assign up to 2 non-unique minor items to your starting characters (i.e., 2 items, not 2 to each character). These items must come from cards that you have not already committed to your play deck.
- Place up to 10 non-Ringwraith character cards in your play deck. Only one of each character card may be included. In addition, place up to two Ringwraith cards in your play deck (you may place two copies of the same Ringwraith). Shuffle your play deck.
- Draw a hand of eight cards from your play deck.
- Each player makes a roll, and the player with the highest result goes first (reroll if tied).
Clarification: None of your starting characters may be considered to be followers for the purposes of determining their combined mind attributes — your initial characters have to have combined mind attributes of 20 or below.
Clarification: The initial 1-6 minion characters and two minor items do count toward the “one-unique” and “three-others” limits on the play deck. However, they do not count towards the number of resource and character cards in your starting play deck.
Play consists of a series of “Player Turns.” During your turn, you take various actions during the following phases. Then, your opponent does the same during his turn.
- 1) Untap Phase
- 2) Organization Phase
- 3) Long-event Phase
- 4) Movement/Hazard Phase
- 5) Site Phase
- 6) End-of-Turn Phase
See detailed the Full Player Turn Summary.
Clarification: The actions that may be taken during your organization phase may be taken in any order (e.g., you can store an item, then bring a character into play, and then store a second item).
Clarification: You may play a site (i.e., move to a site) that your opponent previously used or is currently using.
Clarification: If one of your companies doesn’t move, neither player draws cards based on that company’s movement. However, your opponent can play still play allowable hazards on that company (hazard limit still applies).
Clarification: During the site phase, a company may decide not to enter and explore its current site. In this case, the company does not face the automatic-attack, but it may not take any other actions or play any cards during the site phase. The company remains at the site and it may decide to enter and explore the site on a later turn.
Clarification: Before a company can attempt to play an item, ally, faction, or other card that is “playable” at its current site, it must face the site’s automatic-attacks. The company need not defeat the attacks, it merely needs to resolve the attacks normally (such attacks can be canceled).
A company can face a site’s automatic-attacks and still not play a card (e.g., all of its characters are tapped after facing the automatic-attacks). If such a company wants to play a card at the site on a later turn, it must face the automatic-attacks again.
Clarification: A site is tapped when one item, ally, faction, or card is played at that site. The play of certain resource cards may tap sites — such a card will specifically state that playing it taps the site. Non-Darkhaven sites only normally untap after being discarded and after your play deck is exhausted. So, each time through your play deck, only one such card may normally be played at a given non-Darkhaven site. Darkhaven cards, whether tapped or not, always return to your location deck untapped.
As a player, you influence and control a number of characters that move and act in the world of Middle-earth. Each character’s abilities are defined by these attributes: race, skills, direct influence, prowess (offense), body (defense), mind, marshalling points, and special abilities (e.g., corruption check modifiers). A character can be eliminated and removed from play as a result of combat (failing a body check) or corruption (failing a corruption check).
If you have enough general influence or direct influence during a given turn, you may bring into play: one non-Ringwraith character at his home site or at any Darkhaven or your Ringwraith at his home site or Minas Morgul.
Characters are primarily controlled by your pool of 20 general influence points. For each controlled character, you must commit a number of general influence points equal to his mind attribute. In addition, you may control a character by using another character’s direct influence — a character controlled in this fashion is called a follower and does not use general influence points. (See page 19 for an extended example.)
During play, you may organize your characters into groups called companies. A company’s size is equal to the number of characters in it. A company is limited to a size of seven. A company’s hazard limit is equal to two or the size of the company, whichever is greater. The maximum number of hazards that can be played on a company during a given movement/hazard phase is equal to its hazard limit.
Companies can only combine at a Darkhaven — just remove all but one of the companies’ Darkhaven site cards. The resulting company then has one site card consisting of one Darkhaven site card.
One company can split into two or more companies only at a Darkhaven (use two Darkhaven cards).
Note: The number of characters you have in play limits the number of actions you may take during a given turn. You use your other characters’ direct influence on a character to bring that character into play and to keep him in play. A character in play can move and take actions (e.g., defending against attacks, influencing, etc.). Items, allies, and other cards representing things a character acquires and controls are placed under his card.
Note: Sometimes two or more companies combine and the resulting company has two or more of the same cards that say: “cannot be duplicated on a given company.” When this happens, immediately discard all but one of those cards (your choice).
Clarification: During the organization phase, one Darkhaven card may be used to represent the location of two or more companies, so long as the distinction between companies is clearly presented spatially. However, we suggest the use of multiple Darkhaven cards for clarity.
Clarification: Even if you have no characters in play, the game is not over. You may continue to draw and discard cards — eventually you will draw your Ringwraith or a character.
Note: MELE characters are different from METW characters. When it is important to distinguish between the two types of characters, MELE characters are referred to as “minions” (or minion characters) and METW characters are referred to as “heroes” (or hero characters). See pages 74-75 for more information.
Each character’s abilities are defined by the following attributes (the notation for certain attributes is given in brackets).
Race: This is one criterion for using certain resources and for bringing certain items, characters, and factions into play (e.g., only a Dwarf can fully utilize a Dwarven Ring). The races are: Elf, Dwarf, Dúnadan, Man, Orc, Troll, and Ringwraith.
Skills: This is one of the criterion for using certain cards (e.g., warrior skill is required to use certain weapons). The skills are: warrior, scout, ranger, sage, and diplomat. Some characters have more than one skill.
Direct Influence [hand icon]: A character’s direct influence determines which of your characters he may control (i.e., have as followers). In addition, a character’s unused direct influence affects his chances of influencing factions and your opponent’s resources.
Prowess [lower left, to left of “/”]: A character’s prowess is a measure of a character’s offensive capabilities in combat.
Body [lower left, to right of “/”]: A character’s body is a measure of how difficult it is to physically eliminate the character. This is a mixture of the ability to avoid an attack and the ability to absorb or deflect an attack (e.g., armor, shield, blocking).
Mind [head icon]: A character’s mind determines how many influence points (a Ringwraith’s general influence points or a character’s direct influence points) are required to keep this character in play. Your Ringwraith has no mind and requires no influence to control.
Marshalling Points [upper left]: This is the number of marshalling points you receive when you have the character in play. This value represents the character’s importance to Sauron.
Special Abilities: Some characters have special abilities that are detailed on their cards. Common special abilities include corruption check modifiers, influence bonuses, prowess bonuses. For example, Shámas has an influence bonus against the Dunlendings faction.
INFLUENCING (CONTROLLING) A CHARACTER
You have a pool of 20 general influence points. At the end of your organization phase, the total mind attributes of your characters in play (not counting followers) must be less than or equal to 20; this total is equal to your used general influence points. Your unused general influence points help your characters resist the effects of certain cards (e.g., Call of Home, Call of the Sea, Muster Disperses, etc.).
Note: In the Standard Rules, your unused general influence points helps your characters, factions, allies, and items resist influence attempts made by your opponent.
Some characters have a direct influence attribute of one or more. If such a character’s direct influence is greater than or equal to another one of your characters’ mind attribute, he may take control of that other character, who then becomes a follower of the controlling character. These conditions must be met:
- The total mind attributes of all of a character’s followers may not exceed his direct influence.
- A character may be in control of another character that is in play only if both characters are at the same site.
A follower does not require influence points from your general pool and he must remain stacked under the character exerting the direct influence at all times. A follower may not use his direct influence to control characters (i.e., a follower may not have his own followers).
A follower is handled in all other ways as a normal character (e.g., counts for company size, takes actions normally, etc.).
If you have enough unused general influence points, you may move a follower from direct influence to general influence (or vice versa) during your organization phase.
If a character directly influencing a follower is removed from play, the follower remains in play and does not immediately count against general influence. However, during your next organization phase, you must discard the follower, place the follower under the control of another character in his company with enough available direct influence, or place the follower under the control of general influence (if enough is available).
Wendy’s company size is 6 and she has 5 unused general influence; Nick’s company size is 6 and he has 0 unused general influence.
BRINGING CHARACTERS INTO PLAY
During your organization phase, you may perform one and only one of the following activities:
- You may play a non-Ringwraith character card. You must place him at his home site or at any Darkhaven site. If you do not have enough general influence or direct influence to control the character by the end of your organization phase, then the character is returned to your hand. You must place him at his home site or at any Darkhaven site.
- You may play a Ringwraith card if you do not have one in play. This is called “Revealing your Ringwraith.” You may not reveal a Ringwraith if your opponent has already revealed that Ringwraith. You must place your Ringwraith at his home site or at Minas Morgul. You need not control a Ringwraith with influence — he represents you, the player. While revealing your Ringwraith is an advantage, it also carries with it the danger of losing the game by having your Ringwraith eliminated.
When you play a character, you may place him into a company already at his arrival site or he may become a new company (consisting of one character). In the second case, you must place the arrival site card next to the character played. If the appropriate site is not available, you may not play the character.
Clarification: Playing a character does not tap a site.
Most characters are unique. So if you already have a character in play, your opponent may not play the same character. Similarly, if a unique character has been eliminated, he may not be brought into play again by either player.
Example: In the p. 8 example, Wendy calls the audience. Then Nick takes his final turn. His company is at a Darkhaven, so h may play a character during his organization phase. Nick has Grishnákh and an Orc Tracker in his hand (each has a 3 mind attribute). Nick would like to play Grishnákh, but he is unique and Wendy already has him in play. The Orc Tracker is not unique, so Nick plays him. Nick has no unused general influence, so the Orc Tracker must be placed under the control of one of Nick’s non-follower characters with at least 3 unused direct influence. Only Nick’s non-follower Orc Captain meets these requirements.
Note: In the Standard Rules, some exceptions to these restrictions are presented for “Ringwraith followers”(see page 58).
A company is a group of characters that move and act together. This allows characters to move, act, and defend as a unit, allowing stronger characters to protect the weaker characters. This mechanism can be used to allow a variety of tactics during play.
For example, if you have 3 characters in play, the 3 characters can move separately and perhaps do more in terms of acquiring marshalling points (items, other characters, etc.); but each individual character is more vulnerable to danger. However, the same 3 characters operating as a company might acquire marshalling points more slowly, but they are safer (i.e., you risk less).
Normally, a company is limited to a size of seven, but a company at a Haven site may be of any size. For these purposes, an ally does not count as a character. The size of a company is determined for each company at the beginning of the movement/hazard phase (e.g., it remains fixed even if a character leaves the company).
Clarification: A company is not an “attack,” and a character is not an “attack.” So hazards that modify attacks have no effect on characters and companies.
Limitations on Company Composition
Unless at a Darkhaven, a Ringwraith may not be in a company with other characters.
Overt and Covert Companies
The text for certain cards distinguish between overt companies and covert companies. Any company that contains a Ringwraith in Fell Rider mode, an Orc, or a Troll is an overt company. Any other company is an covert company.
• Characters: The Balrog, all trolls, all orcs (some exceptions apply for half-orcs – see MEWH rules insert)
• Allies: Great Bats, Great Lord of Goblin-gate, Last Child of Ungoliant, Regiment of Black Crows, “Two-headed” Troll, Creature of an Older World
• Events: Fell Rider, Freeze the Flesh, Cast from the Order.
Note: An overt company is readily identifiable as an evil force (i.e., it has Orcs, Trolls, etc.) and thus is subject to direct conflict with most Free Peoples. A covert company is not readily identifiable as an evil force, and thus can operate relatively freely in the domains of the Free Peoples.
Each of your characters at a Darkhaven may heal during the untap phase of your turn. Such a character moves from a wounded position to a tapped position. In addition, certain cards can heal characters when they are played (e.g., Foul Smelling Paste).
After being revealed, a Ringwraith operates like any other character except that it may only be in a company with other characters if it is at a Darkhaven. There are several other special effects:
- Any gold ring in the Ringwraith’s company is automatically tested at the beginning of the end-of-turn phase. Any ring test in a Ringwraith’s company has a modification of -2.
- A Ringwraith may carry items (including rings) but may not use them (i.e., an item has no effect on a Ringwraith’s company or on his attributes and abilities).
- Ringwraiths never make corruption checks and corruption cards may not be played on Ringwraiths.
- The movement of Ringwraiths is restricted (see page 25).
In MELE the lands of northwest Middle-earth are represented by regions. The site cards represent places that companies can visit within those regions. Except for a moving company during its movement/hazard phase, each company always has a current site card associated with it — the company is located at that site.
Note: Site paths do not direct the movement process. The site path is used to determine which hazard creatures your opponent may play against your moving company.
Note: By using the site cards and site cards only, a company can move from any site to any other site. First, if necessary, the company moves to the nearest Darkhaven. Then, if necessary, it moves to other Darkhavens. Finally, it moves from that Darkhaven to the destination site.
A company commits to moving by playing a new site card (face down) during its organization phase. A company does not have to move during a given turn (i.e., it does not play a new site card).
At the beginning of its movement/hazard phase, a moving company current site card becomes its site of origin — the company is considered to be en route to its new site card (i.e., the company is moving).
At the end of a moving company’s movement/hazard phase (before players return to their hand sizes), its site of origin is removed (discard if tapped; otherwise, return it to your location deck) and the new site card becomes the company’s current site card.
Clarification: Some cards can interrupt this process by forcing a company to return to its site of origin.
Moving From a Non-Darkhaven Site
If the company’s site of origin is a non-Darkhaven site, the new site card must be the Darkhaven listed as the nearest Darkhaven on the site of origin card (i.e., the company can move back to its nearest Darkhaven).
Moving From a Darkhaven Site
If the company’s site of origin is a Darkhaven, the new site card must meet one of the following requirements:
- If the new site card is not another Darkhaven, it must list the site of origin as its nearest Darkhaven (i.e., the company can move to any site that has the Darkhaven the company is currently at as the site’s nearest Darkhaven).
- If the new site card is another Darkhaven, it must give a site path to the Darkhaven the company is at currently (i.e., the company can move to one of its adjacent Darkhavens; each Darkhaven is adjacent to two other Darkhavens).
Clarification: If a company is not moving, no cards are drawn. If a company is moving to a non-Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the # of cards indicated by the site that it is moving to (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same. If a company is moving to a Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the # of cards indicated by the site that it is moving from (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same.
To summarize the movement process:
- Except for a moving company during its movement/hazard phase, each company is always at a specific site, called its current site.
- A company wanting to move to a new site plays a new site card face down beside its current site card by the end of its organization phase. A company can only move: from a non-Darkhaven site to its “Nearest Darkhaven,” from a Darkhaven site to one of its two “adjacent Darkhavens,” or from a Darkhaven site to a non-Darkhaven site that lists that Darkhaven as its “Nearest Darkhaven.”
- At the beginning of its movement/hazard phase, a moving company’s new site card is revealed and its current site card becomes its site of origin.
- At the end of its movement/hazard phase, the site of origin is removed and the moving company’s new site card becomes the company’s current site card (unless the company is forced to return to its site of origin).
Suggestion: To help decide where a company should move, look at the resource cards in your hand. Then decide to which of your available sites to move. For example, if you have a major item, go to a site where a major item can be played.
Wendy’s company is in Barad-dûr (i.e., its current site) and wants to go to The Lonely Mountain to try and bring the Smaug Roused faction into play. Barad-dûr’s nearest Darkhaven is Minas Morgul, while The Lonely Mountain’s nearest Darkhaven is Dol Guldur.
First, it takes one turn to move from Barad-dûr to Minas Morgul using the site path, d s, indicated on the Barad-dûr site card. Wendy plays the Minas Morgul site card as her new site card during her organization phase, and she removes the Barad-dûr site card at the end of her movement/hazard phase.
During her next turn, the company may move from Minas Morgul to Dol Guldur using the site path, s d d s d, indicated on both the Minas Morgul and Dol Guldur site cards. Wendy plays the Dol Guldur site card during her organization phase, and she removes the Minas Morgul site card at the end of her movement/hazard phase.
Finally, the company takes one turn to move from Dol Guldur to The Lonely Mountain using the site path, d w w, indicated on the The Lonely Mountain site card. Jessica plays The Lonely Mountain site card during her organization phase, and she removes the Dol Guldur site card at the end of her movement/hazard phase.
MOVING YOUR RINGWRAITH’S COMPANY
The company containing your Ringwraith may freely move from Darkhaven to Darkhaven and from a non-Darkhaven site to a Darkhaven. However, in order to move from a Darkhaven to a non-Darkhaven site, a Ringwraith must have a special resource card: a Black Rider card, a Fell Rider card, or a Heralded Lord card (i.e., the Ringwraith must be in Black Rider mode, in Fell Rider mode, or in Heralded Lord mode).
Example: Suppose Ren the Ringwraith is at Barad-dûr and wants to move to The Lonely Mountain as outlined in the previous example. On his first turn, he moves to Minas Morgul — he does not need a special card because he is moving from a non-Darkhaven site to a Darkhaven. On his second turn, he is moving from Minas Morgul to Dol Guldur as outlined — he does not need a special card because he is moving from a Darkhaven to a Darkhaven. On his third turn, he plays a Black Rider card in order to move from Dol Guldur (a Darkhaven) to The Lonely Mountain (a non-Darkhaven).
There are six types of regions and six types of sites:
Coastal Seas [water in a circle]
Free-domains [white tower in a circle]
Border-lands [half-white, half-black tower split down the middle in a circle]
Shadow-lands [half-white, half-black tower split diagonally in a circle]
Dark-domains [black tower in a circle]
Free-holds [white tower]
Border-holds [half-white, half-black tower split down the middle]
Ruins & Lairs [crumbled tower]
S`adow-holds [half-white, half-black tower split diagonally]
Dark-holds [black tower]
A site path is the sequence of regions between a site and its nearest Darkhaven. However, each region in the sequence is only indicated by its type, not by its name. Each non-Darkhaven site card has a site path on it. Each Darkhaven site card has two site paths, but each of those two paths gives the sequence of regions between the Haven and one of the two Havens nearest to it.
Note: Site paths do not direct the movement process. The site path is used to determine which hazard creatures your opponent may play against your moving company (see page 46).
Clarification: A “company’s site path” during its movement /hazard phase is the site path between its site of origin and its new site. On non-Darkhaven site cards, the site path is provided on the top left border. On Darkhaven cards, the site path to each of the two adjacent Darkhavens is provided in the card text.
Example: The Lonely Mountain site’s nearest Darkhaven is the Dol Guldur site. The symbol for Wilderness is w, the symbol for Dark-domains is d. So the site path between Lórien and the Lonely Mountain is: d w w.
The regions between these two sites are Southern Mirkwood (Dark-domain), Heart of Mirkwood (Wilderness), and Northern Rhovanion (Wilderness).
In the Example of movement from Barad-dûr to The Lonely Mountain on page 25, the first site path used was from Barad-dûr to Minas Morgul: d s. During that movement/hazard phase, Nick (Wendy’s opponent) can play hazard creatures keyed to Dark-domains (d), Shadow-lands(s), and Darkhavens (the new site). During the next turn, the company uses the site path from Minas Morgul to Dol Guldur: s d d s d. During that movement/hazard phase, Nick can play hazard creatures keyed to Shadow-lands (s), double Shadow-lands (s s), Dark-domains (d), double Dark-domains (d d) and Darkhavens (the new site). Finally, the company takes one turn to move from Dol Guldur to The Lonely Mountain using the site path, s w w. Nick can play hazard creatures keyed to Wilderness (w), double Wilderness (w w), Shadow-lands (s) and Ruins and Lairs (R, the new site).
Coastal Seas [c]: Regions consisting primarily of open water.
Free-domains [f]: Very safe, civilized regions (e.g., Lindon, Anórien, etc.).
Border-lands [b]: Less civilized regions on the border of the wilderness or shadow territory (e.g., Rohan, Lamedon, etc.).
Wilderness [w]: Sparsely populated, uncivilized regions that cover most of NW Middle-earth (e.g., High Pass, Enedhwaith, Rhudaur, etc.).
Shadow-lands [s]: Regions with some active Shadow-forces and settlements (Imlad Morgul, Dagorlad, etc.).
Dark-domains [d]: Regions with a heavy concentration of Shadow-forces (Southern Mirkwood, Gorgoroth, etc.).
Darkhavens [DH]: Sites of rest and healing (e.g., Minas Morgul, Dol Guldur, Carn Dûm, Geann a-Lisch).
Free-holds [F]: Dangerous sites for minions of Sauron (e.g., Minas Tirith, Edoras, etc.).
Border-holds [B]: Relative dangerous sites for minions of Sauron (e.g., Bree, Lake-town, etc.).
Ruins & Lairs [R]: Deserted sites often inhabited by dangerous creatures (e.g., the Lonely Mountain, Barrow-downs, etc.).
Shadow-holds [S]: Relatively deserted sites often inhabited by dangerous creatures and Shadow-forces (e.g., Goblin-gate, Mount Gram, etc.).
Dark-holds [D]: Very dangerous sites with heavy concentrations of Shadow-forces (Barad-dûr, etc.).
Combat normally occurs when one of three things happen:
- When a creature hazard is played on a company.
- When a company at a site with an automatic-attack decides to attempt to play a resource card for that site (i.e., decides to attempt to enter and explore the site).
- When any other card indicates that a company must face an attack.
ATTACKS & STRIKES
Combat consists of one or more attacks that must be resolved one at a time. An attack consists of one or more strikes:
- Each strike can target one and only one character in the attacked company.
- Each character can be the target of only one strike from a given attack.
- If an attack has more strikes than the company has characters, the attacker may allocate the excess strikes as -1 modifications (i.e., a -1 modifier for each unallocated strike) to the prowess(es) of whichever target(s) he chooses. See the Strike Sequence on page 33.
- You and your opponent must play any cards that modify the number of strikes before you assign the strikes.
Unless the attack states otherwise, the defender chooses which untapped characters will be the targets of given strikes. Then, the attacker chooses which other defending characters not yet assigned a strike will be the target of any remaining unassigned strikes.
Clarification: If the text on a creature card states that the “attacker chooses defending characters,” any characters (not yet assigned a strike) in the defending company may be chosen (by the attacker) as the targets of the attack’s strikes.
Clarification: The defender may choose not to assign strikes that he is allowed to assign. These strikes are then assigned by the attacker to any characters that have not yet been assigned strikes.
Clarification: All of an attack’s strikes must be assigned to the characters in the defending company or as modifiers to the strikes assigned. The attacker may not choose to not apply strikes or excess strike modifiers. Only those strikes that are assigned need be defeated for the creature’s marshalling points to be received by the defender.
There are a number of standard modifications to the prowess of each target character facing a strike:
- An unwounded, tapped character must modify his prowess by -1.
- A wounded character must modify his prowess by -2.
- Normally a character that is the target of a strike is tapped after the strike is resolved. However, a character may choose to take a -3 modification to his prowess to avoid being tapped. If so, the character is not tapped after the strike is resolved (he may still be wounded).
- If an attack has more strikes than the company has characters, the attacker may allocate the excess strikes as -1 modifiers to the prowesses of whichever target(s) he chooses. See the Strike Sequence on page 33.
- The target’s prowess may also be modified due to the play of certain resource and hazard cards. Only one resource card requiring skill may be played against a given strike.
|Condition||Mod. to Target’s Prowess|
|Tapped character *||-1|
|Wounded character *||-2|
|Untapped character decides not to tap *||-3|
|For each unused strike allocated (i.e., each extra strike) *||-1|
|Up to one resource card that requires skill||varies|
|Other resource cards||varies|
Clarification: The prowess modifications marked with an * above are applied for a given strike and then are removed immediately after the strike is resolved. That is they do not carry over from attack to attack.
Note: Ignore effects that modify the number of strikes for an attack that states that “every character in the target company faces one strike” (unless an effect reduces the number of strikes to a specific number, e.g., Veils of Shadow).
Strikes are resolved one at a time as decided by the defending player. When you choose a strike to resolve, determine all of the factors affecting the strike before the roll is made (see “The Strike Sequence” on page 33). To resolve a strike, the defender makes a roll (2D6) and adds his modified prowess:
- If this result is greater than the strike’s prowess, the strike fails. Such a strike is defeated if its body attribute is “-” or if it has a body attribute and fails a body check.
- If this result is equal to the strike’s prowess, the strike was ineffectual (i.e., the strike is avoided but not defeated).
- Otherwise, the strike was successful (i.e., the character was defeated). If the attack was a “detainment” attack, an untapped target is tapped. Otherwise, the target character is wounded and must make a body check.
If a strike against a character is successful and the attack was not a detainment attack, the character is wounded and must make a body check. To make a body check, the attacker makes a roll (2D6). If the character was already wounded before this strike, the roll is modified by +1.
- The text on certain characters’ cards states: “Discard on a body check result of # or #.” In this case, you must discard the character if the modified body check roll is equal to either of these numbers.
- Otherwise, if the modified body check roll is greater than the character’s body attribute, the character is eliminated.
- Otherwise, nothing happens (i.e., the character is just wounded).
Note: As a result of certain rolls, certain characters may be discarded rather than being wounded. These characters are usually Orcs and Trolls. This effect represents the target running or slinking away from the attack.
Clarification: If a character was already wounded before a strike wounds him again, the resulting body check modification is always +1 (regardless of how many times a character is wounded).
Clarification: If a strike against a character is successful, a body check must be resolved for the character before anything else happens. For example, Foul Smelling Paste may not be used to heal such a character until after the body check is resolved (of course, if the character is eliminated, the Foul Smelling Paste may not be used on him at all).
As presented above, a strike that fails is defeated if its body attribute is “-” or if it has a body attribute and fails a body check. To make such a body check, the defender makes a roll (2D6); if this value is greater than the strike’s body attribute, the strike is defeated.
Example: Landroval has a prowess of 12 and a body of 6. He normally has two strikes when he attacks. If one of his strikes against a character fails, the defender makes a body check. If the resulting roll is greater than 6, that strike is defeated. However, both of Landroval’s strikes must be defeated in order for him to be eliminated — this would require at least two body check rolls greater than 6.
Certain attacks detain targets rather than wound them. When a strike from a detainment attack is successful, an untapped target is tapped instead of being wounded. This represents the target being stopped and questioned. The following types of attacks are detainment attacks:
- Card text will sometimes state that an attack is a detainment attack.
- Any Nazgûl attack against a minion company is a detainment attack.
- Any attack keyed to Dark-domains, Shadow-hold, or Dark-hold is a detainment attack.
- Any Orc, Troll, Undead, or Man attack keyed to Shadow-land is a detainment attack.
The parameters apply if the attack is keyed to the region symbol or site symbol (by type) or if keyed to a region or site by name which happens to be of appropriate type (i.e., has the appropriate symbol).
DEFEATING AN ATTACK
An attack by a hazard creature is defeated if it is not a detainment attack and all of its strikes directed against (i.e., assigned to) a company are defeated.
If even one of the strikes was canceled or ineffectual, the attack is not defeated. If the attack is canceled, the attack is not defeated. A canceled attack has no effect on the defending company (though the company is considered in its history to have faced it). A detainment attack from a creature is never defeated and the creature’s card is always discarded after the attack is resolved.
If a hazard creature has multiple attacks, each must be defeated in order for the creature to be defeated.
Lagduf rolls an 8. 8 plus his prowess of 5 is greater than the Huorn’s prowess of 10. Therefore the strike fails and the Huorn attack is defeated (it only has one strike and its body attribute is “-“).
Next Lagduf has to face a Slayer, which has two attacks against the same character, each with one strike at 11 prowess. Lagduf is tapped, so he now has a -1 to his prowess (i.e., his prowess is 4).
Against the first attack’s strike Lagduf rolls a 7. His total is 11 (= 7 + 4) which ties the strike’s prowess of 11. Therefore the strike is ineffectual and nothing happens.
Against the next attack, Lagduf rolls a 3. His total of 7 (=3 + 4) is less than the strike’s prowess of 11. Therefore the strike is successful. Lagduf is immediately wounded and must make a body check. His opponent rolls the dice for the body check. If he rolls a 9 or more, Lagduf will be eliminated and removed from play. Lagduf’s opponent actually rolls an 8 and is not eliminated. However, Lagduf is discarded because his card states that he is discarded on a body check result of 8.
You receive creature marshalling points for defeating a creature with an * next to its marshalling points. Place the card in your marshalling point pile.
If you defeat a creature that does not have an * next to its marshalling points, place the card in your out-of-play pile. You do not receive marshalling points for eliminating it.
Note: A Wizard player does not receive marshalling points for defeating a creature with an * next to its marshalling points.
THE STRIKE SEQUENCE
The “strike sequence” is the time from when a player declares that one of his characters will resolve a strike until the strike die roll is made and any associated body checks are made.
Strikes are resolved one at a time as decided by the defending player (i.e., he chooses a strike to resolve, the strike is resolved, he chooses the next strike to resolve, the strike is resolved, etc.).
All of the factors affecting the strike must be decided before making the roll (2D6). Cards that do not affect the strike may not be played during the strike sequence. Address these factors in the following order:
- The attacker may play hazard cards that affect the strike (these count toward the hazard limit against this company).
- The attacker may decide to use any or all of his remaining (if any) -1 modifiers due to unallocated strikes (i.e., strikes in excess of the company’s size).
- A target untapped character may take a -3 modification so that he will not automatically tap following the strike sequence.
- The defending player may play resource cards that affect the strike (up to one card that requires skill).
Clarification: The prowess modification and maximum for a weapon is applied to a character before any other modifiers are applied. For example, the Lieutenant of Dol Guldur has a base prowess of 7 and a Broad-headed Spear (+2 prowess to a maximum of 8) — he starts with a prowess of 8 before any other modifications are applied.
Similarly, the body modification and maximum for a shield, armor, or helmet is applied before any other modifiers are applied.
Example of Combat [(#/#) means (prowess/body)]
You control Bróin (3/8), Threlin (4/7) and his follower Dôgrib (4/7) with Foul smelling Paste, Jerrek (5/8), and Nevido Smôd (4/8) (with a Shadow-cloak). They are en route from Carn Dûm to Geann a-Lisch. There are 5 characters in the company, meaning the hazard limit is 5.
Your opponent plays Orc-raiders. He keys this hazard creature to one of the Wilderness in your company’s site path. Bróin, a scout, taps and plays A Nice Place to Hide to cancel the attack. Orc-raiders is discarded.
Your opponent next plays Orc-warband (second hazard). He states it is keyed to a Wilderness in your company’s site path, because the Orc-warband becomes a detainment attack if he keys it to a Shadow-land. It’s a (4/-) hazard creature with 5 strikes that receives +3 to prowess against a company that has faced an Orc attack. Even though Bróin canceled the Orc-raiders, the company is still considered to have faced them, so the Orc-warband will be (7/-). There are 5 strikes and 5 characters, so each character will face one strike (no decisions on strike allocation can be made). Bróin elects to face his strike first. His opponent plays Weariness of the Heart (third hazard) on Bróin to give -1 to his prowess. This modification to his prowess is in addition to the -1 Bróin suffers for being tapped. No other effects are played to affect the strike and Bróin rolls the dice. The result is a 4. Bróin’s prowess of 1 plus the dice roll is less than the prowess of the Orc-warband’s strike against Bróin, so Bróin is wounded. Your opponent rolls the body check. It’s a 7 — Bróin lives!
Nevido Smôd faces the next strike. Nevido Smôd taps and rolls a 2, falling to a successful strike. Your opponent rolls the body check, but only gets a 4 so Nevido Smôd lives. Dôgrib chooses to face his strike next. He chooses not to tap and therefore gets a -3 modification to his prowess. He rolls a 6 which ties the prowess of the Orc-warband strike. The strike is ineffectual. Threlin resolves his strike next, taps, and defeats it by rolling a 7. Jerrek resolves the final strike, taps, and defeats it by rolling a 3. Orc-warband is discarded.
Your opponent sees that one character, Dôgrib, is untapped. He plays an Elf-lord Revealed in Wrath (15/9) (a fourth hazard) keyed to Shadow-lands (Doors of Night is not in play) and reasons that Dôgrib will have to take its one ver powerful strike with little chance of canceling it. (After all, if you give up the option of assigning the one strike to your untapped character, namely Dôgrib, the opponent will be able to choose from all 5 characters which will take the strike). Your opponent does not see what Dôgrib sees. Before assigning the strike, Dôgrib discards his Foul Smelling Paste to heal and untap Nevido Smôd, who then announces he is taking the strike. The Elf-lord Revealed is keyed to the Shadow-land, so Nevido Smôd taps his Shadow-cloak to cancel its single strike. The Elf-lord is discarded.
The opponent announces he will play no more hazards and the company breathes a sigh of relief. Bróin will be able to heal at the start of the next turn since his company will be in Geann a-Lisch, a Darkhaven.
As Sauron’s minions (i.e., your characters) operate in Middle-earth, they are subject to temptations. They run the risk of becoming totally corrupted and fleeing Sauron’s “service” to pursue his own nefarious schemes (i.e., a corrupted character leaves play).
Each character has a corruption point total. This starts at zero, but certain cards and activities will change this total during play. Most cards that affect a character’s corruption are kept under the character’s card until they are discarded. Only one corruption card (a hazard that gives corruption points) may be played on a given character each turn.
Note: Minion characters are not completely subjected to Sauron’s will. If they were, they would be of little use — independent, but loyal, servants can accomplish much more than slaves. So, minion characters can be corrupted by having their own individual desires and temptations conflict with the goals of their masters. A corrupted minion character has decided that it is in his own best interest to make himself scarce and head for parts unknown. Ringwraiths can not be corrupted — they already suffered the ultimate corruption when they became Ringwraiths.
For these purposes, a “corruption card” is a hazard card that gives a character corruption points. A corruption card’s text includes the keyword “Corruption.” in italics. Cards that force a corruption check but do not give corruption points (e.g., Weariness of the Heart) are not “corruption cards.” A corruption card is limited as follows:
- A character may have more than one corruption card, but only one may be played on him each turn.
- Certain corruption cards state: “Cannot be duplicated on a given character.” So, a given character may only have one of each such corruption card.
- Corruption cards that may not be played on Dwarves may also not be played on Orcs.
- Corruption cards may not be played on Ringwraiths.
A character’s corruption point total can be determined by summing the corruption point values of: the corruption cards under his card and any other cards he controls (e.g., usually items).
When a card or other effect indicates that one of your characters must make a corruption check, you must make a roll (2D6) and add any appropriate modifications. One of the following results:
Nothing Happens — If the modified result is greater than the character’s corruption point total, nothing happens.
The Character Taps — If the modified result is equal to the character’s corruption point total or one less than the character’s corruption point total, the character is very tempted but does not fail the corruption check. If the character is untapped, tap the character.
The Character is Eliminated — If the modified result is less than character’s corruption point total by two or more, the character fails the corruption check and is eliminated (i.e., remove him from active play) and you must discard any non-follower cards he controls.
Clarification: A character eliminated due to a corruption check is removed from active play. He may be not played again by either you or by your opponent. In this case, the character is permanently lost to Sauron.
CORRUPTION CHECK MODIFIERS
Certain characters receive modifiers to corruption checks, and certain cards may give modifiers to a corruption check. Modifiers to corruption checks are printed in the lower right of the appropriate card. A plus or a minus sign indicates a modifier to any corruption checks a character makes (rather than corruption points).
Clarification: There are two different values that affect corruption checks:
- Corruption check modifiers always have either a plus (+) sign or a minus (-) sign (e.g., as noted on many character cards). The sum of all such applicable modifiers are added to the corruption check roll.
- Corruption point values never have a plus or minus sign. The sum of all such values is the character’s corruption point total for the purposes of a corruption check.
Both values appear in the lower right of certain cards.
REMOVING CORRUPTION CARDS
A character may choose to ignore the restriction that he tap to remove a corruption card (as printed on a corruption card), and suffer a -3 penalty to the dice roll to remove it. This means a character can remain untapped and still attempt to remove a corruption card (the roll is modified by -3), or that he can attempt to remove a corruption card even if he is already tapped or wounded (the roll is modified by -3).
Each turn, a character may only make one removal attempt for each corruption card if he uses the -3 modifier.
At the beginning of his organization phase, Tarcil has three corruption cards: Lure of Nature, Lure of Expedience, and Lure of the Senses. He taps and rolls to attempt to remove the Lure of the Senses; his roll is an 8, so the card is removed (greater than 6 was required). If, instead, Tarcil had not tapped for this attempt, he would have failed (he would have needed to roll greater than 9).
He then rolls to attempt to remove Lure of Nature; his roll is a 6 modified by -3 for a net result of 3, so the card is not removed (greater than 4 was required). Finally, he rolls to attempt to remove Lure of Expedience; his roll is a 9 modified by -3 for a net result of 6, so the card is removed (greater than 5 was required).
First he heads to the Dunnish Clan-hold. On the way there he gets a Lure of Expedience played on him, which gives him 2 more CPs for a total of 3. While at the Dunnish Clan-hold he taps to play High Helm. Not only does this raise his CP total to 5, but it also triggers a corruption check from the Lure of Expedience. Layos rolls a 6, which is greater than his CP total of 5, so he is fine.
During the organization phase Layos attempts to remove the Lure of Expedience. Since he is planning to return to Carn Dûm, he is not worried about being tapped. So, he taps and rolls an 8, easily better than the 5 he needed to succeed. His CP total drops to 3.
On the way back, Layos gets a Lure of Nature played on him, bringing him back up to 5 CPs. Since there are three Wildernesses in the site path between Dunnish Clan-hold and Carn Dûm, Layos must make three corruption checks. On the first two he rolls a 7 and a 12, easily beating his corruption point total. On the third check he rolls a 4. Since this is one less than his CP total, he would normally tap. However, he is already tapped, so there is no effect.
At Carn Dûm he tries to remove the Lure of Nature without tapping. He rolls a 7 modified by -3 for not tapping — this is not greater than 4, so the Lure of Nature is not removed. Layos would like to tap and try again, but since he tried without tapping, he cannot make another attempt.
His company moves to Dol Guldur, the hazard player plays a Lure of the Senses on Layos bringing his CP total up to 7. At the beginning of his next turn, Layos is ready to tap to attempt to remove the Lure of the Senses, and then the Lure of Nature without tapping. Unfortunately, he first has to make a corruption check at the end of the Untap phase because of his Lure of the Senses. He rolls a 5. Since this is 2 less than his CP total, he is eliminated from the game and his Blazon of the eye and High Helm are discarded.
You have a pool of general influence. Your characters have direct influence. These two forms of influence can control and affect characters (see pages 18-19) and factions.
Your unused general influence is equal to 20 minus the sum of the mind attributes of your non-follower characters in play (i.e., do not count your followers).
A character’s unused direct influence is equal to his direct influence attribute minus the sum of the mind attributes of his followers. All characters have a direct influence attribute of at least zero, so any character has unused direct influence of at least zero.
Note: In the Standard Game, direct influence can be used to attempt to interfere with your opponent’s control of his characters, followers, factions, allies, and items (see page 64).
BRINGING A FACTION INTO PLAY
In order to play a faction card, you must tap one of your characters that is at the “site” indicated on the faction’s card. Then you must make an influence check. Make a roll (2D6), add your character’s unused direct influence, and add any appropriate modifications (any applicable standard modifications from the faction card and from any other cards played). All influence check modifier cards must be played before making the roll (2D6).
If the modified result is greater than the value required on the faction card, you place the faction in your marshalling point pile (it now counts towards your marshalling point total). Otherwise, you discard the faction card. Once a faction is brought into play, it is not controlled by any specific character and it does not count against general or direct influence.
Most faction cards list some “standard modifications” to the influence check based only upon what other factions are already in play for both players.
Note: Some standard modifications are given for factions not included in MELE. Later products will include these factions.
Clarification: Certain characters have special modifications to influence checks. Such a modification only applies if it belongs to the character that was tapped to make the influence check.
During your site phase, you have Lieutenant of Morgul in play a company at Lossadan Cairn. You also have Ice-orcs in your hand, and your opponent has Wargs of Forochel in play. Lieutenant of Morgul has no followers, so his unused direct influence is 2.
You tap Lieutenant of Morgul to attempt to bring the Ice-orcs into play. You make your influence check roll (2D6), and the result is 5. This roll is modified by:
- Lieutenant of Morgul’s unused direct influence: +2.
- +3 — Lieutenant of Morgul has a special ability: his direct influence is increased by +3 against Orc factions.
- A standard modification of +2, because the Wargs of Forochel are already in play, as listed on the Ice-orcs card.
So the modified result is 11 (=5+2+3+1). Since this is greater than 10 (the number required by the faction card), the Ice-orcs are successfully brought into play and the site taps.
If you had rolled a 3, your modified result would have been 9 (=3+2+2+1), and you would have had to discard the faction card and Lossadan Cairn would not have tapped.
You may only play hazard cards during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase. Except for resource long-events, you may play resource cards anytime during your own turn unless specifically prohibited by the rules or the cards themselves.
Unless stated otherwise, a card is playable only if its effect applies to an existing situation, hazard, attack, etc. (i.e., you may not play a card just to discard it). A card cannot be played for no effect. A card may be played if it has potential effect.
Clarification: An automatic-attack at a company’s new site may be targeted by a hazard during the company’s movement/hazard phase. Such a hazard may be played even if the attack ultimately will not be faced (i.e., if the company decides not to face the automatic-attack during the site phase).
Note: MELE resources are different from METW resources. MELE resources are referred to as “minion resources” and METW resources are referred to as “hero resources.” See page 74 for more information.
During your movement/hazard phase, both players draw cards when each company moves. If a company moves to a non-Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the number of cards indicated by the site that it moved to (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same. If the company moves to a Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the number of cards indicated by the site that you moved from (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same.
There are both resource events and hazard events. Each event falls into one of three classifications based upon how long it stays in play.
Short-event — A short-event’s effects are implemented; then, it is discarded. The effects of some short-events last for a specific period as stated on its card (e.g., some say: “until the end of the turn”).
Permanent-event — The effects of a resource permanent-event are immediately implemented. Its effects last until the card is discarded. Certain effects can cause a permanent-event to be discarded; these effects are given in the text of specific cards. If one of your companies splits into 2 or more companies, you may place any resource permanent-events that were on the original company (as a whole) with any of the resulting companies.
Clarification: Hazard short-events and permanent-events can be played only during an opponent’s movement/hazard phase. Resource short-events and permanent-events can be played at any time during your turn — as limited by specific card text.
Long-event — The effects of a long-event are immediately implemented when it is played. Long-events last approximately two turns, one of yours and one of your opponent’s.
You may only play a resource long-event during your long-event phase. Its card and effects remain in play until your next long-event phase or until otherwise discarded.
You may only play a hazard long-event during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase. Its card and effects remain in play until your opponent’s next long-event phase or until otherwise discarded.
Clarification: The effects of many long-events and permanent-events affect both players because they can remain in effect during both players’ turns. Remember, when you play a long-event hazard, it will remain in effect during your next turn. For example, Awaken Denizens (a long-event) increases the number of automatic-attack strikes at Ruins & Lairs for one turn for each player.
Wendy then plays Fell Winter (a long-event). First it gives all Border-holds [B] (including Dunharrow) an automatic-attack: wolves — 3 strikes at 7 prowess. Since Doors of Night is in play it can do two more things: change all Border-lands [b] into Wilderness [w], making the site path s w f w; and change all Free-domains [f] into Border-lands [b], making the site path s w b w. Unless it is discarded by another card, Fell Winter will stay in play until Wendy’s next long-event phase (about two turns).
Finally, Wendy plays Arouse Defenders (a short-event), which allows her to add 3 to the prowess of one automatic-attack at a Border-hold [B]. She uses it on Dunharrow and chooses to add 3 to the Wolf attack from Fell Winter, making the prowess 10. Arouse Defenders is discarded, but its effect will remain until the end of the turn (unless canceled before then).
RESOURCE CARDS, NON-EVENT
Certain resource cards may only be played if specific required conditions exist. A faction card, ally card, or item card must be played during your site phase and requires an untapped character and an untapped site. In addition, the company must face any automatic-attacks located at the same site before such a card can be played. Resource events do not generally require an untapped site nor that the automatic-attack be faced. This may vary based upon specific card text.
Normally, when a character leaves play, all cards controlled or on him are discarded. There are two major exceptions to this:
- Sometimes, the card that causes the character to leave play allows him to transfer an item(s) (e.g., Call of Home).
- If a character is eliminated due to failing a body check, one item can be immediately transferred to each unwounded character in his company; but the rest of his items are discarded.
If one of your characters is at the site specified on a faction card, he may tap during the site phase to attempt an influence check in order to play the faction card. If the character successfully influences the faction as indicated on the faction’s card (see p. 38-39), the faction card is placed in your play area. After a faction is successfully played at a site, the site card is tapped.
Clarification: If an attack from a Dragon faction is defeated, remove the Dragon from play. No player received its marshalling points.
Clarification: Once a faction is brought into play, it is not associated with any character or company. A faction plays no active role after it is brought into play.
A character may tap during the site phase to play an ally card if he is at the site specified on the ally card and the character meets the requirements indicated on the ally card. The ally card is placed under the character’s card and that character controls the ally. After an ally is played at a site, the site card is tapped. An ally does not count as a character for any purposes other than combat and the use of certain skills. Allies can not bear items.
An ally with a skill may take actions and play cards that require that skill. For example, Last Child of Ungoliant has the sage skill, so he can tap to play a Secrets of Their Forging card. Similarly, Stinker has the scout skill so he can tap to play a Sneakin’ card.
Clarification: Allies that are eliminated are placed in the out-of-play pile (i.e., neither player may bring that ally or any manifestation of that ally back into play). Allies are not affected by corruption.
If a character is at an untapped site that indicates that a specific type of item card (gold ring, minor, major, or greater) is “playable,” he may tap during the site phase to bring an item of that type into play. The item card is placed under the character’s card. After an item is played at a site, the site card is tapped.
A special item states at what sites and under which conditions it is “playable.”
A character may only use the effects of one weapon at a time and one shield at a time and one armor at a time.
Clarification: A special item with the keyword, Ring, at the beginning of its text does not tap the character or the site when played.
Clarification: An item only taps when used if its text states so. Thus, weapons and armor do fot normally tap when used.
Clarification: A character may control (i.e., bear) any item, even if he cannot use its abilities.
Clarification: A character may control (i.e., bear) more than one weapon or more than one shield or more than one armor. However, only one of each type may be used at any given time.
If a resource card that taps a site (e.g., ally, faction, item, etc.) is successfully played at a site, one additional character may tap to play a minor item. Such a minor item may be played even if the site does not specifically state that a minor item is playable at the site. For example, a minor item played when bringing an ally into play would simulate a gift from the ally.
One type of item that your character can bring into play are rings. There are 7 types of rings: mind rings, gold rings, lesser rings, magic rings, Dwarven rings, spirit rings and the One Ring.
Gold Rings — After your company faces the automatic-attack at such a site which specifies that a gold ring can be played, you just tap a character and the site to play a gold ring from your hand.
Clarification: A gold ring is a ring with unknown properties — it might be a lesser ring, a magic ring, a Dwarven Ring, or even The One Ring. You will not know until you “test” it. There are 6 different gold rings in MELE: A Little Gold Ring, The Least of Gold Rings, Gold Ring that Sauron Fancies, Bright Gold Ring, Gleaming Gold Ring, and Perfect Gold Ring. Each has a different probability of being a specific type of special ring.
Testing a Gold Ring — Once you have a gold ring, you can “test” it to determine what kind of special ring it is. When you test a gold ring, you must make a roll and add any applicable modification (due to the test card and other cards). The gold ring card will indicate what special rings may be played based upon the modified roll.
If the roll indicates a special ring that you have in your hand, you may replace the gold ring with that ring and discard the gold ring. Otherwise, you just discard the gold ring (i.e., it was not that special). If the roll indicates more than one special ring in your hand, you choose which to play.
- If you have a sage character in the same company as the gold ring, you can play a Test of Fire card.
- If you have a sage character in the same company as the gold ring and the company is at a site where “Information” is playable, you can play a Secret of Their Forging card (you do not have to roll, you can just play any special item ring except The One Ring).
- Any gold ring in the Ringwraith’s own company at the start of the end-of-turn phase is automatically tested. Any ring test in the Ringwraith’s own company has a modification of -2.
- Any gold ring in one of your companies at Barad-dûr at the start of the end-of-turn phase is automatically tested. Any ring test at Barad-dûr has a -3 modification.
- If you store a gold ring, it is automatically tested with a modification of -2.
Note: Due to the -2 and -3 modification, the last three ring tests methods given above have little chance of resulting in The One Ring. This reflects the influence of “fate” on Sauron’s efforts to find the One Ring.
Because Pon Opar is a sage in the same company as a gold ring, you play your Test of Fire on Tarcil’s gold ring at any time during your turn. You roll a 5 for the test, so you may play either your Trifling Ring (any result) or your Magic ring of Lies (6 or less) with Tarcil. In either case, the gold ring is discarded. If you had rolled a 9 or higher, you would have had the choice of playing your Dwarven Ring of Durin’s Tribe or your Trifling Ring.
Note: A Ringwraith may carry a ring but may not use it (i.e., all items have no effect on a Ringwraith’s company or on his attributes and abilities).
Clarification: Mind rings are minor items and are played as such. They are not special items.
THE HAZARD LIMIT
During your opponent’s movement/hazard phase, the number of hazard cards that you may play on one of your opponent’s companies is that company’s hazard limit. The hazard limit is equal to two or the company’s size, whichever is greater. A company’s size is equal to the number of characters in it. For this purpose, allies do not count as characters.
A hazard limit can be modified by the play of certain cards. Tapping a Nazgûl permanent-event does count against the hazard limit.
Clarification: For the purposes of calculating hazard limits, each company’s size is determined for each company at the beginning of the movement/hazard phase (e.g., it remains fixed). So, if a character is eliminated during his company’s portion of the movement/hazard phase, his company’s hazard limit does not change.
HAZARD CARDS, NON-EVENT
Hazard cards represent evil forces and natural dangers in Middle-earth. Even though your Ringwraith and his minions are serving Sauron, the evil forces in the world will often attack you on purpose or by mistake — that’s the nature of evil.
You may play hazard cards only during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase. Detainment attacks are described on page 31.
Note: Hazards that give bonuses to attacks do not give bonuses to characters and companies.
You may use a creature card to directly attack one of your opponent’s companies. Such an attack can occur only if one of the following criterion is met:
- The company is at a specific site at which the creature’s card text says it can be played.
- The company’s site of origin or new site is in a region where the creature’s card text says it can be played.
- One of the site symbols on the creature’s card matches the site that the company moved to (i.e., the new site) or stayed at (i.e., if the company did not move).
- At least one of the region symbols on the creature’s card matches one of the region types the company moved through this turn (see below). If the creature’s card has two region symbols of the same type (i.e., a deep Wilderness creature), then the company must have moved through at least two regions of that same type.
Note: The Geann a-Lisch site is a Darkhaven. However, as stated on its card, creatures keyed to Ruins & Lairs may be played against a company that has Geann a-Lisch as its new site or as its current site if did not move.
Clarification: Two wilderness symbols are required in a site path to play a deep Wilderness creature. However, the two symbols need not be adjacent in the site path. For example, a deep Wilderness creature may be played keyed to the site path: w b b w. If a company travels with two Wilderness on its site path, the chance of encountering very dangerous Wilderness monsters has doubled, even if the two Wildernesses are not adjacent.
If a creature satisfies more than one of these conditions, you must choose (when you play the creature) one of these conditions that the attack is “keyed to.” The effects of certain cards are based upon the region or site type that a creature is keyed to.
The region types that a company moves through during a given turn are determined by the following criteria:
- If a company did not play a new site card, it did not move through any regions-so, no creature may be played based solely on region conditions.
- If the company was at a Darkhaven site and has played a new non-Darkhaven site card (but no region cards), the region types are indicated by the new site card’s site path.
- If the company was at a Darkhaven site and has played a new Darkhaven site card (but no region cards), the region types are indicated by the new Darkhaven site card’s “Site Path from” the old Darkhaven site (i.e., the site path from the site of origin Darkhaven).
- If the company was at a non-Darkhaven site and has played a new Darkhaven site card (but no region cards), the region types are indicated by the site of origin’s site path (i.e., the site path on the site that the company left).
- Standard Rules: If the company used region movement, the region types of the site path are indicated by the region cards or an appropriate map (i.e., each region card has a region type).
Clarification: The player playing a hazard creature must specifically state the type of region or site that a creature is keyed to — it can affect the use of other cards.
For example, if a character with a Shadow-cloak faces a strike from a creature that has been played keyed to Shadow-land, he can tap the Shadow-cloak to cancel the strike. However, if such a strike is keyed to Border-land, he cannot use his cloak against it.
Note: A creature played keyed to a specific region by name is not keyed to the specific region’s type. For example, if Thranduil’s Folk is played keyed to the Grey Mountain Narrows (a Shadow-land region), a target character with a Shadow-cloak can not use it to cancel a strike — the attack is keyed to the region by name, not by type.
Example: Certain card combinations make a specific card more powerful. The hazard creature, Dire Wolves, has 4 strikes with a prowess of 8. However, if played in combination with a Wake of War card, Dire Wolves has 5 strikes with a prowess of 9. If played in combination with a Wake of War and a Doors of Night, Dire Wolves has 6 strikes with a prowess of 10.
During your organization phase, you may store any of your items that are at a Darkhaven site. The controlling character must make a corruption check before an item can be stored.
A stored item is placed in your marshalling point pile and counts for marshalling points. Once an item is stored it may not be unstored and brought back into play. The One Ring may not be stored.
Some items and resource cards state that they can be stored when at a specific site (e.g., the Seize Prisoners card can be stored at a Darkhaven) — other cards may not be stored. Such an item or resource card is still placed in the marshalling point pile and cannot be brought back into play.
Note: If you store a gold ring, it is automatically tested (see page 44).
Clarification: A character bearing a certain type of card cannot untap until the card is stored. After storing such a card, the character does not untap until the untap phase of his player’s next turn.
Clarification: Unless stated otherwise on the card, the marshalling points for a card that can be stored apply regardless of whether or not the card is stored.
During your organization phase, you may transfer items between characters at the same site. The controlling character must make a corruption check before an item can be transferred.
Clarification: A corruption check is required before an item can be stored or transferred. A character that fails such a corruption check has decided not to follow his Ringwraith’s commands concerning the item’s use (i.e., the item is discarded and the character is eliminated).
Normally, when a character leaves active play (e.g., discarded or eliminated), all cards controlled by him are discarded. There are two major exceptions to this:
- Sometimes, the card that causes the character to leave play allows him to transfer an item(s) (e.g., Call of Home).
- If a character is eliminated due to failing a body check, one item can be immediately transferred to each unwounded character in his company; but the rest of his items are discarded.
ACTIONS AND CARD PLAY
The various activities that you and your opponent can perform during play are called actions. Typical actions include playing a card, tapping a card, making a corruption check, revealing a card, etc. The following general guidelines apply to resolving actions; more detailed guidelines can be found on pages 69-70.
- You must give your opponent a chance to respond to every action, and vice versa. If you perform an action and move on to another action without giving your opponent a chance to respond, you must “back up” if he indicates that he wants to respond. A series of declared actions made in response to one another is called a “chain of effects”. You always have the option of declaring the first action in a chain of effects during your turn. The actions in a chain of effects are resolved one at a time from last declared to first declared (i.e., the last declared action is resolved first, then the second to the last, etc.).
- If the play of a card requires other actions (e.g., corruption checks), the actions are resolved in the order in which they appear on the card.
- A required or declared dice roll is an action and can be the target of another action or effect declared later in the same chain of effects. Otherwise, a card cannot be targeted until it resolves.
- When the effects of a dice roll require further actions (e.g., a roll for a strike requires a body check), those actions become the first actions (any further rolls come first) in the next chain of effects after the roll.
You should read and master the Starter Rules before tackling the Standard Rules.
Note: These rules apply to a Ringwraith player playing a Ringwraith player. See Part IV (page 73) for guidelines for handling a game between a Ringwraith and a Wizard.
The Standard Rules victory conditions differ from those found in the Starter Rules in three ways. First, the players can decide to play a longer game. Second, certain modifications to the marshalling point totals can be made at the Audience With Sauron. Third, Sudden Call may be used as a hazard to cause the Audience with Sauron to be called.
THE LONGER GAMES
The Starter Game is also called the “1-deck game.” For experienced players with tuned decks, this game usually lasts 20-60 minutes. If you want longer, more detailed play, there are 3 other games.
The 2-deck Game
In a “2-deck game” (the “short game”), the Audience is called when each play deck has been exhausted twice. You may use a Sudden Call card when a play deck has been exhausted twice, or when a play deck has been exhausted once and the player with that deck has at least 25 marshalling points (MPs).
The 3-deck Game
In a “3-deck game” (the “long game”), the Audience is called when each play deck has been exhausted three times. You may use a Sudden Call card when a play deck has been exhausted three times, or when it has been exhausted twice and the player with that deck has at least 30 marshalling points (MPs). Increase the sideboard size to 30 cards.
The 4-deck Game
In a “4-deck game” (i.e., the “campaign game”), the Audience is called when each play deck has been exhausted four times. You may use a Sudden Call card when a play deck has been exhausted four times, or when it has been exhausted three times and the player with that deck has at least 40 marshalling points (MPs). Increase the sideboard size to 35 cards.
MARSHALLING POINT MODIFICATIONS
There are six different types of marshalling points; each is associated with a specific shape:
- Character Points — Octagon
- Item Points (Major, Greater, & Rings only) — Square
- Faction Points — Triangle pointing down
- Ally Points — Triangle pointing up
- Kill Points (from defeating “*” creatures) — Circle
- Miscellaneous Points — Diamond
At the audience, these types of marshalling points can affect your marshalling point total in two ways:
- If your opponent has zero (or negative) points for any one type of marshalling point, your points for that same type of marshalling point are doubled. This doesn’t apply to kill points and miscellaneous points.
- No more than half (round up) of your final marshalling points can come from any one type of marshalling point. If one type of marshalling point is over half of your total, reduce the points for that type until they are only half (or less) of your total.
Finally, you may reveal any unique marshalling point cards in your hand that match your opponent has in play. Each such revealed card reduces your opponent’s final MP total by one.
Clarification: These marshalling point modifications do not apply until the audience actually takes place. Specifically, the modifications do not affect your MP total when it is used to determine if you can call the audience (i.e., you need 20 MPs to call the audience before any of these modification).
Wendy notices that Nick has no faction points. So her faction points are doubled to 10. Unfortunately, Nick’s problems are not over. 11 of his marshalling points are character points and only 7 are non-character points. Since he cannot have more than half of his points from any one source, Nick only gets 7 MPs from his characters.
At this point, the marshalling points (MPs) break down as follows:
|Wendy’s MP Cards||Initial MPs||Modified MPs|
|Black Mace (item)||2||2|
|Magic ring of Fury (item)||2||2|
|Orcs of Angmar (faction)||2||4|
|The Warg-king (ally)||2||2|
|Seize Prisoners (misc.)||2||2|
|Nick’s MP Cards||Initial MPs||Modified MPs|
|Lieutenant of Morgul||3||3|
|Palantír of Orthanc (item)||3||3|
|Magic Ring of Enigma (item)||2||2|
At this point, Nick reveals that he has cards for The Warg-king, Shagrat, and Grishnákh in his hand (he was saving them for this). Since they duplicate three of Wendy’s unique MP cards, her MP total is reduced by one for each of these cards. Thus, Wendy ends up with 22 MPs and Nick ends up with 14 MPs-Wendy wins. Nick curses his luck because he failed to bring the Hillmen into play on his last turn.
SUDDEN CALL USED AS A HAZARD
In addition to the normal situations outlined in the Starter Game, the Audience With Sauron is called when one of the following occurs:
- If your opponent’s play deck has been exhausted and you play a Sudden Call card as a hazard during one of his turns, the audience starts following your next turn (i.e., you get one last turn).
- If your opponent has at least 20 marshalling points and you play a Sudden Call card as a hazard during one of his turns, the audience starts following your next turn (i.e., you get one last turn).
There are several Standard Rules changes involving manifestations and sideboards.
In addition to the normal location deck and play deck, you can have a 25 card “sideboard” deck. Your sideboard can contain resource, hazard, and character cards (including any Ringwraiths). However, your combined play deck, starting company, and sideboard can only contain one of each unique card and a maximum of three of any non-unique card. As an exception, you may choose one Ringwraith and include up to two copies of his card in your combined play deck and sideboard.
Using Your Sideboard When You Exhaust Your Deck
Whenever you exhaust your play deck, you may exchange (before reshuffling) up to 5 cards between your sideboard and discard pile. Each such card taken from your sideboard must be replaced by a card from your discard pile.
Using Your Sideboard When You Tap Your Ringwraith
During your organization phase, you may tap your Ringwraith to bring up to 5 resource and/or character cards from your sideboard into your discard pile.
Alternatively, if your play deck has at least 5 cards, you may tap your Ringwraith to bring one resource or character card directly from your sideboard into your play deck (reshuffle).
Using Your Sideboard When You Tap a Nazgûl Hazard
During your opponent’s movement/hazard phase, you may tap and discard one of your Nazgûl hazard permanent-events in play to bring up to 5 hazard cards from your sideboard into your discard pile. The normal result of tapping a Nazgûl hazard does not apply. The Nazgûl hazard is discarded. Tapping a Nazgûl hazard in this fashion does count against the hazard limit.
Alternatively, if your play deck has at least 5 cards, you may tap a Nazgûl hazard permanent-event to bring one hazard card directly from your sideboard into your play deck (reshuffle).
Using Your Sideboard When Your opponent’s Ringwraith is in Play
At the end of your opponent’s untap phase, if your opponent’s Ringwraith is in play, you may at this point bring up to five hazard cards from your sideboard to your discard pile; or, if your play deck has at least 5 cards, you may bring one hazard card directly from your sideboard into your play deck (reshuffle).
If you move cards from your sideboard in this fashion, the hazard limit for each of your opponent’s companies is reduced to half of normal for the rest of the turn (round up, e.g., a hazard limit of 2 becomes 1, a hazard limit of 3 becomes 2, etc.).
Clarification: Your opponent may verify how many cards move to and from your sideboard, but you do not have to reveal what those cards are.
Clarification: Your combined play deck and sideboard cannot violate the 1 unique card and 3 non-unique card limit. However, there is no restriction on the mix of hazards, resources, and characters in your sideboard. That is, for the purposes of your sideboard, you can ignore the play deck restrictions: the limit of 10 characters and the equal mix of resources and hazards.
Certain entities (e.g., Stinker, Ringwraiths, etc.) have several different manifestations, each represented by a different card.
- If one manifestation of such an entity is already in play, you may not play another manifestation of the same entity.
- If an attack from a manifestation is defeated, the manifestation is removed from active play and you may not play any further manifestations of the same entity.
Exception: If you reveal your Ringwraith (see page 20), any manifestations of that Ringwraith are immediately discarded (e.g., a corresponding Nazgûl hazard or an identical Ringwraith card that has been played as a “Ringwraith follower,” see page 58). You cannot reveal a Ringwraith if your opponent has already revealed that same Ringwraith as his own (non-follower) Ringwraith.
Exception: Different manifestations of the same unique Dragon may be in play at the same time.
Note: If one card says that it is the manifestation of another card, these restrictions apply to both cards.
Example: Stinker (a minion ally) is in play with one of your characters. So, neither you nor your opponent can play My Precious (the hazard manifestation of Stinker) until Stinker is discarded. Similarly, if your opponent is playing a Wizard, he may not play Gollum (the hero ally manifestation of Stinker). If your Stinker is eliminated, My Precious and Gollum may never be played.
If both players agree to use METW region cards, add them to your locations deck (i. e., you decide to use region movement, see pages 78).
Note: For play balance, we recommend both players have access to approximately the same number of region cards. If this cannot be achieved, region cards should not be used.
There are several Standard Rules changes involving characters and companies.
Orc scouts only count half towards a company’s size (round up).
LIMITATIONS ON COMPANY COMPOSITION
- There are three other limitations on the types of characters that can be in a company.
- Unless at a Darkhaven, an Orc or a Troll cannot be in a company that contains an Elf, a Dwarf, or a Dúnadan — and vice versa.
- Unless at a Darkhaven, your Ringwraith’s company may only contain your Ringwraith and Ringwraith followers (see page 58).
- Unless at a Darkhaven, a company may only contain one leader. A leader is a character with the keyword “leader,” in its text box. These limitations also apply to moving companies.
Note: If two companies end up at a non-Darkhaven sit and combining those companies would violate the limitations on company composition, one of the companies that just moved must return to its site of origin. Similarly, an effect that causes such a violation is cancelled (e.g., We Have Come to Kill).
Instead of bringing a new character into play during your organization phase, you may discard a character that is at a Darkhaven or at his home site. Your Ringwraith may not be discarded.
You must take this action when you are forced to discard a character due to a lack of available influence. In this case, the character(s) need not be at a Darkhaven.
Clarification: If a character’s mind changes at any point, the influence required to control him also changes.
Clarification: if you do not have enough influence to control all of your characters in play, they remain in play. However, you must discard any excess characters at the end of your next organization phase. If you bring a character into play during your organization phase and then do not have enough influence to control him, the character just brought into play must be returned to your hand at the end of your organization phase.
BRINGING CHARACTERS INTO PLAY
To play a character card, you must have enough general influence or direct influence available to control the character into play. In addition, you must meet both of the following requirements:
- If the character is not an agent, you may only play him at his home site at any Darkhaven site. If the character is an agent, you may only play him at his home site.
- If your Ringwraith is in play, your Ringwraith (or a character with enough direct influence to control the character to be played) must be at the site at which the character is to be played.
If the following conditions are met, you may bring another (different) Ringwraith character into play at your Ringwraith’s site — such a character is called a “Ringwraith follower.”
- Your Ringwraith is already in play.
- Your Ringwraith is at a Darkhaven or he is at the Ringwraith follower’s home site.
- You have the card of the additional Ringwraith in your hand.
- Your opponent does not have the Ringwraith already in play and the Ringwraith has not been eliminated.
- You have the card or ability allowing a Ringwraith follower to be played (e.g., They Ride Together, The Witch-king’s ability).
A Ringwraith follower must always be under the control of your Ringwraith and may move to non-Darkhaven sites with your Ringwraith. Your Ringwraith must use 1 point of direct influence to control each Ringwraith follower. Your Ringwraith follower may not be influenced away by your opponent.
A Ringwraith follower may not use any of its special abilities. Ûvatha’s ability to automatically join another Ringwraith’s company is an exception to this.
When you reveal your Ringwraith, your opponent must discard any identical Ringwraith card that has been played as a Ringwraith follower.
This is a summary of the special effects of the Ringwraith character.
- A Ringwraith may only be in a company with non-Ringwraith characters if he is at a Darkhaven.
- Any ring in the Ringwraith’s company at the beginning of the end-of-turn phase is automatically tested. Any ring test in a Ringwraith’s company has a modification of -2.
- A Ringwraith may carry items (including rings) but may not use them (i.e., an item has no effect on a Ringwraith’s company or on his attributes and abilities).
- Ringwraiths never make corruption checks and corruption cards may not be played on Ringwraiths.
- Unless at a Darkhaven, a Ringwraith may not be in a company with non-Ringwraith characters.
- A Ringwraith may not use a site path that contains Coastal Seas regions.
- A Ringwraith’s company may not use region movement.
- A Ringwraith follower is only discarded as described on the mode cards (i.e., Heralded Lord, Black Rider, and Fell Rider). · A Ringwraith follower (see the previous page) may not use any of its special abilities. Ûvatha’s ability to automatically join another Ringwraith’s company is an exception to this.
- If a body check against a Ringwraith is exactly equal to 7 or 8, the Ringwraith is returned to your hand. You do not lose the game if your Ringwraith is removed in this fashion — you may bring such a Ringwraith back into play in the same fashion as you revealed him in the first place. If this happens to our Ringwraith, you may not reveal a different Ringwraith and your opponent may not reveal the Ringwraith that you returned to your hand.
Note: This represents the Ringwraith’s mount being eliminated.
SPLITTING A COMPANY AT A NON-DARKHAVEN SITE
During the organization phase, a company at a non-Darkhaven site may split into two or more companies. The following instructions apply:
- One of the companies may remain at the current site.
- One of the companies may return to the Darkhaven site indicated by the current site’s card.
- Any other companies must move to different sites using region movement.
Clarification: These restrictions mean that two companies may not start at the same site and then move to the same site separately (i.e., in such a situation the two companies would have to move as one company).
If you have Middle-earth: The Wizards cards (or an appropriate map), there are two ways to move from one site to another. A company can use the site path on a site card (see the Starter Rules) or it can use region cards as its site path to a specific site card (i.e., region movement).
A Ringwraith’s company may not use region movement.
If both players agree, they can use region movement as it is used in METW. See page 78 for region movement guidelines.
Clarification: Region movement is not necessary to play this game. Region movement just gives you more options; i.e., with region movement a company need not move to a Darkhaven every other turn. Region cards are not included in MELE. However, the map in the color insert facilitates region movement.
MOVING COMPANIES TO THE SAME NON-DARKHAVEN SITE
During the organization phase, two or more companies may move to the same non-Darkhaven site, but one of the following cases must apply:
- One company may already be at the site. In this case the other company moving to the site must state that its new site card is already in play (the current site card for the non-moving company). This site card remains in play until at least the end of the turn.
- Two or more companies moving to the site must state that the same site face down is their new site card.
Note: This means that your Ringwraith’s company may not move to the same non-Darkhaven site as one of your other companies, since this would result in your Ringwraith joining with other characters.
An untapped character that is not the target of a strike may tap to support a character in the same company that is the target of a strike. The target’s prowess is modified by +1 for each supporting character.
Clarification: An ally may tap to give a +1 prowess modification in this manner.
Example: A Cave Drake (two strikes, 10/-) attacks your company which consists of the untapped characters: Gorbag, Snaga, Muzgash, Ufthak, and an Orc Veteran. Cave -drake allows your opponent to assign the strikes, so he assigns them to Gorbag and Muzgash. Gorbag takes his strike without tapping and rolls a 12, easily defeating the attack. Muzgash has He’ll Talk played on him, so you want to survive. You tap Snaga, Ufthak, and the Orc Veteran to aid Muzgash in facing the strike. You would also like to tap Gorbag, but you cannot — he was assigned a strike, so he is still a target of this attack. Muzgash has a prowess of 7 versus this attack: 4 (his own prowess) + 1 (Snaga’s support) + 1 (Ufthak’s support) +1 (Orc Veteran’s support).
You only receive kill marshalling points for defeating a creature with an * next to its marshalling points. You may use the creature’s card as a trophy card (see below) or you may place the card in your marshalling point pile.
Note: A Wizard player does not receive marshalling points for defeating such a creature with an * next to its marshalling points.
If you defeat a creature that does not have an * next to its marshalling points, you may use the creature’s card as a trophy card (see below) or you may place the card in your out-of-play pile. You do not receive marshalling points for defeating it.
Note: You do not receive marshalling points if the creature you defeat is one of your own cards.
If one of your minion companies defeat a creature, you may place the creature’s card under the control of any Orc or Troll character that faced a strike from the creature’s attack. This card is called a “trophy” and is treated as a minor item with zero corruption points.
A trophy may not be transferred or stored. If a trophy that is not worth kill marshalling points to you is discarded, it is placed in your out-of-play pile. If a trophy that is worth kill marshalling points to you is discarded, it is placed in your marshalling point pile.
Trophies give a character bonuses based upon the total number of marshalling points indicated by the trophies (i.e., on the creature cards). One and only one of the following sets of bonuses applies to a character with trophies.
- If a character’s trophies have 1 marshalling point, the character receives +1 to direct influence.
- If a character’s trophies have 2 marshalling points, the character receives +1 to direct influence and +1 to prowess (to a maximum of 9).
- If a character’s trophies have 3 marshalling points, the character receives +2 to direct influence and +1 to prowess (to a maximum of 9).
- If a character’s trophies have 4 or more marshalling points, the character receives +2 to direct influence and +2 to prowess (to a maximum of 9).
Note: You may not use one of your own cards as a trophy.
Before the roll is made for a corruption check, you may tap other characters in the same company as the character making the check. The corruption check is modified by +1 for each such character tapped.
A corruption check for any character in a Ringwraith’s company is modified by +2.
Clarification: If more than one character in a company are forced to make corruption checks, the corruption checks are resolved one at a time in an order chosen by the player controlling the characters. Each character tapped may only give a +1 modification to one corruption check, not to all of the corruption checks.
Clarification: When the Audience with Sauron is called, a character may only tap to give a +1 corruption check modification to another character in the same company.
Influence is the only way that your characters can directly affect your Ringwraith opponent’s resources. During your site phase, one and only one of your characters may tap to attempt to influence away one of your opponent’s characters, followers, allies, factions, or items. This may only take place if the influencing character and the target of the influence are at the same site. If you successfully influence the target, it is discarded. In some cases, you may reveal an identical card and attempt to play it (i.e., he convinces the target to join his side).
Such an influence attempt may not be made on the first turn, and your Ringwraith may not make such an attempt on the turn he is revealed.
Note: An influence check can never be made against your Ringwraith, a Ringwraith follower, an ally controlled by your Ringwraith, or an item controlled by your Ringwraith.
Influencing an Opponent’s Non-follower Character
To attempt to influence one of your opponent’s non-follower characters you must make an influence check. You make a roll (2D6) and:
- Add the influencing character’s unused direct influence.
- Subtract your opponent’s unused general influence points.
- Subtract the result of a roll (2D6) made by your opponent.
- Add any other modifications (from cards and special abilities). All modification cards must be played before either player makes a roll.
If the modified result is greater than the target’s mind attribute, the target character card and all of the non-follower cards he controls are discarded. Otherwise, nothing happens.
If you reveal an identical character card from your hand before making the roll for the influence check, the target character’s mind attribute is treated as if it were zero. If the attempt is unsuccessful, you must discard the character card you revealed. If such an influence check is successful, the target character and his non-follower cards are discarded and dee revealed character card may be immediately played (appearing at the same site). In order to play this character, you must have enough unused general influence to control him or an influencing character at the same site must have enough direct influence.
Clarification: If you reveal an identical character in order to nullify the target character’s mind attribute for an influence check, you must discard that character if you do not play him.
Influencing an Opponent’s Follower
To influence an opponent’s follower, you must make an influence check as outlined above. However, the result is also modified by subtracting the “unused direct influence” of the follower’s controlling character.
Influencing an Opponent’s Faction
To influence an opponent’s faction, you must make an influence check as outlined above. However, the following exceptions apply:
- Instead of a mind attribute, the influence check uses the value usually required to bring the faction into play (as given on the faction’s card).
- The influence check is modified by any of the faction’s applicable modifications (as given on the faction’s card).
- Revealing an identical faction card reduces the value usually required to bring the faction into play to zero and allows you to play that card if the influence check is successful.
You may only influence an opponent’s factions if the influencing character is at the site where the faction was played.
Influencing an Opponent’s Ally
To influence an opponent’s ally, you must make an influence check as outlined above. However, the following exceptions apply:
- Instead of the controlling character’s mind attribute, the influence check uses the ally’s mind attribute.
- The result is also modified by the “unused direct influence” of the character controlling the ally.
- Revealing an identical ally card reduces the ally’s mind attribute to zero and allows you to play the card if the influence check is successful.
Influencing an Opponent’s Item
To influence an opponent’s item, you must make an influence check as outlined above. However, the following exceptions apply:
- The mind attribute of the character controlling the item is used.
- The result is also modified by subtracting the “unused direct influence” of the item’s controlling character.
- You must reveal an identical item card in order to make an influence attempt on an item (i.e., you are attempting to convince the controlling character that the item would be more useful to Sauron’s cause in your hands). If the influence check is successful, you may play your card with the character that made the influence check — if you choose not to play the item, discard it.
You may not make an influence attempt on an item with a permanent-event on it.
Clarification: The unused direct influence for an influence check against an item is affected by any direct influence modification that the target item gives its bearer.
Wendy rolls 2D6 and gets a 6, while Nick rolls 2D6 and gets a 7. So the modified result of the influence check is 2 = 6 (Wendy’s roll) + 5 (Lieutenant of Morgul’s unused direct influence) — 2 (Nick’s unused general influence) — 7 (Nick’s roll).
This is greater than Radbug’s mind (0 for this roll), so Nick’s Radbug card is discarded. Since Wendy revealed her Radbug card, she may now play it with her company. She decides to control him with her unused general influence, rather than place him as a follower of Lieutenant of Morgul.
Nick smiles when he sees this. On his turn he does not move. During the site phase he enters the site and his Lieutenant of Dol Guldur attempts to influence Radbug’s card back. Lieutenant of Dol Guldur has 3 unused direct influence and a +2 direct influence against Orcs. Wendy now only has 1 unused general influence, since she used 4 to control Radbug.
Nick rolls 2D6 and gets a 5, while Wendy rolls 2D6 and gets a 7. So the modified result of the influence check is 2 = 5 (Nick’s roll) + 5 (Lieutenant of Dol Guldur’s unused direct influence) — 1 (Wendy’s unused general influence) — 7 (Wendy’s roll).
A 2 was good enough for Wendy, but it is not good enough for Nick. Since Nick could not play a Radbug card, he has to beat Radbug’s mind of 4 to influence him away.
There are several Standard Rules changes involving playing cards.
PLACING A CARD ON-GUARD
During the movement/hazard phase of your opponent’s turn, you may place one card on-guard for each of your opponent’s companies. This card is played face down next to the company’s new site or next to its current site if it did not move. Any card can be placed on-guard (i.e., it does not have to be a hazard, you can bluff). Such a card does count against the hazard limit for the company it is placed on. The card will remain on that site until one of the following occurs:
- The company decides to face the site’s automatic-attack. If the on-guard card is a hazard creature keyed to the company’s site or a hazard that can modify the automatic-attack, it may be revealed before the automatic-attack is resolved. If it is a hazard creature, it will attack after the automatic-attack is resolved.
- The company plays a card that potentially taps the site. If the on-guard card is a non-creature hazard, it may be revealed if it is a hazard that directly affects the company or a character in the company (e.g., a hazard that forces all characters to make a corruption check).
- Otherwise, return the card to your hand at the end of the site phase.
In the first two cases, the card is handled as if it had been played during the movement-hazard phase (i.e., short-events are discarded, long-events last until your opponent’s next long-event phase, etc.).
Note: A card may not be revealed in the second case above if it: returns the company to its site of origin, taps the site or a character in the company, forces the company to do nothing during the site phase, or potentially removes a character or ally from the company (outside of combat or forcing a corruption check).
After visiting Gondmaeglom, Wendy’s company moves to The Lonely Mountain. During her movement/hazard phase, Nick places a card on-guard. The card is Awaken Denizens, but since it is face down Wendy does not know that. This card doubles the number of strikes for an automatic-attack at a Ruins & Lairs site.
During her site phase, Wendy states that her company will face The Lonely Mountain’s automatic-attack (a Dragon, 1 strike with a prowess of 14). Nick reveals his on-guard card and the automatic-attack becomes 2 strikes with a prowess of 14 each. Wendy’s company must face this attack.
On the next turn Nick’s company moves to Dimrill Dale. Wendy plays a Cave-drake on-guard. Nick declares he will face the automatic-attack (Orc, 1 strike at 6 prowess). Wendy reveals the Cave-drake, and Nick will have to face it after the automatic-attack.
Next, Wendy’s company moves to the Dead Marshes. Nick plays a Weariness of the Heart on-guard. Wendy faces the automatic-attack and then plays an item. In response to the item being played, Nick reveals the Weariness of the Heart and forces one of Wendy’s characters to make a corruption check.
Finally, Nick’s company moves to Bag End. They face several creatures along the way and barely make it there in one piece. Additionally, Wendy places A Nice Place to Hide on-guard. Since it is a resource she will never be able to reveal it. Nick does not know this, and is worried about what the card might be, so he decided not to enter the site this turn. The site phase ends and A Nice Place to Hide returns to Wendy’s hand.
LIMITS ON DRAWING CARDS
During your turn, you may draw cards based on one of your moving companies only if the company contains a Ringwraith or at least one character with a mind attribute of three or more.
DICE ROLL TIMING
Before a roll is made for combat or a check, cards may be played that will modify the result of the roll. However, once the roll is actually made, no further cards may be played that modify the dice roll result. This modified result is used to determine effects of the combat or check before any other actions are taken. When the effects of a dice roll require other actions (e.g., a successful strike requires a body check) those actions become the initial actions (any further rolls come first) in the next chain of effects after the roll.
You and your opponent may both want to perform actions at the same time or actions that are sequenced with respect to other actions. This can happen during your movement/hazard phase (or during your site phase if your opponent has a card on-guard). Such actions almost always include playing a card, tapping a card already in play, and revealing an on-guard card.
Your opponent may always declare an action in response before your action is resolved. Then, you may respond to his action, and he can respond to your second action, and so on until neither player can (or wants to) perform an action.
You must give your opponent a chance to respond to every action, and vice versa. If you perform an action and move on to another action without giving your opponent a chance to respond, you must “backup” if he indicates that he wants to respond.
Such a series of declared actions is called a chain of effects. You always have the option of declaring the first action in a chain of effects during your turn. The actions in a chain of effects are resolved one at a time from last declared to first declared (i.e., the last declared action is resolved first, then the second to the last, etc.).
You may follow one of your declared actions with another of your declared actions in the same chain of effects, so long as you give your opponent a chance to respond to first action.
An action in a chain of effects is negated if the conditions required to perform it are negated by another action that is resolved before it in the chain of effects.
Creature hazards may not be played in response to other actions. They must always start a chain of effects.
0. Doors of Night in play.
1. Minions Stir declared.
2. Skies of Fire declared.
3. Twilight declared targeting Skies of Fire. Normally you can’t target a card that isn’t in play (hasn’t resolved yet), but Twilight says it can be played on cards not yet resolved.
4. No more actions are declared, so actions start resolving.
5. Twilight resolves canceling and discarding Skies of Fire.
6. Skies of Fire would have resolved here, taking out Doors of Night, but it was cancelled so nothing happens.
7. Minions Stir resolves.
It is your turn so you have the option of starting the next chain of effects. You play a Voices of Malice, targeting Minions Stir. You would have like to have played it between 3) and 4), but Minions Stir was not in play at that time, so you could not target it). Your opponent does not respond, so Voices of Malice resolves and discards Minions Stir.
Each of these optional rules may be used if all players agree before the game begins. Refer to the appendices (page 86) for conventions of tournament play — these are widely used for casual play.
Company vs. Company Combat — When one player is a Ringwraith and his opponent is a Wizard (see Part IV), combat can occur between companies (see page 80). After such a combat, if your opponent’s company has only wounded characters you may attempt to “steal an item.” To steal an item, you must tap a character in your company that was involved in the combat. Then, you can force your opponent to discard an item of your choice in his company that was involved in the combat. Finally, if you have a manifestation of the discarded item in your hand, you may play it with the character you just tapped.
Except for the guidelines presented in this section, a multi-player game (3-5 players) uses the normal rules.
Victory Conditions: The normal rules are used for victory conditions and to determine when the game ends. However, when a player calls the Audience With Sauron, each of the other players gets to take one final turn. If a player’s Ringwraith is eliminated, that player is out of the game; however, the game only ends in this manner if only one player is left in the game. The doubling of your marshalling points based on a MP type only applies if none of your opponents has a card in play of that type.
Getting Ready to Play: Before the players set up their decks for play, each player makes a roll (reroll all ties). When play starts, the players will sit clockwise around the table I the order of their rolls, from highest to lowest. The highest roller chooses the Ringwraith he will play, the second highest roller chooses his Ringwraith from the remaining Ringwraiths, etc. Each player may place up to two of his Ringwraith cards in his play deck.
At this point each player should have his play deck constructed. For multi-player games, half (round up) of the hazards in your play deck must be hazard creatures.
Each player should select a character pool of up to 25 characters. The low roller reveals a character from his pool; this character starts in play. Then, the player to the right of the low roller reveals a starting character that has not already been revealed. This process continues in a counter-clockwise direction until all players have revealed their starting characters as outlined in the normal rules. Then, each player may place up to 10 characters from their character pool into their play decks.
After the characters are all revealed, each player may exchange up to three cards between his play deck and his cards not being used (all normal play deck restrictions must be met). The highest roller takes his turn first. Then, the player to his left takes his turn, and so on.
The Player Turn: Your “hazard-opponent” for the purposes of hazards is the player to your left. During your long-event Phase, you remove your own resource long-events and the hazard long-events belonging to your hazard-opponent. Only your hazard-opponent may draw cards (based on the site being moved to) and play hazards during your movement/hazard phase. A player only has the option of discarding a card during the End-of-Turn Phase if it is his own turn or if it is his hazard-opponent’s turn.
Twilight cards can be played at any time by any player. Permanent-events, long-events, and other “global” events (e.g., tapping Ren the Unclean) affect all players.
Middle-earth: the Wizards Companion provides some expanded, variant multi-player rules.
Getting Started: Place all of your hazard cards in one shuffled deck. (Variant #1: Have someone construct a hazard deck for you. Variant #2: Construct several “well-tuned” hazard decks of approximately 25 cards each, then play against each one.) Your play deck has no hazards and must have at least 30 cards. Your hand size is only five cards.
During Play: Proceed normally, except for the following exceptions. There is no opponent’s player turn. Whenever you would draw or discard to get a hand of 8 cards, you now draw or discard to get a hand of 5 cards. During the movement/hazard phase, you draw and discard normally for each company.
Playing Hazards: During the movement/hazard phase, for each company, you draw hazards equal to 2 plus twice the number of hazard cards normally drawn for that site. Then you must play as many of those cards as you can within the hazard limit for the company. You should play the hazards in the fashion that is most disadvantageous for your companies. Any cards requiring Doors of Night are saved and played when a Doors of Night is drawn.
Object of the Game: The object of the solitaire game is to accumulate as many marshalling points (MPs) as you can by the time you exhaust your play deck for the second time.
Middle-earth: the Wizards Companion provides some expanded, variant multi-player rules.
When one player is a Ringwraith and his opponent is a Wizard, play proceeds normally for each player within the limitations outlined in this section.
Note: Unless stated otherwise, the Wizard player uses the METW rules and the Ringwraith player uses the MELE rules. Most elements of METW and MELE are identical — both of these series are part of the Middle-earth Collectible Card Game™ (MECCG™). Should a discrepancy arise between an aspect of the MELE and the METW rules, the MELE rules takes precedence as they were written with refinements in language and organization. Do not confuse an element of MELE that is particular to playing a Ringwraith with a Wizard’s perspective on things — passages containing Ringwraith only rules are marked with a line of bullets as a sidebar.
Assuming you are a Ringwraith and your opponent is a Wizard, the game ends when one of the following occurs during play:
1. If your Ringwraith is “eliminated” — your opponent wins.
2. If your opponent’s Wizard is “eliminated” (i.e., through combat or corruption) — you win.
3. If you move The One Ring to Barad-dûr — Sauron is reunited with the One Ring and you win. (See page 44 for more on Rings.)
4. If your opponent moves The One Ring to Mount Doom and plays certain cards — The One Ring is destroyed; your opponent wins.
5. Otherwise, the winner is decided when either the Audience With Sauron is called (see pages 6-7) or the Free Council is called (see METW Rules). The audience and the council are called when one of the following occurs:
- When each play deck has been exhausted once, both the audience and the council start at the end of the current turn.
- Otherwise, you as a Ringwraith have played a Sudden Call card or you as a Wizard have called the council (as outlined in the MELE rules and the METW rules). The council and the audience both start at the end of the next turn (i.e., your opponent gets one last turn).
THE AUDIENCE AND THE COUNCIL
All characters and Wizards make corruption checks as outlined in the MELE and METW rules. The winner is the player with the most marshalling points — i.e., the player who has done the most to help his side win.
At the Audience/Council, you may reveal any unique marshalling point cards in your hand that match unique cards that your opponent has in play. You may also reveal any marshalling point cards in your hand that are manifestations of cards that your opponent has in play. Each such revealed card reduces your opponent’s marshalling point total by one.
Hazard cards are the same for both MELE and METW and may be freely used by both Ringwraiths and Wizards. MELE does not include region cards. However, if region movement is being used, Ringwraith players may use METW region cards (or an appropriate, mutually acceptable map).
MELE (i.e., Ringwraith) characters, resources, and sites are different from METW (i.e., Wizard) characters and resources, and sites. It is very important to distinguish between the two types:
- MELE characters are referred to as “minions” (or minion characters) and METW characters are referred to as “heroes” (or hero characters). Minion characters have a rusted purple background while hero characters have a blue stone background.
- MELE resources are referred to as “minion resources” and METW resources are referred to as “hero resources.” Minion resources have a blue-grey metal background while hero resources have a copper metal background.
- MELE sites are referred to as “minion sites” and METW sites are referred to as “hero sites.” Minion sites have a burned-gray parchment background while hero sites have a white parchment background.
The hero version of a unique resource is a manifestation of the same minion version of the resource and vice versa. Normally, the only resources that have both minion and hero versions are items and factions.
Only Ringwraith players may include minion characters, resources, and sites in their decks, while only Wizard players may include hero characters, resources, and sites in their decks.
However, there is an exception o this: a Ringwraith player may use any hero item resource card as if it were a minion item resource card. Similarly, a Wizard player may use any minion item resource card as if it were a hero item resource card. The following apply:
- All normal requirements must be met to play the item.
- All restrictions to movement still apply.
- All bonuses and special abilities are ignored.
- The item is only worth half (round up) of its normal marshalling points.
- The hero version of a unique item is a manifestation of the same minion version of the item and vice versa.
Likewise Wendy is prepared for Nick’s MELE One Ring deck. She plays the hero version of the Scroll of Isildur which Nick often uses to help him get The One Ring. Even though Nick’s version of Scroll of Isildur is a different card, it is considered a manifestation of Wendy’s hero version. Since it is also unique, Nick cannot play his own Scroll of Isildur if Wendy has hers in play.
Note: Agent hazards (see ME: Dark Minions) require the use of sites for movement, and your agent hazards may still use sites from your site deck.
CARD EFFECT LIMITATIONS
Certain cards from the original MECCG are inappropriate for play against MELE decks. The following cards will have no effect on a Ringwraith player. This is because the mechanism of the cards do not work with the mechanics of Ringwraith companies, or their effects is too powerful against a Ringwraith company.
From ME: The Wizards
Bane of the Ithil-stone
The Nazgûl are Abroad
From ME: The Dragons
Winds of Wrath
Worn and Famished
From ME: Dark Minions
all events that require an agent
The Black Enemy’s Wrath
Chance of Being Lost
Great Secrets Buried There
In the Heart of His Realm
Mordor in Arms
There are also certain cards from the original MECCG that your play group may not want to use. Some of these are cards that represent too much of an intentional action by Sauron himself. Sauron would not go about hindering his own lieutenants as they do his work. The rest of these cards represent something closely associated to the heroes of Middle-earth. Playing them would make little sense in terms of simulating Tolkien’s works. Again, it is up to your playgroup to decide if these cards have an effect on Ringwraith players:
From ME: The Wizards
Eye of Sauron
The Pale Sword
From ME: The Dragons
Many Sorrows Befall
From ME:Dark Minions
Aware of Their Ways
Eyes of the Shadow
In Great Wrath
Long Dark Reach
Out of the Black Sky
Revealed to All Watchers
As mentioned above, only Ringwraith players may include minion characters, resources, and sites in their decks, while only Wizard players may include hero characters, resources, and sites in their decks. For these purposes, decks include sideboards. The following modifications to the deck requirements should be used:
- Place between 30 and 50 Resource cards and an equal number of Hazard cards in your play deck.
- You may place up to three Ringwraiths in your play deck As an exception to the “only one unique card,” you may place up to three of the same Ringwraith in your play deck.
- Minion agents included in a Ringwraith’s deck count as characters for the purposes of meeting deck requirements. However, during play, each minion agent may be played as either a character (i.e., as a minion character) or as a hazard (i.e., as an agent).
- Minion agents included in a Wizard’s deck count as hazards for the purposes of meeting deck requirements.
- You must have at least 12 hazard creatures in your play deck. Several types of cards only count as half a creature for this purpose:
- A creature that is also playable as an event (e.g., Nazgûl, Mouth of Sauron, Shelob, etc.)
- A Dragon “Ahunt” or “At Home” manifestation
- An agent (Wizard player only)
Note: These guidelines should also be used if both players have access to a large number of MECCG cards from MELE, METW, ME: The Dragons, and ME: Dark Minions.
The player turn remains basically the same. However, during your site phase, one and only one of your companies may do one and only one of the following:
- Attempt to influence away one of your opponent’s characters, followers, allies, factions, or items (if it is at the same site).
- Make an attack against one of your opponent’s companies (if it is at the same site). See page 80 for more details.
When you reveal a Ringwraith or play a Ringwraith follower, any corresponding Nazgûl hazard in play is discarded.
If region movement is being used, Ringwraith players may use METW region cards (or an appropriate, mutually acceptable map).
Your Ringwraith company may not use region movement.
Note: Ringwraith must use starter movement because of their difficulties with crossing water. It is assumed that he site paths used in starter movement represent known and well traveled routes so that the Ringwraiths can use them to avoid water barriers that do not have fords, bridges, or ferries.
To use region movement, play a new site card and a series of up to four regions (all face down) that connect the company’s current site with the new site (i.e., the company moves). A series of regions “connects” two sites if:
- The current (i.e., site of origin) site is located in the first region, and
- That region card is adjacent to the next region card played, and
- That region card is adjacent to the next region card played, … , and
- Finally, the last region card played is the region that the new site card is located in.
A region is adjacent to another region if and only if each region lists the other region on its card. The only exception to this is that Ûdun is adjacent to Dagorlad for Ringwraith players.
Clarification: To use region movement for a company, the region cards played must include the region containing the company’s current site and the region containing the new site. If both the current site and the new site are in the same region, only that region card need be played.
Clarification: If two sites are separated by more than four regions, a company may not travel directly between them in one turn (unless some special resource card is used). The company must first travel to interim sites (one per turn) until it reaches a site that is within four regions of the destination site.
Clarification: Certain regions may appear to be adjacent on the maps, but turn out not to be adjacent upon examination of the lists on their cards. For example, Dagorlad and Rohan appear to be adjacent on the maps, but they are really separated by the Anduin River.
For the purposes of playing hazards, the site path for a company using region movement is defined by the region types of the region cards played. You can use a creature hazard to directly attack one of your opponent’s companies if at least one of the region types on the creature’s card matches that region type of a region card played by the company (two are required for creatures that require two symbols of the same type).
Clarification: Region movement can be more dangerous to use than normal movement — certain creatures can be played keyed to specific region cards.
The shortest number of region cards required for this move is 5 and there are two possible routes:
- Gorgoroth d, Ûdun d, Dagorlad s, Southern Rhovanion w, Northern Rhovanion w.
- Gorgoroth d, Nurn d, H. Plains s, Southern Rhovanion w, Northern Rhovanion w.
Since they both have the same site path neither is more dangerous than the other. Since they are both 4 regions long, Wendy’s company will have to stop somewhere along the way. Wendy knows she has the Easterlings in her deck. On the chance that she might draw it, she takes the second route and stops at the Easterling Camp (in the Horse Plains region).
On her first turn, she moves to the Easterling Camp by playing the Easterling Camp site and the following regions: Gorgoroth d, Nurn d, Horse Plains s. On her second turn, she moves to The Lonely Mountain by playing The Lonely Mountain site and the following regions: H. Plains s, Southern Rhovanion w, Northern Rhovanion w.
In Ringwraith vs. Wizard games, most combats with companies fighting creature attacks, automatic-attacks, and special attacks are handled normally. However, when combat occurs between a Ringwraith company and a Wizard company, certain special guidelines must be followed.
CANCELING AN AUTOMATIC-ATTACK
A character at one of his home sites may tap to cancel one automatic-attack at that home site. This does not apply if a character’s home site is not a specific site (e.g., an Orc with an “Any Dark-hold” home site may not cancel an attack in this fashion).
Note: This rule applies to both minion and hero characters.
COMPANY VS. COMPANY COMBAT
During your site phase, one of your companies may attack one of your opponent’s companies if the following conditions are met:
- Both companies are at the same site.
- Your company has faced the automatic-attack (if any).
- You have not already made an influence attempt against your opponent this turn.
This attack is declared and enacted at the end of the site phase following all other actions your company takes during the site phase.
Note: Hazards may not be played during company vs. company combat.
Note: Cards that affect the number of strikes of an attack have no effect on company vs. company combat.
Note: Hazards have no effect company vs. company combat.
Resolving Combat With Another Company
When one of your companies is attacked by another company during your opponent’s site phase, you are considered to be the defending company. Your opponent’s company (the attacking company) is considered to be making a single attack with one strike corresponding to each character in his company.
- Each strike can target one and only one character in the defending company.
- Each character can be the target of only one strike from a given attack.
- If an attack has more strikes than the defending company has characters, the attacker may allocate the excess strikes as -1 modifications (i.e., a -1 mod. For each unallocated strike) to the prowess(es) of whichever target(s) he chooses. See page 29.
This combat is handled like any other combat with the exceptions noted in this section.
Canceling an Attack From a Company
You can cancel an attack from a company just like you would cancel any other attack. Certain cards and abilities only cancel attacks with specific race types (e.g., Not Slay Needlessly only cancels attacks by Elves, Dwarves, Dúnedain, and Men). Such a card can be used to cancel an attack from company only if each character in the company has one of the race types that the card can cancel.
Note: If this attack is canceled, the site phase is over for the attacking company and play proceeds normally.
For company vs. company combat, the process for assigning strikes differ slightly from normal combat:
- First, the defender chooses which untapped characters will be the targets of given strikes.
- Then, the attacker chooses which other defending characters not yet assigned a strike will be the target of any remaining unassigned strikes corresponding to his untapped characters.
- Finally, the defender assigns any remaining strikes to his characters that have not been assigned strikes.
A Strike’s Prowess
Each strike’s prowess is based upon the attacking character corresponding to the strike.
- The base prowess for each of the attack’s strike is equal to the corresponding character’s prowess.
- A wounded attacking character’s prowess is modified by -2.
- A tapped attacking character’s prowess is modified by -1.
- An untapped attacking character’s prowess that does not tap has his prowess modified by -3.
- If an attack has more strikes than the company has characters, the attacker may allocate the excess strikes as -1 modifications to the prowesses of whichever defending character(s) he chooses. See the Strike Sequence on the next page.
- A strike’s prowess may also be modified due to the play of certain resource cards. Each player may only play one resource card requiring skill on a given strike.
Strikes are resolved one at a time as decided by the defending player. When you choose a strike to resolve, determine all of the factors affecting the strike before the roll is made (see “The Strike Sequence” below).
To resolve a strike, the attacker rolls (2D6) and adds his modified prowess — this is the strike’s final prowess.
Then, the defender makes a roll (2D6) and adds his modified prowess:
- If this result is greater than the strike’s final prowess, the strike fails. The character corresponding to the strike is wounded and must make a body check.
- If this result is equal to the strike’s prowess, the strike was ineffectual (i.e., a “tie” means that the strike is avoided but not defeated).
- Otherwise, the strike was successful (i.e., the character was defeated). The target character is wounded and must make a body check.
Body checks for both defending and attacking characters are resolved normally.
If a defending character is eliminated, the attacking player receives “kill” marshalling points as indicated on the character’s card. If an attacking character is eliminated, the defending player receives “kill” marshalling points as indicated on the character’s card.
The Strike Sequence
Strikes are resolved one at a time as decided by the defending player (i.e., he chooses a strike to resolve, the strike is resolved, he chooses the next strike to resolve, the strike is resolved, etc.).
All of the factors affecting the strike must be decided before making any rolls (2D6). Address these factors in the following order:
1. The attacker may play resource cards that affect the strike (up to one card that requires skill).
2. The attacker may decide to use any or all of his remaining (if any) -1 modifiers due to unallocated strikes (i.e., strikes in excess of the company’s size).
3. An attacking, untapped character’s may take a -3 modification so that he will not automatically tap.
4. A defending untapped character may take a -3 modification so that he will not automatically tap.
5. An untapped defending character that is not (and has not been) himself the target of a strike from the same attack may tap to support a defending character. The defending character’s prowess is modified by +1 for each supporting character.
6. The defending player may play resource cards that affect the strike (up to one card that requires skill).
Note: Even though it is not his turn, the defending player may play resource cards that affect the resolution of strikes.
Since he has faced the automatic-attack Nick’s company may now attack Wendy’s company. First, because Beorn is untapped, Wendy gets to assign the strike to Beorn — she assigns Ciryaher’s strike to Beorn. Then, because Frodo is not untapped, Nick then assigns the untapped Carambor’s strike to Frodo. He cannot assign Gulla to Frodo since Gulla is tapped. Since all the defending characters have been assigned a strike, Gulla’s strike becomes a -1 modifier that nick can assign later.
Beorn does his strike sequence first. Nick plays no resources and decides to save his -1 modifier for Frodo. Beorn decides not to tap, so his prowess is 4 (=7 — 3). Ciryaher is tapped, so his prowess is 1 (=2 — 1). Wendy decides to play Risky Blow (+3 prowess an -1 body to a Warrior facing a strike), so Beorn’s prowess is back up to 7. Finally the dice are rolled. Nick rolls a 6 and Wendy rolls a 3. The strike’s final prowess is 7, and Beorn beats this easily with his prowess plus his roll equal to 10. Now Wendy gets to roll a body check against Ciryaher, and she rolls a 4. Ciryaher ends up wounded but not eliminated.
Next Frodo does his strike sequence. Nick plays a Bold Thrust and assigns the -1 modifier (from Gulla) to Frodo. Carambor then taps for his full prowess, plus 3 for the Bold Thrust, for a total of 8. Frodo has a -2 modifier because he is already wounded and a -1 modifier from the extra strike, so his prowess is a — 2). Nick rolls for the final prowess of the strike and gets a 2, making the prowess 10. Frodo rolls and gets an 11, but unfortunately, his -3 prowess drops this to an 8 and the strike succeeds. Nick rolls the body check and gets a 9. Normally this would not eliminate Frodo, but he was already wounded. So, he has a -1 body for this body check — Frodo is eliminated and removed from play.
A Wizard player does not receive kill marshalling points for defeating a creature with an * next to its marshalling points or for defeating a detainment attack.
If a hero company defeats an attack by a Ringwraith’s Dragon faction, the hero receives its marshalling points as kill marshalling points.
There are no new guidelines for using corruption.
Influencing your opponent’s resources and characters is handles just as it is in METW and MELE with the following exceptions:
- All influence checks are modified by -5; i.e., it is harder for evil characters to influence the Free Peoples and vice versa.
- Instead of revealing a card that is identical to the card being influenced, you may reveal a manifestation of that card or the same resource of the opposing side (e.g., if attempting to influence away the Hillmen from a Wizard, you can reveal the Hillmen minion faction resource for full effect).
This section presents some guidelines for handling several special types of cards.
RINGWRAITHS AND NAZGÛL
There are several types of cards that you can play a Ringwraith card even if the corresponding manifestation Nazgûl hazard permanent-event is already in play. In this case, the Nazgûl hazard permanent-event is discarded. This also applies in a game with two Ringwraith players using Nazgûl hazard cards from METW.
Agents operate as outlined in the ME: Dark Minions rules with the following exceptions:
- Minion agents included in a Ringwraith’s deck count as characters for the purposes of meeting deck requirements. However, during play, each minion agent may be played as either a character (i.e., as a minion character) or as a hazard (i.e., as an agent).
- Minion agents included in a Wizard’s deck count as hazards for the purposes of meeting deck requirements.
- Agent hazards require the use of sites for movement, and your agent hazards must still use sites from your site deck.
NOTE: All information in these appendices is to be taken with a grain of salt. Much of it is incomplete, and some may even be incorrect. Please refer to the CRF for updated and precise definitions etc.
CONVENTIONS OF TOURNAMENT PLAY
The following lists the essential rules for tournament deck construction and play. Refer to ICE’s WEB page at “http://www.ironcrown.com” for the complete rulings or write I.C.E. at ICE P.O. Box 1605, Charlottesville, VA 22902
Character Draft: Starting characters are determined by Character Draft. Each Player selects up to 10 characters to put into his or her pool of potential starting characters. This happens before characters are selected for the play deck. Certain cards may be revealed as thought they were starting characters. These cards are included in the pool of starting characters, but do not count against the 10 character maximum. Each player reveals his or her first choice for a starting character simultaneously with opponent. If a unique character is duplicated by opponent’s selection, both characters are set aside (this character may not appear in either player’s starting company). Each player then selects a second character to reveal (but not a unique character revealed earlier). Each unduplicated revealed character goes into its player’s starting company. Each player continues this process until one of the following occurs: the player has 5 characters in his or her company (6 for a minion player), the total Mind of that player’s starting characters is 20, the player has exhausted his or her pool of 10 potential starting characters, or the player decides to stop revealing characters (i.e., he or she is satisfied with the starting company). Note that when one player stops, the other player continues revealing characters until one of the four conditions is met. A player may not reveal a character that would bring the total Mind of all of his or her starting characters above 20.
In his or her play deck, each player may now assign up to 10 characters, and this may include any unrevealed or duplicated (set aside) characters from his or her pool of starting characters. Note that the Character Draft differs from the Rulesbook in that a duplicated starting character does not automatically go into the play deck, and that its inclusion in the play deck does count against the deck’s 10 character maximum.
The Weakest Link Method: If both players have an equal number of marshalling points (MPs) after the Free Council has resolved (i.e., there is a tie), add one corruption point to each non-Ringwraith character in play. Each character (except Ringwraiths) must make another corruption check. MPs are recounted, and victory is awarded to the player with the most MPs. If there is still a tie, add one more corruption point to each non-Ringwraith character and each makes another corruption check. Again, assess MPs to see if a winner emerges. If not, continue adding one corruption point, making corruption checks, and reassessing MPs until a winner emerges. If all non-Ringwraith characters in play are corrupted by the weakest link method (unlikely) and there is still a tie, roll dice to determine a victor.
NOTE: The Weakest Link Method is no longer recommended for breaking ties. If players have the same MP total at the end of the Council/Audience, the game ends in a tie and both players receive 3 Tournament Points.
Creature Minimum: A 12 creature minimum is required in each play deck’s hazard mix. Creatures that are also events count as only half a creature towards this limit (rounding down). Such creatures include the Nazgûl, Mouth of Sauron, and Shelob. Sideboards have no such creature restrictions. Dragon “Ahunt” and “At Home” manifestations count as half a creature for these purposes. Agents also count as half a creature for these purposes.
Construction Minimums: The minimum number of hazards and resources in a play deck is increased from 25 hazards and 25 resources to 30 hazards and 30 resources.
Number of Ringwraiths: Up to 3 of the same Ringwraith or up to 2 of the same Ringwraith and 1 of a different Ringwraith may be included in a play deck. Dual Purpose Cards: A card that can be played as either a resource or as a hazard can be counted in either the resource mix or hazard mix of a deck for the purposes of including an equal number of resources and hazards.
Using Maps — If region movement is being used, an appropriate map of the regions of MECCG can be used to depict region movement (instead of using actual region cards). The text of region cards takes precedence over maps, however. Certain regions, which may appear to be adjacent on a map, in fact, are not listed as adjacent on the appropriate region cards (e.g., Rohan and Dagorlad, Cardolan and Lindon). Such regions are not considered adjacent, even when a map is used for region movement. Maps from the Middle-earth CCG MapsÔ were designed to minimize any discrepancies.
Legal Play of Cards: A player may not play a card just to discard it (i.e., just to get it out of his or her hand). Specifically, a card may only be declared if it meets at least one of the following criteria.
1. The card must have an immediate effect on the game.
2. The card is a long-event. Long-events can always be played, even if ultimately they will not affect play.
3. The card has a potential effect on play that could be triggered later. Most permanent-events fall into this category. Only those that are playable on or with a certain entity are restrictive. E.g., you cannot play a corruption card if no character exists that would be affected by it.
In all cases, if a card “cannot be duplicated,” a second copy of that card cannot be declared — unless the first copy of the card is targeted for removal earlier in the same chain of effects when the second copy is played.
The following list provides a definition of the most common game terms. In many cases, the most pertinent rules associated with each term are also given.
Action: Any activity in the game (card play, a corruption check caused by Lure of the Senses, etc.). An opponent and yourself have the opportunity to declare other actions in response. Meeting active conditions and exhausting a play deck are not actions — they are declared and resolve immediately.
Ally: A resource that playable at an untapped site during the site phase that taps the site. Allies represent non-character personalities (e.g., War-wolf and Stinker) and require no influence check and no influence to control. An ally is considered a character only for the purposes of combat (facing strikes, tapping to support, etc.).
Attack: An action against a company that lists a number of strikes and prowess. Most attacks are either hazard creature attacks or automatic-attacks, though certain cards cause attacks which are neither of these. Most attacks are further described with a creature type though they do not have to be. An attack must be the first declared action in a chain of effects.
Automatic-attack: An attack a company must immediately face when it declares it will enter a site before it takes any actions at the site.
Attacker: During an attack, the player whose company is not facing the attack. The attacker makes decisions on behalf of the attack.
Attribute: A characteristic of a character or attack: prowess, body, race, a character’s listed skills, direct influence, mind, marshalling points, special abilities.
Audience with Sauron: The last stage of the game for a Ringwraith player. All non-Ringwraith minions make a corruption check, marshalling points are counted (with modifiers in the standard game), and MPs are compared to determine a winner.
Body: The second attribute listed in the shield in the lower left corner of a character or creature card. Body relates how difficult the character (or creature) is to eliminate (or defeat) in combat. A strike from an attack with no body (listed as “-” in the shield) is automatically defeated when it fails; no body check is required. If none is listed, an attack is considered to have no body.
Body Check: A dice roll made by an opponent on your character or on a strike that failed against his character. On your character, if this dice roll is greater than the character’s body, the character is eliminated. On a strike, if this dice roll is greater than the strike’s body, the strike is defeated. Body checks usually result from a strike sequence in combat, but certain cards call for body checks at other times.
“Cannot be duplicated.”: Card text meaning only one copy of that card can be in play at all. No further copies of that card can be played unless the copy in play will be removed by an action declared in the same chain of effects.
“Cannot be duplicated on…”: Card text that means only one copy of that card can be in play as stated: by a player, or on a given entity. No further copies of that card can be so played unless the copy in play will be removed by an action declared in the same chain of effects.
Chain of Effects: A series of actions declared in response to one another before any of them resolve. Actions in a chain of effects are resolved in the reverse order from which they were declared (last in, first out).
Character: A card representing an entity that is or directly serves a Ringwraith or Wizard.
Combat: The resolution of an attack. This involves strikes being assigned and strike sequences being performed. Combat specifically encompasses the time from the resolution of an attack action until the final strike sequence is completed. During combat, no attack may be actively declared.
Company: A coordinated group of characters as designated by their player.
Company Size: The number of characters in it, with Orc scouts counting half (rounded up).
Condition, Active: A prerequisite for an action actively made by a player. Typically this involves tapping a character, discarding an item, or having a character of a particular skill in play. Active conditions are declared and resolved with no time for response by an opponent or yourself.
Condition, Passive: An action that causes another action to take effect. The triggered action will be the first declared action in the chain of effects immediately following the chain of effects that contained the passive condition.
Corruption: A keyword typically found on hazard permanent-events that give a corruption. Only one corruption card can be played on a given character a turn.
Corruption Check: A dice roll a character makes if called for. If the result is greater than the character’s accumulated corruption, nothing happens. If the result is equal or one less than a minion’s accumulated corruption, the minion becomes tapped if untapped (a hero would be discarded). If the roll is two or more less than the a minion’s accumulated corruption, the minion is eliminated an d all cards on him are discarded (the same for a hero).
Corruption Points: A number (with no + or — symbol) typically shown in the lower right corner of items, corruption cards, and other cards. A character’s accumulated corruption equals the total corruption points of all cards played on him.
Corruption Modifier: A number with a + or — symbol typically shown in the lower right corner of certain cards. Each corruption check (i.e., the dice roll) made by a character is modified by all corruption modifiers that apply.
Covert Company: A minion company with no Orcs or Trolls.
Creature: A hazard card with “Creature” in the classification line.
Current Site: The site card showing a non-moving company’s location. A moving company has no current site from the moment its new site is revealed until its site of origin is removed.
Declaring an Action: Starting an action is being played, though the actual effects of the action are not implemented until both players have had the chance to respond with the declaration of other actions. Each time you play a card, you are declaring an action. Actions triggered by passive conditions are declared as the first action following the chain of effects which produced the passive condition.
Defender: During an attack, the player whose company is facing the attack. The defender makes decisions on behalf of his company.
Detainment Attack: An attack whose strikes do not wound (and require no body check) if successful. A successful strike from a detainment attack only causes an untapped character to become tapped.
Direct Influence: The attribute listed in the hand symbol on a character. A character can control any number of followers such that their mind is less than or equal to his direct influence.
Exhausting a Play Deck: When you draw the final card from your play deck into your hand. Immediately when the card is drawn, your discard pile becomes your new play deck. Standard Game: Exchage up to 5 cards between it and your sideboard and shuffle. Return all discarded sites to your location deck.
Faction: A resource card with faction in the classification line. Factions represent unique Dragons or groups of creatures or peoples.
Follower: A character controlled with another character’s direct influence. Followers cannot have followers.
General Influence: 20 points of influence a player inherently possesses — used to control characters.
Hazard Limit: The maximum number of hazard cards that may be played against a company. The hazard limit is equal the company’s size (to a minimum of two) when it declares its movement/hazard phase is starting.
Hazards: Cards with a steel grey background. You may only play hazards during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase.
Healing: Moving a character at a Darkhaven from wounded to a tapped during his untap phase. Certain cards allow healing at other times, and some even to an untapped state.
Hero: A character controlled by a Wizard player. Non-Wizard hero cards have a blue stone background. Each Wizard hero card has a differently colored stone background. Heroes are not included in MELE.
Home Site: A site listed on a character’s card character where he may be brought into play (or discarded during your organization phase) in addition to Darkhavens.
Influence Check: A dice roll you make when your character is attempting to influence a faction or an opponent’s card. Influence checks are called for in other situations also.
Item: A resource playable at an untapped site during the site phase that taps the site. The different types of items are: minor, major, greater, gold ring, and special.
Keyed To… (or Played At…): The manner a creature is played on a company. A creature is either: keyed to a region by type of name in a moving company’s site path, or keyed to (played at) a moving company’s new site by type or name, or keyed to (played at) the current site by type or name of company not moving.
Keyword: An italicized word in a card’s text box typically stood off with a period. Keywords carry no inherent rules, but rather are used as card identifiers when determining if another card affects them. Many keywords do have rules accompanying them, however, like Unique and corruption. Any words given in a card’s classification line are also keywords.
Location Deck: Your deck of available sites (and region cards, if used). Only one of each non-Darkhaven site may be included in your location deck.
Long-event: A resource or hazard that stays in play for approximately two turns. Resource long-events can be played during your long-event phase. Hazard long-events can be played during your opponent’s movement/hazard phase. Long-events are discarded during the appropriate player’s long-event phase as described in the Full Player Turn Summary.
Marshalling Points: The number printed in a cards upper left corner. A card’s marshalling points relates how important that card is to Sauron. After the Audience with Sauron/Free Council, the winner is the player with the most accumulated marshalling points.
Mind: The attribute that determines how many influence points are required to control that character.
Minion: A character controlled by a Ringwraith player. Non-Ringwraith minion cards have a rusted-purplish iron background. Each Ringwraith minion card has a blood-red stone background. Minions are the only characters included in MELE.
Moving Company: A company in the process of moving between a site of origin and new site. A company is moving during its movement/hazard phase from the time it reveals its new site until the site of origin is removed.
New Site Card: The site where a moving company is going. The company is at their new site when their site of origin is removed at the end of their movement/hazard phase.
Normal: As printed on the card without modification from other effects. Certain effects allow you to hold one more card than normal in your hand; these effects are cumulative and you should not necessarily consider normal in this sense to mean 8 cards.
Overt Company: A minion company with at least one Orc or Trolls.
Permanent-event: A resource or hazard that stays in play indefinitely as stated in its text.
Play Deck: Your deck of cards from which you draw. At the start of the game, each player must have an equal number of resources and hazards with a minimum of 25 each, up to two Ringwraith characters, and up to 10 of any other characters.
Player: You, the real person playing! A player is either a Ringwraith or a Wizard player. A Ringwraith player uses minion characters, minion sites, and minion resources, and can represent himself with a Ringwraith character. A Wizard player uses hero characters, hero sites, and hero resources, and can represent himself with a Wizard character.
Prowess: The first attribute listed in the shield in the lower left corner of a character or creature card. Prowess relates how well the character (or creature) performs in combat. All attacks in general have a given prowess.
Race: An attribute given in a character’s classification line. The seven minion races are: Ringwraith, Orc, Troll, Elf, Dwarf, Dúnadan, and Man.
Region: The geographic unit into which northwestern Middle-earth is broken down. Regions are represented in 2 ways: by name and by type. There are six different region types: Coastal Seas (c), Free-domains (f), Border-lands (b), Wilderness (w), Shadow-lands (s), and Dark-domains (d).
Resolving an Action: Carrying out the actual effect on the game of an action. Multiple actions are resolved in a chain of effects in the opposite order they are declared.
Resources (minion): Cards with a grey-blue steel background. You may only play resources during your turn. Hero resources (not included in MELE) have a copper metal background
Short-event: A resource or hazard that is discarded when it resolves (though it may have a lasting effect).
Site of Origin: The site where a moving company began its turn. The company is no longer at its site of origin when it reveals a new site at the beginning of its movement/hazard phase.
Site: The locations in Middle-earth represented by cards with a grey parchment background. Sites are represented in 2 ways: by name and by type. There are six types in MELE: Darkhavens (D), Free-holds (F), Border-holds (B), Ruins & Lairs (R), Shadow-holds (S), and Dark-holds (D).
Site Path, Site’s: The sequence of region type listed on a site’s card.
Site Path, Company’s: The sequence of region (by name and by type) through which a moving company moves. Most effects that refer to a site path mean a company’s site path. However, you must be sure to recognize those effects that refer to a site’s site path.
Skill: An attribute of a character as listed on the classification line. The five skills are: Diplomat, Ranger, Sage, Scout, Warrior.
Standard Modification: A modifier to an influence check against a faction that is printed on the faction’s card. Certain factions (like Dragon factions) list simple Modifications which affect an influence check the same way, but do not count as Standard Modifications as a keyword (like when interpreting Old Prejudice).
Storing Cards: During your organization phase, taking a card from a character’ or company to your marshalling point pile. An item can normally be stored if its bearer is at a Darkhaven, but other cards require explicit instructions given on the card.
Strike: The portion of an attack that affects an individual character. Each attack has one or more strikes, each of which an individual character must face in a strike sequence. If an attack has more strikes than a defending company has characters, every character faces one strike and the excess strikes are converted to -1 modifiers.
Strike Sequence: The time from when you declare one of your characters will resolve a strike until the strike dice roll is made and associated body checks are made. No actions may be declared except those that directly affect the strike as listed on page 33. Between strike sequences of an attack, players can declare more general effects (except declaring an attack and changing the current attack’s number of strikes).
Tapping a Card: Moving a card 90 degrees to a sideways position.
Tapped: The state of a card shown in a sideways position. You cannot declare an action that requires a character or other card to tap if that card is already tapped.
Targeting: Choosing a specific entity through which a card or effect will be played out. An entity chosen as such is the “target” of the action. Some possible targets are: characters, corruption checks, strike dice rolls, items, sites, and companies. A card that states it is playable on or with a certain entity targets an entity. Cards which affect an entire class of other cards do not target (e.g., Wake of War).
Transferring Items: During the organization phase, moving an item from the control of a character to another character at the same site. The character giving up the item must make a corruption check before the actual transfer takes place. Whenever a character is eliminated by a body check, he can automatically transfer one item to each unwounded character in his company with no corruption check.
Turn: The alternating sequence of steps you and your opponent perform: Untap, Organization, Long-event, Movement/Hazard, Site, and End-of-Turn.
Unique: A keyword that means only one copy of the card can be included in a player’s play deck, starting company, and sideboard combined. Additionally, only one copy of the card may be in play at a time; additional copies cannot be played.
Ringwraith: A character representing one of the nine Nazgûl of Sauron. The first Ringwraith you put into play represents you — the representative Ringwraith. This is sometimes referred to as “your Ringwraith.”
Ringwraith Follower: a Ringwraith minion played in addition to your representative Ringwraith. Ringwraith followers are always followers of your representative Ringwraith.
Untapping a Card: Moving a tapped card 90 degrees from a sideways to normal position.
Untapped: The state of a card when its bottom is towards you. All cards enter play untapped and remain that way until an effect of the game taps or wounds them. Only entities that are untapped may perform actions that require them to tap.
Wizard: A character representing one of the five Istari. Wizards are not included in MELE. A player can have no Wizard followers.
Wounded: The state of a character by placing the top of his card towards you. A character in play who is not tapped or untapped is wounded. A character becomes wounded when a strike against him is successful. You cannot declare an action that requires a character to tap if the character is wounded.
Each of your characters may do one of the following:
- Heal (if at a Darkhaven site) or Untap.
- Untap all of your other tapped non-site cards.
The following actions may be taken in any order:
Play a character card.
Reorganize your characters at the same Darkhaven into any number of companies. Standard Rules: You may organize at any site.
Shift your characters between being controlled by general influence and being controlled by direct influence.
Store items at a Darkhaven and transfer items between your characters at the same site. A corruption check is required for the character giving up an item.
Store other designated resources from your companies at sites specified on the item cards.
Each of your companies may do one of the following:
- Stay at its current site.
- Play a new site card (face down) that can be moved to directly from the company’s current site (its site of origin).
- Standard Rules Only: See page 60 for other options.
First, remove all of your resource long-events in play.
Then, you may play any new resource long-event cards.
Finally, remove all of your opponent’s hazard long-events.
Follow this procedure for each of your companies. Each company has a separate movement/hazard phase. You decide which of your companies goes first, second, etc.:
1. If the company has a face down site card, turn it over (reveal it).
2. If the company is not moving, no cards are drawn. If the company is moving to a non-Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the number of cards indicated by the site that it is moving to (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same. If the company is moving to a Darkhaven site, you may draw up to the number of cards indicated by the site that it is moving from (at least one card must be drawn); your opponent does the same.
3. Your opponent plays hazards on the company — each hazard is resolved as indicated in its text. Creatures are played and their combat resolved one at a time. A hazard may not be played if it targets a different company or a character, item, etc. in a different company.
If the company is not moving, hazard creatures may only be keyed to the company’s site of origin. Hazard creatures must be “keyed to” the moving company’s site path and/or new site. If a creature is keyed to more than one region type and/or site type that applies, your opponent decides which one is used.
The maximum number of hazards that may be played on a company during a given movement/hazard phase (i.e., the hazard limit) is equal to the size of the company or two, whichever is larger (Orc scouts count half, round up). The hazard limit is determined for each company at the beginning of the movement/hazard phase (e.g., it remains fixed).
4. If the company has been required to return to its site of origin, return the new site card to the location deck (or discard if it is a tapped non-Darkhaven) and proceed to step 6 (the site of origin becomes its current site). No additional hazards may be played on that company once this action is resolved.
5. Remove the company’s site of origin (i.e., the site the company came from). Discard the site card if it is tapped and not a Darkhaven. Otherwise, return it to the location deck. At this point, the company is considered to have arrived at the new site (i.e., its new site becomes its site of origin).
6. You must discard any cards in excess of eight in your hand; your opponent does the same for his hand. If you have fewer than eight cards, you must draw cards until your hand has eight cards; your opponent does the same for his hand. Note: The number of cards you must keep in your hand can be increased by certain cards and abilities.
In the order you decide (i.e., you decide which goes first, second, etc.), each of your companies may:
· do nothing or
· follow this procedure:
1. Enter its site.
2. If the site has an automatic-attack, it attacks the company. The attack is resolved normally (see pages 28-34).
3. If the site is untapped, a character in the company may attempt to play an item, ally, or faction that is “playable” at that site. Tap the character and the site.
Certain resource cards other than items, allies, and factions are playable during the site phase and state the conditions under which they may be played. Such a card only requires an untapped site if it states that the site taps when played.
If a tapped site should become untapped, an additional resource may be played that taps the site. Anytime a resource card is played that taps the site, one additional character may tap to play a minor item.
4. Standard Rules Only: One of your characters or your Ringwraith may attempt to influence away one of your opponent’s characters, followers, allies, factions, or items (if it is at the same site). See pages 64-66.
Against Wizard Player Only: One of your companies may make an attack against one of your opponent’s companies (if it is at the same site).
You may discard one card. Then you must draw or discard cards until your hand has 8 cards. Your opponent does the same for his hand. Note: The number of cards you must keep in your hand can be increased by certain cards and abilities.