Author: unknown

The Little Soldier 1975

Awards: none



Auction description by unknown author:

I don't know much about this kind of stuff so I am just going to use the description from the Ebay seller I bought this from as they seem quite knowledgable!! Here is what they wrote about his game when I bought it:

"The Ringbearer - a wargame in which 4 - 10 players use dice and old-time school fantasy miniatures to either capture the "Great Ring" for the forces of evil, or destroy it by delivering it to the "Crack of Darkness".


Players can control a variety of forces including Halflings, Elves, Dwarves, Rangers, Goblins, Black Riders, etc. Anyone at all familiar withe JRR Tolkien's Lord of the Rings knows how all that goes. This game is based on, and borrows heavily from it; even the major geographical features in the game are lifted directly from Tolkien's Middle Earth maps, with only minor changes in spelling (Myrkwood, Rivergard, etc.)

The Ringbearer consists of one 8" X 5" rulebook of 40 pages, written by Dan Bress and Ed Konstant, illustrated throughout by Wendell Hill. It was published in 1975 by a company called "The Little Soldier".

Here's some more information about "The Ringbearer" courtesy of Mr. Ed Konstant (one of the writers):

1. Two editions were printed, a 1st edition of 1,000 and a 2nd edition of 5000, 2nd edition cover was green (this one for auction from the Tan colored 1st edition).

2. The artist, Wendell Hill had met with Tolkien's daughter a year previously and she encouraged the design and production of games based on her father's work - with no royalties ever mentioned.

3. Since Tolkien's early books were public domain in the USA (thanks to a major blunder on the import of frontispieces by the USA publisher), no games ever produced were "rip-offs" in a technical sense. A major paperback publisher, Ace Books, in the 1960's printed millions of copies of Tolkien's books without paying royalties, and stopped only after the negative publicity threatened to hurt its image.

4. "The Ringbearer" only had a limited life because United Artists threatened action (it had Tolkien movie rights). It really had no legal rights regarding The Ringbearer or other Tolkien games, but it had the money to bankrupt small companies like The Little Soldier in any court battle.

5. Lastly, but certainly not least, "The Ringbearer" had a major flaw, discovered by Dan Bress only after most of the 2nd edition was sold -- it wasn't possible for one of the player characters (Saruman) to win!! (OK folks, you heard it here first! And thanks, Ed, it was great to hear from you!)".

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Copyright © 2006 Frank Schulte-Kulkmann, Essen, Germany