Code:
Issue:    E-24
Date:     07-24-94


                                First Word

Here we are at the next to last issue of the Mouth, at
least for awhile.  Brian and I are both looking forward
to the break, but until then....

Let me start by apologizing for the rather large number
of S&T articles in the Mouth this issue.  At first
glance, it might seem like your friendly editors are
fulfilling some narcissistic desire to be read; but
really, it's more harmless than that.  You see, Brian has
this overwhelming compulsion to complete all 25 nations
before we shut down the Mouth, a compulsion he can't seem
to shake.  He also has strange thoughts about mint oreo
ice cream and bathtubs filled with jello, but that's
something I'm saving for the tabloids....

Also included is (finally) an entry from Jeremy Richman,
one of the most shrewd ME players around.  I've been
bugging Jeremy to print something for quite some time, as
by his own admission he disagrees with about 80% of the
tactics that Brian and I recommend.  So what does he
submit?  A Q&A with GSI (grumble, grumble).  Maybe when
we once again revive the Mouth for the new game, we can
get Jeremy to do a counterpoint to the S&T's to give the
readers a different point of view...yeah, sure.  That man
must be allergic to his word processor.

Game 97 is still going strong, with all sorts of fun and
vicious attacks taking place on both sides.  The Dark
Servants are FINALLY starting to take notice of me; of
course, they waited until I destroyed all of Khand and
marched 10,000 heavy troops to Osgiliath.  Still, the
game is getting really hot and heavy, and no one's
pulling blows anymore.  I suspect the death and damage
toll will be truly horrendous before this one is over;
certainly it's greater in this game than most of the
others I've seen so far.

And for you DOOM fanatics:  Hell on Earth will be out in
a couple of months.  I can't wait; can you?

Having said much of nothing, I'll see you all for the
last issue of the Mouth.

Tom




                                  Dragons

Daelomin:  offer TWO artifacts = recruited into army for
Dark Servants.

This was just a rumor before, but it's now been confirmed
as fact by eminent dragon-hunter Jeremy Richman.  The
man's love for those smelly, scaled beasts knows no
bounds....

Scatha:  offer one HUNDRED thousand gold = dragon
recruited into army for Dark Servants.

And thanks to Darren Beyer for that bit of news on
Scatha.  That's one dragon I think I'll take a pass on,
thank you.


                                 Personals

Game 168

Sheldon Campbell, the Witch-King, is looking for a little
help from his fellow Dark Servants.  He can be reached
at:  76137.2101@compuserve.com


                             News from the Net

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #1
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: freeman@cae.wisc.edu (Samuel Freeman)
Subject: ME-PBM game 169
Date: 6 Jul 1994 16:34:01 GMT

A friend of mine is playing one of the neutrals in game
169 and would like to make contact with other players of
any allegiance.

His name is Bob Tweedy and his e-mail address is
r.tweedy@genie.geis.com His phone # is 817-447-2423.

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #2
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: jurin@aol.com (Jurin)
Subject: ME-PBM Game #170
Date: 8 Jul 1994 22:34:01

I am playing the Easterlings in Game 170.  I would be
very interested in hearing from Free Peoples and Dark
Servants alike.  Thanks!

Jerry

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #3
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: look_out@delphi.com (Just Me)
Subject: Middle Earth
Date: 15 Jul 1994 05:23:57 GMT

Hey all!

I am just about to start in a new Middle Earth Game.
Since this is my first game, I would like to start out
with as much info as possible. So, my question is this:

Is the a FTP site for ME stuff? (and if so, where.)

Thank you,

John

P.S. I haven't even recived my possition [sic] yet, so I
don't even know who I will be.

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #4
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: tolley_t@msdisk.wustl.edu
Subject: GAME 107
Date: 15 JUL 94 09:03:50 CST

I am looking for the long rider or the cloud lord in game
107. I would like to talk to them. If they or if anyone
knows if they have email to contact me at my email
address.
                                         TIM

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #5
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: stomljen@ux4.cso.uiuc.edu (You Better Work!!)
Subject: MEPBM GAME #167
Date: 15 Jul 1994 22:21:56 GMT

I am rhudaur in game #167.  anybody else playing?


steve

 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #6
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: eschnurr@netcom.com (Eric Schnurr)
Subject: ME: Bribe?
Date: Mon, 18 Jul 1994 04:04:47 GMT

Hi all,

I'm looking for information/experiences with the Bribe
order. How much money have people offered and succeeded
or failed in recruiting a character from a defunct
nation?  (Will a 10Emis offering 200k gold always
succeed?  Will a 100Emis offering 500 gold always
succeed?)

I'll collect any info you send around and post up a
summary. (Please give me the Emis. rank, amount of gold
offered, and total ranks of the target.)

Thanks!

 ---------------------------------------
| Eric Schnurr |  eschnurr@netcom.com |
 ---------------------------------------
 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #7
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: freeman@cae.wisc.edu (Samuel Freeman)
Subject: ME-PBM combat tactics
Date: 18 Jul 1994 14:39:28 GMT

Here's the Best/Worst Tactic vs. Tactic table from page
55 of the ME rulebook:

Tactic     Best vs.     Worst vs.
======     ========     =========
Charge     Hit & Run    Ambush
Flank      Ambush       Surround
Standard   Flank        Charge
Surround   Flank        Hit & Run
Hit & Run  Surround     Flank
Ambush     Charge       Flank

When I first read the rulebook 8 months ago, I
interpreted this table to mean that "Charge is best vs.
Hit & Run" and that "Charge is worst vs. Ambush", for
example.  Now, after fighting many battles, I'm starting
to think I've been reading the table backwards.  I now
think it should read "the best tactic vs. Charge is Hit
& Run" and "the worst tactic vs. Charge is Ambush".  I've
met some vetearn [sic] players in battle, and it's
obvious from the combat tactics they've chosen that even
veteran players are confused on how to interpret this
table.

What do other ME players think?

Sam
freeman@cae.wisc.edu

 -------------------------------------------------------
response from shpark@mothra.syr.edu (Sheeyun  Park)
 -------------------------------------------------------
Maybe I shouldn't comment as I have yet to get into a
battle.  But reading the rules it seems that there are
two different ways tactics will have an effect on combat.

On pg 58 of the rules, they give a listing of a sample
combat.  The first tactic (to be averaged into the troop
modifier) seems to be based on the troop type.  Then the
tactics best/worst seems to be applied again (along with
relation bonus) later to compute the army troop strength.

So it might be best just to always go with the tactic
that is best for the majority of troops instead of
tryingto second guess what your opponant's tactic will
be.

Although if you can guess right, it probably would mean
more since it doesn't get averaged with the rest.  But it
doesn't seem worth the risk.

Don't mind me though.  I'm just a newbie.  I'd like to
hear from the vets out there.

Sheeyun
Cloud Lord #168
 -------------------------------------------------------
response from wang@ux1.cso.uiuc.edu (Wei)
 -------------------------------------------------------
I am almost certain that the first and obvious
interpretation is right, that a charge is best vs. hit
and run, and the best tactic against charge is ambush,
etc.  The message when you ambush their charge is "They
charged... right into our ambush."

It gives a huge advantage by the way, so it is worth
suckering your opponents usually, since you get a
significant bonus and they get a penalty as well.

Wei
 -------------------------------------------------------
response from v011l6fc@ubvms.cc.buffalo.edu (DAVE
ROSSELL)
 -------------------------------------------------------
I've always read the table as giving you some idea of the
bonuses you can expect you and your opponent to get.  For
example, I've got a heavy cav army more than large enough
to wipe out my opponent's heavy infantry force in the
first round of combat, no matter what tactic I pick.
That means I should choose my troops' tactics to minimize
the amount of damage my enemy will do to me.  Someone
with heavy infantry is likely to try to FLANK, so I would
have the heavy cav do a SURROUND, even though SURROUND
isn't a good tactic for heavy cav.  If you need to
inflict the maximum amount of damage on an opponent, try
to gues what tactic he or she is going to use, and pick
the best one to combat it.  This has worked well for me,
and based on my combat reports, Ambush is the optimum
tactic to use if your opponent is Charging.

It seems to me that picking the right tactic helps in two
ways:  you get the bonus to your own troops, while your
opponent gets a negative modifier when his or her combat
strength is calculated against your troops.

I think this is how it works out:

Fire King has lots of heavy infantry so he decides to
FLANK.  N. Gondor has lots of light cav, so he SURROUNDS.

N. Gondor's tactic vs. tactic modifier would be 115,
since he picked the best possible tactic vs. his
opponent's.  The Fire King's modifier would be 90, since
his was the  worst possible tactic vs. his opponent's.

These are important numbers in a close battle, since the
army tactic modifiers are multiplied by your army troop
strength, see p. 58 of rulebook.  It is far more
important to pick tactics by what your opponent's  tactic
is going to be, rather than by the tactic that works best
for your troops.
 -------------------------------------------------------
Post #8
 -------------------------------------------------------
From: grosspie@cae.wisc.edu (Carl William Ii
Grosspietsch)
Subject: ME-PBM Game #172
Date: 19 Jul 1994 20:41:58 GMT

Hail ME-PBMers:

The realm of the Dark Lieutenants in Game #172 seeks to
open lines of communication with any other lords/ladies
of Game #172 who frequent this newsgroup...

And so shall rise the Shadow of Mordor,

Urzahil, Lieutenant of the Dark Tower

*********************
Carl Grosspietsch II
grosspie@cae.wisc.edu
 -------------------------------------------------------


                    Strategy & Tactics: The Haradwaith

>From Brian Mason

The Harad start the game in a unique position. While
strategically they are in almost the same boat as the
Corsairs they are different in many aspects. They are
very strong, economically, like the Gondors, but lack any
significant character strength. Before we get a look at
this very interesting position, lets take a look at the
basic data which I usually present in these articles.

Basic Data

How does the nation of the Haradwaith compare to other
nations? At the start of the game they rank as follows
(Allegiance Comparison Tables, Tom Walton, "The Mouth,"
#3):

item for comparison  among all      among Neutrals
================  ============== ========================
Total Tax Base      2nd            1st
Resource Base       2nd            1st
Combat Strength     19th           4th
Character points    tied for last  tied for last
Artifacts           tied for last  tied for last

The Haradwaith have good production. Expected production
(Population Center Development, Brian Mason, "The Mouth,"
#2) which has not been adjusted for climate for the
nation of the Haradwaith would be as follows:

material    le    br    st    mi    fo    ti    mo    go
=========== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ==
production  775   557   371     0  3121  1101   316  8518

This is a list of below of Haradwaith characters, their
starting abilities, and their assignments.

Name           co   ag   em   ma   assignment
============== ==== ==== ==== ==== ====================
Carlon         30   10   10        backup commander
Ejenna                   10   20   emissary/mage
Haruth Raman   40   10             army commander
Ossim Rallah   30                  army commander
Shabla              10        30   mage
Shamara Katub            10   20   emissary/mage
Ulfacs         30                  navy commander
Yezmin         10   10        10   backup commander

The Harad often win the game (Winners and Losers in
Middle-earth, Tom Walton, "The Mouth," #8) placing in
nine of the thirty-one games there reported. Most often
when the go dark, but also when they opt for the free.

The Strategic Situation

The Haradwaith start the game in a very interesting
position. Because of their preoccupation with each other,
most of the Mordor nations and the Gondors present little
risk: they simply cannot afford to spend the troops
attacking you. As a military threat, the Quiet Avenger is
a non-factor. Her forces start out weaker than yours and
you can out-recruit her. The biggest threat you face is
from the Corsairs.

The Corsairs are one of the few nations that can
out-recruit you. All other factors being equal, the upper
hand will probably go to he who strikes first. However,
in a war of attrition you would both lose.

Despite all this, the Harad must start out preparing for
a strike by the Corsairs.

Preparing for a war in Harad

Listed below are key points which will describe
preparations which the Harad can make for a war
"defending the homeland."

1.   On hiring armies: The ability to hire armies at no
cost is, in my opinion, the best special advantage in the
game. Only Cardolan, the Fire King, and Rhudaur also have
this ability. The Fire King is hampered by not having
enough population centers of significant size at which to
hire.  While the Harad do not have this problem, they do
have a problem which Cardolan and Rhudaur do not share:
having enough commanders to make this an effective
strategy. The only way to do this is to get more
commanders. Given your economy invest the money and get
commander/agents which, when not into army generating
mode can be very effective backup commanders.

2.   Arrange armies intelligently: The major river
starting in the 2734/2833 hexside will effectively split
your realm into two seperate parts. With the Corsairs
having a navy better than twice yours in strength, it is
important that you have large ready armies and the means
to recruit more in both the north and the south.

3.   Bigger navy?: Short answer: no. Long answer: to
equal the Corsair navy, in warships alone would require
34000 gold and 51000 timber. This is too expensive.

4.   Improve defensive posture: Eight of your towns lack
a tower. You can easily change that. You have six harbors
and five ports. Remove most of them.  They cost you 4000
gold per turn (the savings here would almost pay for the
maintenance cost of the new towers).

5.   Patrol: Give your navy the absolute minimum in troop
strength (100 men-at-arms) and patrol your coastline. The
objective here is to do as much damage as possible to the
Corsair navy if they attack.

6.   Food: Almost all your terrain (and that of the
Corsairs) is rough. Use your food properly. An infantry
army can move two hexes in rough terrain with food. With
a force march it can still move two hexes without food.
A cavalry army can move four hexes in rough with food,
but only three without. First of all, keep your armies at
locations which can feed them, but invest your food
reserves in the cavalry armies where they are likely to
do the most good.

Other less-salient points

There are other points worth mentioning which are not
discussed in the strategic features above.

1.   While you have a need for more commander/agents, you
will also need to allow at least one commander to remove
harbors and ports, build bridges, and downgrade relations
when this becomes important.

2.   If you make your backup commanders 10/20 with the 20
in agent class and ALWAYS have them guard something, it
is not necessary to invest the gold in pure agents. At
some point, these characters will be good enough to
switch over to pure agent actions.

3.   You have more than adequate mages. Have them train
in both their emissary and mage skills every turn, if
possible.

4.   You have adequate tax base and adequate production,
so do you need more? Of course! Make a 30 emissary and
send him out. While there is no area on your map not seen
by somebody, some places are more inaccessible than
others, specifically, the rough hexes along the north
side of the Harnen. You also might consider some of the
other locations on the map off everybody elses.


>From Tom Walton

I've played the Harad twice now, in fact have just
completed turn 38 in my most current Harad game (this is
the Game That Won't Die).  Harad is second only to the
Corsairs in terms of which nations I favor, and for very
good reason:  it's an economic and military monster just
waiting to be unleashed.

However, since I've waxed lyrical about Harad before,
I'll confine myself to a few points which Brian didn't
mention:

 - Harad is a split nation and as such you must run it as
two geographically separated realms - even if you still
have your navy.  You must assume that the navy will be
lost at any moment, depriving you of the means to quickly
move troops between your north and south territories.
     With that in mind, always keep capable garrison
forces on both sides of the river.  Failure to do so will
invite opportunistic players to make a quick strike and
take your pop centers, which have pitiful fortifications
or no fortifications at all.

 - if you plan on going evil, or you decide to go good
while the Corsairs opt for evil, destroy all of your
harbors and ports.  This will limit direct enemy landings
to one hex:  2632.  Unless the enemy lands somewhere else
and marches into your kingdom (thus advertising their
intentions), they'll have to arrive at that hex.  By
putting a strong garrison there, or close to it, you're
assured of being able to meet and engage these forces
before they can do significant damage to your realm.
     But be warned:  if you start to remove your ports
and harbors, an enemy might panic and make a quick strike
before you complete the process.  Try, if at all
possible, to complete the process in two consecutive
turns to prevent such a move.

 - Harad is filthy rich.  Indulge yourself by creating
split-class characters for the first seven or so open
slots.  Instead of commanders, go for commander-agents;
instead of pure agents, try agent-emissaries.  Reserve
one slot for a pure emissary to be used to put down camps
(the split-class emissary-agents can improve the loyalty
of the new camps while guarding them at the same time).

 - Don't get too attached to your characters.  In truth,
the really, really suck, and will probably really, really
suck for the entire game.  If you go good this is
especially true as, anyone who's of any note will quickly
be assassinated or cursed to death by the Dark Servants.
     On the brighter side:  as rich as you are, you can
easily create new characters to take up the slack.
You can't begin to imagine how frustrated the enemy will
become when they kill a half-dozen of your characters
only to find that you replaced in them in just two
turns....

 - With the strong economy, concentrate on a quick
military build-up of properly equipped troops.  In my
Harad game, the terrain made heavy infantry virtually
worthless; so instead of wasting my time on this, I
recruited only heavy cavalry with bronze weapons and
steel armor.  One of these armies was so powerful it
actually defeated a large enemy force with a dragon in
it.

 - as Brian pointed out, the Quiet Avenger is laughable at
a threat.  More so, it's also a tempting target.
Adunaphel can't possibly match you in battle, making
conquest of her nation easy, fast and lucrative...so long
as the other Dark Servants can be convinced that you'll
go evil as soon as the campaign is concluded.  Or you go
Free.

 - As a final note:  if you lean towards the Dark
Servants, attempt to put a camp down in the hex opposite
of Pelargir, on your side of the river.  Gondor will
almost definitely blow this bridge and then move to sink
your navy, so you'll need a pop center available to
quickly build a new bridge.  If you can do this and get
a large army across the river on the same turn, you can
virtually assure the defeat of the Free Peoples.


                     Strategy & Tactics: The Dog Lord

>From Brian Mason

Lets start this with a look at the basic data.

Basic Data

How does the nation of the Dog Lord compare to other
nations? At the start of the game they rank as follows
(Allegiance Comparison Tables, Tom Walton, "The Mouth,"
#3):

item for comparison among all      among Dark Servants
================ ============== =========================
Total Tax Base      tied for 21st  tied for 7th
Resource Base       tied for 15th  tied for 3rd
Combat Strength     11th           4th
Character points    7th            4th
Artifacts           5th            4th

The Dog Lord has pretty poor production, especially in
the areas necessary for him to be worth his name.
Expected production (Population Center Development, Brian
Mason, "The Mouth," #2) which has not been adjusted for
climate for the nation of the Dog Lord would be as
follows:

material    le    br    st    mi    fo    ti    mo    go
========= ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
production   87  1007   427    42   381    172   42  6689

This is a list of below of Dog Lord characters, their
starting abilities, and their assignments.

Name           co   ag   em   ma   st   assignment
===========   ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ===============
Ashburgnul          20        50        mage #2
Borhan              30                  agent #1
Bulrakur       50                       attack command
Dendra Dwar    20        20   60   30   mage #1
Gurthlug       30        20             emissary #1
Kaldurmeir     40                       defense command
Krusnak        30   20        30        attack subcommand
Tonn Varthkur  40             30        combat mage

Army Strategy

The Dog Lord is strong in many areas. However, the
strength of the army must not be overestimated, for if
the massed Dog Lord armies were to meet the massed
Eothraim armies the outcome would not be in doubt: the
Dog Lord would lose. The object here, then is to harrass
and take undefended population centers of Northern Gondor
and only meet the Eothraim in pitched battle when
additional Dark Servants, especifically the Dark
Lieutenants, can arrange to attack together.

Most of the strategy of the Dog Lord is contained herein:
your objectives should be arranged with a bait-and-switch
type mentality. You do not want to encounter the
Eothraim, but you do want to acquire more population
centers. The plan, then, is move your attacking army in
such a way that on your next move you can attack many
targets so that your true target is unknown. While your
army is very good, and the time will come to use it, but
the time is not in the early game. Attempt to meet small
armies or undefended town/towers. For the moment,
avoiding Easterling population centers is advisable.

While conventional wisdom is to avoid the Eothraim camps,
ending a turn there and destroying them has multiple good
effects: one, it lowers the loyalty of Eothraim major
towns which you will eventually need to deal with, two,
it improves the morale of your own army so that it
becomes a more potent offensive force, and three,
scorched earth often puts an adversary into disarray.

Use your defensive army at Morannon for two purposes:
one, to defend this critically important pass, and two,
recruit cavalry here as the conjure mounts allow. Then,
your attacking army can come back and pick up
replacements as they are needed. Eventually you will
shuttle all the mounted forces to the attacking army, for
there is no need for your defending militia to be other
than heavy infantry. Get it to a nice core of about 2000
hi, and as the materials become available recruit heavy
cavalry.

Watch the prices of leather. You can conjure mounts, you
cannot conjure leather. Buy excessive amounts when it is
cheap or arrange for transfers from the players which
have better leather production (Witch-King and Long
Rider).

Dump your command artifacts and combat artifacts in your
attacking army where they will do the most good. With the
artifacts available, Bulrakur becomes unchallegable to
all but the best army commanders, and only Tarondor is
usually in the area.

Economy

While it is tempting (increasing Dog Lord taxes to 70%
will get the Dog Lord temporarily "in the black", and the
large at start surplus would fund the first half dozen
turns), doing so would eventually result in the
dissolving of the Dog Lord camps. The first couple of
turns can be played for modest gains, but strategic plans
must be made with the Dark Lieutenants to attack the
Eothraim. It is necessary to get more taxes. This can be
done two ways: through creation or conquest. Creation is
initially expensive, but if placed in some secure
locations can yield great return. Conquest is easiest,
but it is likely that anything taken in Rhovanion can be
quickly re-taken by Mahrcared and friends.

For development, then, you need a quality emissary. Spend
the 10000 and then add another for 5000. Develop camps in
the plains hexes on your map and once they hit 50 in
emissary skill begin improving camps to, eventually, the
town level.

Character Strategy

Apart from the two emissary creations what is to be done?
Name a couple of agents. Your chance of getting stealth
is to great an opportunity to pass up. If you do get one
with stealth, then pass off the agent artifacts and go to
work.

First, stealing gold from the Gondors, then moving on the
the more delicious task of killing characters.

For your starting mages, I advocate using Tonn Varthkur
as a mage in the combat army. You get someone else who
can use a sword and you also get combat spells. Among the
other two mages, Dendra Dwar can locate artifacts and
Ashburgnul can go get them.

Economy

While it is tempting (increasing Dog Lord taxes to 70%
will get the Dog Lord temporarily "in the black", and the
large at start surplus would fund the first half dozen
turns), doing so would eventually result in the
dissolving of the Dog Lord camps. The first couple of
turns can be played for modest gains, but strategic plans
must be made with the Dark Lieutenants to attack the
Eothraim. It is necessary to get more taxes. This can be
done two ways: through creation or conquest. Creation is
initially expensive, but if placed in some secure
locations can yield great return. Conquest is easiest,
but it is likely that anything taken in Rhovanion can be
quickly re-taken by Mahrcared and friends.

For development, then, you need a quality emissary. Spend
the 10000 and then add another for 5000. Develop camps in
the plains hexes on your map and once they hit 50 in
emissary skill begin improving camps to, eventually, the
town level.

>From Tom Walton

Just a couple of notes.  This is a position I dread to
play, as much depends on how competent your fellow Dark
Servants are.  One rotten apple can spoil your whole
game....

 - as Brian mentioned, your heavy cav can't match the
Eothraim in battle.  This means that your most obvious
strategy is to avoid a pitched battle and hit undefended
targets, driving the enemy crazy trying to track you
down.
     However, it often turns out that one or more of your
allies isn't very good and either refuses to support his
neighbors or just plain bungles the attempt.  That means
that you'll HAVE to move your cav into battle, if only to
keep Mordor intact.  Prior to dispersing your forces to
the winds, check out your allies to make sure they can
hold up their end of the fighting.

 - a tactic you might want to consider is to split off
1500 or so cav and zip deep into the back country of
Northern Gondor.  Since Gondor almost always moves his
troops east towards Minas Anor, you've a good chance of
finding all the little towns in the area entirely
undefended.  With your best leader and a few artifacts,
you can threaten these away, split off your army, and
start recruiting more nuisance forces.  By the time
Gondor finally returns to wreak a little vengeance, you
might have more armies around than he can easily deal
with.  In any case, you'll deprive him of much-needed
production early in the game, and you can turn to
scorched-earth if it appears that the Free are going to
drive you out.


                     Strategy & Tactics: South Gondor

>From Brian Mason

This is prehaps one of the most fun positions to play.
You have many options, and at least initially, you do not
have barbarians at the gates. Despite this, for your
eventual success there are many things you must do, and
do well. Here's the basic data.

Basic Data

How does South Gondor compare to other nations? At the
start of the game they rank as follows (Allegiance
Comparison Tables, Tom Walton, "The Mouth," #3):

item for comparison among all      among Free Peoples
=============== ============== =========================
Total Tax Base      3rd            2nd
Resource Base       4th            3rd
Combat Strength     4th            4th
Character points    tied for 12th  3rd
Artifacts           tied for 11th  5th

South Gondor has very good production in almost all areas
due to their great number of population centers and their
being spread over a variety of terrain types (players
take note). Expected production (Population Center
Development, Brian Mason, "The Mouth," #2) which has not
been adjusted for climate for South Gondor (usually
excellent, I might add) would be as follows:

material    le    br    st    mi    fo    ti    mo    go
========= ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== ===== =====
production 1327   383   255     0  4635   757   388  5856

This is a list of below of South Gondor characters, their
starting abilities, and their assignments.

Name           co   ag   em   ma   st   assignment
==========    ==== ==== ==== ==== ==== ===============
Argirion       50                       Navy Commander
Baranor        30                       Capital Commander
Belechael      30        20             Special Events
Camlin         50                    Recruiting Commander
Celdrahil      60        10             SGEF Commander
Dunsul         50             10     Recruiting Commander
Marahil        10   10   20             SGEF Backup
Saerol                   10   40        Mage

SGEF == South Gondor Expeditionary Force

Army Strategy

The first step is to get your armies coordinated. It will
cost a turn, but consider recruiting and sending
everything to Dol Amroth on turn one. Then transfer
troops and ships so that the armies can be grouped in the
following ways:

1.   A minimal navy (with the Men-at-Arms) to be used as
a naval strike force. This can end every turn in a
different port and is primarily there to encounter navies
of the opposition. If negotiations go well with the
Harad, you can get more offensive and go after Quiet
Avenger holdings.

2.   A huge army which you send to Osgiliath or Pelargir
after consultation with Northern Gondor.

3.   Recruiting armies at Dol Amroth and Morthondost. The
Dol Amroth army adds 500 heavy infantry every turn while
the Morthondost army can build an army of heavy cavalry
behind the lines. You can also use this to strike against
unfriendly camps in Western Gondor.

Character strategy

1.   Name a 30 agent who can use the Ring of
Impersonation to its best ability and put him to work.
Keep him moving (the Dark Servants want your ring, too)
and have him do safe actions until he is ready (steal
gold from friendlys, sabotage ports/harbors which are not
needed, etc.). He should name a 10/20 commander/agent who
should do the same after getting his agent rank up. You
need the commander/agent for two purposes: one, so that
he can use his command skill to form a company so that
your 30 agent need not execute a move order and his agent
skill to scout when moving into an unfriendly hex.

2.   Name a couple of 30 emissaries and lay claim to
Western South Gondor with camps, and later villages and
towns.

3.   With the turn six new creations, get some backup
commanders in your armies, and possibly another mage to
supplement Saerol's lorely activities.

Specific actions to take

South Gondor must do many things, and it must do them all
well.

1.   Three of your population centers start the game not
fortified. Spend the timber, and one commander moving
around to do this. Fortifing these will allow you to
raise your taxes to the 60-70% level.  While you do not
initially need this much taxable income, you should
prepare to assist many of your allies financially. As
allowed by prices and timber production, upgrade the
fortifications at Dol Amroth.

2.   Get into Ithilien quickly with a great deal of
troops. The long term security of most of your population
centers depends upon Northern Gondor.  To get to you, the
nations of Mordor must crush Northern Gondor first. It is
alot better for you to fight at Osgiliath than at Dol
Amroth.

3.   Patrol the coast. The only immediate, and possibly
long term danger you face is by Sea. The only nation
which can match you on the sea are the Corsairs. If the
Sinda or Northern Gondor are not committed to offensive
action on the sea, see if they will give you their
warships. It is also possible for the Sinda to make you
ships at Edhellond and then transfer them to you.

4.   Watch your back door. Almost everyone knows of the
nice hexes west of Morthondost. Make sure no one starts
building up behind you.

>From Tom Walton

Brian pretty much said it all.  Only a few points I'd
like to make:

 - you MUST support Northern Gondor RIGHT AWAY.  Move as
much as your army as you can to Osgiliath at the opening
of the game.  At this point, the Dark Servants won't be
able to assassinate your leaders, and in combination with
Northern Gondor you just might be able to destroy
Mordor's starting forces.  If you fail to act in support
of your neighbor, you will ultimately perish for your
foolishness.
     The support doesn't stop there.  You must also
continue to recruit and feed troops to the meat grinder
in the Ithilien.  Every orc you hack up is one less that
your allies have to contend with, and that means one less
that YOU will eventually have to contend with.  Steady,
strong support will keep Mordor penned up until their
treasuries run dry and their economies force them to slow
down their recruiting efforts.

 - Southern Gondor is a rich nation.  Instead of hoarding
gold for Mordor's agents to steal, send the excess to
nations which are continually short.  The Eothraim are
good recipients of your bounty, as are the Woodmen and
even the Sinda.  Again, this isn't entirely selfless; the
longer they last, the more damage they do, the less
chance there is that you'll have to fight on your own
territory.

 - Try your darndest to recruit one southern neutral to
the cause.  It doesn't really matter which; if you get
the Corsairs, their navy is no longer a threat and you
can easily put the Harad fleet out of commission.  Blow
the Pelargir bridge and they won't be able to invade.
     If you get Harad, the Corsairs will no doubt sink
the Harad navy, meaning that you in turn can sink THEIR
navy.  Meanwhile, Harad will turn it's fearsome economic
might against the would-be pirates, putting them out of
the conflict for many, many turns.
     In any event, getting the two southern neutrals to
pounce on each other means that you won't have to be
quite as vigilant in your defense and can more fully
concentrate on Mordor.


                      Questions and Answers with GSI
                             By Jeremy Richman

Here's some recent Q&A with GSI:

Q: Does having stealth help an agent doing a guard order?
A: Yes, the guarding agent would be including his/her
stealth in his/her chances since being hidden would seem
to make the guarding easier....

Q: Are army commanders harder to 615/620 than other
commanders ?
A: Yes, army commanders are harder targets than ordinary
commanders.

Q: Is kidnapping in fact harder than assassination ?
A: Kidnapping and assassination are both 'Hard' orders.
GSI does not comment on which is really 'harder'. One
could argue a case for either one being harder than the
other....

(Tom's note:  a statistical analysis done by a friend
some time ago suggests that kidnap is 5-10 points easier
than assassinate.  Of course, in any analysis there's
always a margin for error....)

Q: The rulebook says, regarding kidnap/assassination,
that one factor on success is the relations between the
nations.  Does this refer to the usual bit, that the
target nation's relations affect the order, or does it
also mean that the kidnapper nation's relations to the
victim also affect the chance of success ?
A: This is also something not discussed with players.



                         How I Got Screwed by GSI
                                 by Tom L.

The Situation:  It is early in game 165. I am playing
Cardolan.  A small Rhudaur army encounters a Cardolan
army at Amon Sul.  After friendly Email discussion with
Rhudaur, it is decided that both players will attempt to
post a camp at Amon Sul.  Luck of the draw will decide
the winner and no objections will be made.  Orders are
given to the Cardolan army.  They are as follows.

1.  Post Camp

2.  Wait  two segments  for other armies to clear out of
area and then move on to objective.

The Result :  The Cardolan army fails to post a camp
because there is already one there (Rhudaur beat them to
it).  They wait two segments and then look up and are
amazed to see  "non -(friendly/tolerant) fortifications".
The army is immediatly stopped by the "non -
(friendly/tolerant) fortifications".

Lesson learned: After segment one of the movement phase,
the ME progam assumes all pieces on the board are moving
(even if they have not).  They then can be stopped by
anything that would normally stop them.  GSI definition
of movement is not the same as mine.

The following is the letter I got in response to my
complaint to GSI.

"Tom,

On the first movement (day), an army is allowed to leave
a hex even if there are unfriendly armies/forts, unless
the enemy gave stand and defend orders. This allows the
army to move and assumes that no attacks occured earlier
in the turn (else the army would be alone or destroyed).
Subsequent entering of the hex would still possibly
result in movement being stopped.

However, if the first movement is 'home', then the army
is not out of the hex on the first day. This is
essentially the same as leaving and re-entering the hex
after 'day' one.

You should find that that is why your army failed to move
out last time, but there is no reason why they could not
move out in the future.

Good luck in your game!

GSI"

[Tom's note:  I'm glad the other poor Tom tried this
before I did, because my definition of not moving is
simply that - not moving.  It would never have occurred
to me that giving the order not to move means that the
army actual runs out of the hex and then back into it.

I also looked through the rulebook and could find no
instance where the mechanics as described above are
written down.  In fact, it's implied that the 'home'
order means that the army doesn't move for the day.  I
quote from page 30 of the fifth edition rules, 2nd
paragraph under the header 'Army/Navy Movement':

"Consequently, 'home' can be used to stay put in a hex
for one or more days if desired.  Each 'home' direction
given in a movement order keeps the Army in their current
hex for a single day (1 movement point)."

Quoting again from the same section, fifth paragraph:

"If an Army/Navy ENTERS a hex where there is a non-
Friendly or non-Tolerant...fortified, non-hidden
Population Center, then it may be forced to stop in that
hex." (my emphasis added - Tom).

Note the contradiction:  the explanation of the home
order clearly states that the army REMAINS in the hex,
while you can only be stopped by enemy fortifications if
you ENTER the hex.  Seems to me that Tom was in the right
and that GSI needs to make a correction to it's rule book
 - and perhaps compensate my unfortunate namesake for the
confusion.]


                 NEWS FROM THE GSI SEMINAR AT ORIGINS '94!
                        by:  William "Rock" Chasko

I was fortunate enough to be able to attend Origins '94
in beautiful downtown San Jose this year.  I spent my
first three days playing the National Strategic Decision
Making Game, led by Lt. Commanders Mark and Dan McDonagh
of the Naval War College.  If anybody wants to hear about
that experience in this worthy publication, let your
editors know and I'll write it up for the last (sniff!)
issue...

The good news is that, as promised, I attended the GSI
seminar, and this is the promised report on it!  The bad
news is that most of the discussion focused either on the
new game, GSI's future titles, or GSI's business
operations/practices.

Perhaps ten or so ME-PBM aficionados showed up for the
seminar, led by Bill Feild and Pete Stassun.  They
brought with them the exquisite cover for the 2950 rule
book - buy it just for the cover art, guys.  The new rule
book will have an index which will be usable with the old
rulebook too.

Bill Tallen, fellow gamer and my buddy of twenty-plus
years, initiated a long philosophical discussion around
the idea that GSI should publish the functions and
equations that govern most actions in the game.  In a
typical wargame, the charts and tables give you these
functions.  Bill argued that someone training assassins
or considering a choice of battle tactics knows from
years of experience what their chances of success would
be for a given action.  A lively discussion ensued, with
some members of the audience stating that they liked
things the way they are, although they admitted that it
gives experienced players an advantage.  Feild
acknowledged Tallen's point, and went on to say that not
publishing the functions allows GSI to tweak them
frequently as they see a need without having to publish
frequent errata.

[Tom's note:  wait just a minute...GSI said last year
that they don't tweak game functions without informing
players first.  Am I missing something?]

On the 2950 game, we learned that registrations will be
accepted in mid-August and games would start around
September 1st.  There will be a new riddles set.

There will be many new encounters - 70 - 90% of the
encounters in the 2950 game will be new!  Dragons will be
fewer, but more powerful - look for Smaug in the logical
place...  Hobbits will still only be NPC's, but Celeborn
and Galadriel are now characters.  The Saruman position
has Saruman as a very powerful multi-skilled character,
while all the other characters in the position are wimps.

The Dark servants have pop centers in the Misty
Mountains, but the Witch King has been relocated to
Mordor.  The Dragon Lord is still in southern Mirkwood,
and The Balrog has taken up residence in Moria.  The
dwarves pop centers are pretty much the same, other than
not having Khazad Dum anymore.  The Silvan Elves still
hold the pop center in the Rhun area.  The Long Rider
capital isn't in the Sea of Rhun anymore; the Cloud Lord
position has a couple of minor changes.

The GSI guys noted that there have been four or five
games where The Ring has been located.  In some of those,
it has been picked up, but in only one game has it been
successfully transported to Barad Dur.  This occurred in
a game that recently ended and a harrowing finish it was
*THE LAST FREE PEOPLE CHARACTER* made it to Barad Dur
with The Ring in hand.  Unfortunately, the baddies were
laying for him, and killed him with curses before he
could chuck the thing into the volcano.  Talk about
suspense...  The ring will hereafter be a little easier
to find, but just as hard to hold on to...

[Tom's note:  yep, that was an exciting game to watch.
I was in contact with the Dark Servants at the time.]

There was some discussion of the proposal to pre-stamp
the game envelopes and raise the cost of the game by 25
or 50 cents.  I pointed out that I liked it, but many
players in my state routinely fax their turns and would
gain nothing - and actually lose a little - from this
change.  Bill Feild pointed out the savings that faxers
now get since faxing is now (mostly) free.  He also said
the volume of mail going out of GSI at this point is
large enough that GSI should soon qualify for reduced
postage for batched mailouts.

Bill Feild said that GSI was looking at developing some
non-Tolkien-era games.  A player asked if they would
consider a game on the First Age.  Bill pointed out that
there were licensing issues that currently prevented
that.  Another suggestion was a computer game on the
ME-PBM theme.  Bill replied that yet another company had
the rights to produce a Tolkien computer game, so while
that was of interest to GSI, it was also not in the cards
right now.

There was considerable discussion of the manifold
problems GSI experiences in entering turns.  GSI pointed
out that one of the problems involved in accepting a
computer data file (as opposed to an e-mailed turn which
has to be re-keyed anyway) is that such a file would not
enjoy routine fixes that GSI regularly performs, such as
fixing inverted order parameters when the mistake is
obvious, or interpreting "one word" responses.  While it
didn't occur to me at the time, it would still be
possible for GSI staff to review data files transmitted
over the public networks - a process that would provide
the indicated benefits, but still greatly reduce data
entry time for GSI...

GSI says that now that faxed turns are (mostly) free, the
number of faxes that arrives at GSI has increased from 30
 - 40 per week to 250 per week.  With this increase has
come an increase in problems: faxing the blank side of
the form, faxing to the wrong number, the fax machine
runs out of paper over a weekend, etc.  GSI advised
giving them a call to insure that faxed turns have
arrived intact.

GSI has installed a fax modem to help with the fax
volume; this should allow the
"paper-runs-out-on-weekends" problem to be solved.

The session was fun - at least I though so - and it was
indeed a pleasure to lay eyes on the guys that brought us
this fine game...I hope I can schmooze with them again in
Philadelphia at Origins '95.


                            Reports on Game 158
                             by Jeff Holzhauer

Orientation: On turn one I attempted to move Dragon Lord
Armies to 2711 in a preemptive strike. Both armies were
intercepted by the Woodmen. The Dwarves moved both armies
from the Iron Hills 14 MP east to 3105 and 3106. The
Eothraim player moved armies to 2817, 3016, and 3216.
This was a major mistake (IMHO) because (with the only
benefit being the placement of 3 camps) he completely
telegraphed his intention to go for Dol Goldur. He should
have (IMHO) moved all three armies to 3116. I would have
assumed that the icon was the North Gondor starting army.
The Eothraim could have combined his armies, moved, and
caught me by surprise. Instead.....

This Week on the Reptilian Broadcast Network:

Orc/Woodman Mudwrestling Championship!

In a makeshift mud puddle at 2610 the orc champion
Wodurishak challenged the reigning woodman wrestler
Waulfa. The two wrestlers plunged into the mud and began
wrestling. After several minutes of intense wrestling,
Waulfa was the first to lose his shirt. The second round
began quickly: Wodurishak lost his footing in the slimy
mud and fell. Waulfa took shameless advantage of this
slip and did a massive belly flop onto poor Wodurishak.
The pain of the mighty blow seemed to daze Wodurishak and
he was unable to resist as Waulfa ground his face into
the mud until he expired.

Consumer reporter Duran fights back!

The ever vigilant consumer advocate Duran traveled to
Sarn Lothduin in order to purchase an order of Woodman
Kabobs for the great Horsey barbecue (see next show).
After Duran arrived at the market, shopkeeper Osric tried
to raise the previously negotiated price. Well, it should
come as no surprise to any of his loyal audience that
Duran was not willing to stand for this. He set out to
teach Osric and the other employees of Sarn Lothduin
market the error of their ways. The townspeople set a
cruel ambush for our loyal reporter, and he was forced to
burn the entire town to the ground. Nonetheless, Duran
will be bringing the full order of Woodman Kabobs to the
Horsey barbecue. Osric was beaten severely, but Duran was
willing to give him a chance to reform his ways.

Mahrcared arrives early for Horsey barbecue!

RBN president Khamul had invited the Eothraim for a
Horsey barbecue on Turn 4. Unfortunately those
mischievous horseboys tried to arrive early, no doubt
with the intention of getting more free food. Mahrcared
managed to sneak by the door guard with a group of his
friends. Fortunately, the rest of his friends were unable
to get past the doorman. Khamul has asked our adventurous
consumer advocate, Duran to teach Mahrcared a lesson in
etiquette. Mahrcared was, however, courteous enough to
bring a reasonable assortment of horseys for the fire.

This week on RBN children's hour -- Two episodes of
Massive Overkill!

Episode One: The Woodmen, Dwarves, and Sinda all march
all available forces to Goblin Gate! Figuring that you
can never have too much of a good thing, all three of
Khamul's Mirkwood buddies have come to visit at Goblin
Gate. Those silly elves are lagging a turn behind the
rest, but they're on their way. Also in episode one,
Khamul regrets that he his unable to visit with these
friends, but he's busy preparing the barbecue.

Episode Two: Gain I and Thelor II both arrive, with all
their friends at Lag-auris. Khamul wonders aloud what
could be so interesting about Lag-auris that it attracts
the attention of two such fun loving, albeit short, guys.


                 WHAT FUN I COULD HAVE HAD IF I STAYED IN?
           Response to Article by Philip R. Tripp for Game #101


I enjoyed reading Phipip's account of Game #10, which by
the way was pretty accurate.  Of course he didn't tell
you the whole story.  I am if you didn't realize it from
the title the Witch King from #101.  The game started
badly with most of the dark servants sitting and doing
nothing for the first turn.  We got steam-rolled for a
few turns before we blunted their offense. What didn't
help was the Dragon Lord and Quiet Avenger both deciding
to drop within the first 5 turns and the a few other
nations dropping or getting knocked out.

Four of us (Witch King, Long Rider, Blind Sorceror, and
Cloud Lord) hung out till the end.  We were two teams
(WK-LR) and (CL-BS).  Things weren't going too badly for
us, but we decided to drop when the Cloud Lord lost his
capital and the improve pop center order failed.  After
that the BS said he was going to drop and the Long Rider
and I decided we didn't want to spent 50+ turns trying to
win.

The chance of winning though was not out of the question
as you can see from the game result.  I had the strongest
mages in the game.  I has fourth in characters with only
14 of the possible 21 characters.  I also had over 200+
points in mage artifacts, 10000+ in combat artifacts, 50
point in emissary, 105 in command, and about 50 in agent.
Yes I think the Long Rider and I could have had alot of
fun.  Especially since I was well on my way to having
close to 400+ points of mages learning curses.

Well the game is all water under the bridge now.  I
commend Philip, and the Long Rider, Blind Sorceror, and
Cloud Lord players for their efforts. While all I can do
is dream about how much fun I could have had with my
characters, I did get some satisfaction knowing that the
Dark Servants had the strongest characters.

Ronald C. Cudworth (Scarimus)


            Speculations on player positions in the 2940 game:
                          North and South Gondor
                              By Brian Mason

The information we have for these nations is fair if we
assume that the position of them in 2940 is not greatly
different from them in 3019. So, that being said, lets
consider the positions jointly.

Population Centers

Many of the population centers of Northern Gondor have
been lost either directly (in the case of the population
centers of Rhovanion, many of those in Ithilien including
Minas Ithil) or lost too annexation (in the case of the
population centers of Rohan).

There are a few documented cases of additions. The Ruling
Steward Turgon builds the secret refuge of Henneth Annun
(a hidden popultation center?) and the island of Cair
Andros which was fortified to defend Anorien. These two
make make up for Osgiliath and some of the Ithilien
town/towers in the 1650 game. Also, there is the building
of the beacon towers of Gondor: Amon Din, Eilenach,
Nardol, Erelas, Minrimmon, Calenhad, and Halifirien.
While having them as town/towers is probably too
generous, it is likely that some (or all) of them will be
somewhere between camp and town/tower.

Minas Tirith (nee Minas Anor) is described as having
decreased in size. It seems unlikely that Southern Gondor
will have lost any of their population centers, however,
depending on how many of the population centers as
described above have been added to Northern Gondor, it is
possible that some may be added to the elder Gondor.

Characters

The Ruling Steward in 2940 is Turgon. His son, Ecthelion
II is a viable character, however, Denethor II is only 5,
so is unlikely to be a character. On the side of Southern
Gondor, it is likely that the position will be led by
Adrahil of Dol Amroth (father of Imrahil). Forlong the
Fat (from "The Lord of the Rings" is described as being
old, so perhaps he may be a character here. Most of the
other characters from "The Lord of the Rings" will be too
young to be viable characters here. Overall, you would
expect character types to be similar to those in the 1650
scenario.

Artifacts

With a few notable exceptions, the artifacts possessed by
these positions are, more or less, the same. The most
notable exception are the palantiri of Northern Gondor.
At this time the only possess the Anor Stone. The may
have additional artifacts, namely, the Great Horn from
the Kine of Araw which was carried by the Stewards. This
will probably be a significant combat artifact.

Armies

Speculation here would be in vain. Take the 1650 starting
armies and multiply by some factor from 30 to 70%. Take
your pick.


                                 Last Word

This brings to a close our penultimate issue of this
incarnation of "From the Mouth of Sauron." I hope you
will forgive all the contributions made by yours truly in
the "Strategy and Tactics" series. I started this mess
way back in issue three with my first offering on the
Woodmen. I, for some inane reason, feel compelled to
finish them all before bringing "The Mouth" to a close.

In looking back on some of my earlier efforts in this
area, I note significant flaws (things I would change had
I the compulsion), however, being under no obligation to
re-write or write over, I'll let them stand. I have been
especially gratified with Tom's marvelous input into
these efforts of mine. Ever since his "Blood & Glory"
series I have respected and valued his opinion. Those of
you who have played with him (or against him) should
count yourself lucky.

I guess I'll bring this too a close before I begin to wax
too lyrically. I'll save all that for the last issue.

Keep in mind, if you want something to get in "The Mouth,"
next issue is your last chance. Get at it!

Brian