Turn-based Strategic Gaming


“MEPBM is the best turn-based game.”

David Oistrach


“One of the best team gaming experiences you can have in any gaming format or genre!”

Raven Zachary


“If you want to actually think, plan, and mentally battle this is THE game for you.”

Whit Cooper


We run turn-based, strategy games inspired by The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, including elements from ICE’s Middle-earth Role Playing.

Play as either the Free Peoples or the Dark Servants, and work together with your team-mates to take control of the lands of Middle-earth.

Earn your victory through a combination of martial strength, magical prowess, and economic power.


Combining the best aspects of computer games, board games and MMOs to create a style of game like no other.

Our games are not simple ‘coffee break’ games. You can expect to spend hours exploring your position, weeks thinking about your tactics, and years becoming an expert. In fact, many of our players have been playing our games for decades, and are still discovering new things to explore!

So if you are looking for something that is quick, mindless, and easy to play, then our games are not for you. But if you are want something a little more challenging, then read on…


Key Features

Real Opposition

Play with and against real people. Even the most experienced players are constantly faced with new and unexpected situations, and even the newest player can prove a threat.


Play when it suits you, not your opponents

There are other games, of course, in which you play against real people. But most of these require you all to be available at the same time. The unique format of our turn-based games, on the other hand, means that you can play when it suits you, whether that is at 3am in the morning, or on the train to work, or, in fact, whenever you have the time.


Time to think

Success does not rely on quick reflexes or feats of manual dexterity, but instead on strategy, on team-work, on out-witting and out-manoeuvring your opposition. And with time to think and prepare your moves, you can fully consider the possibilities and options open to you.


Explore the world of The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings is arguably the greatest work of fiction of the twentieth century, an epic struggle between light and dark, good and evil. Our games put you in the midst of that conflict. Command the forces of the Free People, or wield the powers of Mordor as you battle for victory!



To help you get started, we offer up to 10 hours of free, one-to-one personal advice from one of our experience game mentors. They are there to help you with all aspects of playing, from how to set up the software, to how best to defeat your enemies! To take advantage of this, simply select the mentor option when joining your first game.


What Exactly is it?

Middle-earth PBM is a Turn-Based Long-Term Strategy Team game, set in the world of The Lord of the Rings.

But what does all of that mean?




Our games have been running for over thirty years. So long, in fact, that they used to be played by post! Which is the reason for our name: Middle-earth Play-by-Mail, or PBM. 



Most games, whether played online or around a table, take place in real-time. The action is either continuous, or, at most, you have a few minutes to think about what to do next. Our games, however, are turn-based. At regular intervals you will receive a report, or turn, giving all the information about your position in the game. Then, based on this report and those of your team-mates, you decide what to do next. All of which means that you have plenty of time to think and plan your next move.



An average game lasts between six months and two years, with up to a fortnight between turns. This may sound like a very slow way of playing a game, but during that fortnight you can talk with your team-mates, discuss your options, and make plans. And, since each position can have hundreds of different pieces, each of which can be instructed to do many different things, you will find that a fortnight is not a long time at all!



The game is played with pieces on a map, and these pieces move and act according to fixed rules, based on the orders that are given to them. However, detailed battle reports, duels, riddles to solve and people to encounter also give the game a truly unique feel, as you are immersed in the world of The Lord of the Rings.


Team Game

Up to 25 players are divided into teams who battle against each other to achieve domination of Middle-earth. You can join with friends to form a team of your own, or, if you choose to join on your own, you will be placed in a team. Although there various ratings by which you can judge your individual performance, the game is won or lost as a team, and only by working together can you hope to be victorious.


The Lord of the Rings

Our game is set in the world The Lord of the Rings. Different games take place in different times in the history of the world, including, of course, the time of the War of the Rings.




How Does It Work?

You begin by completing the Join Game form on this website.

We will then assign you a nation to play, based on any preferences you have given us, and send you your first turn report, which gives details of your position, and enables you to get in touch with the other members of your team.

You then read your report, speak with your allies, and decide what you want to do next. When you’re ready to plan your attack, you write your orders using our software (what you want the different forces, characters and armies in your position to do), and the software sends these back to us.

On the day your turn is due to be processed (turns are processed at regular intervals, usually once a fortnight), we take your orders, together with those of all the other players, and feed them into our computers. They are then processed, and the results of these orders sent back out to you, starting the process all over again.



Unlike other games you may be used to playing, we do no not charge either an initial up-front fee, or a monthly subscription, and certainly not micro-payments. Instead, you simply pay for the turns that you run:

£4.50 GBP a turn for European players

$7.90 USD a turn for Worldwide players.


And that’s not all. As a new player, we will give you your first five turns for free!


How to Get Started

Ready to start playing? Fantastic! Then head on over to our Join Game page, and complete the form there.

Then take a look at our article on Getting Started, which explains how the process works.

Alternatively, if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to Get In Touch.




The Staff

Clint Oldridge

Clint is responsible for setting up new games and dealing with problems.

A keen board gamer , if you have any suggestions he’d love to hear from you.



Dave Spring

Dave is our programmer.

He is responsible for keeping everything running as it should, and improving our gaming software.



Edward Lane

Ed is a backup everything. A backup game moderator if Clint and John aren’t available, and a backup programmer if Dave isn’t available. He also hunts bugs in our software.

Ed struggles to think inside the box. He thinks the box probably does exist but is so full of games that there is no room for much else, except perhaps cake.


John Davis

John is responsible for the day-to-day running of games.

He is also our  content developer and web editor.

He feels a little strange writing about himself in the third person like this.



The Business

Game Systems International run games across the English-speaking world, for a flourishing community of players. Our company, and the games we run, have won a number of awards, and we’re looking forwards to a very bright future for gaming in the lands of Middle-earth.

To read more about the history of our company, check out the article 20 Years in the Business.

We are an Origins Award Hall of Fame member.



Middle-earth, The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings and the characters, items, events, and places therein are trademarks of Middle-earth Enterprises, LLC used under license by Game Systems International. All rights reserved.