©2002 Rich Miller

 First, I want to thank everyone who came out and gave it a go in the worst Ring War conditions I have ever played in. I cannot fault anyone for wanting to get out of the cold and wet early, especially those who had others to take care of. I didn't want anybody to get hypothermia and am glad that those who knew their limits showed the good sense to take care of themselves and each other. I don't blame the outcome of the game on anyone. I don't blame it on the weather, either. It would, however, have been a very different game without the cold and wet.

I cannot express enough thanks and admiration to those dedicated few that kept playing regardless of weather, who stayed to the end and gave it their all. It was an honor to stand with you at the end of the game on Mount Doom, ready to go for it with what strength we had left. I would especially like to thank the following folks who really showed inner spirit and courage all day:

Being the Tale of What Happened to a Good Wizard:

I was impressed with the might and spirit of Rohan and Gondor right away. They wanted to mix it up! I was glad to have good scouts and enthusiastic volunteers from this group. I am a bit disappointed that we could not go out and attack Evil right away - there wasn't any around. Where'd you go Saruman? The rest of the nearby Evil hid out in Isengard and we couldn't attack it yet. We had to wait out of sight of them in order to ambush Evil as it came by. It is hard to be patient in good weather, let alone cold and wet. Our patience was rewarded by ambushing the Menace and getting the important Gandalf the White token. Kudos to Chuck who kept going even though the "rest break" cooled him down maybe too much. I chose not to reverse my outfit (it was white underneath) because I was still somewhat dry inside and was enjoying the repellency of the grey fabric. It was just a heavy woven cotton/poly blend, but shed water surprisingly well much of the day. That is until it soaked through.

I was glad that Good took the initiative to keep moving and do something useful while I served out my sacrifice time. I observed the battle at Isengard from the woods above. It was clear that Evil had won. I did not know that people had decided to quit, so I avoided the Evil walking away. I did flag down an Ent (Jeff) who explained what happened. He wanted to keep playing, but had to take care of his children. It was time for the 2:00 rendezvous, but nobody was there. I waited an extra ten minutes (and apparently missed some northern folks by five more), then went down to see who was at Gondor. Evil spotted me and said "Come on down, we've won!" from the bridge. I went back to the road between Rohan and Isengard to rally any remaining Good, but found none but a few random Evil. I had to make haste to get to the Mt. Doom rendezvous, but tried to be visible enough in order to hook up with any remaining Good. I didn't find any. I got there right at the established time and found some hardcore rangers, Radagast, Bard, and Lothlorien Elves nearby. I returned to the rendezvous again to see if any more Good had made it. No one did. We modified our plans to use what forces we had remaining and do what we could.

It was then that I looked around me at who was left. There were several new (or relatively new) players and a few more veterans. Their spirit and determination to continue overwhelmed me. I was proud and honored to be there with them all at that moment.

I didn't know who had the Ring (by design), or where they were exactly. We began an assault on the perimeter well after 3:30, confident that we could at least take out many of the scattered perimeter defenders until the Ring arrived. Evil had been shouting "game over," but I had no confirmation from a judge. About twenty minutes later (a little after 4:00), I got confirmation from Jeff.

It was a good game, well played by all that made it to Mt. Doom, Good and Evil alike. I always say that winning is great - but if you play a good game all day, losing doesn't seem so bad. Upon my next chance at playing Gandalf, I want to have those people on my side again. They made me feel like we had won the day for ourselves through our perseverance. They are the Good army that were on Mt. Doom: Aragorn, Bard, Bilbo, Bondo the Pony, Celeborn, Sarah the Ent, Galadriel, Gimli, Merry, Radagast, the Hardcore Rangers, the two young ladies of the Citadel Guard, Ranger Bombadill, and the remaining Elf warriors. Frodo, Samwise, and the Greg Paladin were also close by.

Congratulations to Evil for winning, and for the cunning game play exhibited. I hope to hear more War stories about what was going on in other parts of the world. It sounds like the actual end game with the Ring was very dramatic. Again, congratulations and thanks to everyone on both sides who played to the end, in spite of the weather. Your dedication was awesome to behold.

—Gandalf the White

Spring 2002|Ring Game Home