Help & Advice

Getting Started

So you’ve signed up for a game of Middle-earth PBM. Congratulations!

This article is designed to help guide you through the process of getting started, and writing your first turn. We’ll also suggest some resources that you might find useful along the way.


Choose a Nation

Unless you are joining a game with friends who have played before, we will almost certainly put you into a 1650 game. So please choose nations from the 1650 module.

We highly recommend that for your first game you play a Free People economic/army-based position from the following list:

  • Arthedain,
  • Cardolan,
  • Dwarves, then
  • Woodmen,
  • Northmen,
  • Sindar.

For a safe and secure nation, to allow you to discover how the game works, we recommend Dwarves, Cardolan, Northmen, or Arthedain.

If characters appeal to you the most, we’d suggest the following:  Woodmen (to learn about Agents), Northmen (to learn about Emissarys), or Sindar (to learn about Mages).

Or if armies appeal to you, then you might try Cardolan, Dwarves, Arthedain, or Woodmen.

We don’t recommend other nations until you’ve had at least one game under your belt.

So pick three you think you might like to play, and let us know, then we can make sure you get one of them. Alternatively, you can just let us select a nation for you from that list.

Then for your second game, if you fancy trying something different you could try a Dark Servant character-based position, such as Fire King, Quiet Avenger, Ice King, Blind Sorcerer, or Long Rider.

Quiet Avenger, Fire King and Long Rider are all safe and secure nations.

We’d suggest Quiet Avenger to learn about Emissaries, Long Rider to learn about Agents, or Blind Sorcerer to learn about Mages.

Or for an army-based nation, we recommend Fire King or Ice King.

You will also find more advice on choosing a nation here:

Selecting Nations


But please do Get in Touch with us to let us know your nation preferences, otherwise we won’t be able to put you into a game.


Friends and Mentors

Perhaps most important of all, if you’ve signed up with friends who have played the game before, then make use of them. They can help you with all aspects of the process. In fact, stop reading this article and go chat with them instead!

If on the other hand you are playing on your own, then the experience can seem a bit daunting. But remember that this is a team game, and as soon as you get your first turn, you’ll be able to get in touch with your teammates who will be only too happy to help you.

Also, if you think it will be useful, we can assign you your own personal mentor, who will be on hand to help out.

And, of course, if you have any questions, please do get in touch.


Waiting for Turn 0

Once you have signed up for a game, there will be probably be a bit of a wait while the game fills up.

During this time, you might want to take a look at the Rulebook, which can be found here:

This contains the complete rules for the game. They can be rather intimidating, but you don’t have to learn them all right now.

So to begin with, read through the Introduction and Basics, which should give you an idea of how the game works.

Then take a look at Characters, Population Centres, Armies, Magic, Combat and Economy, which cover the main aspects of the game. And glance at the Spells and Orders if you like. But don’t feel that you have to remember everything, this is just to give you a feel for the game.



Turn 0

OK, you’ve received your first turn report.

First off, make contact with your team. You’ll find their details on the email we sent you with your turn report. Chances are, your team captain has already reached out to you. But if not, drop them an email, and include your turn 0 file, so that they can see your position. Your team will probably also send you their files in return. And if you do this every turn, you’ll work better as a team.

Now is the time to download JOverseer, our dedicated gaming software, which can be found here:

We also have several guides and video guides to help you get to grips with JOverseer. You can find them all here:

Help With JOverseer



We also have some articles on our website to help you with your first few turns:


Basic Advice

Basic Advice


Beginner’s Guide

Beginner’s Guide


Player’s Companion

Player’s Companion


You might also find this reference sheet useful:

It contains much of the information needed when writing your orders. It is primarily for the 1650 module, but nearly all the contents are also relevant for our other modules as well.

(Note: this sheet was created by a player, therefore we cannot guarantee its accuracy. That said, we believe it to be correct!)


Then, when you’re ready, you need write your orders, and send them to us. This is done using JOverseer. Please read the guides on how to do this.

And that’s it, you’re done!


Keep in Contact

Now you just need to wait for the turn deadline, and we’ll send you the results of your orders.

But in the meantime, please do keep in contact via our Discord channel. Here you can read announcements from us, discuss the game with other players, and find any help you need. Take a look here:


What have we missed?

We hope you found this guide helpful. But of course, we can’t possibly hope to cover everything you might want to know. So if you have any questions, you can either ask your teammates, contact us via our website (, or ask on Discord.

Good gaming!