Help & Advice

Processing Rules and Procedures

This article provides information about the how we run our games.

If you have any questions that are not covered, please do Get in Touch.


Email Receipts

Our email address (which JOverseer sends to) has an out of office auto-responder, so you should get a reply within a couple of minutes of sending in turns. If you do not receive confirmation then we have not received your turn


Processing times

Games are generally processed at 10am BST (British Standard Time) on the day after the due date. Please ensure that your turns reach us by that time at the very latest. So you will need to send your turn in before then to be sure that you allow time it to reach us – even emails take time to arrive. This can take several hours, or even days. If you send in turns by email, you will receive a receipt from us, so if you have not received this receipt we have NOT received the turn, in which case please try again. We also suggest that you keep your turn receipts, as this is your proof that we have received your turn.

Emails are taken from the computer at 9am, so any turns sent to us via email after this time may not make the deadline. We are very strict on this. Also, please bear in mind that we are five hours ahead of North America, so allow extra time for this. Every effort will be made to ensure that the turns are sent on the day that they are processed – if you don’t get your turn back by around 7pm BST then please contact us for a reprint.


Funding your Account

Please ensure that your account is always in credit! If your account is not in credit, it is known as in a Low Funds state, and turns may be held back until payment is made (turns are still processed, but not sent out). Normally we only hold back the second turn that goes low funds, but we reserve the right to hold back the first low funds turn if we consider it necessary for consistent offenders. Please note that the correct balance is the one on the Front Sheet, not the one on the Result sheet. You should ONLY use the balance shown on your Front Sheet not on your Result sheet.

If you require a VAT receipt for a payment made to us, please ask.


Ceasing Play and taking over Dropped Positions

If ceasing play, please let us know as soon as possible.

If for some reason you wish to drop a position in any of our games, please inform us and your team-mates as quickly as possible, so that other players in the game do not suffer. It only takes a minute and helps those who want to play on – players dropping without warning or letting us know can cause great damage to the games. Refunds of any remaining credit are available.

We will first contact your team-mates for substitute players, then offer the position on the Front Sheet, giving the scenario, the nation and approximate turn number: e.g. 1650:Witch King (mid). If the nation has missed a turn (which is to say it gets Special Serviced) then we’ll give whoever picks up the position a free turn, if you are not in that game already.

Sending your turn onto your team-mates can be a great help here as well.

Dropped positions are converted to Inactive status so that their economies and characters are not affected by the program (although players might well have an impact!) Positions that are inactive for over 4 turns will be converted to Expired and are considered no longer playable.

If a player misses a turn, we will attempt to contact that player and see if they wish to continue. If we hear nothing back in a 2-6 week period (2 turn deadlines) we sometimes allow other players on the team to put in a Shadow Turn.  If a player misses 2 turns in a row then we reserve the right to transfer that position to another player, and drop the former player from the game so that the rest of the team is not penalised.  It only takes a minute for players to contact us, even in very busy periods of their life, and we find that if players miss one turn they are much more likely to miss the second turn, and if they miss the second turn then they are very likely to miss subsequent turns.


Shadow Turns

In order to minimise harm caused to a side by a player who does not send in orders, we allow team-mates to send in orders on their behalf. If you do have not heard from a member of your team within a reasonable length of time, then on request we will forward a copy of the uncommunicative nation’s turn (a reasonable length of time being one week for a two week game and a couple of days for a one week game). The team is then allowed to send in a Shadow Turn (orders). This is a turn that we will run if the owner of that nation does not get at turn in themselves. If, however, the owner of the nation does get a turn in, then we will use that in preference to the Shadow Turn. If sending in a Shadow Turn, clearly mark it as one in the subject line.

If you do not want your team-mates to receive a copy of your turn in this manner, we urge you to make sure you stay in communication with them. We will, on request, put a note on your account not to send on Shadow Turns to team-mates, but be aware that due to the team-nature of the game, missing a turn can be disastrous for the game, so please make every effort to send in turns, or contact us and/or your team-mates if you are unable to do so.


Playing more than one position

At the start of a new game, no player can play more than one position (unless otherwise agreed with both us and the players). Please do not use a pseudonym to run multiple positions – we run plenty of variant games where you are able to run two nations if you wish to. However, if a player drops out, then we will often consider allowing an existing player on that team to take over the position, so that the game will not become unbalanced. Although since this system is clearly open to abuse, we reserve the right to judge each case on an individual basis.



Aliases, unless you have specifically been given permission, are not allowed. Some players have used this to enable themselves to play more than one nation under assumed names. We leave it to your own honour and sense of fair play to police this. But if we catch you we will penalise you.


Special Service Turns

A Special Service turn is where a player misses a turn, and the computer creates simple orders on their behalf. All games started with us will automatically have the Special Service option on, and we do not allow the service to be switched off, but note we do not charge for this. If you miss the first turn in a game we will write one for you should time allow, but in this case you will not be able to get back to us with orders that you would have preferred to have run. As always, we advise you to get all your turns in well before deadlines!


GM Players

We run Middle-earth primarily out of a sense of love for the gaming hobby. We’re all keen gamers, and so play in many of the games. But an individual GM will never referee a game they are playing in, or have any access to the game turns or database. We’ll mark on the Front Sheet when a GM will be playing in that game, but will not tell you which nation (or even allegiance) that GM is.


Bank Holidays

Turns will be run every week day except for Christmas and Boxing Day, so please take this into account when sending in turns, else you may miss a deadline. We do, however, sometimes take a week off around the Christmas/New Year period, and will inform you of how you will be affected each year.



In a perfect world, errors would not be made. But we are only human, and acknowledge that on occasion, mistakes will be made. If you think that there has been an error in your turn, please do not panic, as we can sort out nearly any problem or mistake that may have occurred. Simply contact us as quickly as possible (if you leave it too late then we might be unable to fix the error and you will lose out). Please give all the relevant information, including who you think it will impact upon, and we will do our best to resolve the matter. If it’s our error, we’ll fix it and contact the appropriate parties with the amendment to the turn.

For example:

Subject: Potential Edit for game 82/6

Re: Game 82 nation 6

Dear GM

Unfortunately, last turn you input Vagaig doing an 850 (Move Army) instead of 860 (Force March) and he stopped short of moving to Morannon 3221. This means that the Dark Lieutenants will no longer be facing my army @3220. I have checked my orders and found that the DS @3221 need to be informed.


The method we use to perform an edit is to take a back-up (the game information before it was processed), input the corrected orders on the back-up disk, and re-run the Process program. We then will inform all the appropriate parties with the updated information. We don’t send out the new turn, as it will have information on it that would not otherwise have been known – such as Locate Artefact attempts that failed first time, but succeeded second time around, etc – but do inform all parties of all relevant information changed.

In the case of the above example, then, we would do the following:

Firstly, we check the turn sheet to make sure the player is not mistaken (some apparent edits are due to a mis-reading of the rules, an error behalf the player when writing his turn, etc.). Then we perform the edit using the above process. If the move is now successful, the results then go out to the Dog Lord and the Dark Lieutenants explaining that they can now see a Large Army under Vagaig at 3221, and that there is no longer a Free People icon @3220. A similar report will be sent to the owner of the North Gondor. All nations who can see 3220 and 3221 will be informed as well to the extent that they would be aware of the change, in this case that an army icon has moved.

Random elements

Random factors in the Process program – such which army moves first – mean that we cannot always emulate the exact situation which occurred the first time when running a corrected process. But everything is set to exactly the way it was when the game originally processed before the process is run, except that the correct orders are in.

Market errors

These are about the only errors that we are unable to easily correct. We are physically unable to modify the price or availability of items on the market. And so work around this should a 315/325 (310/320) order not be input correctly. In the case of a 325/320 error we simply remove the items from your stores and give you the gold equivalent. But in 310/315 cases we have to use a slightly more obscure method…We re-run the edit as explained above, and see what the price changes in market are. We then contact the players informing them of the new cost of items on the market (buy/sell price), and inform them that if there is a player that is selling the item next turn that they need to clearly indicate that this is so. Then, at the start of the next turn, we give the difference in gold to the nation, and allow the order to go through.

Alternatively, our latest method is to find out the difference in price between the original process results (run with the error), and the Reprocessed version (with the correct Market orders input), then refund the difference to the players who have purchased that commodity so that if they were to have sold the goods next turn they would have the same amount of money. The loss of money made from selling from their stockpile is compensated somewhat by the effective increase in Market sell limit.

This effectively allows us to correct errors in such circumstances, allows the players to manipulate the market to get extra funds out of it, and deals with 99% of the problem. It’s not perfect I know, and we’re still working on this so if you have any useful ideas then please contact us.

Oh, and if the above makes little sense, please do not worry – in the unlikely event of such an edit affecting you, we will go through it all with you.


Sample Email Order Format

The clearer your orders are, the easier they will be for us to enter, and so the chance of inputting errors occurring will be minimised. Below is an example of what for us is the ideal email turn format. We would ask, then, if you could do your best to emulate this as closely as possible. Better still – use JOverseer to send in orders as it will check these details for you.


Subject: ME29/24

ME 29 Player: 24 Security Code: 1234 Due Date: 15th July 2002

Fred Bloggs A/c: 109999        Turn Number: 15


Alfred (alfre) @1234 (Com,Age,Emi)

810 MovChar 1235

900 FindArt 86


Beattie (beatt) @ 2345 (Com)

947 NatTran 1234 le 100

948 TranCar 2345 4321 go 10,000

And so on. Basically, please do your best to set out your orders as clearly as possible, with characters in alphabetical order (we won’t fix it afterwards if a player error occurs here and we don’t notice it) and without the orders either too close together, or too spread out.