Game 918: Third Age, circa 1650, All Neutral Game

Hi everyone. You may have seen the note in the 19 February 2021 “All the latest from Middle-earth Games” email newsletter about an upcoming All Neutral Game. I first talked to @clint about doing this when I met him at the Las Vegas Face-to-Face game in June 2019. I have been told that an All Neutral 1650 game did take place many years ago. It’s taken me some time for me to put together a compelling enough variant that has a chance to attract enough players and Clint has given me the green light to recruit players.

If this is a game you’d like to play, please email

Third Age, circa 1650, All Neutral Game

The classic 1650 module with all Neutral nations and no teams with a two-week turnaround.

Rev 8 (22 February 2021), Organized by Raven Zachary

About the Third Age 1650 Setting

“At the end of the Second Age, Sauron was thrown down from power. At the beginning of the Third Age, his ring, the One Ring, vanished from all knowledge of man and dwarf, elf and Maia. But Sauron was only defeated, not destroyed. And the One Ring was only lost; and what was lost, can once again be found.”

The year 1650 of the Third Age finds Middle-earth in chaos as the Valar exile Sauron through the Door of Night into the void. The Dark Servants are no longer united under a common banner. The Nazgûl and the Lieutenants have regained their free will and seek power for themselves. The Free Peoples of Middle-earth, lacking a common enemy, concern themselves solely with their own nations and ways to assert further control and protection over nearby lands from competing nations. Rumors of the Ringwraiths seeking The One Ring leads the nations of Men, Elves, and Dwarves to seek it and other artifacts of power, as well. Old treaties and kinships have fallen away in the power vacuum created by Sauron’s exile. It’s a free-for-all for the future of Middle-earth! Who will prevail?

Requirements to Play

  • 23 players, two unwanted nations from the draft will be converted into FP and DS nations and have their capitals hidden somewhere so that the game code does not prematurely end the game due to the All Neutral format.
  • All players must commit to playing (and paying for) at least 10 turns. They will be given a free turn. This will reduce any unfair advantages for nations adjacent to inactive nations. This cost will be deducted at the beginning of the game.
  • No players will be replaced after Turn 10. A player resigning from the game after Turn 10 will become an idle nation.

What’s Different in this Module?

  • All 23 played nations in the classic 1650 module are Neutral and remain as Neutrals for the entire game
  • No teams – there are no alignments (Good or Evil), only independent, Neutral nations
  • Free Peoples and Dark Servants nations can work with or against any nations they wish, regardless of historical allegiance – ongoing diplomacy and changing alliances will play a key role in this module
  • Relations with other nations start as Neutral and can be upgraded or downgraded the full range from Friendly to Hated
  • The game ends on turn 52 unless The One Ring is delivered to Mount Doom (3423) with a successful set of 990 orders by the ring-bearing nation
  • The game uses the page Victory Points & Victory Conditions systems to determine the end ranking of nations – all nations will have five Victory Conditions for bonus points
  • For each Victory Conditions that is completed, the player will receive 100 additional Victory Points at game end
  • Please review Section I-6, Victory Conditions, in the Guide for more details on how Victory Points & Victory Conditions work
  • If the game ends with The One Ring delivered to Mount Doom, that nation will win 1st place, while the other nations will be ranked according to the Victory Conditions & Victory Points system
  • The role of the Spread Rumours (580) & Uncover Secrets (585) orders increases in this variant as players look to protect their own Victory Conditions and discover the Victory Conditions for other nations
  • Nation customization is allowed using the rewards systems designed for the special 1650 games organized during the pandemic on the MEPBM Discord server
  • A draft system for nation selection is included so that players can spend rewards points to bid on preferred nations to play

Module Changes

  • A list of all players by nation with email addresses will be provided to all players for diplomacy after the nation customization has been completed – players are also encouraged to connect on the MEPBM Forums and MEPBM Discord once this list has been shared
  • Change Allegiance (175) order is not allowed in this game
  • Transport by Caravans (948) is only allowed between a nation’s own PCs
  • NOTE: If you must help a friend in this game, there are other clever ways to do so outside of the 948 order
  • Transfer Ownership (949) is not allowed in this game
  • A Champion character delivering The One Ring to Mount Doom must issue three 990 orders, normal characters must only issue two 990 orders
  • All artifacts are Neutral alignment
  • While spells cannot be converted to all Neutral alignment, a nation may start with a spell limited to a specific alignment (e.g. Summon Storms), and will be allowed to use this spell as a Neutral
  • There are no Encounters changes to deal with the All Neutral alignment in this game – plan accordingly, this does impact the role of dragons quite a bit

Survivability Changes

A set of changes are made to nations to improve survivability, as listed below. NOTE: These changes are given to the following nations prior to any rewards points being spent.

  • Woodmen: Maethelburg (2508) upgraded to a Fort
  • Northmen: Dilgûl (4217) starts with a Fort, starts with level 40 Emissary
  • Cloud Lord: Kûl Tarkorul (3629) upgraded to a Major Town, Bardúath (3428) downgraded to a village
  • Ice King: Barad Perras (3123) upgraded to a Major Town
  • Quiet Avenger: Starts with level 40 Emissary
  • Fire King: Barad-wath (3426) starts with a Tower
  • Dark Lieutenants: Barad-dûr (3423) starts with a Fort
  • Rhudaur: Fennas Drúnin (1910) starts with a Fort

Points System

  • A player is given 100 points during game setup which can be used to both bid on preferred nations to play and for nation customization using rewards before game start
  • 10 points is equivalent to a minor reward and 30 points is equivalent to a major reward
  • If a player spends no points on the nation draft, then they will receive four minor rewards (4 x 10 = 40 points) and two major rewards (2 x 30 = 60 points) for their nation, thus totaling 100 points
  • How a player spends these points is entirely up to them – a player needs to make a decision on their preferences to play specific nations in the game vs. having more points to customize whichever nation they will ultimately play
  • Any points spent during the nation draft system for a winning draft pick are lost and will be deducted from the 100 points starting total used for nation customization
  • Please review the national draft system and the nation customization sections below for further details on how points are spent

Nation Draft

  • Do not talk with other players about your draft choices or points spent. You will receive a list of all players in the game with email addresses after the nation draft and nation customization phases are over.
  • It is highly recommended that you do not tell another player after game start how many points you bid to win your nation in the draft. This is intel that can be used against you, as it lets players know how many rewards points you had available to spend on upgrades.
  • You are allowed to submit this form only once. Please consider your choices wisely before you submit this form. Once submitted, it is your official draft entry.
  • Please bid anywhere from 0 to 100 points in increments of 10 points (0, 10, 20, 30, etc.) for the 25 nations in the game. You are allowed to bid the same number of points for multiple nations. This is not a ranking system.
  • You do not lose any points for the nations you do not win in the draft. Think of this like an auction - you only pay for what you win, and in this draft, you can only win a single nation.
  • Bid on as many nations as you want as you will only have points deducted from your rewards points for the one nation you end up playing based on the draft outcome.
  • You can choose to opt out of the draft by selecting 0 points for all nations. This will give you the full 100 rewards points to spend, but it means you will be assigned a random nation from those that weren’t bid on. Are you sure you want to do this?
  • Bidding no points on a nation does not guarantee that you will not play that nation, but bidding points on the nations that you do wish to play will greatly increase the odds that you will play one of your preferred nations.
  • The draft is resolved by Middle-earth Games, from the nation with the highest bid amount by any player to the lowest bid amount by any player.
  • In the case of a draft pick points tie between multiple players for the same nation, this will be resolved randomly.
  • In the case of a draft pick points tie between multiple nations for the order of nations to resolve in the draft, this will be resolved in nation number order, from 1 to 25 (e.g. Noldo Elves and Cloud Lord both have 100-point bids by a player, Noldo Elves is resolved first in the draft. NOTE: It is not recommended that you bid 100 points on any nation, as that leaves no points for upgrades, but this is really up the player to decide. I used a 100-point example here simply to make the point on how draft order is determined.).
  • Players who bid on nations may still receive a random nation based on the draft outcome, depending on how many points they bid for each nation when compared to the other players.
  • At the end of the draft, rewards points will be deducted from winning bids and the player will be assigned their nation and their remaining rewards points to use during the nation customization phase.
  • Two unwanted nations at the end of the draft will be converted into FP and DS nations and have their capitals hidden somewhere so that the game code does not prematurely end the game due to the All Neutral format.
  • ADVICE: The best way to avoid playing a nation you do not like is to bid on nations that you do like!
  • Please bid 0 to 100 points in increments of 10 points (0, 10, 20, 30, etc.) for the 25 nations in the game. There is no guidance for how many points you should bid. Think of the Nation Draft as a game. There are lots of decisions you have to make. Each player will need to make a determination on their own on how to best game the draft for their own advantage.

Nation Customization

  • Players are not allowed to talk to the other players signed up for this game or post on the Forums or Discord regarding draft choices or nation customization during the setup phases of this game
  • Nation customization takes place after the draft, before the game begins
  • If no points were spent during the Nation Draft, that player is given four minor rewards (10 points each) and two major rewards (30 points each) to customize their nation with the full 100 points
  • Based on the player’s use of points during the Nation Draft, this may result in a smaller number of rewards based on the remaining points available to the player
  • A player with less than 100 rewards points remaining for the Nation Customization will determine how they are spent on the minor and major rewards


  • A player spends their remaining points after the Nation Draft on nation customization through the rewards system
  • No individual reward may be picked more than once per nation

Minor Rewards

(10 points each, maximum of four Minor Rewards)
  1. A nation that can name at 40, Commanders, Emissaries or Mages as an SNA, begins with an additional character of that class at their capital. [NOTE from Clint: Several players attempted to name 40 characters that they don’t have the SNA for, it’s only for those with that SNA.] Nation number, name, sex, skill and capital hex
  2. An unfortified starting population centre receives a tower. Nation number and name of PC
  3. A nation starts with an additional 15,000 gold. Nation number
  4. A designated army/navy starts with an additional 250 LC. Nation number and army commander
  5. A starting non-champion character gets an additional +10 to a non Agent/Stealth starting skill (Commander, Emissary, Mage) that they have that is at 50 or less. If you select a Mage, you’ll get an additional random spell. Reminder: Non-Champion only. Nation number, character name and skill [Spells gained are 412, 416 or some other spell if unknown]
  6. A starting village or camp is upgraded one level to a village or a town. Nation number and name of PC
  7. Remove two Harbours / Ports from PCs you control. Nation number and name of PCs
  8. 4 PCs gain 20 Loyalty. Nation number and name of PCs
  9. A nation names a 30 Rank class character that starts at their capital. Nation number, name, sex, skill and capital hex

Major Rewards

(30 points each, maximum of two Major Rewards)
  1. Start with 10 war machines in a designated army. Nation number and army commander
  2. A starting tower is upgraded to a fort. This cannot be a tower created with another Reward. Nation number and name of PC
  3. A starting non-champion character gets +10 to any non Agent/Stealth skill (Commander, Emissary, Mage) whether they start with it or not, if +10 Mage you gain an additional spell. Nation number, character name and skill [Spells gained are 412, 416 or some other spell if unknown]
  4. A designated army / navy starts with an additional 250 HC. Nation number and name of army commander
  5. A starting town is upgraded to a major town and gets loyalty increased. Nation number and name of PC
  6. Remove four Harbours / Ports from PCs you control. Nation number and name of PCs
  7. 4 PCs gain 40 Loyalty. Nation number and name of PCs

The player will send their rewards selections with the required information listed above in italicized text to

If you’d like to sign up, please email

If you have any feedback to improve the module, please reply to this thread.

Thank you.

Sure why not, count me in.
Ned Merrick

Raven, count me in. Sounds like a similar concept to the board game Diplomacy.

Raven, I am in. Sounds like an interesting challenge. Also I like the 10 turn commitment.

raven please count me in

suggestions for survival improvements 4,8,16,23 do not have backups
Duns maybe 1918 raised 2017 reduced ala cloud lord
Ice king don’t know what to suggest he has MT, T and 2 camps
Dwarves - is a hidden city enough protection
Arthedain - perhaps reduce 1409 raise 1106 again ala cloud lord

Ruless update from Clint: all artifacts are neutral alignment. Makes sense!

I’m in.

Awesome, @Suraklin please email to confirm.

Clint will be playing!

Also, 14 people have signed up already.

I doubt you will have issues finding 24 players for something unique like this.

1 Like

Im in, sound like fun.

@Christo Great, please email if you have not already.

and spells? ie conjour hordes?

Ah, great question. Asking Clint…

Allright, I’m in, too. I was actually Sinda and Witch King in the old 1650 all-neutral game. Time to give it another go.

Excellent! Please email

Only five slots left, says Clint. Woah, this is filling fast!

Three slots left.

The game has been assigned a game number: 918.