Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread



  • Hi, Flanagan here, creator of the original Middle Earth map and units. I just wanted to say this looks great and give my approval and support.


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    @NinjaWolfHybrid said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    Hi, Flanagan here, creator of the original Middle Earth map and units. I just wanted to say this looks great and give my approval and support.

    I'm under the impression that Battle For Arda is actually taking over the old Middle Earth in lobby popularity, but hard to say, as they are both rarely played.

    Unless someone did it, maybe you want to reopen a new official thread for your map, or former map (as I recall veqryn affirmed the current owner is @Ajmdemen, which is not active since a while), as in the move to this forum all map threads have been left behind.

    Also maybe you want to ask for taking actual ownership of your map, or former map, in GitHub, if that would be fine with everyone involved.



    • Love this game. Nice feel/flow and very large map.
    • Good is strong in my opinion, and if they are too strong (as others have commented), then I suggest Rangers be limited. In the books there exist only Rangers of the North and Rangers of the South (Arnor and Gondor) and only a very few of them.
    • If you delete the rangers from Free People, you may want to give them catapults. Also, if Free People have no anti-air, then they would depend on allies to help them deter dragon attacks (I like this potential dynamic)
    • Some have commented that Angmar is near impossible to play successfully. It would be easier for Angmar if they had a really cheap defensive unit to stack up or to go out with the Dragons. Bats could be added to Angmar too. Such cheaper units could help soak hits to prevent dragons from dying as easily in border territory skirmishes and help maintain a land buffer between Angmar's capital and her enemies. In addition, Arnor could be weakened (fewer unit options and no starting ramparts) and depend on allies to stand up to a full-on Angmar assault -- I believe that the North Kingdom was an abandoned, wild and sparsely populated region in the LotR.
    • It appears that Lorien is vulnerable to a combined Saruman and Orc assault strategy. However, this could be dissatisfying since the Saruman/Rohan conflict is so central to the books/movies. Anything to make the Saruman/Rohan conflict more central to the game would be of interest to fans, I believe.
    • If more evil players are needed, a Variags of Khand player could be added. Make them with fast moving units (perhaps similar to Rhun). They could choose to move North or West, which would add more variation in play from game to game.
    • Absolutely beautiful map! Keep up the great work and THANK YOU!


  • @Hao-Zhou

    Is there a newer thread on this map, and is it still actively maintained?

    Actively maintained? Well, sort of. I would want to, but it's not always possible.

    Rohan Saruman is connected to that and balance is good as well, although odd from lore perspective that it's Sauraman defending against Rohan all game rather than the opposite. From game balance point of view this works well though, as Evil is on a timer to win somewhere else before Suaraman falls.

    It's a very difficult part of the map to balance. If Saruman would be stronger (I mean 4 or so additional units), Rohan would be swiftly crushed.

    Angmar can hold for a very long time behind walls but is it is always the first to fall on the evil side, and the collapse in territory is always within Turn 2.

    Yes, pretty much. But I want to avoid stacking even more production into their cities.

    Goblin archers are totally useless, at 1/2 compared with 2/3 for goblin spearmen, they are useless even with the range support. Unless the enemy has huge stacks of eagles, it's not useful at all.

    They get large bonuses in hills and forests. Goblin archers are one of the strongest units against Lórien IMO.

    The free people Pony riders is way too good for a 4 cost unit. Either make it cost 5, or make it a 1/1. Just the 4 move 1HP unit is worth 4, even if it has minimal combat value. While the regular hobbits aren't bad, they are completely overtaken by the choice of pony riders.

    I was just about to nerf pony riders last time when life started happening.

    @postaljester

    I feel the new map is too busy with too many abilities. I understand the joy of creation, but each change has a high chance of limiting legitimate options while introducing trap options.

    Well, I boldly went where no man had gone before, to see what was there, what worked and what didn't... I've learned a lot from it, and although I would do many things differently, I don't regret the slightest bit of work I've put into it. My very goal with this map was to show the world that units can be more than just 3 numbers, even in premodern settings.

    @Cortrillion

    About the balance. Good will win 10/10 times in this map, given equal skill level on both sides. Good start with more TUV, PU and Production. Good also is in a much stronger position to begin with.

    Much of that TUV advantage is just walls. Also, there are other factors in play, not just raw stats. Maybe Good is somewhat stronger though.

    Angmar is alone vs 5 other teams, that is like a chess game where white side has 5 moves for every move on the black side.

    Having the same number of units distributed among 5 players means more canopeners, but it also means you can only use a fifth of your total force in a single attack, which makes taking fortified positions difficult. It's a tradeoff. The problem with Angmar is not that there are 5 players against them, but that those 5 players are like 3 times as strong as them.

    Rohan is not under any pressure from Saruman in the start of the game, their units are much stronger, and they start with more. In 2 turns Freefolk can attack Saruman in the rear.

    Yes, but I don't think this can really be resolved without changing the map itself (or creating even more problems).

    Anyway. Here is a save game. It is a 5 player, game 3 good vs 2 evil.

    Many thanks! 👍

    @NinjaWolfHybrid

    Hi, Flanagan here, creator of the original Middle Earth map and units. I just wanted to say this looks great and give my approval and support.

    Hi! I forgot to mention anywhere how shamelessly I ripped off or stole some unit images, player colors, game notes format and whatnot from that old map of yours. But probably everyone knows it anyway. Thanks a lot for that map. It was one of my favourites back then, when I found TripleA. You probably deserve a line in the credits for all that.

    @daneffuller

    Some have commented that Angmar is near impossible to play successfully. It would be easier for Angmar if they had a really cheap defensive unit to stack up or to go out with the Dragons. Bats could be added to Angmar too. Such cheaper units could help soak hits to prevent dragons from dying as easily in border territory skirmishes and help maintain a land buffer between Angmar's capital and her enemies. In addition, Arnor could be weakened (fewer unit options and no starting ramparts) and depend on allies to stand up to a full-on Angmar assault

    That sounds like too much. If Angmar is on the offense, then where exactly does Good have a chance at gaining ground? I'm not saying they should collapse immediately like they do now, but if they can go on a rampage, that has to mean Evil is clearly favored. But I do see your point.

    I believe that the North Kingdom was an abandoned, wild and sparsely populated region in the LotR.

    At the time of the War of the Ring, Arnor didn't exist, nor did Angmar. Annuminas, Fornost, Amon Sul, Carn Dum were all in ruins and mostly or completely abandoned. But this is not the War of the Ring, this is the Battle for Arda, where these factions exist in their full glory... well, alright, in some of their former glory.

    It appears that Lorien is vulnerable to a combined Saruman and Orc assault strategy. However, this could be dissatisfying since the Saruman/Rohan conflict is so central to the books/movies. Anything to make the Saruman/Rohan conflict more central to the game would be of interest to fans, I believe.

    Third (?) comment mentioning how bad the Rohan-Saruman front is. Which it is. Unfortunately, I don't have good ideas to solve this, aside from significantly overhauling the layout of territories around Rohan. Which is a lot of work, and importantly, a lot of work not only for me.

    If more evil players are needed, a Variags of Khand player could be added. Make them with fast moving units (perhaps similar to Rhun). They could choose to move North or West, which would add more variation in play from game to game.

    There is a reason they were removed at some point since the old Middle Earth map. They aren't fun. Too small, too far away from anything, and only roughly 1 canonical locations available to work with. Even the much larger Harad is struggling with similar problems.


    Thanks, everyone, for all your feedback and supportive words! I've read and considered all of your points, even if I didn't respond to each one of them. It's possible that some update is going to come in the near future. I'll also try to respond faster next time, I'm probably not setting a very high bar with that.



  • Just discovered this map and, though I can't comment on balance yet, must say it is amazing. Beautiful and lots of fun.


  • Moderators Admin

    Front Porch is given as a "cave", but I suppose it should be a "mountain", instead. If so, it needs to be fixed. If not, then the details are confusing, as that looks like a mountain, like all other actual mountains.

    Anyways, the "cave" concept is questionable. Where there is a cave, there is a mountain too, the cave being inside it. So, if I should move into mountains, shouldn't I be able also to move into a territory with a cave without actually going into the cave?

    For example, if I'm able to move into mountains, and I'm in "East Mountains of Angmar", why do I have to go into "Mount Gundabad", or anyways exit the mountains, to go into "West Grey Mountains". I think I should be able to stay into the mountains, instead. If I am a mountaineer, I think I should also be able to move between "East Mountains of Angmar" and "West Grey Mountains" also in case "Mount Gundabad" if in enemy hands, as I don't need to enter the caves, but can walk on the mountains, over the caves underneath them.

    I don't get why am I obliged to enter caves if I am a mountaineer and want to move on a same mountain range with a cave in between.


  • Moderators

    I think balance is quite fine the way it is. If you play dice anything can happen so its balanced. As a evil player you have too set up your strategie regardless of good play early on, you have first move and can dictate the pace. Angmar is not a problem, remember no capitals so you can flee with your units somewhere else if you feel uncomfortable over there, walls will keep your cities up for 6 turns.
    So far with evil i prefer too take Rivendall with Orcs, too prevent eagle number going up too fast. I send Saruman too block Tharbad since with a wall hobits have no way too break through.
    Eventually in later stage i tried too support or invade rohan with mordor since they have a free hand vs Saruman. Its a roll over defense concept, while Orcs carry the attack, i tried too support them with Angmar and Saruman, then mordor supports Saruman. Rhun have enough speed too support Mordor lines too.
    Evil has a fighting chance, just remember that you need hills or forest for defense.
    Enjoy the map, and give me a shout if you want too play.



  • @Cernel There are little entrances drawn on those mountains, like with all other cave territories. The source of confusion is probably that Front Porch is the only cave territory that's not also a settlement.

    "Cave" territories are usually extensive networks of underground halls, tunnels and fortifications in the lore, with many entrances. You could try to move over them without actually entering the caves, but the defenders certainly wouldn't simply sit still and let you do that.

    @Dany Interesting. If you flee from Carn Dum as Angmar, where would you go? It's not easy to find a position as easy to defend as your starting cities. Or is it just to buy time?


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    @alkexr So how about Front Porch, is that a cave or a mountain?

    You have not convinced me. For example, let's say I've an army of all mountaineers and in the cave there are units that are all not mountaineers. If the cave is in between of two mountains, and part of that mountain range, how is it possible that units that are not able to move in mountains can block me from just moving over the caves through the whole mountain range?

    In my opinion, what you said would be true only for the units that are in the caves and are mountaineers too, only.



  • @Cernel Nothing would stop you from moving through based on your argument. However, consider that the game is an abstraction. Perhaps the fact that ground units move two or more spaces makes it feel that the units are "moving through." If we simply consider that all ground units must seek to control any and all territories that they move into, then simply running through a territory is excluded -- again it's an abstraction, even if it does not tickle all of our imaginative scenarios. If a unit wants to pass through a territory without constraint, then it needs to fly.


  • Moderators Admin

    @daneffuller Further to that you could inturprete that the territories with caves are only traversed via the caves themselves and would be otherwise impassable. Thus in order to move into or through such a territory that you would be forced to use the caves themselves.


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    @alkexr because of walls and distance Angmar cities will survive a long time probably 7 too 8 rounds. I flee south with the starting unit to support Saruman's hold of Tharbad and Goblins rush of Rivendale. Then buys help out too keep the 2 cities, but i don't fight for the land around the cities. Taking Rivendale is often a big blow too ennemy morale!



  • @Dany did you go to Cernel's school of grammar


  • Admin

    @Captain-Crunch Keep it respectful and on topic.



  • he doth protest too much amiright



  • This game is truly beautiful. My boys and I have been enjoying it while at home during COVID. The territory effects make the game seem realistic and create physical boundaries to angles of attack into certain regions. Very cool. The unit attributes are very important and take a while to learn, but are worth it and add realism to drive strategic and tactical decisions during purchasing. Thanks to the developers for making a very enjoyable, stand-out game.

    I agree with some that the evil side has it harder than the good side. The rangers are too powerful at a cost of 6 PUs, in my opinion. Making rangers more expensive could help slow the good side rushing into evil regions, especially through mountain borders. Also, it seems that the dragons and winged nazgul are afraid of any territory with an archer in them. This seems off and hampers the options of the evil side. I suggest the archers be coded as "damageable aa" so that they don't kill dragons and winged nazgul on the first shot, but just damage them. "Damageable aa" can be added as a game option that can be turned off if desired, and including it will increase the strength of the evil side a little bit. "Damageable aa" is not unbalanced in that a winged nazgul still can't feel completely safe attacking solo against an archer. If the archer hits in aa fire and then hits in first round of combat, goodbye winged nazgul. Or a dragon going solo against two archers is still a bit risky. If the archers hit once during aa fire and then both hit during first round of combat, then goodbye dragon.



  • @daneffuller said in Middle Earth: Battle For Arda - Official Thread:

    I agree with some that the evil side has it harder than the good side. The rangers are too powerful at a cost of 6 PUs, in my opinion.

    Noted in my metaphorical notebook.

    I suggest the archers be coded as "damageable aa" so that they don't kill dragons and winged nazgul on the first shot, but just damage them.

    The archers are coded as damageable. Maybe there is a bug?



  • @alkexr Thanks for your consideration. I probably remember an older version where archers appeared to shoot down winged nazgul in one shot -- my mistake. If it's coded in, then we are good. BTW, have you thought about a FFA version with diplomacy? A FFA version might be fun to play. Makes me think of the negotiations between dwarves, elves, and men before the battle of the five armies.



  • I've been having fun experimenting with different alliances. Here's the best I came up with. It's a balanced game that makes for way more strategy options, including the Western part of the map. I've been running it with AI on Hard and the teams seem fairly balanced.
    Second Darkness: Dol Guldor, Mordor, Angmar, Orcs
    Arkenstone Pact: Dwarves, Woodland Realm, Northmen, Freefolk
    Voice Oath: Saruman, Rohan, Ruhn, Harad
    Last Alliance: High Elves, Lorien, Arnor, Gondor

    I plan to play this set-up over the next few weeks with my sons. I'd like to know what other players have experienced with this or different alliances. (Just go into Edit mode change the alliances and save the game with the new alliances in place.)

    BTW, I tried a few alternate alliance concepts with Gondor and Rohan aligned, but it was always very imbalanced. Gondor is very strong and has great geographical advantages. In addition, I found that Rohan was too weak against Gondor if not given a partner to keep it afloat; hence the Voice Oath -- Saruman using his enchanted voice to deceive lesser men to buy into his vision of a new order. Also, In the Northeast, Esgoroth, Erebor, and Elvenking Halls are too weak and in too close a proximity to survive battle against each other -- I believe that they must all three be aligned together for each of them to have a fighting chance and for each to maintain a presence long term.



  • What a phenomenal map! Every faction feels unique. Still getting a feel, but for example that the freefolk lack any trebuchets or catapults (which feels fine lorewise) makes me use them very differently than a sieging faction.

    I don't know what the consensus is on balance right now. I dunno if Angmar is supposed to get whomped on quickly, but a very minor tweak that might favor them would be to lower PU in West Angmar, East Angmar, and West Rhudaur, and increase it in West Mountains of Angmar, East Mountains of Angmar, and North Misty Mountains. Or something like that. I'm scratching my head as to why Ettenmoors is worth 3 unless you want to encourage fighting over it?


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