At about this time the lawyers interrupted, as the forces of darkness tend to do, and the good folks at INTERLEGO AG became aware of the project and stomped it good. Well sure, it's important that they don't let just any Joe Shmoe use the word "LEGO" in his product line, right? So, the plan was to put out a new version of "Lego Wars," minus any reference to LEGO. And then, in early 1996, Eric O'Dell and R. Todd Ogrin apparently disappeared from the face of the earth.
Well, that was the point at which I did what any normal person would do, and I decided to rip off their idea. But how could I write a gamebook about Lego bricks without using the word Lego? At the time, somebody over at rec.toys.lego had started up a Lego special-order service, and to keep from alerting the lawyers, they called it the "Plastic Building Brick Exchange." There are lots of companies making plastic building bricks, among them Tyco and Ritvik, so who could complain? (I don't know what happened to the PBB exchange; I was offline for about six months and it doesn't seem to be there anymore.) So I ripped off their idea as well, and started work on 'PBB Wars'. After awhile I grew to hate that acronym, so I shortened it to Brick Wars, spelled 'BrikWars' to keep in style with Lego Wars' Mechanik and Medik troops.
And so a star was born. Since any reference to Lego Wars had been pulled off the Web, I had the market cornered. But there were problems with distribution and publicity; almost no one heard about it (although it got listed on MCPD's Everything Lego , a great site that everyone should visit), and no publishing companies ever called. That's the way it goes.
Lego Wars II was a vast improvement because though it expanded greatly on the original Lego Wars, it made the rules far more generalized, simple, and accessible. What a relief to not have to keep track of the hit points of 150 individual minifigs anymore! So naturally, when I made Brikwars, I tossed in as many new random complex rules as I could, and undid four years of progress overnight. To give you some idea of the damage, the original Lego Wars text file was 41,878 bytes long. Lego Wars II's Main Rulebook and Trooper's Handbook combined were 117,882 bytes. The first BrikWars almost doubled it at 220,335 bytes of complicated, poorly organized, half-baked ideas shoehorned into the Lego Wars II system. Well, maybe it wasn't as bad as all that, but you get the idea. (With this revision, it's doubled in size again, and that's not even counting the extra 100k of pictures! - but we're going to pretend that that's just because of all the extra HTML code.)
So this is my attempt to do for BrikWars what Lego Wars II did for Lego Wars, and maybe atone for my sins. I've combined scatted groups of specific rules into single, generalized rules, and carefully reorganized the book into coherent chapters. I've also gone ahead and put in HTML cross-referencing. The rulebook is now "modular" - Book I gives you a set of quick, simple rules to get a bunch of soldiers on the field and shooting in no time, and the later Books add consistent, optional, self-contained sets of rules for added features, so the game can be exactly as complex as you want it.
In the text, I still pretend that this game is designed to be played with any brand of PBB. As if! You and I and all right-thinking people know that it would be sacrilegious to own or play with any of the lesser PBBs. In any case, I doubt the people who tend to buy such cheap imitations have the attention span to play wargames. So, you might notice that all the little images and example drawings resemble one PBB company's products in particular. And yes, I'll bet those images are under copyright, so BrikWars will undoubtedly have to be re-released in a text-only version at some point. (And that will be sad, because it was a lot of work to draw all these little pictures by hand with a 16-color palette!) For now, the official story is: "Although this game can be played with any type of plastic building brik, my personal preference is to use Lego brix. This does not in any way represent approval or authorization by INTERLEGO AG; in fact I suspect their philosophies are directly opposed to this kind of violent application for their glorious products. I accept full responsibility for the strange ideas described in the following pages, except for those that I shamelessly stole from Eric O'Dell and R. Todd Ogrin."
So, I hope you enjoy the fruits of all the hard work that I have done to co-opt the hard work that a lot of other people have done, because I've been feeling underappreciated lately. As a final note, I don't think anyone has ever read any incarnation of these rules and not thought of a million things they'd do differently; that's how I got my start, anyway. If you're one of those people, and want to harass me with your ideas, my e-mail-box is always open. If you are a publishing company and you're interested in this product, you're not going to be able to do anything unless somebody digs up the original authors, who have copyrights on a lot of this stuff from 1991 and 1995. If you're just somebody who likes to read prefaces, that's cool too. Even if there is no explanation whatsoever for your presence here, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com.