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Major Roguelike
Developer Alex Cutler, Andy Astrand, many others. Angband is currently maintained by Nick McConnell.
Theme Fantasy
Influences Moria, Tolkien's Middle-Earth, *D&D, Rolemaster
Released 1990
Updated 22 February 2022 (4.2.4)
Licensing GPL (see Licensing)
P. Language C
Platforms Windows, Windows CE, MS-DOS, Macintosh, Amiga, RISC OS, OS/2, Unix
Interface ASCII, Graphical tiles, Optional multiple console windows, Keyboard
Game Length Many hours
Official site of Angband

Angband is a freeware roguelike based loosely on the works of J. R. R. Tolkien. It was created by Alex Cutler and Andy Astrand at Warwick University in 1990. It is named after the fortress of Morgoth in Tolkien's works, with "Angband" literally meaning "Iron Prison" (or "Hell of Iron").


The player may choose a character from several classes and races. Some of these are Tolkien-inspired, others draw from D&D or basic fantasy archetypes. The player starts in a town with different kinds of shops, a house for storage, a few inhabitants, and the entrance to the dungeon. The player must explore the 100-level dungeon, and become strong enough to finally face Sauron and, after defeating Sauron, Morgoth. After slaying Morgoth, the player may retire from the game as a winner, or continue playing (usually to try to find some rare artifact).

Angband's dungeons are not persistent; every time the player moves up or down stairs, a new dungeon is randomly generated. The dungeons are large and are composed of halls and passages of different shapes. An Angband game requires more patience and time than most roguelike games. Angband is a game of infinite resources -- you have as much time as you like and the game will continue to provide new monsters and items. Nevertheless, most players still find the game challenging. The more advanced players attempt various challenge games, some of which are supported by the game's many options, others of which must be self-monitored. This includes ignoring Angband's lack of an inherent clock and placing a limit on the number of turns one will take to win a game, considering it a loss if not finished in this time.

Angband has many variants -- games based on the original's code -- which have split off in different directions. The first major variant was FAngband, now long dead, but which introduced many ideas later adopted into Angband. Zangband has been one of the most persistently popular variants, but has faded from visibility due to a lack of development. The Zangband legacy survives in the many variants that developed from the Zangband code, rather than directly from Angband. These include ToME, which is developing into a module of a roguelike engine. There is a more complete list of variants available. One other variant worth noting is Oangband, which introduced a substantially changed combat model for *bands, and this Oangband-style combat (or O-combat for short) has found its way into several additional variants.

Angband is the oldest currently-maintained representative of one of two major lines of roguelikes, the other being Hack-like games. While this line begins with Moria, which spawned numerous variants, Angband essentially took up Moria's niche in the gaming ecology. The tendency of Angband variants' names to be suffixed with "band" has resulted in the genre characterized by Angband being referred to as the *bands.


Angband has a very long history. It started in 1990 as an improved and more "Tolkienized" variant of UMoria 5.2.1. Moria itself was created in 1983 and was inspired by Rogue (from the late 70s). Countless changes have been made by a large number of programmers since.

The Angband source code was cleaned up by Ben Harrison around 1995, culminating in the release of Angband 2.7. This was a massive and very buggy rewrite, but it brought the beginnings of easy porting to multiple platforms through cleaner code, and by Angband 2.7.4, there were ports to Windows, various IBM machines, OS/2, Linux and the Amiga (at least). This rewrite also made the code much easier to understand, thus providing an easy base for others to build on. This lead to the "variant explosion".

After Ben Harrison, Robert Ruhlmann took over the role of maintainer. He took the game from version 2.8.3h to 3.0.6, adding various UI, code, and gameplay improvements to the game. Notably, the game acquired (limited) Lua scripting support, which many variant authors using the code subsequently omitted.

After 3.0.6 Andi Sidwell took over as maintainer, introducing version control at github, an actual development team, increased community involvement and an increased pace of change.

Nick McConnell is the current maintainer of Angband. The official site is

As Angband has developed, the data has been increasingly moved into editable text files. This has improved the readability of the source and made editing of data more accessible.

See Angband version history for a list of release dates.


The current version of Angband is licensed under the GNU General Public License. Previous versions were licensed under the traditional Angband license, but Andi Sidwell and Robert Ruhlmann, after a lot of work, eventually tracked down all the previous developers and contributors and got their permission to relicense the code.

The traditional Angband license is as follows:

Copyright (c) 1997 Ben Harrison, James E. Wilson, Robert A. Koeneke
This software may be copied and distributed for educational, research, and not for profit purposes provided that this copyright and statement are included in all such copies. Other copyrights may also apply.

This license placed Angband squarely out of the realm of "open source" or "free software", as the license was first written before such concepts had become widespread. As a result, there were issues with Angband being placed in Linux distributions, or being hosted on sites such as SourceForge or Google Code. Additionally, there is another Angband license in the source code (in 'angband.h'):

ANGBAND may be copied and modified freely as long as the above credits are retained. No one who-so-ever may sell or market this software in any form without the expressed written consent of the author Robert Alan Koeneke.

To help alleviate the haziness around the licensing of Angband and its variants, Robert Ruhlmann started the "Angband OpenSource Initiative" whose aim was to have Angband distributable under the GNU GPL. To become a reality, this required that everyone whose code is in Angband gave their permission for their code to be placed under the GPL. It took a long time to do and many believed that eventual success was unlikely, but that success has occurred, and now Angband is available under the GPL.

See also