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© Phenomena

TOLKIEN AFICIONADOS BE ASTOUNDED WITH THE CONTENTS OF

Crimson's Column, issue #16

WHERE MATTERS OF GREAT PORTENT RISE AS THE BATTLES RAGE IN

WAR IN MIDDLE EARTH

A STRATEGIC FANTASY SIMULATION BASED UPON

J.R.R. TOLKIEN'S

THE LORD OF THE RINGS

AND BROUGHT TO YOU BY

MELBOURNE HOUSE - SYNERGISTIC SOFTWARE

Walking through the empty steets of Michel Delving, Frodo
spotted a black flask, glittering strangely in the evening sun.
"It's good we met Radagast upon the way," he mused, "for if we
are to travel over hill and under hill and beyond the Shire all
the way to Rivendell we will surely need all the help we can."
"Aye," said Sam, "and though magic is not for me I sure wonder
what's in the bottle? Shouldn't we try it now?"
Pippin saw the gardener's piercing eyes, looking straight at
him.
"Now wait, Sam - I know you all think I'm a little too Tookish
and adventurous and all that but don't you get it in your head
to start thinking I'll drink any potion just to satisfy your
curiosity, thank you very much. I may be in on this adventure but
I'm still a hobbit, don't you forget."
Frodo, looking at Sam's flustered face, laughed.
"Never mind, my friends. I'm sure this is a good potion but as
we're all healthy and fit there's no need for any of us to test
it. Now - it's not even dark yet so perhaps we ought to see if
we can't make a good start toward Tuckborough; the sooner this
trip is behind us the better I'll sleep."

Welcome all you adventurers, roleplayers and simulators to the
sixteenth issue of Crimson's Column in ST NEWS. As you have no
doubt established by now we're dealing with a fantasy simulation
(not quite a wargame) based upon J.R.R. Tolkien's magnificent The
Lord of the Rings and published with the official approval of the
Tolkien Estate, which should be a guarantee for its quality. The
title of the software package is

War in Middle Earth by Synergistic Software

and it's a three disk over-a-megabyte solid bargain.
Seeing how The Lord of the Rings is not exactly like any other
book and may indeed be seen by many as the most comprehensive,
extraordinary and brilliant work of fantasy in history some
further infomation may be appreciated.
First of all, the guy who did the game concept (he's just one
of the names in the credits but it seems that's just well-
mannered modesty) is Mike Singleton and he's seen by many as the
Numero Uno in wargame simulation; he was doing stuff like that
back in '64. C-64, that is. He's the kind of guy who makes you
wonder how it's possible to get hundreds of different pictures
onto a few disks and still leave enough room for such side
effects as a program.
From the first versions of War in Middle Earth on the 8 bit
computers (I haven't seen them, this is hear-say) came complaints
concerning errors in spelling. As you may or may not be aware,
professor Tolkien's consistency in the development of Middle
Earth resulted in immense background "research"; not only
bloodlines of every important character in the book but also a
coherent set of Elven runes and indeed large parts of fantasy
languages were developed and subsequently integrated into his
work. I can thus imagine how it would irritate the Tolkien-
admirer if through sheer neglect a good deal of this Middle Earth
lore were misspelled. I am happy to say that on the ST version
mistakes seem to have been minimised; the only error I've found
yet (but I'm not a fanatic in searching for them) was Forland
spelled Forlond. No big deal even if I do feel that these things
should be done with care.
A word about the sort of game we're looking at. War in Middle
Earth is not an adventure; the whole thing is icon-driven and
thus mouse operated. It is also not exactly a wargame: characters
are required to interact with other characters and depending on
the outcome enemy units (Saruman and Sauron and their allies) may
take certain decisions. War in Middle Earth, I dare say, is more
than most adventures, role-playing games or wargames; if I were
to give it a description I would say it's a fairly uncomplicated
but extensive multi-feature fantasy simulation with great detail
and equal success in each aspect. (Attentive readers may
correctly perceive a circumlocution of the more direct phrase
"Good stuff - go and buy".)
Some more comments on how to play the game after the
narrative; and by the way I'm not trying to either imitate or
emulate Tolkien's style - I'm an arrogant blockhead but I'm not
that crazy.

A word for those of you interested in other Crimson's Column
articles, usually dealing with roleplaying phenomena. Here's a
short list of what's been published in ST NEWS hitherto (FA is
for Fantasy, SF is Science Fiction, S is for Solo (the game has
one "Hero(ine)"), P is for Party (usually four to eight "player
characters"), RP is for Role-Playing, AC is for Action, SI is for
Simulation):

Title Company Type ST NEWS

Sundog FTL SF S RP 2.3
Phantasie SSI FA P RP 2.4
Brataccas Psygnosis SF S AC RP 2.5
Roadwar 2000 SSI SF "Mad Max" RP 2.6
Barbarian Psygnosis FA S AC RP 2.7
Leisure Suit Larry Sierra S Text/Arcade 2.8
The Bard's Tale Electronic Arts FA P RP 3.1
Ultima III - Exodus Origin FA P RP 3.2
Wizard's Crown SSI FA P RP 3.3
Dungeon Master FTL/Sofware H. FA P RP 3.4
Police Quest Sierra S Text/Arcade 3.5
Obliterator Psygnosis SF S AC RP 3.6
Crimson's Xmas Crimsondeal inc. Inimical Realism 3.7
Heroes of the Lance SSI FA P AC RP 4.1
Leisure Suit Larry 2 Sierra S Text/Arcade 4.2
War in Middle Earth Synergistic Soft FA S/P RP/SI 4.3

Let's take a look at the forces moving in Middle Earth.

In East Emnet Eomer and a hundred and twenty cavalry make
their way to the north of Dol Goldur, the Sorcerer's Tower of
old.
In North Ithilien, Faramir and two hundred rangers trace their
steps across the fields and northern border of the lands of
Gondor and head west.
Frodo, with Sam and Pippin following him, makes for
Tuckborough, then goes on to Woodhall, and meets Merry in
Buckland. Keeping in mind Gandalf's warning about the feared
Nazgul, the riders in black, Frodo leads his friends through the
old forest and suddenly finds himself at the house of Tom
Bombadil. Tom gives some advice to the party and, carefully
entering the dangerous Barrow Downs, Frodo and companions head
for Bree.
In the rest of Middle Earth, forces large enough to take or
lose a city, a region or a whole country slumber; some gathered
in fortresses, others spread out over the countryside. On the
side of the good forces, Dain and his thousand Dwarves, Thranduil
and his Sylvan Elves, Denethor in the mighty city of Minas
Tirith, Theoden, Theodred, Bard and many others not yet aware of
the imminent danger keep their watch, semper paratus.
And on the side of the forces of evil, fifteen hundred Orcs
are spread over the vast range of the Misty Mountains, a thousand
Orcs guard Dol Goldur, Saruman's Hand Orcs, Uruk-hai and
Dunlendings reside in once-beautiful Isengard, while only the
slightest tip of Sauron's potential forces - already around
thirty thousand Orcs and hundreds of deadly Trolls - are visible
in Morannon, Minas Morgul and also near Mount Doom and Barad Dur.
Invisible the many small but deadly dark forces that roam the
land - Orcs, Trolls, wargs, bandits, spiders, and, feared beyond
all, the ancient Balrogs. And all the time the nine dreaded
Nazgul search the shire for a token of the ringbearer.

Tired, dirty, and, what's much more for a hobbit, hungry up to
the point of starving, Frodo and his friends collapsed on the
blanket of late autumn leaves spread out over the withered grass.
"We made it!"
Too much out of breath to answer Pippin's exclamation, Sam sat
down on the field, legs crossed. After a few minutes, he looked
at Frodo and said, "Well, maybe all this running around in dead
people's places is all right for the three of you, but I've had
enough of adventures already. There's nothing I fancy more than a
good hot meal and a seat in front of a fire."
Frodo looked at his friend with sympathy.
"Well, Sam Gamgee, only the day before yesterday we escaped
those fearful black riders, and now we have actually killed a
wight in the Barrow Downs, and what's more we've met Tom Bombadil
himself, and all you do is complain."
Sam's face slowly showed a pained, guilty expression, though
his love for food and fire were still apparent.
"And what's more," said Pippin in a surprisingly enthusiastic
voice, "we've heard magnificent stories. And we've found a lot of
nice things; right now we each have our own Elven blade. Not to
forget the wonderful magic potions we're carrying."
"And a fine staff, even if we don't know what it's good for,"
concluded Merry.
"Well that's all very well but I'd easily trade both staff and
potions for a strong draught of ale and a full plate of hot food,
thank you very much."
"Maybe tonight," sighed Frodo, "when we reach Bree."

That night in Bree the ranger Aragorn met the party and,
knowing it was far from safe to stay in any one place for a
longer period of time, the five of them immediately left for
Midgewater Marsh. All the time gathering information on the
whereabouts, movement and destinations of the nine dark riders,
Aragorn tried to keep away as much as he could from the road that
connected Bree to The Last Bridge and, beyond that, to Ford of
Bruinen and finally to fabled Rivendell - their initial
destination.
The party slept near Weathertop but once they found out that
the Nazgul frequented the place on their search they decided to
leave it alone and travel through the open land. When they came
near the last bridge, observation taught them that all black
riders moved toward the Ford of Bruinen - so they waited until
the last of the black riders, the mighty Nazgul Lord himself, had
left in that direction and then they immediately followed.
Near the last bridge they came in a fight with five wargs but
Aragorn's ancient sword cut right through the first four vicious
wolves while Pippin killed the last one with his Elven blade.
Only Sam was slightly wounded in the fight.
Then, on the road through the forest, the company met
Glorfindel and under his elven guidance they evaded both wolves
and Trolls on the forest road when finally, emerging from the
treeline and almost in sight of Rivendell, the company passed the
great river near Ford of Bruinen and was suddenly attacked by all
the nine Nazgul at once.
If it hadn't been for the help of Elrond, things would have
been for the worst. But as it was, one mighty attack after
another, initiated time and again by valiant charges from Elrond
and Aragorn, felled each foul Nazgul in turn until none of the
wretched creatures were left. And the party reached Rivendell to
rest and recuperate from their wounds and to hold council in the
presence of Elrond and Gandalf.

In the meantime, Eomer had quietly crossed the plains of the
Brown Lands, the small bands of marauding bandits evading the
larger force of his horsemen, and had picked up the long lost
ring of Thrain north of Dol Goldur, the former Sorcerer's Tower
on the edge of Mirkwood. He was now in possession of the ring
but, before returning it to their rightful owners, decided to
make a double bargain when he learned that in a ruin near Mount
Gundabad a treasure could be found that belonged to Thranduil's
Sylvan elves. Eomer and his cavalry rode north.
Faramir, having crossed Cair Andros and passing through
Edoras, Hornburg and Isen Ford, headed further west in search of
more recent treasure.

In Rivendell, the party met Bilbo, the initial ringbearer, and
listened to the old Hobbit's advice. It was a sentimental meeting
amongst the hobbits and even the most mischievous Elf seemed to
sense that theirs was a grave and sad parting. For Frodo, there
was mithril mail as a present from Bilbo and long farewells from
all others as the Fellowship prepared to move on. Frodo had been
appointed ringbearer and it was now his duty to try and destroy
the cursed One Ring by bringing it to age-old Mount Doom in the
middle of bare and sinister Mordor itself and there unmake it in
the only possible way. He was to be assisted by Sam, Pippin,
Merry and Aragorn as before, but now Legolas, Gimli and Boromir
had joined the party, and they would all travel under the capable
guidance of Gandalf the Grey.
And Gandalf knew, like he had known for a long time, that now
was the time for his final work in the greatest confrontation
between good and evil in the worlds of Middle Earth.

Having learned of important treasures throughout the land and
realising full well that the temporary incapacitation of the
Nazgul offered a certain degree of safety, Gandalf decided it
practical to split the company in two and gather some of the
items that would increase the chance of success of their newborn
quest. Aragorn and Legolas would, with all possible speed, search
for various valuable items in or near Belegost, Forland, Grey
Havens and White Towers while Gandalf and the others obtained
tokens of power near Mount Gram and Annuminas. Then they would
meet each other in Ost-in-Edhil and continue their journey.
And so it happened, and while Eomer brought the heirlooms of
the Elves and Dwarves to their respective owners and thus gained
their assistance in the final battles, Faramir and his rangers
searched for healing in a small town near the mouths of the
rivers Greyflood and Isen and continued on to rendez-vous with
Gandalf, Aragorn and the others near Ost-in-Edhil where - so they
had learned from Cirdan - an ancient blade had been washed
ashore.

"Gandalf?"
"Yes, Aragorn, I know. We must decide on which way to pass the
mountains."
"Why not south?" asked the seasoned ranger.
Gandalf slowly shook his head.
"Because of Saruman. He has been perverted by Sauron and wants
the ring for himself. We cannot risk it. We must cross these
mountains."
Aragorn did not argue.
"Where? The passes are probably snowed in."
"I know. We shall try to enter Moria through Hollin Gate."
Once more Aragorn said nothing, but his mien clearly reflected
his worry. No sane man could hope to enter Moria and leave the
place unscathed. But then Gandalf was no ordinary man.

When they had travelled across the fields for several days
(not completely alone as Gandalf had picked up signs of Gollum
following the party) they arrived at Hollin Gate. Gandalf spoke
the ancient elven words and opened the passage through the
mountains, but immediately the party was challenged by a fierce
creature that seemed to consist mainly of flames. An ancient
Balrog attacked them, and Gandalf instructed his friends to leave
him and continue their quest. In the ensuing fight, the Balrog
was hurt badly, and Gandalf was struck a mortal wound. The
individual members of the company tried to get together and
enter Moria as fast as possible, but Gimli, Legolas and Aragorn
were separated from the others by the presence of the burning
creature following them. Although Sauron's servant was badly
hurt, they were still no match for the ancient evil - at least,
that is what Aragorn judged. After two hours of pursuit, Gimli
suddenly turned around, charged across a small glade and attacked
the Balrog with his hammer. By the time Aragorn and Legolas were
aware of the assault, the fight was over. Gimli sat, totally
unhurt, with before his feet nothing but a black, burnt patch of
grass where the Balrog had been dealt the mortal blow. Half
stunned, all Gimli could say was "And that's for Gandalf."
Aragorn just stood there, too tired and too awed to speak.
Legolas seemed unmoved, but the inflection in his voice betrayed
both the sadness for Gandalf's defeat as well as admiration for
Gimli's heroic revenge.
"My dwarven friend, you have great valor. If we could all
match you the dark lord would never stand a chance." Legolas
paused. "But now we must leave; there is no more time."
"And we must go south," whispered Aragorn, "for now I must
bring the Red Arrow to Edoras as fast as I can. And we must hope
that our friends will survive Moria."

Faramir and his rangers were the last to enter the tunnel,
just before the age-old doors swung shut again. By the light of
torches, the company - Boromir leading the hobbits and rangers -
slowly moved through the stone dungeons.
Much further north, Dain (who had found the old dwarven
hammer north of Erebor) and a thousand Dwarves were on their way
to Mt. Gundabad to destroy the Orcs there. More to the south,
Eomer, Thranduil and many Elves were going to Goblin town to do
the same. With the consent of his allies, Eomer meant to deal out
a death blow to all the enemies inhabiting the Misty Mountains,
thus ridding this part of Middle Earth of Sauron's troops. And
after the Misty Mountains, he intended to seek out the enemy in
old Dol Goldur.

Aragorn, Gimli and Legolas passed through the gap of Rohan
south of Isengard and continued on toward Edoras where they hoped
to meet Theoden.
Boromir, the hobbits and Faramir with his rangers were
totally outnumbered by the five hundred Orcs at Dol Amroth, but
with a great charge they managed to decimate their opponents
before the final attacks started. Faramir was slightly wounded,
several dozen rangers lay dead on the rocks, Boromir was severely
hurt, but all the orcs were killed. The party continued on, left
Moria and started toward Lothlorien.
Dain's company reached Mt. Gundabad and ran the Orcs over in a
single charge, not one Dwarf was killed.
Eomer and Thranduil's company attacked the Goblin town but the
enemy was dug in and had to be searched out; several dozen Elves
and nine cavalry died in the progress of annihilating the last of
Sauron's servants in the Misty Mountain range.
Both Dain and Eomer started their journey towards Lorien.

The first to reach Lorien was none other than Gandalf'; not
killed by his opponent's foul blow but rather transformed into a
more pure and strong form. Now, Gandalf the Grey had become
Gandalf' the White. And after speaking to the lady Galadriel,
Gandalf' left for Edoras.
Boromir's company reached Lorien and was also welcomed by the
beautiful Elf queen, and Frodo received gifts from the lady of
light. Faramir and his rangers decided to stay in Lorien and help
defend the fabled city should the need arise. Boromir, Frodo,
Sam, Pippin and Meriadoc left for Minas Tirith.
Aragorn and company had reached Edoras, and when the Red Arrow
was presented to Theoden King the latter gave orders to rally all
cavalry in his lands and promised Aragorn that Saruman would soon
pay for his betrayal. And Aragorn went to Minas Tirith to offer
the Sceptre, token of the power of the King of Numenor, to
Denethor in order to mobilise as soon as possible the complete
strength of Gondor.

The battle for Isengard was short; forewarned as Theoden was
his thousands of cavalry took the initiative and attacked,
rather than awaiting a certain siege and offensive in Hornburg.
Theoden King led the troops that simply ran over Saruman's Hand
Orcs, Uruk-Hai and Dunlendings. Although Saruman had more forces
than the initial few thousand, they were dealt with easily. Soon
Orthanc was empty, save for some royal infantry left behind to
guard the white tower.
And Theoden and the hordes of Rohan moved off toward Minas
Tirith to assist Aragorn, Gandalf and all the others in the
decisive battles.

Crossing the lands where small bands of Orcs, Goblins and
bandits were searching for the ring-bearer, Boromir led the
hobbits (and Gollem who had persuaded Frodo to be allowed to join
the company) south. But soon, in a desperate fight and chase,
Pippin and Merry were cut off from the others. Boromir, Frodo,
Sam and Gollum killed all twenty Orcs but Boromir was again
wounded. They did not find Merry or Pippin again and had no
choice but to continue south, towards Minas Tirith. Already,
Frodo could feel the increasing weight of the ring bearing down
upon him.
Pippin and Merry got lost in the ancient woods of Fangorn and
there they met one of the oldest inhabitants of Middle Earth,
Treebeard. They looked at him in awe and listened carefully to
his slow dark voice giving them advise on their journey. The next
day, they travelled further south and met the entire company of
Theoden.
And Dain, Thranduil, Faramir and Eomer greeted each other in
Lothlorien and readied themselves to overthrow the Orcs in Dol
Goldur.

Already, troops were gathering in Minas Tirith. Aragorn had
offered the Sceptre to Denethor and what Gandalf had not been
able to achieve the old token of war now did for him; they
received the reluctant help of the stewart. Now all troops
gathered under the leadership of Gandalf the White behind the
time-worn but still mighty battlements of the walls of Minas
Tirith.
Denethor was there, with his infantry, his light infantry and
the elite tower guards.
Imrahil was coming forth from Dol Amroth with his company
of valiant knights.
Hirluin, Dervorin and other leaders travelled the lands of
Gondor to assist in the final battles.
Pippin and Merry accompanied Theoden, Theodred, Erkenbrand,
Dernhelm, Elfhelm and some seven thousand cavalry on their way to
venerable Minas Tirith.
Boromir had been left by Frodo, Sam and Gollum because Frodo
knew that not the fabled city but threatening Mount Doom was his
ultimate destination. Boromir now went back to his father,
Denethor steward of Gondor.
Helped by Celeborn himself, Eomer, Faramir, Thranduil, Dain
and all their cavalry, rangers, Elves and Dwarves crushed the
orcs in Dol Goldur and travelled southeast to reach Minas Tirith
in time.
And then, as an expected but not less feared, sudden and
awesome sign, as if their leader had smelled the impending danger
on a whiff of the western winds, Sauron's troops began to move at
last. And all over Mordor rose immense clouds of dust that hid
yet betrayed the presence of thousands and thousands of Orcs,
Goblins, Trolls and Half-Trolls, wainriders, Balchoth, corsairs,
Westrons, Easterlings, the Harad and the Umbar, Morgoth and
Shelob.
And Sauron.

"And I say no hobbit in his right wits would even think of
crossing those mountains. Look at that color; it's just not
natural," Sam complained when he established that Frodo was
actually going to travel on into murderous Mordor itself.
"Well, you can see why they're called the ash mountains, Sam.
And I still say we have to go. I can't hold on much longer,
it's becoming too heavy now."
"I...I could try to..." Sam stammered as he saw Frodo's cold
eyes guessing his intent, seeing things much darker than Sam
Gamgee could possibly ever even grasp.
"NO! No one takes the ring from me!"
"Smeagol take ring? Smeagol take precious to safety, yes, not
to nasty hot mountain or evil land of Mordor. Smeagol take ring
now?"
"I say no! If I have to take it, I take it myself."
Slowly, with the pleading but cunning glances from Gollum and
the worried eyes of Sam studying him, Frodo relaxed.
"I'm sorry, Sam. It's just..."
"I know." He took up his pack and tried to sound cheerful.
"Well, if we're going to pass through, we might as well do it
before some patrol finds us."
And the three of them went through the old, old tracks near
Cirith Ungol and tried to evade the countless Orcs literally
pouring from the mountains.

The siege of Minas Tirith was a fact. But rather than follow
Denethor's suggestion of staying safely behind the wall, knowing
that each attack would cause unnecessary losses, Gandalf and
Aragorn planned a more offensive strategy. Within the walls of
nearby Osgiliath, all the cavalry held its base for sudden
charges. Apart from them, large troups of Elves and Dwarves took
short trips into the surrounding land to find and take by
surprise the many isolated troups of Orcs and other evil allies
that had not yet reached Minas Tirith.
In the magnificent city itself, Gandalf resisted one assault
after another, killing Orcs and Trolls until the fields were
black with their blood, leading Imrahil and his knights into
charge after frantic charge, assisted by the infantry and the
tower guards.
Among the forces of good, many died, and even more were
wounded. But while the greatest strength of Mordor relentlessly
pushed through the plains and gathered outside Minas Tirith, the
Dwarves and Elves returned, both strongly reinforced by their
comrades coming down from Dol Goldur and from further up north,
and finally Erkenbrand and all cavalry returned to Minas Tirith
to take the last stand. And when all the remaining cavalry and
infantry had barricaded themselves within the strength of the
fortress, even the full power of Sauron could not break them and
all attempts to breach the walls were futile.
Then, when all the fields in front of Minas Tirith were
littered with the rotting bodies of their precious friends and
their foul opponents, Gandalf, bitter for so much bloodshed but
determined to finish the war forever, ordered all troops on a
forced march to Mordor.

While Gollum, Sam and Frodo made slow and tedious progress
through the wastes of Mordor, already in sight of Mount Doom, the
Dark Lord turned his attention to his last hope - the One Ring.
But just as he started to feel that he might have been tricked
within his very own land, his mind was absorbed by the turning
tide at the gates of Morannon. There, his good counterpart led
a large force of all his ancient enemies - Dwarves, Elves,
rangers and uncorrupted humans - against his personal guard.
And the forces of good passed into the burned wastes of
Mordor.
When Gandalf and Sauron came eye to eye in the dark tower of
Barad Dur, all those below, both the forces of good as well as
the servants of evil, heard a thundering crack, and as the maker
of the One Ring realised that his utter defeat was guaranteed by
Frodo's fullfillment of the quest, he led out a great howl of
anguish.
Now, the defeat of Sauron was a fact.

SO ENDS THE WAR IN MIDDLE EARTH

---

Well then, for some more straightforward advice. What's coming
next are rules that seem to work - for me. Perhaps you prefer to
take other tactics; certainly my approach can be improved.
Nonetheless, you may profit from some of these guidelines.
Items: never give anyone an item that person already
possesses - they're lost forever. So if you send Faramir to pick
up a blue potion (healing) north of White Towers, he can no
longer take the one in Grey Havens. It takes a bit of careful
planning to get all the right items in the shortest amount of
time. Also, give the right item to the right man and keep in mind
that gaining allies should be given top priority. It's no use
fooling around with healing potions or nice weapons if Dain,
Thranduil and other leaders are immobile because they haven't
received their "tokens of war". The sooner you can mobilise your
troops the better your chances will be once Saruman and Sauron
start moving out of their own little backyards (actually, you can
beat them to it).
Battles: overkill works. If you attack 2000 Orcs with 2000
cavalry (cavalry is very effective) you'll probably beat all the
Orcs and lose less than two hundred cavalry. If you attack those
same Orcs with five hundred cavalry chances are you'll lose the
battle (and thus all your cavalry) and never inflict serious
losses on your opponent. One thing: there's a fine balance
between the exact right battleline and needles losses. If you
make a stand (say, defending Minas Tirith) with lots of leaders
and a whole range of different troops - rangers, infantry, light
infantry, knights, tower guards and cavalry - then 250 trolls
will inflict losses in all these categories, thus causing you to
lose several hundred troops each round of combat. If you attack
those same 250 trolls with nothing but (for instance) cavalry
there's a good chance you'll come out with no more than fifty
dead, perhaps even none. The two most valid rules seem to be
overkill, and concentration of troop types. When defending Minas
Tirith, you'll find that sending all cavalry (or all Elves, or
knights, but not the three combined) to nearby Osgiliath will
work quite nicely.
Oh and by the way, I never did find out (not yet, that is)
what the gnarled staff and the coil of rope are all about. If you
figure it out, let me know - I'd appreciate it.

Right, time for the personal messages, yuck! (this will only
hurt a little).
First of all, the laws of retribution. Last time I promised
that by the time this article appeared I would have come up with
a whole new range of methods to, ah, discourage (I say eat 'em!)
those who refuse to comply to my personal and, I grudgingly
admit, perhaps somewhat controversial set of Rules of Conduct for
those of you Offering Written Questions or otherwise Requesting
Professional Help in roleplaying games and stuff like that.
Like sending a fourteen-page letter including (I counted them)
seventy-one different questions on eight different games played
on four different types of computers and expecting a "very fast"
reply while not even including return stamps.
Yours truly was not amused.
Or like calling collect from Honolulu at special busy-hour
double rates at three A.M.
Yours truly was irritated.
And that's not to mention the time when the mail company told
me used tickets from the Boston Metropolitan Subway weren't legal
postage. Please pay for the difference. Plus fine. Plus return
postage (I used a special stamp claiming the adressee was
"official candidate for Chairman of the 1989 Eunuchs United
Committee" - that should get him isolated for a while).
By now, yours truly was fuming.
And so I resorted to dealing harshly with people who obviously
had no sense of simple politeness and the universal need for good
manners.
But now it seems that I might have done the job too well - for
over three weeks now I haven't had a single wake-me-in-the-
middle-of-the-night call, no incomplete mail, not even the
slightest lack of respect.
And you know what?
I'm getting pretty damned bored out here.
So what we do is, we keep from coming up with new agressions
and from now on invite people to do and write whatever and
whenever they like.
And then we'll see.

All questions relating to ST (or many other) "thinking" games
are welcomed by

Lucas van den Berg
Marienburgsestraat 47
6511 RL Nijmegen
-- The Netherlands --

And don't forget:

Though all things foul would bear the brows of
grace,
Yet grace must still look so.

IV-III-23
Macbeth

Disclaimer
The text of the articles is identical to the originals like they appeared in old ST NEWS issues. Please take into consideration that the author(s) was (were) a lot younger and less responsible back then. So bad jokes, bad English, youthful arrogance, insults, bravura, over-crediting and tastelessness should be taken with at least a grain of salt. Any contact and/or payment information, as well as deadlines/release dates of any kind should be regarded as outdated. Due to the fact that these pages are not actually contained in an Atari executable here, references to scroll texts, featured demo screens and hidden articles may also be irrelevant.