(Note: This page is under construction: the war-games content - maps, pictures, orders of battle, etc. - will be added as it is created.)

The wars of Beleriand -
Battles from the Silmarillion

Map of Beleriand From the HarperCollins 1992 edition.
In the Silmarillion Tolkien describes the beginning of Middle-earth: Of how the Eldar and Sindar (Elves who had lived with the Valar in Aman, and those others which never saw the light of the Two Trees Telperion and Laurelin in Valinor and remained in Middle-earth) were reunited in the realms of Beleriand after many ages of the world had passed: after Melkor/Morgoth was released from his three-ages imprisonment, and pardoned by Manwë, and revolted again against the rule of the Aratar and destroyed the Two Trees and stole the Silmarils, and returned to the north; where he rebuilt his fortress of Angband beneath; and threw up the three reeking towers of volcanic rock, Thangorodrim above, wreathed always in smokes of his own making as his forges rebuilt his armories, and his experimentations upon the life forms of Middle-earth produced horrendous monsters to plague the Elves and Men whom he hated above all else that Eru-Ilúvatar had made. And of how Fëanor, maker of the Silmarils, vowed a vow of terrible power and destiny, to recover the Silmarils and avenge his father Finwë, whom Melkor had slain; which vow his seven sons (Maedhros, Maglor, Celegorm, Caranthir, Curufin, Amrod and Amras, lords of the Noldor) entered into when they left Aman and returned to Middle-earth to fight Melkor/Morgoth for the jewel heirlooms of their house: which vow overpowered all that the Eldar did forever after, and caused kin-strifes and was in no small part responsible for the ruin of Beleriand. In that last battle the Valar came and fought with the Elves and Men against Morgoth Bauglir and threw down his power once and for all, and Morgoth was chained in some nether place removed from the world. But his lieutenant, Sauron, possessed an equal measure of evil and enough power from his master to make contest for mastery of the diminished world of Men which began in the Second age, following the destruction of Beleriand.

Of all the battles alluded to in the Silmarillion, only one (Nirnaeth Arnoediad) has sufficient details to determine something by way of numbers; and none show anything more than the broadest of tactics. When I design these battles into war-games scenarios, most of the details of armies, postioning, timed events and terrain are of my own devising. And the events described that span several days or even weeks I have divided into separate phases of each game as required.

To place the battles that will receive war-gaming details in their context, I here provide a drastically reduced narration of the wars of Beleriand and the fate of the Silmarils and of the sons of Fëanor. The war-gaming portions are contained within blockquote text.

The First battle of Beleriand, of the Five Battles recorded, was fought before Fëanor and the Noldor returned to Middle-earth. Morgoth's armies of orcs penetrated far into Beleriand, cutting off king Thingol in Doriath from Círdan in Eglarest. (1) "Therefore (Thingol) called upon Denethor; and the Elves came in force from Region beyond Aros and from Ossiriand, and fought the first battle in the Wars of Beleriand." Thingol marched to the battlefield - north of the Andram and between the rivers Gelion and Aros - and between the armies of Menegroth and the Green-elves "(the eastern army of orcs) were utterly defeated, and those that fled north from the great slaughter were waylaid by the axes of the Naugrim that issued from Mount Dolmed: few indeed returned to Angband." The Green-elves were light-armed compared to the orcs "and no match" for them. During the battle, "Denethor was cut off and surrounded upon the hill of Amon Ereb. There he fell and all his nearest kin about him, before the host of Thingol could come to his aid."

The Second Battle (FA 1) was fought as a result of the return of the Noldor. They had landed in the firth of Drengist and burnt the white ships of the Teleri which the Noldor had stolen with the sheding of much blood of their kinsfolk. And they burnt the ships behind them. The flames of that burning alerted Morgoth in Angband and he sent a powerful army of orcs into Mithrim where they attacked the Noldor in their camps on the north shores of the lake Mithrim. "Under the cold stars before the rising of the Moon...was fought the Second Battle in the Wars of Beleriand. Dagor-nuin-Giliath it is named, the Battle-under-Stars, for the Moon had not yet risen; and it is renowned in song. The Noldor, outnumbered and taken at unawares, were yet swiftly victorious; for the light of Aman was not yet dimmed in their eyes, and they were strong and swift, and deadly in anger, and their swords were long and terrible. The Orcs fled before them, and they were driven forth from Mithrim with great slaughter, and hunted over the Mountains of Shadow into the great plain of Ard-galen, that lay northward of Dorthonion. There the armies of Morgoth that had passed south into the Vale of Sirion and beleaguered Círdan in the Haven of the Falas came up to their aid, and were caught in their ruin. For Celegorm, Fëanor's son, having news of them, waylaid them with a part of the Elven-host, and coming down upon them out of the hills near Eithel Sirion drove them into the Fen of Serech. Evil indeed were the tidings that came at last to Angband, and Morgoth was dismayed. Ten days that battle lasted, and from it returned of all the hosts that he had prepared for the conquest of Beleriand no more than a handful of leaves." But Fëanor was in the fullness of his wrath and hubris. He swore that now he and his people would seek their vengeance for the death of his father and the stolen Silmarils. Therefore, Fëanor pursued his fleeing enemies across the plains of Ard-galen toward Angband, which he knew not the strength of: "but even had he known it would not have deterred him, for he was fey, consumed by the flame of his own wrath." The orcs he pursued turned at bay, "and there issued from Angband Balrogs to aid them." Fëanor and those few with him were surrounded and assailed, for in his haste he had far outmarched the main strength of his army. "Long he fought and undismayed, though he was wrapped in fire and wounded with many wounds; but at the last he was smitten to the ground by Gothmog, Lord of Balrogs, whom Ecthelion after slew in Gondolin. There he would have perished, had not his sons in that moment come up with force to his aid; and the Balrogs left him, and departed to Angband." Fëanor was carried back towards Mithrim, but near Eithel Sirion, on the upward path to cross the mountains, he felt his death coming and they stopped. Looking back toward the smoke-wreathed towers of Thangorodrim Fëanor cursed Morgoth thrice, and bound his sons to remember the oaths they had sworn to recover the Silmarils, and he made them swear to avenge their father. Then he died.

War-gaming the first and second battles of Beleriand -
the battle of "Amon Ereb"

You will see on the map for "Amon Ereb" three bodies of orcs. This is in no wise a limitation imposed by Tolkien: but as my approach has always been to use the most suitable historical armies to simulate Middle-earth warfare, and as those which seem best applied to orcs are usually limited to three (or perhaps four) tactical command groups, therefore that is all I show on the map.

The forces of Doriath come onto the field 10 turns plus 1d6=1; if a 1 isn't rolled, then next turn roll 1d6=1,2 to bring on a unit of Doriath Elves, and so forth until at the very latest by turn 15 Doriath forces will be arriving. When a Doriath unit arrives, place it on the table edge matching a 1d6 roll (see map). Now roll 1d6=5,6 and a second unit comes on this same turn: place it by separate 1d6 roll; roll 1d6=5,6 again, and as many times as you roll consecutive 5,6s in the same turn, that many Doriath units arrive on that same turn: place each by separate die roll.

The orcs begin 20" away from king Denethor's men, who are all formed into a square upon their camp. As winning the game for the Elvish side depends on first of all keeping king Denethor alive, I suggest that you put him in the center with the flags.

The best army type for the Elves of Doriath is a Byzantine army: the cavalry will not outnumber the infantry: the bows are upgraded one level, e.g. bow 3 becomes bow 4.

The best army type for the Green Elves of Region and Ossiriand is an English Hundred Years War army: with a modifier limiting nonbow troops to a total of 10%; and all morale classes are one class higher than rolled; bows are upgraded one class as well.

I think orcs under Morgoth work really well as Germanic 500 AD types: they have up to 10% light cavalry (wargriders), just tons of missile, and they can form up in 1,000 man units (which means you can ignore my three-tactical-command-groups-limit on the map: unless you feel that something more ponderous is more in line with your ideas about how orcs should be organized). I would give them an armor class boost of up-one though, e.g. up to 25% medium would become up to 25% heavy: Morgoth's armories were never slouchy.

Remember that the square does not make morale checks (except individual figures that fail morale in melee combat) until an ensquared figure/base is attacked in the rear, through orcish penetration to an opposite face: this defines "breaking the square."

There is no indicator as to the size of the armies. Just use large ones: as many figures as you can (remember these are EPIC-sized battles). But for comparison I would use 5,000 Ossiriand Elves versus 15,000 to 20,000 orcs versus 15,000 Doriath Elves. (These only represent a part of the whole: because all of Beleriand was under invasion and the orcs were being met by other elements of the elvish armies.)

The hill of Amon Ereb is high but not steep: it confers no combat results table (CRT) bonuses to the defending Green Elves: however, it's height will mildly effect incoming orcish arrows by shortening the effective range. (Later reference to Amon Ereb make it out as a military stronghold: in this early period, I would allow no more than earth and wood palisade: play it both ways, with and without the ditch and wall: if the Elves are behind a ditch and wall, then their combat values are +25%.)

The Leaders: king Thingol +3 CRT, +2 LDR, Save 2,3,4,5,6; king Denethor +2 CRT, +1 LDR, Save 5,6. There are no given orc leaders: allow each orc player one leader figure with no more than 4 points, and a limit of +1 in LDR. If an orc leader dies his command makes an immediate morale test.

Battle Under-Stars
The game begins with the orc host on the edge of the table and approaching: the Noldor warriors all go forth leaving their women and children in the camp.

On map A the Noldor camps are assailed by 3-to-1 or higher odds: assume maybe 5,000 Noldor warriors from the camp. You can vary the odds to see where it becomes impractical for the Noldor to win.

They use a Byzantine army as an historical type: modified so that the infantry in this early period outclass the cavalry by at least ten to one (the Noldor horse herds are yet in future). The orcs are "Germanic" as suggested above.

All Noldor morale is fanatic "A" class: if any of them fail a morale test for any reason they revert to "C" class for the rest of the battle. Each orc unit which comes into direct contact for the first time with a Noldor unit must make a morale test - on mostly "D" and very little "C" class - or rout in the face of the light of Aman. Those wargriders which do not rout will then cause a morale test on Noldor cavalry. Each orc unit that breaks through to the camp will cause a morale test on the adjacent Noldor unit(s): failure means they withdraw back to the camp. If the Noldor hold the field at the end of the game, move to map B.

Fëanor and his companions have pursued hottly after the routing orcs. Within sight of the gate of Angband the last of the orcs turn at bay and fight. The forces are roughly equal: no more than 500 to 1,000 each probably. They should be within a Noldor charge move and facing each other. On game turn one, and each subsequent turn, roll 1d6=5,6 to bring on a fresh unit of orcs from Angband gate: 1,000 each time led by one Balrog.

The sons of Fëanor do not arrive at the edge of the table until 10+1d6 turns have elapsed: you should roll this only on turn ten, thus giving the player running Fëanor knowledge of when the rest of the Noldor are coming to his rescue. There should be c. 10,000 of them.

After the arrival of the sons of Fëanor, as long as there is at least one orc unit and one Balrog on the field (i.e. not in rout), the Angband player(s) may continue to roll 1d6=5,6 for fresh troops.

The first time fresh Angband orcs and Balrogs come into contact with the Noldor they must make a morale test, to stand before the light of Aman, or rout toward Angband gate.

Each Balrog is worth 240 infantry = combat value of 44 as plate infantry, on 40mm x 40mm bases. They can do a fire attack each turn they make a "C" class performance test (in lieu of a melee attack, but the Noldor in base contact can still make a melee attack of their own with all "Attacker/Defender" results effecting them treated as "no effect"): any bases within a corridor 20mm wide x 120mm deep get burnt to a crisp on a 2d6 roll of 9-12: roll for each base (Noldor or orc). Balrogs have no morale effect upon Noldor troops.

Morale is fanatic "A" for all Noldor; "D" for the remnant orc unit; "C" for Balrogs and all Balrog-led orcs (revert to "D" if the Balrog dies, and make a morale test).

Leaders/characters: Fëanor +5 CRT, +2 LDR, Save 5,6; Fingolfin +3 CRT, LDR +1, Save 2,3,4,5,6; Fingon and the sons of Fëanor ALL +1 CRT LDR 0, Save 2,3,4,5,6.

The Noldor win a victory if they rescue Fëanor alive (i.e. not mortally wounded). Each time his figure is eliminated in combat, and fails his Save of 5,6, the player running him can roll another 1d6=2,3,4,5,6 to keep him alive and fighting: but he is mortally wounded in any case and will die on the return march to Mithrim. If he fails the 2,3,4,5,6 saving roll, he collapses unconscious. If this occurs before his sons et al arrive, then Angband gate will continue to issue fresh troops no matter what, at the increased rate of two Balrogs and 2,000 orcs per consecutive 5,6 rolled each turn! If this means that Fëanor's body is captured, then Morgoth wins a decisive victory. The Angband forces will not pursue withdrawing Noldor once Fëanor's body is captured. And if it happens that his body is recovered by his sons, in any state whatsoever, then only Angband units which roll a performance test can pursue: all others will withdraw back inside Angband.

Fingolfin, half-brother of Fëanor, became king of all Hithlum, and the sons of Fëanor moved elsewhere into Beleriand and settled.

Some fifty and two years into the First Age (51 years following the death of Fëanor), Turgon, son of Fingolfin, had revealed to him by the Vala Ulmo the secret vale of Tumladen and began the building of Gondolin, the Hidden City, which was completed in the year FA 104. Then Turgon and all his people entered into it and passed for many years from all knowledge of those outside.

The Third battle, Dagor Aglareb (the Glorious Battle - FA c. 60), is frankly a bore tactically. The armies of Morgoth attack, hoping for surprise, and instead are routed by the Elves who are ready for them. Not a single orc returns to Angband, the last of them being struck down within sight of the very gates. A 400 years-long siege of Angband unsues.

A complete encirclement of Angband was impossible, because of the mountains and ice which were impassable to the Elves: and in the north Morgoth would send out spies around the long way to Beleriand: and once 100 years into the Siege he sent an army of orcs to attack Hithlum along the firth of Drengist: but they were spotted in time and driven into the sea. Morgoth did not send forth any more orcish armies, seeing as how they were no match alone against the Elves. He devised greater creatures and made plans. 200 years into the siege, the first of the dragon race, Glaurung, came forth and routed a part of the besieging forces, pursuing them south across the plains of Ard-galen: but Elvish horsearchers surrounded Glaurung and drove him back to Angband: he was yet young and had not come into his full armored strength.

Then came the Long Peace, "for wellnigh two hundred years," where the only fighting was "affrays on the marches. And all Beleriand flourished and grew rich. Behind the guard of their armies in the north the Noldor built their dwellings and their towers, and many fair things they made in those days, and poems and histories and books of lore. In many parts of the land the Noldor and the Sindar became welded into one people, and spoke the same tongue; though this difference remained between them, that the Noldor had the greater power of mind and body, and were the mightier warriors and sages, and they built with stone, and loved the hill-slopes and open lands. But the Sindar had the fairer voices and were more skilled in music..., and they loved the woods and the riversides; and some of the Grey-elves still wandered far and wide without settled abode, and they sang as they went."

Quite the bucolic picture of peace and prosperity: hardly the thing to make war-game scenarios out of!

Then at the end of the Long Peace (FA 455), Morgoth sent forth volcanic fires from Thangorodrim. All the plains of Ard-galen were burnt and the armies of the besieging Elves were destroyed and routed back to Beleriand. Ard-galen never recovered, but remained a land of choking dust and ashes and was renamed Anfauglith. This was the Fourth battle, called Dagor Bragollach - the Battle of Sudden Flame. "In the front of that fire came Glaurung the golden, father of dragons, in his full might; and in his train were Balrogs, and behind them came the black armies of the Orcs in multitudes such as the Noldor had never before seen or imagined. And they assaulted the fortresses of the Noldor, and broke the leaguer about Angband, and slew wherever they found them the Noldor and their allies, Grey-elves and Men. Many of the stoutest of the foes of Morgoth were destroyed in the first days of that war, bewildered and dispersed and unable to muster their strength. War ceased not wholly ever again in Beleriand; but the Battle of Sudden Flame is held to have ended with the coming of spring, when the onslaught of Morgoth grew less."

Deeds of personal valor are recorded throughout. The most daring were the desperate single combat between king Fingolfin of Hithlum and Morgoth, in which Fingolfin shamed Morgoth into coming out of Angband and fighting him: seven wounds he gave Morgoth before being slain at last, and Morgoth went halt on one leg and bore the pain and scarrs of his wounds ever after. (Fingon son of Fingolfin was then high king of the Noldor and ruled in Hithlum.) Then Beren a Man and Lúthien the daughter of king Thingol of Doriath dared together to take a Silmaril from the crown of Morgoth: which task Thingol had assigned to Beren before he would be given leave to wed his daughter. That tale is long and reveals Tolkien at his mythic best. It cannot be told in part, only to say that Thingol received his Silmaril and kept it in despite of the oath sworn by the sons of Fëanor, and this formed a break in the alliance between the Sindar of Doriath and the Noldor, weakening Beleriand and furthering the cause of Morgoth's hate.

The Fifth battle (FA 473) is called Nirnaeth Arnoediad - Unnumbered Tears. It came about because Maedhros, impressed by the deeds of Beren and Lúthien in entering Morgoth's lair and taking the Silmaril, was convinced that Angband was not unassailable. He endeavored to create an alliance amongst all the folk of Beleriand: in this he was hindered by the oath of Fëanor, and the strife that it had already caused did not cease: but nevertheless, Maedhros succeeded in gathering together a wonderfully strong alliance of Elves, Men and Dwarves, called the Union of Maedhros. But he revealed his strength too soon and drove all the orcs out of the northern regions of Beleriand, and Dorthonion was again recovered for awhile. Morgoth knew then what was afoot, and sent spies abroad to discover more, and treason he sowed amongst the Men who were deep in the counsels of Maedhros and king Fingon. "At length Maedhros, having gathered all the strength that he could of Elves and Men and Dwarves, resolved to assault Angband from east and west; and he purposed to march with banners displayed in open force over Anfauglith. But when he had drawn forth, as he hoped, the armies of Morgoth in answer, then Fingon should issue forth from the passes of Hithlum; and thus they thought to take the might of Morgoth as between anvil and hammer, and break it to pieces. And the signal for this was to be the firing of a great beacon in Dorthonion." But the beacon was never lit: "Maedhros was hindered in his setting-forth by the guile of Uldor the accursed, who decieved him with false warnings of assault from Angband." Fingon doubted and fretted where his army was drawn up in the mountains near Eithel Sirion. But then trumpets were heard, and his brother Turgon of Gondolin came forth with his whole force of 10,000 warriors and took station beside the army of Hithlum. To keep the eastern and western armies from merging, Morgoth sent an army dressed in dun garments and hiding their steel across the Anfauglith; their approach was therefore unremarked until they were very close. They came up and formed ranks between Eithel Sirion and the fen of Serech, and taunted the Elves to come down and fight them. But the lines held firm while the Elves and Men awaited the signal of Maedhros. "The Captain of Morgoth in the west had been commanded to draw out Fingon swiftly from his hills by whatever means he could...(He had brought) Gelmir, son of Guilin, that lord of Nargothrond whom they had captured in the Bragollach; and they had blinded him." This unfortunate they mutillated and killed before the walls of Barad Eithel: and Gwindor the brother of Gelmir in his wrath led an attack deep into the ranks of the enemy. "And seeing this all the host of the Noldor was set on fire, and Fingon...and all the host of Hithlum leapt forth from the hills in sudden onslaught." The western army of Morgoth was swept away before he could reinforce it. In the forefront was Gwindor and the Elves of Nargothrond, and they drove right up to the gates of Angband and broke them down. They penetrated to the very halls of Morgoth and beat on his doors; but his garrison of reserves was too great and all but Gwindor were slain and he was captured (though later he escaped). Meanwhile out on the Anfauglith king Fingon was assailed by more forces, which kept him from coming to the aid of Gwindor. They retreated, "and Haldir lord of the Haladin was slain in the rearguard; with him fell most of the Men of Brethil." On the fifth day of the battle, the Elves of Hithlum were still far from the Ered Wethrin, and the orcs came up in the middle of the night and surrounded them. "They fought until day, pressed ever closer. In the morning came hope, when the horns of Turgon were heard as he marched up with the main host of Gondolin; for they had been stationed southward guarding the Pass of Sirion, and Turgon had restrained most of his people from the rash onslaught." Turgon hewed his way to his brother's side. At that very hour the horns of Maedhros were heard coming up from the east. The enemy was assailed in their rear. "It is said that even then the Eldar might have won the day, had all their hosts proved faithful; for the Orcs wavered, and their onslaught was stayed, and already some were turning to flight. But even as the vanguard of Maedhros came upon the Orcs, Morgoth loosed his last strength, and Angband was emptied." Glaurung came leading more dragons, and wolves and wolfriders and Balrogs. This last reserve came between Maedhros and Fingon and swept their hosts apart. Yet even this would not have proven the end of the Union, had not the treachery of Men come in that hour: the plans of Ulfang were revealed, and his son Uldor led his Easterlings into the rear of the sons of Fëanor. Uldor was slain by Maglor, brother of Maedhros: and his brothers Ulfast and Ulwarth were slain also: but Uldor had concealed more strength of "evil Men" in the eastern hills, "and the host of Maedhros was assailed now on three sides, and it broke, and was scattered, and fled this way and that." The sons of Fëanor all managed to escape the field of Unumbered Tears to fight another day. "Last of all the eastern forces to stand firm were the Dwarves of Belegost, and thus they won renown. For the Naugrim withstood fire more hardily than either Elves or Men, and it was their custom moreover to wear great masks into battle hideous to look upon; and those stood them in good stead against the dragons. And but for them Glaurung and his brood would have withered all that was left of the Noldor." But when Glaurung came upon them, the Dwarves ringed the dragon and even his mighty armory was not proof against the blows of their axes. Glaurung turned and struck down the lord of Belegost, Azaghâl, and crawled over him, but "with his last stroke Azaghâl drove a knife into his belly, and so wounded him that he fled the field, and the beasts of Angband in dismay followed after him....In the western battle Fingon and Turgon were assailed by a tide of foes thrice greater than all the force that was left to them." Gothmog the lord of Balrogs drove a wedge between the brothers, and the host of Gondolin and the Edain led by Húrin and Huor his brother were pushed aside toward the fen of Serech. Gothmog then fought with king Fingon and all his guard were slain, and he was only overcome at last when another Balrog came behind and snared him down with a thong of fire. Then Gothmog hewed Fingon with his black axe, "and a white flame sprang up from the helm of Fingon as it was cloven. Thus fell the High King of the Noldor; and they beat him into the dust with their maces, and his banner, blue and silver, they trod into the mire of his blood." Turgon managed to withdraw back into Gondolin, because of the rearguard of Húrin and Huor and the Men of Hador. All but Húrin died there, defending themselves with the fen of Serech to their front: but the "hosts of Angband swarmed against them, and they bridged the stream (Rivil) with their dead, and encircled the remnant of Hithlum as a gathering tide about a rock." Huor was killed by an arrow in the eye, and then Húrin was alone. After seeing off scores of enemies he was finally captured and taken to Angband.

The outcome of the Nirnaeth Arnoediad was disaster. The kingdom of Hithlum was ruined utterly. The sons of Fëanor wandered without force or home as outcasts. All of Beleriand was plundered and raped by the orcs and wild men serving Morgoth: only in Gondolin the hidden, and in Doriath behind the Girdle of Melian, did security still remain.

War-gaming the Nirnaeth Arnoediad
This is obviously the most protracted and detailed of all the battles in The Silmarillion. It forms the pivotal climax as it were. The total battle should best be played out in three phases as separate games. For the purposes of comparison, I will assume that Uldor the Accursed succeeds in keeping Maedhros from moving as planned: but had he failed for any reason, and Maedhros HAD moved his eastern army, then the battle would have worked out as a single event, with Angband's forces not coming on all at once: because the first army to issue forth was the one which went to confront king Fingon in the west: and had Uldor failed to beguile Maedhros, then that advanced "delaying" force would have run smack into the full strength of the Union of Maedhros. So how large should we assume the armies to be? The only strength given is the 10,000 of Gondolin. Later, after Glaurung and the monsters have retreated to Angband, and the eastern army of the sons of Fëanor has been routed, the total forces brought against Fingon's and Turgon's united army is three times stronger. Gondolin could not possibly have provided as large an army as all of Hithlum/Dor-Lómin's: so I would estimate a minimum of 30,000 for king Fingon's host at the start: including the men of Brethil and Sindar of Nargothrond. Assume an equal force for the sons of Fëanor. Angband's army must have been twice as large at least.

These are HUGE armies (- and Morgoth's get even bigger by the end of the Wars of Beleriand). We cannot possibly represent them with actual figure/head count. So just put out the biggest armies you can, and make sure Angband has the appropriate two-to-one or three-to-one odds.

Consider Glaurung as worth 250 cavalry all by himself: recommended base size therefore is 50mm x 250mm, and combat value as cataphract would be 80; each of his dragon cohorts is far smaller, and is either medium or heavy, worth 50 to 100 men each = combat value of 12 to 28, on 25mm x 50mm and 50mm x 50mm bases respectively; put on as many dragon bases as you feel is cool.

Balrogs: see above for "War-gaming the Battle Under-Stars. In this period, the only troops who do not test morale when first engaging a Balrog are the Noldor Elves: Fingon's and the sons of Fëanor's Elves.

Wolves/wargs are like light cavalry: and wolfriders can shoot their bows or throw their javelins in melee while the mount fights: they cause morale checks on cavalry the first turn of melee contact. If you count the wolves/wargs as werewolves, then they have a saving roll of 4,5,6 on 1d6 and count double; e.g. 100 werewolves = 200 wolves/wargs. Vampires could be here too (Tolkien doesn't give a comprehensive list of all Morgoth's critters: and earlier he mentioned that Sauron was lord of the werewolves and used vampires as messengers): they can fly 20" per turn, count as plate infantry in combat, and require a performance check each turn on their immediate enemies in melee combat: failure means they fall prey to the vampire's gaze and revert to zero combat value while the vamp drinks their blood. Vampires count double; e.g. a base of 80 would be equal to 160 plate infantry. All of these monstrous comparisons are for use in balancing the armies. Following is an example of how I balanced the forces to play out Nirnaeth Arnoediad:

Orders of battle
For the first battle in the west (map A)
Angband: Orcs = 123 bases of mixed light, medium and heavy infantry spear and bow.

King Fingon of Hithlum: Noldor Elves = 16 bases of heavy infantry sword and spear, and light bow, and 9 bases of medium cavalry horsearchers. Húrin and Huor of Dor-Lómin: Edain = 12 heavy infantry sword and spear, and light bow, and 8 heavy cavalry lancers. Lord Gwindor of Nargothrond: Sindar Elves =12 bases of light infantry bow, and 8 bases of light cavalry horsearchers. King Turgon of Gondolin: Noldor Elves = 20 bases of heavy infantry spear and sword. Total Hithlum bases = 85

After the battle in the west, all of the western army pursues the broken orcish host across the Anfauglith toward Angband. If you did better than the following order of battle, use what you have left:

Otherwise, use this:
Angband: Glaurung = 5 bases; Gothmog = 4 bases; 4 Balrogs = 16 bases; 2 dragons = 4 bases; 2 vampires = 4 bases; 16 wargs (as werewolves) = 32 bases; Easterlings = 38 bases light infantry spear and some bow; Orcs = 123 bases of mixed light, medium and heavy infantry spear and bow; Troll-men = 16 bases of heavy infantry; Dark-elves = 40 bases of heavy infantry (scraping the barrel here: but I figured my Dark-elves are just orcs that look a little more elvish yet!); Evil *monks* = 14 bases of *plate* infantry (move like light infantry; berserkers of Morgoth). Total Angband bases = 295.

Union of Maedhros: Noldor (sons of Fëanor) Elves = 30 bases of heavy infantry sword and spear, and light bow, and 7 bases of medium cavalry horsearchers; Easterlings led by Uldor = 16 bases of medium and light infantry sword and spear, and 9 bases of light cavalry lancers; Dwarves = 24 bases of heavy infantry axe. King Fingon of Hilthlum (use this OB if he did worse in the first battle, or what he has left if he did better, in lieu of this OB): Noldor Elves = 12 heavy infantry sword and spear, and light bow, and 8 bases of medium cavalry horsearchers; Edain of Dor-Lómin = 12 bases of heavy infantry sword and spear, and light bow, and 6 bases of heavy cavalry lancers; Sindar (lord Gwindor of Nargothrond) Elves = 10 bases of light infantry bow; 6 bases of light cavalry horsearchers; Noldor (king Turgon of Gondolin) Elves = 16 bases of heavy infantry sword and spear. Total Union bases = 156. (Angband does not quite have a two-to-one edge at the beginning of this final battle, due to losses in the western battle.)

Sequence of narrative events: To play out a strictly by-the-book version, begin with the positions as shown on map A. The only forces attacking the orcs on the first game turn are those from Nargothrond. The players cannot remain in the hills (off the rear table edge) unless they keep making performance tests: the first failure of king Fingon ("A" class) results in the entire army being commanded to attack. (This is only in case players wish to remain safely in the hills: if they want to attack, they can at once.) The army of king Fingon will automatically pursue all enemies fleeing back toward Angband. They must test as "D" to NOT pursue. Turgon can test as "B". Success means they can move out and join with the eastern army without pursuing: modify the next game to have all of the Union of Maedhros on the table at once.

The next game is on map B: The Easterlings are off-table in ambush to the east. Gwindor with the Nargothrond forces are before Angband's gate (assuming an "historical" outcome to the first battle, with Nargothrond pursuing the orcs right up to Angband's gate, and king Fingon and his allies and vassals following close behind), and it is down: to not enter in pursuit of Morgoth, Gwindor must make a "D" class morale test: success means he can forbear the attack on Angband for the moment, and turn his troops around to participate in the field battle: failure means remove his troops from the table - i.e. they go inside Angband and look for Morgoth.

All of the orcs are fighting Hithlum and Dor-Lómin: begin 15" apart in center of table.

After ten turns, roll 1d6=1 and Gondolin enters as indicated on the map; if not, then next turn a 1,2 = Gondolin enters; if not, then the following turn 1,2,3 = Gondolin enters: until Gondolin finally enters for certain on game turn 15.

After Gondolin enters, play for three more turns, then roll 1d6 each turn thereafter until a 5,6 = the eastern army comes on the field as shown: sons of Fëanor first on the right; then the following turn the Dwarves in the center; followed on the next turn by Uldor and his Easterlings on the left.

But the turn the sons of Fëanor come on the field, roll 1d6 each turn until a 5,6 = Gothmog and Glaurung enter from Angband's secret gates with all the wargs, dragons, vampires and Balrogs. After Gothmog and Glaurung are committed to battle, roll 1d6 until a 6 = Uldor attacks the sons of Fëanor; the turn this occurs, roll 1d6=1 and the Easterlings in ambush are placed on the eastern table edge; if not, then increase their chances of coming onto the table, until they positively enter the table at the end of five turns.

Glaurung is the captain of all the monsters, except the Balrogs, which follow Gothmog, the general of the whole army: if Glaurung is killed or routs, the monsters will make a "D" class check and rout to Angband if they fail. The same goes for the Balrogs if Gothmog is killed.

If the Dwarves lose Azaghâl, they will withdraw from the field, attacking no one except those who attack them.

The casualties are not replaced for the following rearguard action on the river Rivil.

The Gondolindrim have withdrawn back to the vale of Tumladen; Húrin and Huor are defending with the fen and river to their front, which gives their troops +50% to their combat values. The forces of Angband are all here (what survives from the previous games). To get over the fen and Rivil, the orcs and Easterlings are building causeways with the dead: each turn that a 4,5,6 is rolled advance 1" toward the Dor-Lómin side one base wide, as many bases wide as the Angband players want to in the indicated places on the map (called the "fordable area"): i.e. advance each base by individual 1d6 roll. Once across, then any following-up bases can cross as though it were clear terrain. (A recommended method of marking the spots where causeways have been made is to use strips of paper: illustrate them with packed corpses for a desired effect!)

Character stats: All the sons of Fëanor have Saving rolls of 2,3,4,5,6. Húrin has a Saving roll of 2,3,4,5,6; Turgon has a saving roll of 3,4,5,6. Leadership (LDR) is +2 for Gothmog; +1 for Glaurung (unless he is routing himself); +2 for Fingon and Turgon and Húrin; Maedhros is a +1 leader; Azaghâl (the Dwarf general) is a +1 leader. All the leaders on both sides are at least +1 in combat (CRT): the sons of Fëanor are +2; except Maedhros and Maglor who are +3; Azaghâl is +3; Turgon is +3; Huor is +3; Fingon is +4; Húrin is +5.

Fire attacks are treated as missile fire (missile in melee on any turn that a performance check is made, in lieu of melee). The area of affect is a corridor 20mm wide x 120mm long. Any base within that corridor is rolled for. Elimination is caused on a 2d6 roll, with the following numbers: for Glaurung=6-12; for other dragons=7-12; Gothmog=8-12; other Balrogs=9-12. Roll for each base in the target corridor to see if it is eliminated. Dwarves are +2 to the needed dice roll: e.g. Glaurung needs an 8-12 to eliminate a Dwarf base.

Morale classes are "D" class for all orcs (Dark-elves) and monsters and Easterlings from Angband (except the berserker *monks* who are fanatic "B"s; "C" class for Balrogs; "B" class for Glaurung and Gothmog. The Noldor are "A" class; the Dwarves are "B" class; the Eldar of Hithlum are "B" class; Gondolindrim are "A" class; Sindar of Nargothrond are "B" class; Men of Brethil and Dor-Lómin are "B"; Easterlings with the Noldor are "C".

Alternate scenario:
You can assume that Maedhros does not fall for Uldor's lies, and marches out as planned. The beacon is lit, and king Fingon and the army of the west marches to join them. Therefore his army is in the open when they meet that first army of orcs (123 bases strong). After ten plus 1d6 turns, the army of the east comes on the field on the east edge. By rolling 1d6 each turn=5,6 Gothmog and Glaurung come on from the north with all the monsters and wolfriders/wargs. Each turn keep rolling 1d6=5,6 to bring on the berserkers, Troll-men and berserkers. After Gothmog and Glaurung are committed to battle, Uldor will attack the rear of the sons of Fëanor as soon as he rolls a 1d6=6; and once he moves to attack, the Easterlings in ambush will emerge in 1d6 more turns. Or, alternately, you can have Maedhros put Uldor and his Easterlings in the forefront of the battle, where they can be watched: in which case, Uldor can either fight for the Union until he gets a chance to switch sides (if he survives, of course), or he can go over to Morgoth at once and turn around when in support contact with any forces of Angband: in which case, the Easterlings in ambush will emerge in line on the eastern flank of Angband: no ambush and no treacherous stab in the back by Uldor. The battle could now go differently indeed. (Resolve what Uldor does by performance check: if he and his command fail the roll, they join Angband openly: if they make their performance roll, then they fight for the Union until such time as it becomes obvious that if they switch sides NOW they will be able to attack without being jumped by numbers.)

The tragedy of Túrin Turambar, son of Húrin, leads only up to the battle of Tumhalad (FA 496), a complete disaster for the army of Nargothrond. Túrin was the only warrior who could withstand the fires of Glaurung (he wore a dwarf-mask); and the armies of Morgoth were far too strong to even make this battle a playable chance of victory for the good-guys. They simply get beaten. Gwindor dies. And Túrin fails to save his lady love in Nargothrond: all his army is killed around him as he tries, and he stands immobilized by the eyes of the dragon as the fair Finduilas and the rest of Nargorthrond's captives are led away to Angband. Later in a fit of vengeance and sorrow, he slays Glaurung (FA 501) and then takes his own life.

Húrin refused to reveal the whereabouts of Gondolin to Morgoth, for which he was cursed and set in a chair high up in Thangorodrim for 28 years, seeing the world only through the senses of the dark lord. A year after Túrin's death Morgoth released Húrin, and he wandered about as one lost, watched continuously by the spying creatures of the dark lord. He called to Turgon from Dimbar, and thus inadvertently revealed to Morgoth the approximate location of Gondolin. He buried his wife and Túrin, then recovered the Nauglamír from the deeps of abandoned Nargothrond: this heirloom Húrin "paid" Thingol with for the raising of his son Túrin (and then soon afterward died): and Thingol purposed to have the Silmaril set into it. But the Dwarves of Nogrod, when they saw the ancient workmanship of their fathers and the shining jewel of Fëanor, lusted to possess them. Thingol sat with the craftsmen as they worked daily, but when the work was done and he put forth his hand to don the Nauglamír, the Dwarves rose up and slew him (FA c. 505). The Dwarves took the Silmaril and necklace and fled Menegroth, but were pursued to the death, and the Silmaril was returned to Melian the Maia. A twisted version of the tragedy was told in Nogrod, making out Thingol as treacherous, that he would slay his hired craftsmen rather than give them their due. The Dwarves mourned their loss and swore vengeance. With the death of Thingol, Melian the Maia also changed: no longer was she bound to the physical form she had kept to be the wife of Elwë Singolo (Thingol). Her power was now withdrawn from Doriath, and the Girdle of Melian was down. She spoke only to Mablung, chief captain of Thingol, "bidding him to take heed to the Silmaril, and to send word speedily to Beren and Lúthien in Ossiriand; and she vanished out of Middle-earth." When the avenging host of Dwarves from Nogrod came, they passed without hindrance into deepest Doriath and came to Menegroth: there the greatest tragedy between the Naugrim and Elves occurred and many on both sides were slain. And Mablung fell defending the doors to the treasury, and the Nauglamír and Silmaril were taken away, with much other loot besides. Word came upon word to Tol Galen where dwelt Beren with Lúthien and their son Dior. And moving swiftly with many Green-elves of Ossiriand, Beren and Dior ambushed the diminished Dwarven host as it crossed the fords of Sarn Athrad: few Dwarves broke out of that fight, and those that did were slain by the Shepherds of the Trees. The slaying of the lord of Nogrod Beren accomplished himself, and reclaimed the Nauglamír: "but he dying laid his curse upon all the treasure." Beren washed the jewel of Fëanor clean in the river Ascar, but dumped all the rest of the treasure of Doriath into it. They returned to Tol Galen, and "Lúthien wearing that necklace and that immortal jewel was the vision of greatest beauty and glory that has ever been outside the realm of Valinor."

Dior, Thingol's heir, returned and built up Menegroth: But when Beren and Lúthien died, the Silmaril was sent to Dior and he kept it in despite of the sons of Fëanor, who came from their wandering upon hearing word of the Silmaril once again in Menegroth. Then was the second kin-slaying (FA c. 509), and "there fell Celegorm by Dior's hand, and there fell Curufin, and dark Caranthir," and Dior also with his wife, and Menegroth was sacked and Doriath was never inhabited again. But the Silmaril was taken away by Elwing Dior's daughter, who later married Eärendil of Gondolin.

The battle for Gondolin ended in the death of king Turgon and nearly all his people (FA 511): Ecthelion the captain of the gate slew and was slain by Gothmog. A remnant survived the sack, which was brought about by the treachery of Maeglin, who had been a captive of Morgoth and was released only upon his promise that he would reveal the exact location of Gondolin: and in return Morgoth had promised Maeglin that he would possess lordship of Gondolin and have Idril to wife. Idril was the wife of Tuor, son of Huor, for whom Maeglin had the deepest jealousy. Their son Eärendil was thus of the Half-elven. When Morgoth made his assault on Gondolin, Idril was taken by Maeglin, but Tuor rescued her and killed him; then they and such few as they could gather together during the burning fled through the tunnel that Idril had prepared in secret many years before, fearing the shadow which had grown in her heart whenever she had thought upon Maeglin's desire for her. By hazardous paths the exiles made their way to the mouths of Sirion. There they joined their people to those who survived out of Doriath; and Eärendil Half-elven married Elwing Dior's daughter who kept the Silmaril.

Tuor "built a great ship...and with Idril Celebrindal he set sail into the sunset and the West and came no more into any tale or song." (FA c. 543) Eärendil was always sailing in search of news of the whereabouts of his parents: but Elwing went not abroad with him, but sat waiting in sadness beside the mouths of Sirion.

"The sons of Fëanor (having heard that the Silmaril was in the havens of Sirion) came down suddenly upon the exiles of Gondolin and the remnant of Doriath, and destroyed them (FA late 6th century). In that battle some of their people stood aside, and some few rebelled and were slain upon the other part aiding Elwing against their own lords (for such was the sorrow and confusion in the hearts of the Eldar in those days); but Maedhros and Maglor won the day, though they alone remained thereafter of the sons of Fëanor, for both Amrod and Amras were slain." Elwing cast herself into the sea with the Silmaril on her breast when her two sons Elros and Elrond were taken captive. But Ulmo bore her up and restored her to Eärendil as he sailed the west looking for Tuor and Idril, or the land of Aman. It was in his heart to bring a prayer of intercession to Manwë, to aid the Eldar and the other Elves and Men of Beleriand. To this end he was successful, but came no more to Middle-earth: but rather his voyages continued; for the Valar "took Vingilot (the vessel of Eärendil, built for him by Círdan the shipwright of Balar) and hallowed it, and bore it away...even into the oceans of heaven....Far he journeyed in that ship...with the Silmaril bound upon his brow... even into the starless voids; but most often he was seen at morning or at evening, glimmering in sunrise or sunset, as he came back to Valinor from the voyages beyond the confines of the world."

The intercession of Eärendil brought the Valar and Eldar from Aman to battle with Morgoth (FA post 600): and despite his strength being greater than it had ever been, all his mighty host of orcs and monsters availed him naught: the giant Eagles fought with his winged dragons in the air in the last of the battles of the First Age, called the Great Battle (or the "War of Wrath"): "Eärendil slew Ancalagon the Black, the mightiest of the dragon-host, and cast him from the sky; and he fell upon the towers of Thangorodrim, and they were broken in his ruin." The hosts of Eldar and Men met in battle with the orcs and Balrogs while the battle in the air darkened the skies. "The Balrogs were destroyed, save some few that fled and hid themselves in caverns inaccessible at the roots of the earth; and the uncounted legions of the Orcs perished like straw in a great fire, or were swept like shrivelled leaves before a burning wind." Morgoth fled to the deepest pits of Angband and sued there for mercy. But he was chained again and by the Valar he was "thrust through the Door of Night beyond the Walls of the World, into the Timeless Void; and a guard is set for ever on those walls, and Eärendil keeps watch upon the ramparts of the sky."

The fates of Maglor and Maedhros were bound by the oath they had made. Eönwë summoned the Elves of Beleriand to leave Middle-earth; but the sons of Fëanor would not hearken, and prepared with weariness to give battle even to the victorious hosts of Valinor to keep the oath. But Eönwë decreed that they had lost the right to the work of their father "because of their many and merciless deeds. The light of the Silmarils should go now into the West...and to Valinor must Maedhros and Maglor return, and there abide the judgement of the Valar." It was in the camp of Eönwë that the Silmarils were kept. The two sons of Fëanor crept there in disguise, and slew the guards and seized the Silmarils. "Then all the camp was raised against them, and they prepared to die, defending themselves until the last. But Eönwë would not permit the slaying of the sons of Fëanor." They fled, and each took a Silmaril: "But the jewel burned the hand of Maedhros in pain unbearable; and he perceived that it was as Eönwë had said, and that his right thereto had become void, and that the oath was vain....He cast himself into a gaping chasm filled with fire, and so ended; and the Silmaril that he bore was taken into the bosom of the Earth." Maglor also could not endure the pain of torment and cast his Silmaril into the sea. "Thereafter he wandered ever upon the shores, singing in pain and regret beside the waves." (In Maglor's favor is his raising of Eärendil's and Elwing's sons, Elros and Elrond, for he had taken pity on them and not suffered that they should be slain.)

Of the rise and fall of Númenor, and the rings of power and the coming of the Third Age, more is said elsewhere.

1. All quotations are from The Silmarillion, J. R. R. Tolkien, HarperCollinsPublishers1992