Welcome to The Wessex Codex, a repository of a collection of revisions for GW’s mass battle tabletop game set in Middle earth : The War of the Ring (WotR)

This site and collection of changes and tweaks is created by players and fans of the system, who collectively have played over 300 games using the system.

The question is: Why make revisions?

WotR only underwent a single edition and one expansion, before GW switched focus to the Strategy Battle Game and releases tied to the Hobbit. Overall WotR is easy to pick up and a free flowing experience on the tabletop, and has a few rough edges as one might expect from a First Edition, but all the same these are few. However, while the battle system seems to have been well-designed and adequately playtested, the army building and points values of the troops, a key part of any such battle game, have many mismatches and imbalances.

Therefore the aim of The Wessex Codex is to smooth out those few rough edges and provide a system that provides fun and a means to play scenarios or points-matches in a far fairer way. The overriding concern is to keep to the core of the rules and as close to the rules as written, and making as few changes as possible, and those that are made keep to the spirit of the game and to the world J.R.R. Tolkien created.


7 thoughts on “Home

  1. I’m keenly interested in the work you are doing. My son and I have been playing for years now and still love the game. Is there still active work being done? If so, when will this site be updated? I’m especially interested in whatever direction you are going on the H2Kill, VH2Kill and EH2Kill charts.

    • We are fans of WotR, but we play almost every week for over 3 years now, so dare we say it we may no more about the ins and outs of the system than the creators. As for GW, besides their FAQ update 18 months ago they seem to have abandoned WotR and have assigned it to the graveyard of being a ‘specialty’ game. We can hope something comes from the third Hobbit film, but we are not holding our breath.

      H2K, VH2K, EH2K. Well, I did some analysis simulating 1000 attacks on these monsters, which was posted and discussed at http://www.one-ring.co.uk. But in short a simple fix is to make H2K and VH2K monsters Resilience 3. For example it takes typically 6 Hits (about 2.6 rolls on the table) on average to kill a H2K monster. Increasing this to R3 makes it about 10 hits on average (note not 9!).

      EH2K do not need any help, as it stands it takes an average of about 26 Hits (11 table rolls after discounted hits) to kill an EH2K beastie.

      Ultimately I think there should be an intermediate table that is between H2K and EH2K requiring about a ‘9’ (where H2k needs ‘6’ and EH2K needs ’15’) to kill. But for now we are playtesting the R3 Monsters…

      • Thank you for the quick reply. I agree with your “Ultimately…” thoughts. It would be nice to have a more even scale for the three levels of H2, VH2 & EH2K. As it is, there isn’t much difference between H2K & VH2K. Your intermediate solution is a good one and we will immediately adopt it. We have a great collection of these units and they just don’t see much time during the game since they die so easily. We applaud your efforts. Please keep up the work.

        We’ve been doing some house-rules ourselves of late, to adjust for the imbalances the game presents. We play 2 to 3 times a week, so we get lots of real game experience. I’m glad to see that your project is based on real game experience and testing rather than conjecture.

        We opted for an offensive increase for the Elves rather than a price decrease, so as to keep the Elven numbers down vs opponents. But I like your approach, to the same problem, as well.

        Again, thanks!

      • Wonderful. Keep playing and keep experimenting. The system at core is, I feel fundamentally sound. The play is quick and not full of complex rules and manoeuvrings, and the major flaw (in my opinion) is one of balance.
        To keep the elven numbers down and increase their offensive ability is a nice thematic approach. We are trying to keep internal tinkering with the system to a minimum, and focus on balancing – and therefore points. Well that is our ‘good intention’, let’s see if we can stick to it!

  2. Greetings!

    Bravo on this project!!

    I have a 4 large armies for WotR and I’ve rekindled my tabletop gaming enthusiasm with plans to host a large, 6-player Pelannor Fields battle. (More on this if you’re interest.) Consequently, I will be playing a number of games between now and next May to play test balance of the 6 factions. So, I’ve been skimming the net for house rules that do exactly what this home page proclaims.

    I look forward to seeing more of your work here and testing other ideas with you.

    Much success with this!

    Wade (DG)

  3. I also appreciated your rationale for adjusting the points for Fates/Forturnes. Many are grossly overpriced and not worth taking. We are using your numbers, so far with good results.

    In regards to elves, the archery particularly bothered us. When hobbit archers are as good (save range), for 1/4 the price, something is dreadfully wrong. We are using the approach used in the Battlehost book for Haldir’s Elves against Uruk-hai. We allow a re-roll for all misses regardless of opponent. We don’t have to count or recount any dice just pick up the misses and roll them again. Simple, straight forward, and not too fiddly. Now, when one of us faces Elves we fear them. After several games, taking turns opposing elves, neither of us felt it overpowered the elves and made the matches feel close and competitive.

    Anyway, keep up your good work and ‘good intention’, we are enjoy the fruit of your efforts.

  4. After many battles against Elves, we have adjusted the “re-roll all misses” to re-rolling 1’s and 2’s. This is less powerful than all misses (which worked out to be too much after all), but still isn’t too fiddly. This makes them somewhat similar to Haradrim poisoned weapons, only slightly better. Just thought I’d let you know our current thoughts. I know you guys are going with price adjustments, but I thought I’d let you know anyway. Hope all of us fans out there can keep this game going. We sure enjoy it. Thanks again for your site and work.

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