Loading images...
Apr 202017

WaroftheRingGame1977IconCool Magazine Ad From 1977!

I remember ads like this you could find in the back of Magazines or Comic Books selling all kinds of fantasy, sci-fi, superhero and horror stuff kids were dying to get their hands on!

I came upon some interesting copyright info in this ad plus a video unboxing of the actual game!

I saw this 1977 ad for The Lord of the Rings Strategy Game ‘War of the Ring’ on Etsy and just had to share it with the fans of Mordor as part of our exploration of Vintage Middle-earth.

The game which predates the Ralph Bakshi film bills itself as ‘A Major Fantasy Publishing Event’ and was advertised in the back of Strategy & Tactics magazine a wargaming publication that still exists today! The game was called War of the Ring and included a Map of Middle-earth, gaming cards and 400 game counters. I also want to note that the cover design was created by Tim Kirk.

TolkienEnterprisesLogoOne of the very cool items I saw is at the copyright disclaimer at the bottom of the ad, which says the game was developed by SPI and licensed by Tolkien Enterprises, a division of Elan Merchandising Inc. SPI was an American publisher of board wargames and related magazines, particularly its flagship Strategy & Tactics magazine. The company went out of business in 1982 and it properties and publishing rights were sold off. Tolkien Enterprises has been renamed Middle-earth Enterprises and is part of the Saul Zaentz group of production companies that still retains the film and merchandising rights to The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. However, it was the mention of Elan Merchandising that grabbed my attention, because I had never heard of it before.

It is unclear of the was the name of the entity bought by Saul Zaentz in 1976 from United Artists, or if this name was created by Zaentz. For many years after, all merchandise that came out of Middle-earth Enterprises was labeled as ‘Tolkien Enterprises, a division of Elan Merchandising Inc.’ throughout the 1970s and 80s. I must say I find the bizarre and tangled web of legal licencing for Middle-earth to be endlessly fascinating!

Here is info on the ad from CadysCreativeStudio

War of the Ring Advertisement/Order Form/Strategy & Tactics magazine Subscription order form
This is a real vintage ad, not a reproduction. The image listed is the actual advertisement, scanned for detail.
Ad is Black and White and measures approximately 8″ x 11″
A rare find! This magazine advertisement is from 1977 and is in good condition for it’s age. It does have discoloration around the edges.
Please keep in mind, this is a Magazine Ad; the pages of magazines are thin and sometimes what is printed on the opposite side can be seen through. Vintage magazines, most likely, have been thumbed through, having created some wear. PLEASE, if in doubt, ask questions before ordering. I want my customers to be completely happy with their purchases!

Go HERE to purchase and/or find out more.


For those interested in what the game itself looked like, watch this unboxing by Gnarlo the Gnaked Gnome. Though it’s a bit worse for ware, this game is still an amazing piece of Vintage Middle-earth Memorabilia!

“Another treasure from my boardgame shelves, we take a look at my copy of the SPI game War of the Ring from 1977.”

 April 20, 2017  Posted by at 5:12 am
  • Brenda Fertitta

    Hi! Thank you for sharing my vintage ad! ~Cady’s Creative Studio

  • Your welcome!

  • Adam

    I have a box set of this game all pieces still in tact never been opened or played. The box has been open but all playing tiles in original sleeves