[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/battle_for_middle-earth_1_6328.jpg]]
[[caption-width-right:350:"We are following the Will of the One, though the dark age and into the storm, and we are following the Will of the One..."]]
''The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth'', or ''BFME'', is a series of RealTimeStrategy videogames, developed by EA Los Angeles and published by EA Games, which uses the [=SAGE=] engine (the same engine that ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' uses). Those games use the ''LordOfTheRings'' license, and are heavily inspired by [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings the movies]].

There are two games:
* ''The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth'' (2004), which closely follows the movies
* ''The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II'' (2006), which shows battles and fights in other places (namely, the so-called War in the North and what happened to the Dwarves and Elves while the movies' events take place)
** ''The Lord of the Rings: The Battle for Middle-Earth II: The Rise of the Witch-King'' (2006) - an expansion pack for ''BFMEII'' -, the campaign of which is a centuries-distant prequel to the event of ''LordOfTheRings''

The first game features the following factions:
* Playable:
** Rohan
** Gondor
** Isengard
** Mordor
* Campaign only:
** Fellowship of the Ring
** Lórien
** Ents
** Goblins of the Moria
** Harad

''BFMEII'' features the following factions:
* Men
* Elves
* Dwarves
* Goblins
* Isengard
* Mordor
* Angmar (expansion pack only)

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!! The game provides examples of:
* AdaptationExpansion: Of the Peter Jackson films. ''BFMEII'' shows the battles of Dale and Mirkwood; and features Tom Bombadil as a hero summon. The expansion pack has Barrow-Wights as an Angmar reinforcement summon.
* ActionGirl: Éowyn in both games, Arwen in ''BFMEII''. The Hero Editor of ''BFMEII'' allows to create one (Elvish Archer and Rohan Maid).
* AdaptationalBadass: In the original, Éowyn was in combat only once (but achieving more than most soldiers in middle earth, by [[CrowningMomentOfAwesome killing the Witch-King]]). Here, once unlocked she can go to all the combats her heart cries for.
* AllThereInTheManual: Plot and subtext info of both games are rare enough to cause the story to make very little sense if the player didn't read the books or at least watch [[Film/TheLordOfTheRings the Peter Jackson movies]].
** Arguably the premise of ''BFMEII'' can also be this, as it revolves around what happened in the north after Frodo and the Fellowship left Rivendell. Which was rarely if ever brought up in the movies themselves.
* AnnoyingArrows: Mostly averted. Elven archers with upgraded arrows can kill an enemy with one shot but may take two or three with normal arrows. Even enemies with upgraded armour can withstand, at most, two upgraded Elven arrows. Factions with weaker archer units deal less damage but still kill with no more than maybe five arrows. "Monster" units such as trolls, Mûmakil, Ents, etc. need many shots to kill due to their size and durability.
** Played straight with Hero units, due to the Heroes' high hitpoints and fast out-of-combat regeneration. Even in the ''Film/LordOfTheRings'' Boromir was mortally wounded by one arrow, though he took three to the chest before he stopped fighting.
* ArbitraryHeadcountLimit:
** In ''BFME'', skirmish and multiplayer modes have an imposed limit for the Good and Evil sides, the Evil one being twice the Good one.
** During the campaigns of ''BFME'', this limit is gradually increased when controling specific territories. The maximum is the same as the multiplayer / skirmish one.
** In ''BFMEII'', the limit is increased with specific buildings. Both sides have the same maximum limit. In the campaigns the maximum limit automatically increases from mission to mission.
* ArmyOfTheDead: Summoning them is the ultimate power of the Good general powers, and a level 10 skill of Aragorn. They also intervene during scripted events, led by Aragorn in both cases: the siege of Minas Tirith in ''BFME'' (both campaigns), and the siege of Rivendell in ''BFMEII'' (end of the Evil campaign).
** The dead are immune to most weapons or powers. The only one who can really do damage to them is a fully-upgraded Aragorn.
* ArrowsOnFire: Upgrade for most of the archers in ''BFME''. In ''BFMEII'', it is still the case for Human and Orc archers, but Elven ones upgrade their arrows with a kind of silver alloy and a magic spell.
** Also applies to siege units, with most factions lighting their projectiles on fire, goblins and elves (who use creatures to throw them) not having an upgrade at all and Angmar freezing theirs instead.
* AwesomeButImpractical: Grond, the huge battering ram used by Mordor during the Minas Tirith siege (''BFME''). It is huge, slow, very resistant, and very powerful. When the gate of the city is destroyed, Grond will stay there and block most of the path in and out of the city, providing a kind of unintentional useful device to the defenders.
** Heroes in skirmish mode can be this, it takes time to level them up and the cap they consume could have been used to build more units.
* TheBerserker: It is one of the Isengard units. One of Gimli skills is also described like this.
* BagOfSpilling: Zig-zagged.
** In both games, hero units keep their experience from mission to mission, as the player retains his general powers. Upgrades have to be researched in each mission.
** In the ''BFME'' campaigns, the player keeps his units with their level, and their upgrades, but must research those upgrade first to apply them to units he just created.
** In the ''BFMEII'' campaigns, the player keeps his heroes but not his army.
** In the ''BFMEII'' "War of the Ring" mode, the player keeps the army he created during the turned-based mode, but not the troops created during the real-time battles.
*** Averted in the expansion, your armies that you build in real-time mode are now persistent.
* BlackKnight: Both games features Nazgûl on Fell Beasts (including the Witch-King of Angmar as a more powerful Nazgûl). ''BFME'' has Nazgûl on horses, the Mouth of Sauron, and Sauron himself (on foot).
* BlackMagic: The Angmar Sorceror unit is based on this; he's surrounded by a contingent of acolytes which he sacrifices to do things like make rotting corpses fall from the sky and suchlike.
* BlownAcrossTheRoom: The Elves enchanted Silverthorn arrows strike like hammer-blows and can send an orc flying hilariously across the battlefield.
* BowAndSwordInAccord: Some heroes (Legolas, Lurtz, Faramir, etc) can switch between sword (or knives for Legolas) and bow. There are also the Gondor rangers, who use daggers when having to defend in melee fighting.
* CannonFodder: The standard strategy for the Bad factions, especially Mordor.
** A valid strategy for Goblins in BFMEII is to [[WeHaveReserves mass produce]] cheap, basic Goblin warriors and [[ZergRush attack]] by the hundreds.
* TheCavalry: Several missions of the Good campaign of ''BFME'' consist of surviving until the reinforcements come. Most of them are literal examples, as TheCavalry is the Rohan army.
* CombatAestheticist: The Elves.
* CommandAndConquerEconomy
* CoolVsAwesome: The map editor allows players to come up with all sorts of crazy battle scenarios (Gandalf vs a fifty foot tall Sauron, for example), but there are a few to be found within the games themselves. The second game's final good mission, if you play it carefully, can feature Treebeard vs [[spoiler: the Balrog]] (it is possible to have Treebeard win, but it requires very careful use of healing powers).
* {{Cutscene}}:
** In both games, most of them use the game engine. Some of the ''BFMEII'' ones include unmoving pictures from the game converted in a style reminescent of the [[http://www.john-howe.com/portfolio/gallery/ John Howe drawings]]
** ''BFME'' includes a few size-shrinked cutscenes extracted from the movies, displayed in the mini-map window without interrupting the actual gameplay
* CutScenePowerToTheMax:
** During the ''BFME'' Amon Hen mission of the Good campaign, there is a cutscene where Legolas is shown using a high level skill that will only be unlocked several missions later.
** [[spoiler:The Good campaign of ''BFMEII'' ends with Galadriel destroying Dol Guldur after summoning a storm]]
* DamageIsFire: Played straight in ''BFME'' (except for the Ents, which really suffer from constant damages when burning), partly averted in ''BFMEII'' (where fire attacks cause special damages to buildings).
* DeathFromAbove: Eagles and Nazgûl mounting Fell Beasts in both games. ''BFMEII'' adds the dragon Drogoth for Goblins, the ability for the Mordor fortress to hurl a giant volcanic rock, and several general powers (burning sunrays, rain of arrows or burning rocks).
* DefeatMeansPlayable: In the Evil campaign of ''BFME'', the first imposed Mordor mission requires to conquest several Haradrim settlements, to hire them for the conquest of Middle-Earth, either by buying (with an expensive present) or destroying each of them.
** In ''The Rise of the Witch-King'', after you've defeated the black Númenoreans with your Troll army, they'll become your elite infantry units.
* DoomedByCanon: Strangely averted in the Good campaign of ''BFME''. [[spoiler: First, the Moria mission ends with Gandalf slaying the Balrog without being separated from the Fellowship. A bonus objective of the Amon Hen mission requires to save Boromir's life. Later, Faramir is not gravely wounded in Osgiliath, Théoden does not die in front of Minas Tirith, and Éowyn is not gravely wounded near of him.]]
** [[spoiler:In the Appendicies of the Book King Dáin is noted as being killed during the siege of Erebor though in the game he can be revived easily.]]
** In a strange case of both sides being DoomedByCanon both Angmar and Arnor are plainly not going to survive the events of the expansion, seeing as neither were around to help or hinder the forces of good in the books.
* DungeonCrawling: The Moria and Shelob's lair mission of the ''BFME'' Good campaign, which both have a secondary objective consisting in finding all the treasures. Especially the Moria's one, which features only hero units.
* EasyCommunication
* EasyLogistics:
** There is only one resource (money), which generates automatically when the player owns specific buildings. Units don't require food, buildings don't need wood, stone or steel to be built/repaired).
** Ranged units, defensive towers, and siege units have unlimited ammunition.
** Buildings are automatically repaired after a while when damaged
* EverybodyLives: In the good campaign of the first game, one of the last missions is the Battle of Minas Tirith. While the battle is a bloodbath in the films and the games, it's actually possible (though difficult) to play through the mission without loosing a single man. How? [[spoiler: Have all your units retreat to the upper levels of the city and position them at the very top of both staircases, and build fountains and armories to fully arm and upgrade your soldiers. Build a hidden gate on the upper right part of the lower level, and then build nothing but towers on the remaining lower slots. Thus, whenever Mordor units break in, they'll be peppered with arrows non-stop, including the Nazgûl, and any who break through will be killed by your soldiers as they try to go up the stairs. When Rohan arrives, have them go through the hidden gate to the upper levels. When the army of the dead shows up, use them to kill all the Mordor units to win the mission]].
* EvilOverlord: Sauron, and Saruman to a lesser extend. They appear in some specific missions of the campaign. Saruman is a normal hero unit for the Isengard faction, and Sauron can be built in ''BFMEII'' multiplayer / skirmish mode if certain condition is meet.
** The Witch-King in the expansion to ''BFMEII'', he can be used in all missions of the Rise of Angmar campaign and the ultimate goal of the Epilogue is to [[spoiler: not quite]] kill him.
* TheFourthWallWillNotProtectYou: The opening movie of ''BFME'' ends with the Eye of Sauron glowing in the middle of the screen, watching the player.
* GameplayAndStorySegregation:
** Some cutscenes mirrors the feel of the story by showing [[ArbitraryHeadcountLimit a lot more units on the ground that the player and the artificial intelligence could have trained]].
** In some missions, objectives include a HeroMustSurvive one, even if the player base has the building which can resurrect heroes
** ''BFMEII'' multiplayer / skirmish / "War of the Ring" modes have a special gameplay features involving a wandering Gollum carrying the One Ring. He drops it when dying; any unit which steps on the Ring gains it, and if it reach the player's fortress it allows him to train the ultimate hero of the Good / Evil side (Galadriel for the Good, Sauron for the Evil)
** GameplayAndStorySegregation is averted in the Good campaign of ''BFME'', in the Amon Hen mission rescuing Boromir before he is killed when protecting Merry and Pippin allows him to be used is the following missions of the campaign
* GiantFlyer: Both games have the Eagles for the Good side, Nazgûl riding Fell Beasts (the Witch-King is a special Nazgûl) for the Evil side. ''BFMEII'' features a dragon lord as a hero of the Goblin faction.
* GiantSpider: Shelob in the Cirith Ungol mission of ''BFME''. Goblins in ''BFMEII'' have spider-riders. They also can hire Shelob as a hero unit.
* GiantSquid: In ''BFMEII'', one of the Evil general powers is the summoning of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Watcher_in_the_Water Watcher in the Water]].
* HeroMustSurvive: Used in a few of levels, though others you could just summon your heroes back at your base if you had enough money.
* HeroOfAnotherStory: The Good campaign of second game actually '''is''' the other story to the main plot line of TheLordOfTheRings, as it focuses on battles fought in the northern regions of Middle Earth just after the Fellowship left Rivendell.
* HumanResources: One of the Evil factions resource producing buildings is the slaughterhouse, which produce much when feed by your own troops. More, Mordor basic infantry is literally free: one practical way to gain easy money is to build Orc infantry, just to send them to the slaughterhouse.
* HeroUnit
* KilledOffForReal: Boromir, in the ''BFME'' Evil campaign.
* LastStand: The Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith missions in the ''BFME'' Good campaign are a nearly hopeless siege where the player, as the defender, must resist until TheCavalry (litterally: both missions involves enforcements from Rohan) comes. There is also the last mission of the campaign, where the player must survive against [[ZergRush endless waves of Mordor units]], until Frodo reachs Mont Doom and tosses the One Ring in it.
* LethalJokeCharacter: Tom Bombadil, a summonable unit when the player a Good general skill of ''BFMEII''.
* MagicKnight: Gandalf looks like a SquishyWizard (he only wears a grey/white robe, wields a sword and a staff) but he is an incredibly tough melee fighter with destructive magic spells, being one of the Good heroes with the most hitpoints.
** Saruman is the evil counterpart.
* MeaninglessMeaningfulWords: the heroes have standard slogans they will say when they are selected. Particularly Arwen's: "Their treachery betrays them" makes no sense, but to a lesser extent also Glorfindel's "Something is a-foul" and others.
* TheMedic:
** The Good factions have specific buildings which have this role (like the fountains in ''BFME'')
** Aragorn, Elrond, and Arwen have a level-1 skill ("[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Middle-earth_plants#Athelas athelas]]") which heals the allied heroes nearby
** One of the magical powers granted to a Good general allows to heal allied units in a small area
* MightyGlacier: Many being an RTS:
** Gimili and the dwarf faction in the sequel as a whole.
** Ents, especially Treebeard who functions like a stronger Ent
** Trolls, particularly dangerous are Mordor's attack trolls in the sequel
** Mumakils, who are by far the strongest non-special unit
** The Balrog when not using his brief flight
** Sauron is the top of the food chain in this
* MillionMookMarch: When the Orcs march toward Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith.
* NoCampaignForTheWicked: Totally averted. ''BFME'' and ''BFMEII'' both have an "Evil" campaign, and the only campaign of ''The Rise of the Witch-King'' is centered on an Evil faction.
* NoCanonForTheWicked: Played straight with ''BFME'' and ''BFMEII'', averted with ''The Rise of the Witch-King'', being a prequel telling the story of the Witch-King of Angmar.
** ''BFMEII'' and its expansion being [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory Very Loosely Based On A Famous Story]], the canon-status of ''The Rise of the Witch-King'' is questionable, though.
* NoCureForEvil: The healing spells and buildings are specific to the Good factions, the only healing feature allowed to the Evil factions is the heroes automatic health regeneration.
* NoProblemWithLicensedGames
* {{Plunder}}: Éomer has a skill which make the player controlling him gain money when he or allied units near him destroy enemy units and buildings, Isengard Hero Lurtz unlocks the same power at level 6. Evil factions have a general skill which has the same effect, but for every unit of the player.
** In BFMEII the Wild Men of Dunland have this ability in effect whenever attacking buildings.
* OneManArmy: The Balrog, which easily wipe out whole armies or bases. Sauron is even more extreme, while he has an attack rate so slow that he's practically taking his time with each swing, one hit from him will destroy anything a few swings at best, and he takes an absurd amount of damage before dying, and that's without using his abilities.
* PlotArmor: You might think Faramir would be weaker than Boromir, being the younger brother. And Gimli weaker than his father, Glóin. But Faramir and Gimli are more important to the plot of ''Lord of the Rings'', therefore they are higher-level heroes. Averted with Legolas and his father Thranduil; Thranduil is worth more, though Legolas is arguably more useful.
* ProudWarriorRaceGuy: Every Dwarf.
* RapePillageAndBurn: How most Evil campaign missions end.
* RecycledINSPACE: The series is ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerGenerals'' in Middle-Earth.
* TheRemnant: Near the end of the Good campaign of ''BFME'', some optional missions set is the territory of Rohan have Isengard survivors as enemies. There is also Rohirrim enforcements to the enemy during some missions of the end of the Evil campaign.
* RoboTeching: ZigZagged in [=BFMEII=]. Your ranged troops originally don't have HomingBoulders, but once you upgrade to [[ArrowsOnFire Flaming Arrows]] (or Silverthorn arrows for the Elves), they never miss and shots can be seen to bend to strike targets. Totally explainable with the Elves-Silverthorn arrows are clearly enchanted-but for everyone else, it's clearly for balance reasons.
* RPGElements:
** Hero units, their level cap is 10, and they gain skills at specific levels
** In ''BFMEII'', players can create custom heroes (specific to each race), and choose to use one of them during multiplayer / skirmish game, and with the "War of the Ring" mode
** Most [[VeteranUnit units gain experience]] and regiments gain [[RegeneratingHealth the ability to replace fallen comrades]], their level cap is 10 in ''BFME'', and 5 in ''BFMEII''. Most units can be upgraded with gear better than their starting weapons / armors
** Some buildings can level-up and gain defensive towers.
** Killing enemies and fulfilling some seconday objectives (in campaigns) grant experience to the general, which buys powers usable on the battlefield
* RiskStyleMap:
** Campaign map of ''BFME'' is like this. Appart from some imposed missions relating key events of the films (Helm's Deep, Isengard siege, Cirith Ungol, etc), the player can choose to conquest the region he wants. This choice influences the reward gained at the ending of the mission (general power point, increasing the ArbitraryHeadcountLimit, or increasing the rate of generation of money)
** The "War of the Ring" mode of ''BFMEII'' have two parts: a turn-based mode on a RiskStyleMap, and a real time battle when the player have to fight
* SavedByCanon: The Evil campaign of ''BFME''. [[spoiler:Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli are met during the Amon Hen, Helm's Deep and Minas Tirith missions, where they have to be killed each time. Same thing with Faramir in the Southern Ithilien, Osgiliath, and Minas Tirith missions.]]
** Then they show up again in the evil campaign in ''BFMEII'' in the final mission to once again throw everything they have at you. Literally: Aragorn comes with an army of the dead, Arwen tries that water summoning trick, Legolas has an Entish army, and Gandalf goes on a one-man rampage inside your base.
* TheSiege
* SiegeEngines: In BFMEII, the Elves amusingly have Ents as their siege units.
* SparedByTheAdaptation: Boromir and Théoden can be saved, Gandalf doesn't fall in his fight against the Balrog (and becomes Gandalf the White nevertheless) and Frodo doesn't lose his finger.
* SuspiciouslySmallArmy
* TrainingThePeacefulVillagers: The "Resist" Good general power in ''BFME'' give weapons, and light armors to Rohan peasants, making them a cheap infantry.
* TunnelNetwork: In ''BFMEII'', both the Dwarven faction, and the Goblin faction have resource-mining structures that doubled as entrances to their respective [[TunnelNetwork Tunnel Networks]].
* UnexpectedGameplayChange: The games are RTS with RPGElements, but there are a few missions of ''BFME'' which looks a lot like a kind of cheap DungeonCrawling game (underground dungeon, only hero units, looking for gold). The Shelob's lair mission is one of them, but features later an other UnexpectedGameplayChange: it begins like a DungeonCrawling and ends like a standard ''BFME'' mission.
* VeteranUnit: See RPGElements above.
* VictoryPose: The troops troops cheer after every successful minor skirmish. That is to say, if you send one squad of cavalry to run down one squad of orcs, they will stop and cheer once the orcs are dead. Every. Time. Well, at least morale is good. They will also cheer if a hero runs near them. Which makes sense for, say, Aragorn or Théoden, but the hobbits?
* VideoGameCaringPotential: In the campaign of ''BFME'', and in the "War of the Ring" mode of ''BFMEII'', heroes and units are kept during the whole campaign. They gain experience and some of them can be upgraded.
* WhatIf: The Evil campaign in both games can be considered this. The first game shows what would happen if the bad guys won the battles featured in the movie trilogy, while the second game tells the story of the villains slowly taking over the northern regions, ending with the remnants of the free races of Middle Earth making a last stand at Rivendell. During that final mission, Sauron even managed to retrieve the ring from Frodo.
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: The Evil campaign of ''BFMEII'' has a mission when the player (commanding a Goblin army) has to conquest the Shire. When it is done, an Isengard army led by Grí­ma Wormtongue build a base there, thank the player for doing the dirty job, and turn against the player. The end of the mission consists in destroying it.
* YouShallNotPass: The Black Gate mission, ending of the Good campaign of ''BFME'' (see LastStand above)
* WhenTreesAttack: The Fangorn, and Isengard missions of ''BFME'' (both campaign). Ents (including the Treebeard hero unit) can also be trained as Rohan units in ''BFME'', and as Elven units in ''BFMEII''.
* ZergRush: Mostly used by the Mordor. Evil faction tend to use this since their units are much cheaper.
** Later on in the first game, the enemy faction WILL do at the beginning of each battle.