Back to ForewordBook Zero: IntroductionForward to Chapter One: BrikWars Basic Guide

Chapter Zero: Introduction

0.1 A Brief Introduction

This game is the product of many hours of playing with plastic building bricks.  As such, it is designed to be pretty building-intensive.  We can't force you to build space fighters and fortresses and catapults and pirate ships, and if you just want to gather a couple dozen minifigs and send them out on an empty battlefield to butcher each other with their bare hands, the rules will support it.  If you do so, you will be missing the point completely, and real BrikWars players (and PBB maniacs in general) will be disgusted and refuse to have anything to do with you.  You should hang your head in shame and give your PBB's to someone more deserving.  Don't feel bad; you can find plenty of other wargames out there that are more your style. Checkers, for instance.

The rest of you (dear friends!) have the correct priorities.  You came here because you've already built your giant robots and your castles and your assault helicopters and you want to test them in battle.  To you, the threat of war is nothing more than a continuing excuse to build a bunch of really cool stuff.  In order to prove your PBB superiority, you're willing to risk having your most prized constructions blown to smithereens. You are true PBB maniacs, and we salute you.

It's only going to take a very cursory inspection for you to notice that there are an awful lot of rules in this manual - you may feel that this runs contrary to the spirit of playing with PBB's.  Well, don't worry, we heartily encourage you to ignore ninety-nine percent of the rules ninety-nine percent of the time.  The BrikWars rules are designed to be as fast and straightforward as you want them to be, whether you're the most anal-retentive nitpicker or the flakiest most free-spirited flower child.  The large majority of the rules are included only to solve arguments; only one rule is absolute: fudge everything your opponents will let you get away with.  For example, if you have a minifig throw a baseball to another minifig, you could go as far as to calculate all the modifiers for range, movement of target, movement of thrower, etc., and make success rolls against the skills of the thrower and the catcher, but why bother?  Unless your opponents raise some objection, just toss the ball from one minifig to the other and move on to something more important.

For some rules, like splitting turns into phases or requiring a vehicle to limit its turning radius, you will have to decide before the game whether or not you are going to use them, and then use them or ignore them consistently throughout the game.  For most rules, such as calculating NearMiss damage or Skill Modifiers, you will decide whether to use them or ignore them depending on changing situations throughout the game.  Keeping track of all the rules, all the time is only going to drive you crazy; you will have to decide on a case-by-case basis whether the extra die rolls and calculations would make enough of a difference to the situation to be worth the hassle.  Basically, unless one or more players have some reason to insist that a rule be followed in a certain situation, you should ignore it.  There's not a single rule in the book that's so important that it can't be tossed out the moment it becomes inconvenient.

We have included lots and lots of 'Optional Rules' so players may pick and choose whichever rules best fit their personal playing style.  Some optional rules come highly recommended; others will only be fun occasionally or for players with unusual tastes.  We have developed a rating system for Optional Rules, so you can tell which are fun for everybody and which are included only for completeness' sake or for unique situations.  Our ratings are often subjective, and you should expect to disagree with a few of our rating choices.

The BrikWars Home Page
Table of Contents
Legal Disclaimer
BrikWars Basic Guide
The Trooper's Arsenal
Advanced Combat
Siege Weapons
Military Professionals
Robotic Vehicles
The Tables


Contact Mike Rayhawk
E-mail the Author


Happy Face Happy Face
An Optional Rule marked with a Happy Face is highly recommended.  This rule is fun for almost all game types and playing styles and you should look for excuses to use it.
Indifferent Face Indifferent Face
Optional Rules marked with an Indifferent Face do not tend to make the game more or less fun.  Playing the game using these rules may be equivalent to playing the game without using these rules, or the extra work involved to use these rules decrease the added value of the options, benefits, or details that these rules provide.
Sad Face Surly Face
Optional Rules marked with a Surly Face usually take more work than they are worth.  These rules are included only to cater to unique playing styles or game types, or to solve arguments in unusual situations.  You should probably try to avoid situations which would require you to use these rules.

If you have an argument over something we haven't made a rule for, make up a new rule yourself and roll some dice.  If you come up with some new rules you're especially proud of, be sure and tell us about them and we'll be glad to steal your ideas.

BrikWars is designed to accommodate many levels of depth.  The rules are divided into a series of 'books,' each book adding 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 which rules to keep and which to toss.  The book divisions make it very easy: each book represents an incremental jump in complexity, so by choosing a book to stop at, you can find your comfort zone very quickly.

The first book, Skirmish (Chapters One and Two), 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 Troops at each other.  Once you've read this book, you've learned 80% of the game; everything else is just details.

The second book, Battle (Chapters Three through Seven), gives rules to let the Troops 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 (Chapters Eight and Nine), gives guidelines for including many types of specialized combatants besides the generic Troop.

Some Assembly Required

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.

For some reason
a lot of people don't listen to our wise advice and try to use all the rules in the book.  We regretfully apologize to those misguided souls, to whom this book will only serve as an instrument of torture.

When Rules Aren't Enough
Often, during the course of a battle, your minifigs will want to do something not even remotely covered by the rules.  In fact, if they don't, then it's a good sign that you're failing to get into the spirit of the game.  Use your own judgment to decide whether the fig succeeds and what the effect will be - real-life experience will be your best guide.

Pay close attention to the real-life experiences other players describe when deciding how to handle a new situation.  If a player starts his argument with, "The last time I put a rifle round into an unarmored man's kneecap..." it might be a good idea to let that player have his way.  On the other hand, if a player starts a sentence with, "Well, I'm in the SCA and..." do not let him finish talking - immediately give him a whack with the Hammer of Discipline.  Anything less would be a gross breach of your civic duty.

The Things You Will Need List

Dice - You will need some dice.  Specifically, d6's, d10's, and d20's.  If you are any kind of a wargamer, you will have no problem coming up with these. If you are a normal human being, you only have d6's.  We should have made everything d6-compatible, but we didn't, and now you're just going to have to find some way to deal with it.

(If you really don't want to have to go out and buy new dice, see 0.3.3: Some Notes about Points and Pips for info on how to convert different kinds of dice into points and back again.)

pip Paper and Pencils - We've done everything we could to make BrikWars a 'paperless' wargame, but these are still handy to have around if you need to do some quick math, pass secret notes, or draw mean pictures of the opposing general.  You will especially need paper if you have designed any heavily-customized vehicles or weapons.  If you write down your custom constructions' stats and abilities when you first calculate them, you won't have to keep re-calculating them throughout the game.

A Table - or some other playing surface, like a floor.  If you play on a table, don't use more soldiers than you're willing to stand back up every time somebody bumps the table.  If you play on the floor, remember that shag carpeting is not the best surface on which to play BrikWars - you may want to put your soldiers on stands (4x4 plates or larger) so they don't fall over all the time (a battlefield illness known as 'shag drunkenness').  If you don't have a table or a floor, you can build one out of plastic bricks.


Terrain - Terrain provides cover and scenery for the battle.  Sometimes you'll want to build this out of plastic bricks, because it makes it a lot easier for your minifigs to stand up.  But seriously, you're always going to want more room than you can conveniently build with plastic bricks.  Fortunately, you can use almost anything for terrain.  A pile of books makes a good mountain, a blue sheet makes a good ocean, a bookshelf makes a great bombed-out skyscraper, and your dog makes a good 30-story Dogzilla monster.  Set up pockets of PBB forests and PBB buildings and you're good to go.

(If you don't build any terrain, and just play on a flat field, then infantry units will have no cover and be at a severe disadvantage versus vehicle units.  This is why, in real life, infantry on a flat field will start digging trenches and laying down barbed wire and minefields.  Cut your minifigs a break - either give them some jungles and buildings to hide in, or make sure every minifig has a vehicle to ride in.)


Charts - Depending on how complex a battle you're staging, and how long you've been playing BrikWars, you may have memorized all the statistics you'll need.  Even then, to settle arguments, you'll want the charts printed out in hardcopy somewhere handy.

(All the charts you will need are conveniently located in Appendix A: The Tables.)


A Measuring Device - You can measure distance by counting dots on the plastic bricks.  In general, three dots is about one inch.  When you're checking to see if an enemy soldier is within range of your ICBM or measuring the turning radius of an AircraftCarrier, it can get tedious counting all those dots - see if you can't get a tape measure out of your toolbox or sewing kit, or a string marked off in inches.  It's much better to have a flexible measuring device that you can bend around obstacles than, for instance, a wooden ruler.

(If you're not big on measurement, there are alternatives to using strict inches - see "Inches" under 0.3.2: Game Terms.)

You may also want a specially prepared 30-60 triangle, if you decide to use some of the more advanced optional rules in Chapter Three.


Another Player - You will need at least one opponent, unless you are really bored and want to play by yourself.  If you do not have another player, you can construct one out of plastic bricks.

pip Some Free Time - You should not play this game at work because you are supposed to be working.  (This is more important in some jobs than in others.  If you are in tech support or are a network admin, it is probably okay to play this game while working, as long as you are careful not to get caught by your boss.  If you are an airline pilot or a neurosurgeon, please wait until your shift is over.)

Plastic Bricks - Somehow we forgot to mention this in previous editions of the rulebook, and it seems that some of the less imaginative readers may have gotten confused.  The truth is, it's just not much fun to play BrikWars without some kind of plastic bricks.  If your supply of plastic bricks is limited, you can supplement them with soldiers, vehicles, and bases built out of paper, cardboard, clay, or any number of other materials.  You can even use non-constructible units like green army men.  However, none of these work quite as well as a really good set of plastic bricks.

0.3 A BrikWars Glossary

0.3.1 PBB Terms

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 pieces.  To avoid confusion later, we'll define some of the ones we'll be using throughout the rulebook:

a few PBBs
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 wouldn't want to make the lawyers angry.
If you are confused by the term 'd6':
In BrikWars, as in most wargames and role-playing games, dice are referred to by their number of sides.  'd6' refers to a normal cube-shaped six-sided die.  3d6 means roll three six-sided dice;  3d6+4 means roll three six-sided dice and add four to the result.  You get the picture.
some Dots

Dot - A dot (some people call them 'pegs' or 'studs') 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 often used to measure horizontal distance in BrikWars.  Three dots are approximately equal to one inch.

an evil 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.  (A single human heart could feed a minifig village for months.)
some Brix Brik - A Brik is the fundamental plastic building brick.  Any rectangular PBB of 'normal' height (about three eighths of an inch - the majority of any brand of PBB's are all the same generic height) is a Brik.  Brix are often used to measure vertical distance in BrikWars.
a Blok Blok - A Blok is the classic 2x4 Brik.  Because it is the most stereotypical PBB, 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 create staircases and walls.  They are also useful to lob from catapults and drop from great heights on enemy encampments.
a Cylinder

Cylinder - A cylinder is like a one-dot Brik except that it's round.

an Antenna Antenna - An antenna is four Brix high, and consists of a long pole with a one-dot base.  The pole can be gripped by minifigs, and the base can be stuck to things.

0.3.2 Game Terms

Many of these terms will be explained again (in greater length and specificity) in the chapters in which they appear, so don't worry too much about memorizing any of them right off the bat.

pip Turn - A period of time in which a single player moves all the units he wishes to move and resolves all the attacks he wishes to make.  (1.2: Game Cycle)
pip Round - A period of time in which all players in the game have each completed one turn.  Try not to confuse rounds with turns.  (1.2: Game Cycle)

Inch - Although most of the distances in this rulebook are written in inches, any other standard unit of measurement will do.  You may choose to convert the numbers in inches to some number of centimeters (three being the usual number, although any number will be fine).  You might decide that the distance between the tips of your thumb and forefinger is six inches, and make estimates based on that measuring tool (thus giving the advantage to players with bigger hands).  You can even change the length of your inches depending on the gravity of whatever planet you're from - things go farther in low gravity.

pip Unit - Any person, machine, or installation that has the power to perform actions in the game. A soldier, a robotic tank, a computer-controlled machine gun emplacement, and a monkey are all units. A tree, a coffee mug, an assault rifle, and a dismembered corpse are not units (unless magikally animated).

Skill - The number of dice in a unit's Skill rating determine the chances of success in any endeavor the unit is able to attempt.  Non-trivial actions are given a Difficulty number or a Usage Rating (UR), and a unit must roll this number or higher on his Skill dice, or suffer ignominious failure.  This roll is called a Skill Roll.  Different situations or considerations might add bonuses or subtract penalties from the unit's Skill in a given attempt; these bonuses or penalties are called Skill Modifiers.  The Skill Roll that you make when attacking an opponent is also called an Attack Roll.  (1.3: The Trooper)


Armor (or AV for Armor Value) - This number, often a number of dice, tells how much damage a unit can take before being injured or destroyed.  Every attack causes a certain number of dice of Damage.  When struck by an attack, if the defending unit's Armor Roll is as much or higher than the attacking unit's Damage Roll, then the defending unit suffers no harm.  (1.3: The Trooper)

pip Move - This number describes the maximum number of inches a unit can travel in a single turn.  Certain kinds of actions decrease the number of inches a unit can travel in the turn they are performed, and a unit's Move might be impaired by encumbrance from carrying heavy or clumsy objects.  Any effect that decreases a unit's Move is called a Movement Penalty or -MP".  A Movement Penalty incurred by an item carried by or mounted on a unit is called a Cargo MP, or -CMP".  (1.3: The Trooper)
pip Cost (or CP for Construction Points) - Every unit, object, ability, or advantage in BrikWars is assigned a point cost, measured in Construction Points or CPs.  By comparing CP values, you can see the relative value of different types and groups of units.  (1.3: The Trooper)
pip Critical Roll - Any time a player makes a Skill Roll or an Armor Roll, if all the dice end up on a one then the roll is an Automatic Failure.  If all dice end up on their highest-numbered face (all sixes when rolling d6s, all tens when rolling d10s), then the roll is an Automatic Success.  These are called Critical Rolls.  (1.4: Basic Combat)

TekLevel (TL) - A TekLevel is a number that refers to an army's teknological sophistication.  A unit can effectively use equipment and weapons from its own TekLevel or earlier at no penalty.  One TekLevel later and they can use the equipment at a -2 Skill Penalty.  Anything more high-tek than that is useless to them. TekLevels in BrikWars are as follows:

TekLevel Chart
Club and Rok

TekLevel Zero (TL0): StoneAge
      Clubs, Big Rox

Spear and Bow TekLevel One (TL1): ToolAge
      ShortBows, Horses, Ziggurats, TikiMasks
Timmies and JarJars:
      Irritating Demeanors, Explosive Breeding
Sword and Axe

TekLevel Two (TL2): MetalAge
(BronzeAge) AncientMen:
      Chariots, Pyramids
(IronAge) ClassicalMen:
      Phalanxes, Columns
(SteelAge) CastleMen:
      Halberds, Catapults, Castles

Musket and Pistol TekLevel Three (TL3): RennaisanceAge
      Galleons, Cannons, Muskets
      Cavalry, Artillery, Musketeers
Rifle and Revolver TekLevel Four (TL4): ModernAge
      Rifles, Tanx, Bombers
      Rifles, Armored Trux, Radios
      StealthBombers, CruiseMissiles
Siege Pistol and Gyro Rifle TekLevel Five (TL5): SpaceAge
      Phasers, SpaceFleets
Thermal ChainSaw and Helmet TekLevel Six (TL6): StarAge
      DeathGuns, EnergyBlades, CityStars
Magic Wand TekLevel Seven (TL7): HyperAge
      Time Machines, Sentient Planets

pip NearMiss - An attack that misses its target tends to strike in the neighborhood of the missed target.  NearMiss calculations are used to determine where a missed attack hits.  (3.1.1: NearMiss Rules)
pip Explosion Damage - Any Damage Roll measured in d10s or d20s causes Explosion Damage.  Explosions damage everything within their blast radius, and tend to set things on fire.  (3.3.2: Explosions)
pip Burn Level - When an object is on fire, the Burn Level tells exactly how hot the fire is burning.  You can tell that an object is on fire because fire-colored Brix will be piled all around it.  Normal objects can have a Burn Level of 1d6 (yellow flames), 2d6 (yellow and red), or 3d6 (yellow, white, and red).  Different types of fuel can burn even hotter for short periods of time, at 4d6 (white), 5d6 (white and blue), and 6d6 (blue).  (3.3.5: Fire!)
pip Story - A Story is a measure of height equal to six Brix (or 2 and 2/8 inches), and is used to measure larger vertical distances like the altitude of planes, the height of buildings, and the length of a drop when your minifig falls off of a cliff.
pip Blok-Inch (or b") - The unit of torque in BrikWars.  One Blok-Inch is the amount of force required to accelerate an object weighing one Blok by one inch per turn, per round.  (3.6.2: Moving Objects Around)
pip Power - The measure of a unit's strength. One point of Power is equal to five Blok-Inches (5b") of torque.  All minifigs, except where otherwise noted, have 1 point of Power.
pip Siege Weapons - Weapons that are too big to be troop-portable.  Siege Weapons are designed to be mounted on vehicles or buildings, in order to blow up other vehicles and buildings.  (Chapter Six: Siege Weapons)
pip Civilization - Most armies in BrikWars are fielded by Civilizations that are fairly generic.  Some Civilizations have a lot more flavor, with specific attitudes, strategies, and technological advantages and disadvantages.
pip Character - Most units in BrikWars are of a certain generic type.  A Character is a unit with personality, with unique stats and abilities, who would be able to advance and improve over the course of several battles if it weren't for the fact that the mortality rate in BrikWars is extremely unforgiving.

0.3.3 Some Notes About Points and Pips

In later chapters, you will sometimes be given the option to buy 'points' of certain unit properties, such as Armor Value, Damage, or Skill.  Sometimes these properties will not be measured by a simple integer, but will also include a number of dice.  If you want to know how many 'points' a die is worth, in order to purchase more dice, or to convert between different types of dice, divide the number of faces on the die by two and add ½.  This will give you the average roll on that die.  For instance, 1d6 is worth 3½ points, 1d10 is worth 5½ points, 1d20 is worth 10½ points, and 1d3 is worth 2 points.  After all the dice's point costs have been added together, any fractions must be rounded up.

Example: Suppose you are buying Armor for a MedievalTrooper at a rate of 1 CP (Construction Point) per 2 points of Armor.  If you want to add 2d6 of Armor, it would cost you 4 CP (7 points of Armor costs 3½ CP, rounded up). If you bought another 2d6 of Armor later in the game, it would cost you another 4 CP.  However, if you buy both at the same time, 4d6 of Armor costs you only 7 CP (3½ + 3½ = 7, no need to round up).

In general, when buying multiple points, buy dice whenever possible (e.g., buy 2d6 rather than 7 or 1d6+4).  Remember that d10's and d20's are usually only used for weapons causing Explosion damage, or the Armor ratings of Vehicles and Bases.  For everything else, use 1d6's.

Why did we call them 'dots?'
Because 'studs' is a term more properly used to refer to BrikWars players.
In order to avoid having to write things down, you should make a habit of using 'Pips' to keep track of things as often as possible.  We use 1x1 Brix for Pips, since we have a lot of them in every color, and they're easy to stack next to affected objects.  However, you can use anything you feel is appropriate.  We've listed some of our preferred uses for various Pip colors below, but you may choose to use whichever color of Pip for whatever purpose you desire.

Blue Pip Blue Pips stacked next to a Flier indicate its altitude in Stories.  If we decide to keep track of Vehicle Acceleration/Deceleration rules (we usually don't), we lay a stack of blue Pips next to each Vehicle to indicate the direction and velocity of its movement.
Red Pip Red Pips are stacked next to Vehicle, Building, or Landscape Components that have suffered Permanent Damage.   If you make the inadvisable decision to use a system of HitPoints, you can keep track of them with Red Pips.  Whenever a Character loses a HitPoint, remove one Pip and leave it on the ground next to him, to give the battlefield that all-important bloodstained look.
White Pip White Pips indicate time limits, such as a bomb that will go off or a spell effect that will run out in a certain number of turns.
Grey Pip A grey Pip is placed next to a unit that has been Stunned or Exhausted, or on a Vehicle or Building component that has been 'Heavily Damaged' (after a roll of 3 on the SubSystem Ker-Pow! Table) and is working with only 50% effectiveness.
Black Pip A black Pip is placed on on a Vehicle or Building component that has been disabled, or two black Pips if it has been damaged beyond repair.
Yellow Pip When we're too lazy to deal with all the different colors of fire, we stack up yellow Pips to indicate Burn Levels.
Green Pip A green Pip is placed next to a unit that has been Poisoned.
instead of using 1x1 Brix for Pips, we use 1-dot Cylinders instead.  Instead of calling them 'Pips,' we end up calling them 'Sillies.'

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