Chapter Zero: Introduction

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A Short Introduction

This game is the product of many hours of, quite simply, playing with plastic building bricks. Before you jump wholeheartedly into reading the rest of these rules, you should know that BrikWars is a building - intensive game. This, in itself, wouldn't frighten many PBB "maniacs", but the game goes beyond creative construction, and steps into the violent realm of killing things and making things blow up into a thousand pieces which rain down onto a battlefield littered with the corpses of SpaceMen.

In short, building with PBB's is fun, and you know that if you ever want to build anything else with those bricks, you will have to disassemble your first creation, so why not disassemble it in a grand fashion by having it blown to smithereens? If you don't like tearing apart things that you've lovingly created, then stop reading, because at some point during the game, it will happen.

If you do like doing this, like we do, then you will enjoy this game very much.

BrikWars primarily concerns itself with the wars of SpaceCivilizations and the battles of SpaceMen. It may very well be that you do not like SpaceMen and would rather play a game that let you fight out the wars of CastleCivilizations and the great battles of CastleMen. If so, keep reading - the rules have been designed to be flexible enough that you could engage in any type of battle you could think of. A framework of rules is included to easily bring in armies from any period of human history. If you don't like humans, the rules are easily extensible - you will have no problems making rules for mermaids or giant gastropods or whatever your fancy is. Whether or not you'll be able to build them out of plastic bricks is your problem.

BrikWars is also designed to accommodate many levels of depth. The rules are divided into a series of 'books.' Each book adds a new layer of depth and complexity. While BrikWars, in its characteristic freewheeling style, encourages you to change, ignore, and make up rules however you like, it can be a lot of work to wade through pages and pages of information, deciding exactly what to keep and what to change or ignore. The book divisions make it very easy: each book represents an incremental jump in complexity, so by choosing a depth level, you can find your comfort zone very quickly.

The first book, Skirmish, introduces you to basic combat and the basic selection of infantry weapons and equipment. This gives you enough room to set up a landscape and toss a few squads of SpaceMen at each other.

The second book, Battle, gives rules to let the SpaceMen interact more fully with their environment. It also includes guidelines for vehicles and buildings, and the siege weapons you can use to arm them.

The third book, War, gives guidelines for including many types of combatants besides the generic SpaceMan. It also details an optional system for simulating a chain of command.

The fourth book, Conquest, introduces the great SpaceCivilizations. Each Civilization brings distinct abilities, restrictions, and philosophies to the battlefield. This opens possibilites for some great scenarios. This is probably as far as any reasonable person would want to take the BrikWars system.

The fifth book, Campaign, gives some ideas for running a campaign with continuing characters and plotlines. This is probably going too far. BrikWars is a wargame, not a roleplaying game. But if you want to try, I won't stop you.

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Some Parts Not Included

I thought about naming this section "Some Assembly Required," but hopefully that goes without saying.

Unfortunately, you will need more than just this rulebook to play BrikWars. Fortunately, everything else you do need is something you ought to have anyway. If you don't have some of these things, go out and get them because we're not going to let you play until you do.

The Things You Will Need List

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A BrikWars Glossary

If you have been playing with plastic bricks for awhile, you know what a pain it can be sometimes to try and describe a specific piece to someone else. You've probably made up all kinds of weird names for different kinds of peices. To avoid confusion later, we'll define some of the ones we'll be using throughout the rulebook:

PBB or Plastic Building Brick - a name for any kind of piece. We have to use this term to avoid using the copyrighted name of any specific company's plastic building brick; we don't want to make the lawyers angry. We are cowards, and lawyers frighten us.
a minifig Minifig - a minifig is one of those little people with the yellow, smiling faces. Don't let their small size and cheery disposition fool you - they'll cut your heart out and eat it if you let them.

Dot - A dot is one of those little circular studs on top of most bricks. A minifig has one dot on the top of his head. Dots are used as units of measurement in BrikWars. (e.g., a 2x2 brik is the one that has four dots on top, arranged in a square.)
a jewel, a cylinder, and an antenna Jewel - A jewel is a round one-dot, thin like a plank, and usually transparent.

Cylinder - A cylinder is also a round one-dot, but it is as tall as an average Brik and it is not always transparent.

Antenna - An antenna is very handy, since it can be gripped by minifigs and stuck to things like cylinders to make clubs or lasers.
a plank, a flat, and a blok Brik - A Brik is the fundamental plastic building brick. They come in all widths, lengths, and colors, but they are always the same height and rectangular.

Plank - A plank is the flattest piece (besides a flat). Two or three planks stacked on top of each other are the height of a brik (depending on what brand of plank you're using).

Flat - A flat is a plank with no dots on top. Because it is smooth, other pieces can slide over it without getting caught on the dots.

Blok - A blok is the classic 2x4 brik. Because it is such a stereotypical piece, it is used as the standard for weight measurement. One Blok weighs as much as an average minifig. Blox are often dragged around the battlefield to creat staircases and walls. They are also useful to lob from catapults and drop from great heights on enemy encampments.

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War Without End

Why can't the SpaceCivilizations just get along? Where did all these SpaceMen come from? Why are they always so happy? Previous versions of this rulebook tried to answer these questions by providing a Things That Happened Timeline of the events leading up to the unending galaxy-wide war. I hate that timeline. If it were up to me, this would have been all the timeline we needed:
Unfortunately, it wasn't up to me, and now in the interest of continuity I'll give a quick summary of the story that has been handed down through generations of rulebooks.

By the turn of the thirty-sixth century, humankind's scientific progress had turned the earth into a utopia, free of poverty, hunger, and vice. The year 3500 brought two amazing scientific discoveries: The first was the Really Fast Drive, which opened the entire galaxy to exploration and colonization. This was a lucky break, since the second discovery was that the Earth was going to blow up in a few years.

The entire industrial output of humankind was then dedicated to building fifty great StarShips, each the size of the moon, and custom-fitted with Really Fast Drives. As the planet began to disintegrate behind them, the StarShips launched in all different directions, to find new homes for the human race. Thus began The Time When Nobody Saw Anybody Else. For millenia, the StarShips plunged the depths of space, and constant exposure to Really Fast Waves caused the humans to develop stumpy limbs, mittenlike hands, and bright yellow skin.

No two StarShips crossed paths until over eleven thousand years later, in 14745. The two StarCivilizations Proxima and Moola, whose ships had each grown to over 2500 times the size of the Earth, met over Arcturus VIII. After a brief period of reacquaintance and celebration, they went to war over the rich mineral resources of the planet. The fighting was so fierce that it attracted the attention of the forty-eight other Civilizations, and they began arriving and joining in the battle. When the last Civilization arrived, thirteen years later, Arcturus VII had been desolated, and three Civilizations had been destroyed utterly. Fighting continued regardless.

But for some reason, the Civilizations were not able to find the satisfaction one expects from perpetual warfare. There was something missing. There followed a series of short-lived truces and armistices, starting with the Let's Not Fight For Awhile Agreement of 14800. During these brief periods of peace, the Civilizations engaged in intense research and planetary colonization campaigns, in preparation for wars to come. In 14989, the Ralans' most secret research project finally bore fruit - the genetically engineered, cybernetically enhanced, bloodthirsty and deathdealing ultimate soldier: the SpaceMan. The first SpaceMen were immediately deployed against the Aldonian Civilization, which suffered a tremendous butt-kicking as their forces gibbered in fear before the SpaceMen's ominous and unrelenting smiley-faces.

Within months, the other 46 Civilizations genetically engineered their own versions of the Ralan Spaceman. Though the Ralans won the resulting copyright infringement suits, they suffered a grievous defeat shortly afterwards against the combined forces of all the other Civilizations.

The SpaceMan proved to be a tremendous success. Never again would Civilizations suffer months of boredom under peace treaties and demilitarizations. The SpaceMen never suffered from demoralization, never got tired of fighting, and were unfazed by impossible odds. No Civilization ever again felt the need to interrupt the fighting for any reason, and full-scale war erupted across the galaxy.

The year is now 17250, over two thousand years since the introduction of the SpaceMan. Galactic Empires have risen and fallen, none lasting more than a few centuries. Wars rage over planets, solar systems, and entire arms of galaxies. Alliances are forged and broken like so many buildings made of plastic bricks. Now the task of commanding the armies of one of these great Civilizations falls to you. Don't screw it up.

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