Three Rings for the-Elven kings under the sky,
Seven for the Dwarf-lords in their hall of stone,
Nine for mortal men doomed to die,
One for the Dark Lord on his throne
In the land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and the darkness bind them
In the Land of Mordor where the Shadows lie.
September 23, 1418 s.r. Frodo Baggins receives a letter from Gandalf the Grey, telling him to leave at once for Rivendell and to keep an eye out for a friend on the road by the name of Strider. He also warns that the servants of the Enemy are in pursuit and have taken the guise of riders in black.
J.R.R. Tolkien's War in Middle Earth is the 16-bit game with additional adventuring features compared to the 8-bit version, loosely depicting the events of the One Ring from the Shire to Mt. Doom. The game starts with the three hobbits: Frodo, Sam, and Pippin surrounded by nine individual units of Nazgul near the Shire. Although the first task is to travel to Rivendell, the player is free to decide how heroes and armies progress, despite the in-game conventional storyline.
Victory is attained by successfully sending the ring bearer to Mt. Doom - how this accomplished is completely up to the player. Additionally, any hero including Frodo may die during combat. If the ring bearer dies during combat, a new ring bearer (if they survive the encounter) will be appointed to carry the One Ring. If the enemy gains possession of the One Ring is taken by the enemy, they will attempt to reach Barad-Dur, Sauron's fortress in the heart of Mordor, which will result in the player's defeat. The player will also lose if the enemy manages to seize three major allied citadels.
Gameplay is divided in accordance to the three different map levels used:
Full Map Level
Consists of the whole map of Middle Earth on one screen. All heroes and armies will be shown as colored dots; blue as allied units, green as neutral units, and red as enemy units, as well as general terrain and regional displays. All forces are in the game are viewable as no fog of war feature is in effect.
Most gameplay features of the war takes place at this level. This map offers more detail of locations and units; all locations such as towns, citadels, ruins, etc., may be viewed from here; characters are displayed as figured and armies as badges. Large armies will be shown as a shield, indicating the unit type as well as the shield background signifying the unit's country of origin. Although at the start of the game various character and armies are viewable across the map, only flashing units may be issued orders by the player.
Combat encounters for armies also commence at this level, which will prompt a new window where the player may opt to enter a battle or ignore the event. Combat orders consist of four commands: charge, engage, withdraw, and retreat. The battle when all units of either side is completely destroyed or retreats.
Animated encounters for characters take place at the level, either for story or combat-related events. Random encounters will prompt a window to be opened and the player may opt to go there or ignore the event. Objects, such as armor, weapons, and other equipment are also viewable and may only be manipulated at this level (e.g. equip, use, etc.). Some units of the West require certain items before their units may be mobilized.