Tolkien Boardgames

Tolkien Boardgame Collecting

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Chainmail - Miniatures Game

Originally Published by Guidon Games and later by TSR (Tactical Studies Rules, 1974), written by Gary Gygax and Jeff Perrin; 1971

Variant:  "Chainmail Fantasy Variant" by Kennith W. Burke; article on Battle of the Five Armies Rules Variant for Chainmail found in wargame magazine Panzerfaust #64, 1974, page 23.  Explains use of the Chainmail rules to create the battle found in JRR Tolkien's "The Hobbit"

Predecessor to Dungeons and Dragons, this is really a Miniatures game of Medieval Warfare, but there is a Fantasy Supplement.  The supplement describes the use of the main rules but using Hobbits, Orcs, and Wizards with their familiar attributes found in DnD.  Gary Gygax originally developed the rules from a newsletter he published while a member of the Castle and Crusade Society starting in 1968 called The Doomsday Book.  At it’s peak, C&C Society had about 80 members and it is estimated that probably only 10 or so copies of these original newsletters still exist.  However, the Fantasy Supplement, which contains orcs, hobbits, dragons, and wizards among other Tolkien inspired characters.  While this is not really a boardgame, the miniatures can be played on a board.  Also, this had definite influences on the development of Dungeons and Dragons.


There are multiple editions of Chainmail (source –


Guidon Games editions

First Edition, First Printing; 1971; 62 pgs; Yellow-Orange cover, stapled binding.

Second Edition, First Printing; 1972; 48 pgs; Yellow-Orange cover heavy parchment, stapled binding.

Second Edition, Second Printing; 1972; 48 pgs; Yellow-Orange cover flimsy paper, stapled binding


TSR editions

Third Edition, First Printing; 1974; 44 pgs; Yellow-Orange cover heavy parchment, stapled binding; Cover has GK (Gygax/Kaye) logo

Third Edition; Second Printing; 1975; 44 pgs; Silver cover, stapled binding

Third Edition; Second Printing+; 1975; 44 pgs; Silver cover, spiral binding

Third Edition; Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth Printing; 1976, Mar 1977, Jan 1978, Aug 1979; 44 pgs; Light Silver cover, spiral binding; Lizard logo

Third Edition; Seventh and Eighth Printing; Apr 1979, Nov 1979; 44 pgs; Dark Silver cover, spiral binding; Wizard logo


I saw a reprint of Chainmail a couple of years ago.  It was silver with the black spiral binding.  I am not sure what edition or printing it was based on.

Examples of Chainmail Covers:


    First Edition, 1st Print          Second Edition, 2nd Print           Third Edition, 2nd Print



Third Ed, 7th Print                 Third Ed., 8th Print