Beginning of the Game

  • Your starting company can only contain 20 points of unmodified mind.
  • Non-character cards duplicated in the character draft may not be placed into the play deck.
  • Your starting hand is eight cards, regardless of what characters you have at particular sites.
  • If different manifestations of the same character are revealed in the character draft, all copies will bounce. [Van 1999]
  • If a character from the starting pool is put in the deck after the character draft it always counts against the 10 character limit.
  • You roll dice for the whole game

Untap Phase

  • Corruption checks triggered at the end of the untap phase happen after everyone untaps.

Organization Phase

Choosing a New Site

  • Rules Erratum: When a company splits, any of the resulting companies can move with region movement. Region movement is not limited to one company of a split.
  • Any single site path cannot have more than one copy of a particular region.
  • Any company may declare as its new site a site already on the table. That site will remain on the table at least until the end of that company’s movement/hazard phase.
  • Two companies may not start at the same site of origin and move to the same new site.
  • Effects that are played during the organization phase, and depend on the site or site path of a moving company, create an effect which is not declared until the new site is revealed. If the site or site path is not of the appropriate type when the effect resolves, the resource has no effect. If the company has multiple movement/hazard phases on the same turn, the card applies separately to each phase, having an effect only if the correct conditions are met.
  • When a player declares that one or more of their companies will move to a site already in play, they must also verbally declare which site card in play will be the destination site for each of those companies. [CoE 2023]


  • A character cannot use a bonus to direct influence against Blue Mountain Dwarves to control characters with the home site Blue Mountain Dwarf-hold. The bonus only applies to the faction.
  • Bonuses to direct influence against characters apply only once, not for each character.
  • A character’s direct influence must be greater than or equal to the mind attribute of another character to allow him to take control of that other character, even if the characters mind stat would be lowered once he /she became a follower. [CoE 2002]

Organizing Companies

  • When a company splits up, its player chooses which characters are the original company and which characters are a new company, unless otherwise directed by a card. All resource permanent-events played on the original company stay with the original company.
  • Company composition changes that you choose to make, including bringing a character into play, must all be done at the same time during the organization phase. During this time no other actions may be taken.
  • If a company splits, all but one of the split companies must attempt to move to a different site this turn. The company may not rejoin in the same phase.
  • You may transfer a character from one company at a site to another, without creating a third company.
  • See also Rulings by Term, Company and Influence.

Playing Characters

  • Rules Erratum: You may play a character even if you do not have enough influence to control them. However, if there are any characters you do not have the influence to control at the end of your organization phase, the character you brought into play this turn must be returned to your hand.
  • If you play a Ringwraith at a non-Darkhaven site where there is one of your non-Ringwraith companies, one of the companies must move that turn. If both companies are still there at the end of the movement/hazard phase, discard the non-Ringwraith company.

Storing and Transferring Items

  • Minions who roll equal to or one less than their accumulated corruption when storing an item are only tapped.
  • A minion who taps from a corruption check for storing/transferring an item still successfully stores/transfers that item.
  • In order to transfer an item for one character to another, both characters need to be in the same site, but they can be in different companies. [CoE 2023]

Long Event Phase

Movement/Hazard Phase


  • Annotation 25: A company is considered to be at the site given by its site card at all times except from the moment their new site card is revealed during their movement/hazard phase until their old site card is discarded during the same movement/hazard phase. During this period a company is considered to be en route between sites and not at any site.
  • Removing the site of origin and resetting to hand size are simultaneous actions, and they are the last actions in any movement/hazard phase. This means a moving company is not at a site until the site phase.
  • Annotation 25a: A company’s movement/hazard phase is concluded when a moving company removes its site of origin and both players agree to reconcile (discard down to/draw up to) their hand sizes. No resources (and obviously no hazards) can be played, and no resource effects can be activated, until the site phase or until both players have drawn cards for the movement of a following company.
  • Annotation 25b: Players drawing cards when a new site is revealed is synonymous with the resolution of the new site being revealed. It happens immediately, not in the following chain of effects.
  • Annotation 26: If at the start of a player’s movement/hazard phase, there are multiple effects in play such that their net effect depends on the order they are applied, the player who is currently not taking his turn (i.e., the hazard player) decides the order in which they are to be applied. Once this interpretation is established, all further actions are applied in the order they are resolved for the rest of the turn.
  • Once the effects of an environment card have been applied to a target during a given movement/hazard phase, that effect is not applied again to that target during the current turn.
  • When you draw cards for movement, you may continue drawing cards until you either want to stop, or have drawn the number of cards allowed for the movement.
  • Companies at the same non-Haven/non-Darkhaven site must join at the end of all movement/hazard phases, before the site phase starts. Companies at the same Haven/Darkhaven site may join at this time.
  • If companies would join at the end of the movement/hazard phase such that the company composition rules are violated, one company of the hazard player’s choice must return to its site of origin.
  • If two companies join at a site, cards affecting one of the companies now affect them both.
  • The same region (as in region card) may not occur twice in a single site path.
  • A non-moving company’s current site is considered its new site for card play.
  • If the new site of a company is revealed and the movement is illegal for any reason, the movement is considered ineffective and the entire company does not move. It is as if the player had not declared movement at all. A movement/hazard phase is still played for that company just like any other company that wasn’t moving. [CoE 2023]



  • If a company does not move, it still has a movement/hazard phase. No cards are drawn based on the company’s movement, and the only hazards that can be played on the company are events and creatures that can be keyed to the company’s site.
  • Lebennin and Ithilien are not adjacent, even though they look that way on some maps.
  • Region movement for companies to/from the same site is no longer limited to one company. As many companies as you want can move to or from a site with region movement (provided they have different site paths) [ICE]
  • If a company moves twice in one turn, resources played during the organization phase, like Secret Passage, are reapplied to the company at the beginning of each of their movement/hazard phases, if the conditions of the card are met.
  • If both players have access to region movement, then neither player may be stopped from using region movement. Access includes region cards or an appropriate map.

Playing Hazards

  • Some hazard permanent-events allow you to tap or discard them for an effect, and this does not count against the hazard limit unless specified otherwise on the card.
  • Hazards may only be played on a company whose movement/hazard phase is being resolved, or on the site they are moving to. Long-events and permanent-events may effect more than one company even though they are only played «on» one company.
  • If a card must be keyed to two or more instances of a region type, those region types do not have to be consecutive in the site path.
  • If you say you are done playing hazards and your opponent plays a resource before the movement/hazard phase ends, you may then resume playing hazards, assuming you have not yet reached the hazard limit.
  • If a company is moving from a surface site to an Under-deeps site, hazards may not be played keyed to the region of the surface site.
  • Angmar Arises, In Darkness Bind Them, and Reaching Shadow may not be used to play creatures keyed to double shadow-lands.
  • A creature «played at» a site is the same as being «keyed to» the site.
  • A creature «played at a site in» a region is the same as being «keyed to» the site by name.
  • For the purposes of interpreting hazards, no Darkhaven or Haven has a site path except for Geann a-Lisch.
  • You check the hazard limit at declaration and resolution. At declaration there must be less hazards already declared than the hazard limit. At resolution there must be no more hazards declared than the hazard limit.

Returning to Site of Origin

  • If a company returns to its site of origin, its site path immediately disappears, and its movement/hazard phase immediately ends.
  • An effect that returns a company to its site of origin may not be declared in the middle of an attack.
  • Rules Erratum: If a company returns to it’s site of origin, it may do nothing during it’s site phase. A company failing it’s underdeeps movement roll is not effected by this rule.
  • A company that gets sent back to its site of origin is not considered to have moved to that site this turn. [CoE 2002]



  • Side effects of losing a character are resolved immediately after the character is lost, before other characters resolve their strikes.
  • All strikes of an attack must be assigned before any are resolved.
  • See also Rulings by Term, Ally and Body Check; and Turn Sequence, Site Phase, Company vs. Company Combat.


  • Annotation 12: An attack is considered to be resolved and concluded when the final strike, all special actions resulting from the final strike, and the associated body check are resolved.
  • Annotation 13: An attack may not be canceled once its strikes have been assigned. A strike may not be canceled once the dice-roll for the strike has been made.
  • Annotation 14: A canceled attack has no effect on its target company, except that the company is considered in its history to have faced the attack.
  • Annotation 15: An attack must be the first declared action in a chain of effects; i.e., a creature card may not be played in response to another card in the same chain of effects. Revealing an on-guard creature is an exception.
  • Any card that has the potential to immediately create an attack is considered an attack for purposes of interpreting Annotation 15. [CoE 2002]
  • In order to cancel an attack or to directly affect an attack, the character doing so must be in the company facing the attack. Note that the region/site type a hazard creature was keyed to can be affected otherwise.
  • Cards only modify attacks if they say they specifically mention attacks.
  • When a minion company defeats an attack with no * by the MPs, the creature goes to the out-of-play pile belonging to the person who played the attack. They may still be taken as a trophy, but go to the appropriate out-of-play pile when the trophy is discarded.
  • Excess strikes applied as -1 modifiers do not have to have their body defeated.
  • If an attack states all characters in a company face a strike, then effects which allow a character to face more than one strike have no effect against the attack. Similarly, effects that change the attack’s number of strikes have no effect. As an exception, effects which reduce the number of strikes to a specific number do work.
  • Any effect that would change the number of strikes for an attack may not be played after strikes are assigned. This includes cards that have other additional effects, and cards that only indirectly change the number of strikes.
  • You must play card(s) that allow your character to face multiple strikes before strikes are assigned. [CoE 2002]
  • Attacks created by events are not keyed to anything unless specifically stated as being keyed to something on the card.
  • There are three levels of cards which reassign strikes. Alatar is the top level, and overrides any other conflicting card which changes the assignment of strikes. Cards which say they «always» or «in all cases» change the assignment of strikes are the next level, and override any other conflicting effects except Alatar. Cards which say they change the assignment of strikes «regardless of …» certain factors are the third level, and are overridden by all other effects from conflicting cards. If two effects on the same level conflict, the resource overrides the hazard.
  • If an attack can not be cancelled, strikes from the attack may still be cancelled.
  • An attack is considered faced by a company if it successfully resolves in its chain of effects.
  • Attacks or strikes keyed by name to a region or site cannot be cancelled by effects which refer only to the type of the region or site.
  • Between an attacks declaration and the assigning of the strikes there is time for multiple chains of effect. Thus you could for example make two attempts to cancel the attack or your opponent could use Hoarmurath for an extra strike, recycle him and add another strike. [CoE 2002]

The Strike Sequence

  • Annotation 16: When a wounded character becomes unwounded, he is considered in his history to have been wounded and must face any special actions the wounding strike presented him.
  • Annotation 17: The only actions that may be declared during a strike sequence are those outlined in Annotation 18.
  • Annotation 18: When a defending player chooses to resolve a strike against a particular character, the only actions that may be taken by either player until the strike dice-roll is made are the following: playing hazard cards that affect the strike, the attacker may decide to use any or all of his remaining -1 modifications due to strikes in excess of the company’s size, a target untapped character may take a -3 modification so that he will not automatically tap, and the defending character may play resource cards that affect the strike. An action that has the condition that a target character tap, but which otherwise has an effect not outlined here, may not be declared at this point. This is true even if the recipient of the strike would be the target character tapping and thus receive -1 to his prowess.
  • Interpret «may play resource cards that affect the strike» in annotation 18 as «may initiate resource / character effects that affect the strike». [CoE 2002]
  • Getting rid of an event that boosts the strike’s prowess is affecting the strike, as per annotation 18. [CoE 2002]
  • Annotation 19: Following each successful strike or failed strike, a body check must be rolled (unless the failed strike has no body). However, if the strike calls for any special actions to follow it (e.g., a character wounded by William may be required to discard his items), these special actions are resolved before the body check. The body check is the first declared action in a nested chain of effects that immediately follows the strike dice-roll and special actions resulting from the strike. Other actions may be declared in response to a body check, in the same chain of effects, but these are limited to those actions that directly affect the body check dice-roll. E.G., Tookish Blood could not be declared in response to the body check caused by Giant Spiders wounding a Hobbit. No action may be declared in response to a special action resulting from a strike unless the special action is a dice-rolling action, i.e., a special action is generally considered synonymous with the strike dice-roll. If the special action is a dice-rolling action, an action may be declared in response to it if the action directly affects the dice-roll.
  • Annotation 20: If more than one special action is to follow a strike, the defending player decides the order they are resolved.
  • Annotation 21: A successful strike against a character is synonymous with that character being wounded; i.e., inverting a character card on the playing surface is not a separate action from the successful strike.
  • Wounded characters only suffer a -2 prowess. In general, wounded characters are not considered tapped.
  • Non-item prowess bonuses are applied in the order the player controlling the character decides.
  • Using alternative stats in place of a character’s prowess does not cancel the tapping/not-tapping prowess modifiers. [CoE 2002]
  • If a character is facing two strikes, and the first strike kills the character, the second strike is considered successful.
  • There is time between the strike sequences to take actions that are otherwise legal.
  • Rules Erratum: Dragons Rules, Characters Facing Multiple Strikes:
    Change this:
    «If a character is eliminated or otherwise removed from play before he has faced all of his assigned strikes, those strikes he has yet to face are then considered to be canceled (i.e. they have no further effect).»
    to This:
    «If a character is eliminated or otherwise removed from play before he has faced all of his assigned strikes, those strikes he has yet to face are then considered to be successful»

Site Phase


  • Items, factions and allies must be played during the site phase.
  • There is no one resource card per site phase rule. However, the tapping of the site usually limits you to one card per site phase.
  • The site taps upon successful play of the resource that would tap it.
  • A company may not play any resource during the site phase until they have faced all automatic-attacks, unless that resource directly affects an automatic-attack. Removing an automatic-attack does not directly affect it, although cancelling does.
  • You may only play a free minor item after playing an ally, faction, or item that taps the site.
  • See also Rulings by Term, Item.
  • Play of an ally, item, faction, or resource card which will normally tap the site must be after the company resolves all automatic, agent and on-guard creature attacks.
  • ‘Does not tap the site’ is not equal to ‘playable at a tapped site.’ [Van 1999]
  • Unless explicitly stated otherwise you need an untapped site to play an item, ally or faction and successful play taps the company’s site. [CoE 2002]

Company vs. Company Combat

  • The defender may take actions that affect the attack or any of the strikes. The attacker may only take actions that affect individual strikes.
  • True Fána and Sacrifice of Form cannot be used in company versus company combat.
  • Rules Erratum: Hazards effects in play that affect attacks have no effect on company vs. company combat.
  • Only the defender is considered to be facing an attack, but all characters are considered to be facing strikes.
  • Tapped defending characters choose their strikes after untapped attacking characters have assigned their strikes.
  • Minion and hero companies can attack each other. Hero companies may not attack each other. A Fallen Wizard covert company is considered a hero company.
  • If you can initiate company vs. company combat you can obtain kill points from it. [CoE 2002]
  • See also Card Rulings, Swarm of Bats.


  • A card that can cancel an attack can cancel an automatic-attack, and this counts as facing the automatic-attack.
  • Automatic-attacks added to a site are faced after the normal automatic-events for the site. Multiple automatic-attacks are faced in the order listed and/or resolved.
  • Company composition and overt/covert status is checked before each automatic attack.
  • Any character may tap to cancel one automatic-attack at his home site.
  • When facing an automatic-attack, you may play resources that directly affect the attack or would otherwise be playable during the strike sequence. The same applies for facing attacks created by cards with multiple actions. [CoE IE 2012]

Influence Attempts

  • It is not possible to influence anything away from a Wizard or Ringwraith character.
  • You may influence a Hobbit if you are not at Bag End.
  • A successful influence attempt on an opponent’s resource does not tap the site.
  • You may only make one influence attempt against your opponent’s resources during each turn.
  • When influencing factions across alignments, you roll against the number on the card in play that you are trying to influence away.
  • For a Fallen-wizard, the resource revealed must match the alignment of the site at which the attempt is taking place.

On-Guard Cards

  • Rules Erratum: An on-guard card may only be revealed if it could have also been played during the movement/hazard phase. This means all targets of the card must have existed during the movement/hazard phase in order for the card to be revealed.
  • A revealed on-guard card retroactively takes effect as though it were both declared and resolved immediately prior to the chain of effects during which it was revealed.
  • An on-guard card may be revealed when the company plays a resource that potentially taps the site. The card must affect the company or a character in the company that site phase. Note that this clarification is looser than the rule printed on page 61 of the Unlimited Rules book.
  • A successful ring test does not allow an on-guard card to be revealed.
  • You may reveal a card in response to an influence attempt against a faction even if the on-guard card only has an effect if the attempt is successful. You may also reveal a card in response to such an attempt that affects the actual influence attempt.
  • Only declared or on-going cards and effects can be considered when determining the validity of revealing an on-guard card. Potential effects that have not been triggered cannot be considered.
  • A card cannot be revealed that:
    • Returns a company to its site of origin.
    • Taps a company’s site.
    • Potentially removes a character from a company, besides combat or corruption checks.
    • Forces a company to do nothing during its site phase.
    • Directly taps a character in the company.
  • A card that potentially removes an ally from the company can be revealed, so long as it otherwise is legal.
  • The on-guard card is not considered to be in any player’s hand.
  • When an on-guard card is revealed, it immediately ceases to be considered an on-guard card.
  • Creatures may only be revealed on-guard if there is an automatic-attack at the site.
  • If two companies are at a Haven, on-guard cards played on one company can only be revealed against that company, and can only affect that company (unless the hazard states it affects all versions of the site).
  • If the site an on-guard card is played upon leaves play before the site phase, the on-guard cards at that site return to their owner’s hand.
  • When placing an on-guard card, if the hazard limit is reduced to the point where the on-guard card couldn’t be placed, the card is returned to the player’s hand. [ICE]
  • See also Rulings By Term, Burglary Attempts.
  • Placing an on-guard card can always be done in response as long as there’s enough hazard limit, and that card can be revealed normally during the site phase. [CoE 2023]

End-of-Turn Phase

  • End-of-turn effects are triggered by the ending of the End-of-Turn phase. Once both players are done with all actions in the End-of-Turn phase, all End-of-Turn effects are declared and resolved in the order chosen by the current player. No further actions may be declared that turn.
  • Cards may be played during the End-of-Turn phase after hand size has been reconciled.
  • See End of Phase/Turn in Rulings by Term


  • These rulings apply to any end game, whether it is the Free Council, the Audience with Sauron, the Day of Reckoning or the Day of Decision.
  • Characters may tap to aid corruption checks, if they are in the same company.
  • Long- and permanent-events still in play will still have an effect.
  • Only resources that directly affect corruption checks may be played during the Free Council. This includes cards that reduce a character’s corruption point total or prevent a character from being discarded.
  • When determining if more than half of your marshalling points come from one type of marshalling point, ignore negative marshalling points. The easy way to do this is if one category is more than half of your positive marshalling points, reduce that category to equal all of your other positive marshalling point categories combined.
  • To calculate marshalling points at the Free Council, follow these steps:
    1. Total up the marshalling points for each category. The modifications from My Precious, factions played on a leader, and eliminated characters apply now.
    2. If your opponent has no points in a category then double your points in that category. Doubling does not apply to the Miscellaneous or Kill categories.
    3. If one of your categories accounts for more than half of your positive marshalling point total, reduce it so that it has the same number of points as the rest of your positive categories combined.
    4. Subtract any points that are subtracted from your total, including points from unique resources your opponent has duplicated in his hand.
    5. See also Rulings by Term, Under-deeps.
  • Marshalling points that minions have at an Under-deeps site do not count for calling the Audience with Sauron, but do count at the Audience with Sauron.
  • You may only call the Free Council if you have met the deck cycling and marshalling point requirements, not if only your opponent has.
  • You may not recieve kill MPs from a card you played.
  • MPs from special and minor items count as item MPs.