The War of the Ring Online Campaign was the 2005 Annual Online Summer Campaign for Games Workshop, based in the United Kingdom but open to all countries. It was named after the War of the Ring in J.R.R. Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. It was launched on June 1 2005, and was the first such campaign to feature the Lord of the Rings miniature wargaming system. The Campaign was promoted in Games Workshop hobby centres worldwide, in their monthly supplement "White Dwarf", and in their fortnightly magazine "Battle Games in Middle Earth". Games Workshop also released the limited edition "Gimli on Dead Uruk-hai" miniature to promote the event.
The Campaign site worked whereby registered participants submitted the results of games played using special "regional rules", each representing a game played in one of thirteen regions of Middle-earth: Eriador, Angmar, Iron Hills, Mirkwood, Misty Mountains, Dunland & Isengard, Lorien & Fangorn, Rohan, Rhûn, Gondor, Mordor, Harad and the Fellowship Path. The website's "War Room" was updated each weekday at 10:00 GMT, and showed where "Good" and "Evil" were leading. There were also two Forums on the site (one for Good and one for Evil), where each side could plan out tactics for swinging the regions in their favour. At the end of each week, the wins would be tallied and "Victory Points" would be awarded to each side to determine who was winning over all.
In total, there were 3007 registered participants, and the website catered for strategy-planning among them with two forums - one for the Good side and the other for the Evil side. These were moderated by Steve Hammatt (who is currently forum moderator for the Games Workshop forum). However, there was nothing limiting a registered user viewing proposed tactics on the other forum, so when the Campaign started, both two sides had formed independent forum websites, referred to as "councils", to direct the progress of the battles. Cheeseweb was the first such forum formed, but other sites were also formed and disagreements arose. Ultimately, a merger of a number of the lesser councils had formed two main councils: The Alliance of Light and the Dark Council (the latter had been the dominant Evil forum from the beginning). A few smaller forums continued, and Cheeseweb kept developing strategies, but for the most part these did not receive the support in the same magnitude of the two main ones, nor were they recognised in the War of the Ring article in White Dwarf 312.
Nonetheless, all the forums agreed on an "anti-cheating policy" after Week One, which had been a source of much controversy because Good had won in every region except Harad. A small number of people believed that Games Workshop had influenced the results - a theory later denied by Alessio Cavatore in White Dwarf. The truth of the matter was probably that Evil simply did not have enough players, but they still managed to swing themselves back into a favourable position later on in the Campaign.
Games Workshop also introduced the "Wrath of Umbar" Roadshow, with custom-built corsair models and gaming boards being brought to various cities in the United Kingdom. Evil won almost all the early Roadshow events because there were so few Good participants.
Gondor was the most popular region for input, with 10327 games recorded. However, the highest peak of any single region was an attempt to take Rohan from Evil in Week 9, with over 650 games. In the final week, there was an unprecedented rush to retake the seemingly impregnable Morannon in Mordor, in which Evil was overwhelmed.
When the Campaign formally ended on September 8, there were 27239 games recorded in total. The Iron Hills had remained an undefeated stronghold for Good, with 67% of games there being Good victories. Evil's strongest bastion was in Agmar, with 59% of games being Evil victories. Good had emerged the victor with 145 Victory Points (Evil had 142). The Forum closed shortly after the Campaign, giving way to a smaller Campaign based in Canada. However, the Campaign was nowhere near the scale of its UK counterpart, with only 100 games recorded in Gondor, and was ignored by many who viewed it as a "watered-down" version of the original.
- White Dwarf, issue 312 - "Victory for the Free Peoples", by Alessio Cavatore.
- Battle Games in Middle Earth, issue 56
- Unofficial War of the Ring website, a monument to the participants of the War of the Ring Campaign