One day during the height of winter, I invited my friend Dan over to my house to play some games. It was very cold and windy out, and the sky was overcast. It was the perfect day to sit around the house playing games, drinking hot chocolate and talking.
Dan was also bored, so he agreed to come on over. He arrived a few hours later, and we took a few minutes to choose a game to play. I owned over fifty miscellaneous wargames, most of which have never been played.
After a few minutes, we settled on a game called “War of the Ring”, which simulates the battles that occur in the book “The Lord Of The Rings”. This game attempted to not only simulate the military action, it also tried to allow for the spectacular events that caused the downfall of Sauron.
There are two sides to the game: The good guys (whom I will refer to as Frodo), who start with a large military which cannot do anything for ten turns or so. (This simulates the events in the book: the good guys were paralyzed for a while by the deceit of Sauron.) The other side is controlled by the supreme bad guy, Sauron, whose armies get larger and larger as the game progresses. By the fifteenth turn, the armies of Sauron are more than three times more powerful than the armies of Frodo.
The game had two possible outcomes … you could win militarily (it was virtually impossible for Frodo to win militarily) or you could recover/destroy the ring (Sauron needs to recover the ring, Frodo needs to destroy it).
So while Frodo and Sauron are attempting to win militarily, they are feverishly trying to gain possession or destroy the ring. Frodo must carry the ring to the mountain of Doom in the heart of Sauron’s kingdom. Sauron can attempt to search for the ring bearer each turn by drawing cards, which indicate which province may be searched.
Dan and I began playing this game in the early afternoon that day. The electricity was off, so we had to set up flashlights and candles to see the game board. We wrapped ourselves in blankets to keep warm while playing the game.
Since I had played wargames for much longer than Dan, I took the weakest side. I played Frodo, while Dan controlled the armies of Sauron. For the next five hours, we played out a simulation of one of the greatest fantasy battles of all time.
To make a long story short, I split up the fellowship (a group of nine people, including Frodo, any one of which can carry the ring) into three parts. Dan became convinced that the ring was in one of the parts, and concentrated all of his efforts there. While he was attempting to find that group and destroy my cities with his armies, I succeeded in destroying the ring. Thus, I won the game.