Strategic Overview Map and the Battle-table
The strategic overview map identifies what part of the NW of Middle-earth is involved in the conflict, tracking where armies are located. As forces of opposing nations move in to the same region, battles will be fought on the battle-table using Warmaster Ancient & Medieval Armies rules (assisted with the Battle of Five Armies and the core Warmaster rules when required, such as in the use of magic).
Each of the four nations will start off with a set of core regions. These regions will determine how many action dice each nation has per turn. Should a nation lose one of their core regions, due to another nation capturing it, then that region will have one less action dice to roll per turn.
The four nations have the following regions:
- Mount Gram
- Mount Gundabad
- North Downs
- The Weather Hills
- NOTE: The Shire is considered to be basically a semi-independent region under Arthedain but does not contribute to being a core-region.
- Old Forest
- South Downs
- Rivendell (i.e. the region also known as The Angle and not the Elven stronghold)
- Fords of Bruinen
Each nation has a number of initial military forces to place across their core regions. These forces represent the standing armies of the nations and will be bolstered throughout the campaign by reinforcements gained through the use of Action Dice.
The initial forces are divided into the following units of the strategic overview map:
- Troops representing up to 500 points
- Troops representing from 501 up to 1,000 points
To represent these forces the Lord of the Rings RISK units are bing used as these are smaller than the WotR ones and are easily identified as to the size of the forces they represent. Angmar will have Characters represented by Shields, Infantry = 500 points, Trolls = 1000 points. Arthedain, Cardolan and Rhudaur have Characters represented by Shields, Infantry = 500 points, Cavelry = 1000 points.
Nation capitals (Strongholds) are also represented on the map (using GW Mighty Armies city minis). When a region having a capital is attached, the Warmaster game will be a Siege game on the battle table. Otherwise, the games will mostly be open field Warmaster games on the battle table. There will be the odd exemption to this, such as when the Weathertop Stronghold is attached in The Weather Hills core-region.
All armies are controlled by a sub-general unless a Character is attached to an army. This means that armies can move independently across the map and attack other armies (even armies with Characters attached to them). Movement of Characters and armies is controlled through the rolling of action dice.
There are two types of Strongholds, Cities and Fortresses.
Cities are the capitol and heart of a nation. Should a city fall, the nation will collapse as a political identity and its armies will flee and disband. A loss of a city means that a nation has fallen and its people flee for the hills.
Fortresses are large castles or fortified villages. There are four fortress locations on the map. Mount Gundabad (in Mt Gundabad region), Weathertop (in the Weather Hills region), Bree (in the Bree region) and Hobbiton (in The Shire region).
If a region containing a stronghold is attacked by an enemy army, then a standard Warmaster battle is fought. If the enemy army is victorious, then it has control of that region and is besieging the stronghold.
A city without an army located within it, will always be able to raise 500 points of troops from its local population. This comes from the local populace and its guard units. However Carn Dum, within the Angmar region, will always have 1,000 points of troops. If an army is located within the city, and that city is attacked, add the 500/1,000 points to the points of the army present within the stronghold.
Fortresses will always have 200 points of forces within them, should they be attacked and no allied forces are present within it.
The presence of an opposing nations forces within a region containing a stronghold means that that stronghold is besieged. Armies and Characters within a besieged stronghold are not permitted to move. They can only attack the army besieging them, or wait for a friendly army to invade the besieged region and attack the enemy forces present within it, or wait for the enemy to leave the region.
Enemy forces besieging a stronghold can elect to attack the stronghold at any time, even if they have just won a battle and taken control of the region. If they attack, then a Warmaster siege battle will result.
Battles are fought as either standard Warmaster battles or as Warmaster siege battles (if a stronghold is attacked).
When an enemy army invades a region, all friendly forces located within that region (except forces within Strongholds) will combine to fight the invading army, even if these friendly forces are not combined as an army themselves.
Victors gain control of the region the battle was fought it. Losers must retreat either to an unoccupied adjacent region or to a friendly stronghold within the region where the battle was just fought (if a stronghold exists there). If no adjacent region is unoccupied, the army is destroyed as its solders dissert and flee. Likewise any losing army reduced to below 499 points or less is destroyed as its remaining soldiers dissert and flee.
In siege battles, if the besieging force wins, they capture the stronghold and the besieged occupants are destroyed. If the besieged force wins, the attackers must retreat from the region into a neighbouring region, even if that region contains an opposing force (which will of cause result in another battle!).
Each nation has the following starting forces:
- 3 Characters: Witch-king of Angmar and two Nazgul
- 4,500 points of forces equally spread across Angmar's three core-regions
- 1 Character: King of Arthedain
- 3,000 points of forces equally spread across Arthedain's core-regions (excluding The Shire)
- 1 Character: King of Cardolan
- 3,000 points of forces equally spread across Cardolan's core-regions
- 1 Character: King of Rhudaur
- 3,000 points of forces equally spread across Rhudaur's core-regions
Each nation has a number of action dice equal to the number of core regions they possess. Nations may take over other non-core regions, however, these non-core regions do not provide any additional action dice. This represents where a nations cities, villages, hamlets, forts, castles etc are located and from where each nation can expect to gain additional reinforcements.
At the beginning of each turn on the Strategic Overview Map, each nation rolls a number of action dice based on the number of that nations core-regions that are still controlled by the nation. Angmar and Arthedain however begin the game with a total of 4 action dice each. This represents the fact that Angmar is bent on the destruction of the former realm of Arnor, and that Arthedain is the largest of the princedoms from the former realm of Arnor.
Each nation rolls their Action Dice at the same time. Action Dice result can be used to execute one of the actions listed below the relevant action dice result:
- Move a character into an adjacent region
- Attach a character to an army
- Move an army into an adjacent region (Note: armies of opposing nations located in the same region will fight it out on the battle-table unless your opponents army uses their own action dice to Retreat.
- Combine forces of 500 and 1,000 points into armies of any combination of 500 and 1000 points
- Break up armies into smaller forces of any combination of 500 and 1,000 points.
- Retreat an army into a stronghold in the region it is currently located (only available as an option if a stronghold exists within the region the army is located).
- Retreat an army into an adjacent region. If that adjacent region has an opposing nations army located within it, the retreating army must fight this new army on the battle-table.
- The nation receives a total of 500 points per Muster result on the action dice. Mustered armies must be located in one of the nations core-regions. Additional action dice results from that same turn can be used to move that mustered army immediately.
- Note: This dice roll will be cancelled if the player rolls an Event action dice (see below).
- Something has happened within the nation, delaying the mustering of the nations armies. Flooding rivers, messengers intercepted by spy's or a slowness within the nation to get its act together has resulted in the nation missing out on a Muster action dice result. When an Event action dice result occurs, remove one Muster or Muster/Army action dice result the nation rolled immediately. If that nation received no Muster or Muster/Army action dice result that turn, ignore the Event result but do not re-roll the action dice.
- Chose any one action from those listed under the Muster or Army result.
- Eye of Sauron: plague or some other natural disaster or civil strife results in 500 points of an opposing nations forces being removed immediately from anywhere on the Strategic Overview Map.
- Will of the West: plague or some other natural disaster or strife results in 500 points of Angmar's forces being removed immediately from anywhere on the Strategic Overview Map.
Each nation only has a set number of reinforcements. The represents the total number of troops that can be mustered before the war effort leaves the nations so depopulated that they are unable to continue to maintain and muster more forces. Once a nation has reached its limit of reinforcements, they no longer received any additional points from any Muster or Muster/Army action dice results.
- 6,000 points
- 3,000 points
- 2,000 points
- 2,000 points