Help & Advice

Getting Started

So you’ve signed up for a game of Middle-earth. Congratulations!

This article is designed to help guide you through the process of getting started, and writing your first turn. We’ll also suggest some resources that you might find useful along the way.


Choose a Nation

First things first…Have you let us know which nation or nations you would like to play? If not, please do so.

We highly recommend that for your first game you play a Free People economic/army-based position from the following list:

Arthedain, Cardolan, Dwarves, then Woodmen, Northmen, Sindar.

Pick three you think you might like to play, then we can make sure you get one of them.

Then for your second game, you could try a Dark Servant character-based position, such as Fire King, Quiet Avenger, Ice King, Blind Sorcerer, or Long Rider.


You will also find more advice on choosing a nation here:

Selecting Nations

Unless you are joining a game with friends who have played before, we will almost certainly put you into a 1650 game. So please choose nations from the 1650 module.

If in doubt, just pick a nation you think you will most enjoy. Or, if you have no preference, just let us know what side you would like to play on (Free People or Dark Servants).

But please do Get in Touch with us, otherwise we won’t be able to put you into a game.


Friends and Mentors

Perhaps most important of all, if you’ve signed up with friends who have played the game before, then make use of them. They can help you with all aspects of the process. In fact, stop reading this article and go chat with them instead!

If on the other hand you are playing on your own, then the experience can seem a bit daunting. But remember that this is a team game, and as soon as you get your first turn, you’ll be able to get in touch with your teammates who will be only too happy to help you.

Also, if you think it will be useful, we can assign you your own personal mentor, who will be on hand to help out.

And, of course, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.


Waiting for Turn 0

Once you have signed up for a game, there will be probably be a bit of a wait while the game fills up.

During this time, you might want to take a look at the Middle-earth Guide, which can be found here:

This contains the complete rules for the game. They can be rather intimidating, but you don’t have to learn them all right now.

So to begin with, read through the Introduction and Basics, which should give you an idea of how the game works.

Then take a look at Characters, Population Centres, Armies, Magic, Combat and Economy, which cover the main aspects of the game. And glance at the Spells and Orders if you like. But don’t feel that you have to remember everything, this is just to give you a feel for the game.



Turn 0

OK, you’ve received your first turn report.

First off, make contact with your team. You’ll find their details on the email we sent you with your turn report. Chances are, your team captain has already reached out to you. But if not, drop them an email, and include your turn 0 file, so that they can see your position. Your team will probably also send you their files in return. And if you do this every turn, you’ll work better as a team.

Now is the time to download JOverseer, our dedicated gaming software, which can be found here:

Note that unlike many other computer games, our software is not the game itself. Instead, it allows you to view your turn, and write orders.

A full guide to the software is available from our software page. But here are some (very) brief instructions to help you get started…


Screenshot from JOverseer


1) Create New Game

On installing and opening JOverseer for the first time, you will be presented with a disturbingly empty database. So the first thing you need to do is create a new game file. To do this, click on Game/New Game, and enter the details.

Now you have a map!

So hit Save Game (Ctrl+S).


2) View Your Position

The next thing you need to do is load your turn 0 report. So click on Game/Import dir (xml and pdf files). Don’t worry about changing allegiances for now. Navigate to the folder you have (hopefully) saved your turn 0 files in, and open.

(Tip: create a folder on your computer for the game, and a subfolder for each turn, to keep the files in order.)

You might see some ‘error parsing Pdf Turn file’ errors, but ignore them.

Assuming the import was successful, you can now browse your position. There are four main panes, all of which can show various things depending on the tab chosen.

The Top Left Pane

By default, this shows the game map. Here you’ll see your population centers, armies (little square icons) and characters (little square dots) on the map.

Other useful tabs include Order Info and Info. Have a look around.

The Top Right Pane

This shows information about whatever hex you click on in the game map. This information includes details of population centres, armies and characters, both yours and those of other nations.

Bottom Left Pane

Most of the tabs here are ways of listing characters in the game, both yours and those of other nations on your team. But you can also find lists of armies, companies, artefacts, and more.

Note that JOverseer is designed to view not just your position, but those of your whole team, assuming they decide to share their results with you. So, for example, in the characters tab in the bottom pane, you’ll see more than just your own characters. But you can sort and filter them any way you want, including just your own.

Bottom Right Pane

This is where you enter orders for your characters.


3)  Write Your Orders

Now you just need to decide what to do!

We have some articles on our website to help you with your first few turns. So do take a look:


Basic Advice

Basic Advice


Beginner’s Guide

Beginner’s Guide


Player’s Companion

Player’s Companion


You might also find this reference sheet useful:

It contains much of the information needed when writing your orders. It is primarily for the 1650 module, but nearly all the contents are also relevant for our other modules as well.

(Note: this sheet was created by a player, therefore we cannot guarantee its accuracy. That said, we believe it to be correct!)


Then, when you’re ready, you need to give each of your characters two orders (or three if they are champions).

There are several ways to enter your orders, but this is perhaps the easiest:

Locate a character. If you click on the character in the character pane (bottom left), that will jump the map to the hex they are in. The character will then appear in the right-hand ‘current hex view’ pane (top right).

Click on the blue arrow to the right of your character name, then click on the first pencil icon.

You will then see order editor in the bottom right pane. Here you can enter your first order. Save, then repeat for the second order for that character.

When you have entered orders for all your characters, you can if you wish run the Order Checker (Game/Run OrderChecker). As you might expect, this will check your orders for possible errors.

Finally, to send us your orders, click on Game/Export Orders, Generate, then Send. Follow the procedure through, and you’ll see a message telling you that your orders have been safely received.

Oh, and you might also want to send your orders to your team, so they can check them over. If you want to make changes as a result, just edit your orders in Joverseer, and repeat the process of sending them to us.

And that’s it, you’re done!


Keep in Contact

Now you just need to wait for the turn deadline, and we’ll send you the results of your orders.

But in the meantime, please do keep in contact. We use a Yahoo Groups email list to keep in touch with players. So to make sure you are up to date with all our news, sign up here:


We also have a web forum, where you can discuss the game, and find any help you need. Take a look here:


What have we missed?

We hope you found this guide helpful. But of course, we can’t possibly hope to cover everything you might want to know. So if you have any questions, you can either ask your teammates, contact us via our website (, or ask on the forum (

Good gaming!