Third Age, circa 2950: The Great Years, All Neutral Game

UPDATED 20 May 2021

With Game 918: Third Age, circa 1650, All Neutral Game underway, I am organizing another All Neutrals Game to give anyone who missed out on Game 918 a chance to try it. This may also appeal to the players who signed up for Game 918. I will be playing in both.

What’s new in this game vs. the All-Neutrals 1650 Game 918:

  • More rewards points and more rewards
  • Limited use of the 948 order between nations, which was not allowed in Game 918
  • Using The Great Years 2950 variant

Open issues to be resolved with the players:

  • Turn deadlines: weekly or bi-weekly?
  • The One Ring victory: remove from this game?
  • Survivability updates: which nations need boosts prior to rewards?

If this is a game you’d like to play, please email me@middleearthgames.com.


Third Age, circa 2950: The Great Years, All Neutral Game

The 2950 Great Years module with all Neutral nations and no teams with a two-week turnaround. The Great Years is a variant of the 2950 War of the Ring module, where nation population centres have been greatly improved, to match those found in the 1650 module. Some nations also have additional armies, characters, and starting gold.

About the Third Age 2950 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 Great Years is a variant of our 2950 War of the Ring module, where nation population centres have been greatly improved, to match those found in the 1650 module. Some nations also have additional armies, characters and starting gold. More details on the time period and setup are available here: Third Age, circa 2950: The Great Years.

About the All-Neutral Setting

The year 2950 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?

The Champions

  • Woodmen (1) - Beorn
  • Northmen (2) - Girion II
  • Riders of Rohan (3) - Theoden
  • Dunadan Rangers (4) - Elladan
  • Silvan Elves (5) - Thranduil
  • Northern Gondor (6) - Denethor II
  • Southern Gondor (7) - Imrahil II
  • Dwarves (8) - Gimli
  • Sinda Elves (9) - Celeborn
  • Noldo Elves (10) - Glorfindel
  • Witch-king (11) - Angulion
  • Dragon Lord (12) - Duran
  • Dog Lord (13) - Krusnak
  • Cloud Lord (14) - Araudagul
  • Blind Sorcerer (15) - Magurgoth
  • Ice King (16) - Gaurhir
  • Quiet Avenger (17) - Fuinur
  • Fire King (18) - Skargnakh
  • Long Rider (19) - Lomelinde
  • Dark Lieutenants (20) - Gothmog
  • Corsairs (21) - Sangarunya
  • Rhun Easterlings (22) - Huz III
  • Dunlendings (23) - Aonghas
  • White Wizard (24) - Bill Ferny
  • Khand Easterlings (25) - Kionid II

Requirements to Play

  • At least 20 players, unpicked 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.
  • 2950: The Great Years has not yet been setup properly in JOverseer. Middle-earth Games will charge a one-turn setup fee to prepare this game for us in JOverseer.
  • 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 played nations in the 2950 Great Years 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. Changing to Friendly or Hated will require an email to Middle-earth Games with your 180/185 orders. Tolerated and Disliked using 180/185 orders will not require an email.
  • 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. Champions will need to issue three 900 orders to win the game, whereas standard characters will only need two 900 orders.
  • 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 updated rewards systems
  • 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) between nations is limited, as follows: each player nation can send to each player controlled nation up to 5,000 gold or 1,000 product, once every 5 turns (e.g. Turn 1-5, 6-10, 11-15, etc. In a 52-turn game, you would be allowed to use the 948 order to transfer to a given other player nation a total of 11 times.
  • Transport by Caravans (948) can be used between a nation’s own PCs without limitation
  • 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 and therefore accessible to all nations
  • 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
  • Due to all nations being Neutral, most of the dragons will not be recruitable

Great Years Changes

Please review the list of all Nation changes in the Great Years format on the Third Age, circa 2950: The Great Years page. All 25 nations have upgrades to the standard 2950 module prior to any survivability or rewards upgrades.

Survivability Changes

A set of changes may be made to specific (not all) nations to improve survivability in an All Neutral game format. NOTE: These changes are given to the following nations prior to any rewards points being spent.

  • Coming soon…list under review…will be posted prior to the nation draft

Points System

  • A player is given 20,000 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
  • Each reward is worth 1,000 points
  • If a player spends no points on the nation draft, then they will receive 20 rewards
  • 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 rewards 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 the draft form only once. A link to an email draft form will be provided to all players. Please consider your choices wisely before you submit this form. Once submitted, it is your official draft entry.
  • Please bid in increments of 1,000, from 0 to 20,000 for any nation you wish to play. You are allowed to bid the same number of points for multiple nations. This is not a ranking system.
  • You can bid 0-20,000 points on all 25 nations. You do not have 20,000 points to spend on the entire draft. You could bid 20,000 points (or 0 points) on all nations if you want. You only lose rewards points for the one draft pick you do win.
  • 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.
  • 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 20,000 points in increments of 1,000 points 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.
  • You can choose to opt out of the draft by selecting 0 points for all nations. This will give you the full 20,000 rewards points to spend on 20 rewards, 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 0 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 20,000-point bids by a player, Noldo Elves is resolved first in the draft. NOTE: It is not recommended that you bid 20,000 points on any nation, as that leaves no points for upgrades, but this is really up the player to decide. I used a 20,000-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.

Uplayed Nations

  • Unplayed 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
  • Middle-earth Games will attempt to place any unplayed nations distributed equally across the map to reduce unfair advantages

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 20 rewards (1,000 points each) to customize their nation with the full 20,000 points
  • All rewards cost 1,000 points - no individual rewards can be taken more than once
  • 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

Rewards

Each reward listed below costs 1,000 points. A maximum of 20 rewards per nation is allowed if the player is assigned a nation in the draft that they bid 0 points on.

  • PC001: Two unfortified PCs gains a Tower
  • PC002: Upgrade a Tower to a Fort
  • PC003: Remove up to 3 Harbours or Ports from PCs
  • PC004: Remove a Harbour or Port from a PC, gain 20 Loyalty in that PC
  • PC005: 4 PCs gain 25 Loyalty each
  • PC006: 2 PCs gain 40 Loyalty each
  • PC007: Upgrade a Camp to a Village. Gain 20 loyalty in addition.
  • PC008: Upgrade a Village to a Town.
  • PC009: Convert 4 PCs to Ruins. Upgrade two PC by one level each.
  • PC010: Convert 2 PCs to Ruins. Upgrade one PC by one level.
  • PC011: PC gains 400 Mounts to its stores
  • PC012: PC gains 1,000 Timber to its stores
  • PC013: PC gains 800 Bronze to its stores
  • PC014: PC gains 650 Steel to its stores
  • PC015: PC gains 1,200 Leather to its stores
  • AR001: A designated Army/Navy Starts with 250 extra LC
  • AR002: A designated Army/Navy Starts with 150 extra HC
  • AR003: A designated Army/Navy Starts with 75 extra HC and 125 LC
  • AR004: A designated Army/Navy Starts with 400 extra HI
  • CH001: If you have the SNA Name Char @ 40 you can start with an additional character of that class at your Capital
  • CH002: Name a new character of 30 Rank that starts at your Capital
  • CH003: A starting non-champion character gains 20 stat to Com, Em, or Mage in a starting skill that is 40 or less
  • CH004: A starting non-champion character gains 10 stat to Com, Em, or Mage, even if they don’t have it.
  • CH005: A starting non-champion character gains 15 stat to Em or Mage even if they don’t have it
  • CH006: A starting character adds 40 Mage to a character with no Mage Rank
  • CH007: A starting character adds 25 Em to a Character with Em rank 0-20 Em rank
  • AD001: Gain 15,000 gold in your nation’s Treasury
  • AD002: Convert an item to a Palantir allowing Scrying functionality. The item loses its normal bonuses.

The player will send their rewards selections with the required information listed above in italicized text to me@middleearthgames.com

Count me in.

Bob N.

Possibly an odd question, but what if you only want to say remove one harbour? Can you still take the remove two harbours option and only specify one?

@Artarkis It should be ok to take the reward and use less, but email Clint to be sure.

Clint mentioned on Discord that there were eight already signed up. Only fifteen more to go!

I suspect some are waiting for the Survivability changes. I would if I was going to play.

  • M

I’m interested in playing.

@Galerus Great! Please let Clint know via email.

Sorry guys, see Discord, but basically not enough interest atm. When 918 (the 1650 All v All) game has run a bit I’ll look at this format and see what Raven and I can come up with the make it appealing and intersting to play. I’ve got some ideas but want to see how 918 runs for a little while before we have a go at pushing this format.

The game is back on! New rules posted above and recruiting begins again in-earnest. If this is a game you’d like to play, please email me@middleearthgames.com.

1 Like

Singed up. I’d vote to keep the one ring victory in place. If someone does get it, they have to run the gauntlet of everyone else.

Sadly I’m currently in too many games to sign up for another one. However, I couldn’t resist saying I think keeping in the one ring victory seems like a good plan to me.

I suspect thats far too many rewards. Most nations are going to unrecognisable. Will be spending a lot of time scrying and other spells just to get any information of what others have done.

This is part of the fun. We don’t want people operating on autopilot. That’s what a 1650 team game is for (and I say that with no disrespect for 1650 team games, which I enjoy and play regularly). Also, it’s worth noting that a lot of players will bid some or most of their rewards points in the draft and have less to spend on rewards.

2950 is supposed to be a careful balancing act. I find the Great Years and these rewards will make it much less so. I enjoy the careful planning and find that getting into a position where you can start throwing armies around is part of the fun.

We just need five more players for this game to start!

I think you should be docked 1/4 of the points you did for failed bids, unless in the case of draws and coinflips.

  • Mikko

Docking points isn’t a good idea. I think the point of the rewards is to try to even up the nations for an all against all variant. If you get a weak nation you won’t have bid many points for it so you should be able to beef it up with lots of rewards. If you bid a lot for a strong nation such as the Noldo or the Witch King, you won’t have many points to beef them up more.

Also, it’s not necessarily all against all. Diplomacy is allowed so so you could make some friends.

I like these variant games. I’m tempted.

Depends on who you end up wit but it could be worth throwing everything you have against everyone near you early. MAYHEM!

As an aside is there a JO file for the Great Years to set up a new game?

Middle-earth Games will be creating a JOverseer setup to accommodate this and future Great Years games, assuming this (or a future Great Years game) fills and is run.