Back to Chapter Zero: IntroductionBook One: SkirmishForward to Chapter Two: The Trooper's Arsenal

Chapter One: BrikWars Basic Guide

1.1 The Grand Overview

Regardless of the size and scope of the battle you're staging, every BrikWars game follows the same basic steps.

pip Step One - You and your opponent need to clear off a table or suitable flat surface on which to play the game.  Ping-pong tables or large sheets of plywood make good playing surfaces.  For particularly huge battles you'll need to clear up some floor space.
pip Step Two - Next you have to set up some sort of terrain for the game to be played on.  This can range from fancy modeled trees and mountains, to a couple of PBB trees and a couple of stacks of books for hills.  You can build a huge city out of plastic bricks if you like.  Of course, don't expect us to give you any respect unless you surround your city with forests, mountains, gorges, seaports, launchpads, and of course scattered villages with quaint little PBB coffeeshops.  Don't try to fight battles on bare terrain if you can avoid it, it's nowhere near as satisfying.
pip Step Three - Now it's time to amass armies.  Each team assembles as many soldiers, weapons, vehicles, emplacements, and bases as are appropriate to the battle.  Army size may be determined by Construction Point limits, by the size of the battlefield, by scenario constraints, or by ego.  Armies do not necessarily have to be of equal or even remotely similar strength, especially if there are a large number of players.
pip Step Four - Finally, you have to place your troops and equipment.  You can do this in any way that seems reasonable, as long as each side's units' initial placement is out of its enemies' weapon ranges.  Once all the players are satisfied with each others' setups, the battle can begin.

Sometimes the battle you're staging will require you to do these things a little differently.  For instance, if one player has a base and the other player is assaulting it, the first player will place his troops in the general area of the base, and the other player will put his troops in the surrounding countryside.  If there is some kind of ambush situation, troops might start out in each other's weapon ranges.  If one side has the advantage of surprise, they will get the first turn.  If one side has superior advance intelligence, the other side has to set up its troops first.  Most of the time these changes will be pretty obvious, just trust your instincts.

Game Cycle

Players alternate taking turns for the duration of the game (as you would expect).  The game ends when one team or group of allies wins.  In most games, victory occurs when all enemy armies have surrendered or been destroyed, although other victory conditions are possible, such as assassinating all enemy leaders, capturing all enemy flags, or escaping with the pirate booty.  The game might also end when it's time to put the PBB's away because it's three in the morning and you need to use the table because you really can't delay breakfast any longer.

During a player's turn, he chooses a unit, moves it wherever he likes (within the limits of the unit's Movement Rating), and makes whatever attacks he wishes (most units can only make one attack per turn.  To resolve attacks, see 1.4: Basic Combat.)  A player repeats this process for every unit he controls, and then his turn is over.

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

Optional Rule: Phases Surly Face
Wargaming purists may choose to divide turns into strict Movement phases and Combat phases.  This isn't really recommended, since it can get to be a kind of a pain.

Movement - The player whose turn it is moves all his troops and vehicles their allotted distances.  Non-combat actions, such as operating computers, eating pizzas, and mailing letters are also handled during the Movement phase.  Except for bomb drops by Fliers, Opportunity Fire, and Collisions (including charging attacks with lances or spears), no attacks are made during this phase.

Combat - When all movement is complete, all the troops and vehicles that want to fire their weapons may do so, checking to make sure their target is in range.

Optional Rule: Simultaneous Action Surly Face
Other wargaming purists may choose to have everyone take their turn at the same time.  Every player rolls a die; whoever rolls highest goes first.  Each player handles the movement and attacks for one unit (or one squad, if moving individual minifigs takes too long) under his control, and then the next player handles the moves and attacks for one unit (or squad) under his control, and so on, until all players have moved all the units they wish to move (no unit may move more than once in a given round).  This can become confusing in large battles, as players forget which pieces have moved and which have not - you may have to put a white Pip next to each unit as you move it to indicate that it has used its movement for the round.

If players are really dedicated, they can choose to play with both Phases and Simultaneous Action, each taking turns moving one unit at a time, and then each taking turns handling the attacks for one unit at a time.  This becomes exponentially more tedious as the battles get larger.

Optional Rule: Dual Action Indifferent Face
Normally, in a given turn, every unit can move once and attack once.  If you wish, you may also decide that a unit has the option to spend its turn moving twice and not attacking, or attacking twice and not moving.  A unit that moves or attacks twice in one turn may not make Close Combat counterattacks or take Opportunity Fire that round.

Optional Rule: Initiative Indifferent Face
At the beginning of each round, each player may roll dice to decide the order in which players will take their turns.  The player with the highest roll goes first, followed by the player with the next-highest roll, and so on.  If you decide to use this method, it is easiest to use a different color of dice for Initiative Rolls than for other game rolls.  Each player sets his Initiative Die in front of him with the number of his Initiative Roll facing upward, and leaves it there for the duration of the round.  In this manner, no one forgets the order of initiative or becomes confused about when the round is going to end.

The Trooper

Rules can decieve you - trust your feelings!
All rules in BrikWars are optional to some extent, but some are more optional than others.  We're not going to spoon-feed you here, you have to decide for yourself which rules to use and which not to.  Don't keep your decisions to yourself - make sure everyone in the game agrees on which rules you'll be using and which ones you're not.

The Trooper is a grunt, the generic infantry unit.  Depending on the setting, Troopers might be islanders with spears, sailors with cutlasses, medieval swordsmen, gunslinging cowboys, spacemen with laser rifles, Indian braves, members of the local S.W.A.T. team, army riflemen, elven archers, etc. - the list is endless.  The Trooper has been fully combat-trained, and is proficient in the use of all weapons appropriate to his culture (i.e., a medieval knight would have no problem using a halberd, but wouldn't be able to use a semiautomatic rifle for much except as an unwieldy bludgeoning weapon).

Classification: Trooper
(general purpose disposable infantry)
Move: 5"
Armor: TL+1 AV (min 2)
Skill: 1d6
Cost: TL+1 CP (min 2)

Troopers, like most minifigs, have a Power rating of 1.  If you are only using the rules in Book One: Skirmish, then you will never need to know this.  A unit's Power comes into play in later Books, where it determines how much a unit can lift, carry, throw, or perform other feats of strength.

The system we use for the description of units is simple enough for even Timmy to comprehend.  First of all, we give the name of the model, in this case the "Trooper."

The "Move" statistic refers to how far this unit can move during a given turn, in this case five inches.  (If you don't have a tape measure, an inch is about three dots, so five inches is about fifteen dots.)  The unit will be slowed down if he is carrying heavy equipment (any item with a Movement Penalty), or by certain kinds of actions (covered in later chapters).

The "Armor" statistic, or "AV" for Armor Value, tells how much damage a unit can take from a single attack without ceasing to function.  For minifig units such as Troopers, Armor's effectiveness increases with the unit's TekLevel (See 0.3.2: Game Terms).  Up through the Tribal Age, Troopers have an AV of 2.  MedievalTroopers have an AV of 3.  SpaceTroopers have an AV of 6.  Some units in later chapters have a variable AV (like 2d6+2), which is rolled every time the unit takes damage.  Rolls using a variable AV are called Armor Rolls.

As the ages progress, Troopers become tougher to kill.  You might think this is due to advances in armor technology, but this is not the case.  No army in history gives its generic foot-level troops any armor beyond a uniform and a helmet.  The added toughness is a product of better nutrition, training, health care, and a generalized knowledge of basic first-aid techniques.
Optional Rule: HitPoints Surly Face
Some players feel that the Armor system is unrealistic, and want to use a system of HitPoints instead.  To those players we say, phooey on you!  Trying to keep track of the HitPoints of dozens of different minifigs and vehicles (not to mention buildings, trees, wildlife, rocks, etc.) is a ridiculous endeavor, and if you're that hung up on realism you shouldn't be playing BrikWars in the first place.

However, some players who try to run BrikWars role-playing adventures may prefer to keep track of the most important Characters' hitpoints while handling NPCs' Armor in the standard fashion.  If so, this is how you do it.

Every Character for whom you will be keeping track of HitPoints should be placed on a stand.  Behind the Character, on the stand, build a stack of red Pips equal to three times the number of points in the Character's Armor rating.  If there are dice in the Character's AV, you will need to convert them to points first (0.3.3: Some Notes About Points and Pips).  If the Character is struck by an attack, remove one red Pip for every point of Damage it takes, and scatter the Pips around the Character as if they were blood.

When a Character's HitPoints have been reduced to half their original number, it is Stunned (3.3.6: Getting Stunned).  If its HitPoints have been reduced to precisely zero, it is Unconscious.  If it takes enough damage to reduce its HitPoints below zero, it is Extremely Unfortunate.  ("Dead," that is.)  If a Medik spends an entire turn treating a wounded Character, he can heal 1d10 HitPoints per turn.

If an enemy unit attempts to Stun the Character, he must only do enough Stun Damage to reduce the Character's HitPoints to the halfway mark.  If he is successful, the Character's HitPoints are reduced to the halfway mark and any excess Stun Damage has no effect.  If the Stun Damage is not enough to reduce the Character's HitPoints to the halfway mark, then the Character's HitPoints are not reduced at all.

If a player feels that one of the units belonging to another player is too heavily armored to kill in a single turn, he may demand that that unit be made a Character and its AV be converted to HitPoints.  He may make this demand even in the middle of a battle.

Optional Rule: Monster HitPoints Happy Face
Even if you are playing a game with no Characters, you may decide to use HitPoints if a single unit (usually some kind of monster) has such a high Armor Rating that it would be impossible for a player to do enough damage in a single turn to destroy it.  In this case you may choose to use Monster HitPoints.  For Monster HitPoints, each red Pip counts as 10 HitPoints, and an attacker must do a full 10 damage to remove each Monster HitPoint.  Attacks that do less than 10 damage bounce harmlessly off the monster's armor.  If an attacker could not possibly do 10 damage, a Critical Success on the Damage Roll also allows him to remove one Monster HitPoint.

The "Skill" rating determines how strong and skilled a unit is.  A unit must make a Skill Roll whenever he fires a weapon or attempts certain actions (covered in later chapters).  In this case, the Trooper rolls 1d6.

The final rating, "Cost," refers to the point cost to purchase one Trooper.  Like Armor, the CP cost of a Trooper increases with each TekLevel.  This is not because more advanced societies place more value in the life of a single minifig, because frankly, they don't.  The increased cost is due to the additional training that is required in order to handle weapons and equipment of greater and greater Teknological sophistication.

The cost of one Trooper does not include the cost of his weapons and equipment, which are covered in Chapter Two: The Fabulous Troopers' Arsenal.

Optional Rule: Point Budgeting
CP costs have been included for every type of troop, vehicle, weapon, and building, depending on the item's general usefulness in battle.  You are in no way obligated to pay any attention to any of these point costs.  There are three ways to deal with CPs:

1. Ignore CPs Completely (recommended in most cases) Happy Face
Ignoring CPs will save you crazy amounts of time and trouble, especially as your battles get larger.  Seriously, if you can possibly avoid having to tally points, do it - it will save you all kinds of headache.  The most important reason is that if you spend too much time thinking about maximizing your numbers rather than thinking about building the coolest military force, you will end up with a boring and generic army, every time, guaranteed.

Every player puts together as big an army as he wants to field, limited only by how much effort he wants to put into constructing buildings and vehicles.  If there are only two sides in the battle, then you're probably going to want the armies to be of nearly equal strength; your best guess is probably good enough when you try to even them out, no need to whip out the calculators.  If there are more than two sides, then it's perfectly all right if no two armies are the same strength, as long as no one army or alliance obviously has more power than all others combined.

2. CPs as an Afterthought (second best) Indifferent Face
If you are determined to field perfectly matched armies, have every side assemble however many forces they want, until everybody's got about the same amount of military strength (by your best guess).  Wait until this point before you let anybody even think about CP costs (We mean it - if somebody starts talking about their budget before they're done building, you are required by the rules to smack them upside the head with the handiest nearby blunt object.  If you don't have a handy blunt object nearby, you can build one out of PBBs).  Once everyone is finished, have them each add up the total cost of their army.  Whichever total is the highest becomes the new point limit, and the players whose totals are below that limit can add units and equipment to their armies until they reach the point total.

3. Specific Pre-Set CP Limits (avoid if possible) Surly Face
In some situations, such as tournaments or BrikWars parties, players may be asked to assemble their armies at home and then transport them to wherever the battle is being held.  In situations like this, the only way to assure evenly matched armies is to set a specific CP limit beforehand.

Optional Rule: Limited Point Budgeting Happy Face
Another way to avoid wasting time on point budgeting is as follows: put all your minifigs, animals, weapons, and equipment in a big pile.  Players then take turns picking one item from the pile (roll dice to see who goes first).  When everyone agrees that they have as many items as they want, toss whatever items may be left in the piles back into the containers.  Players then start building an army out of the items they have chosen.  If you put a weapon in a minifig's hand, he becomes a Trooper; a tool makes him a Mechanik, a suitcase makes him a Medik, and so on.  In this way, you've built almost your entire army without spending a single point.  Players should try to pick minifigs of their team's color if possible; if they can't, they should place them on stands of their team's color.  Once you're done putting your main force together, you can start paying attention to CP costs again in order to buy buildings, vehicles, robots, and supernatural units.

Basic Combat

There are two basic types of combat in BrikWars: ranged combat and close combat.  Ranged combat takes place over long distances, using guns, missiles, rocks, decapitated heads, or whatever else comes immediately to hand.  Close combat is when things get personal, and troopers take it upon themselves to engage each other one-on-one with hand weapons, fists, teeth, head-butting, elbowing, kneeing, kicking, tickling, and sitting on the enemy for extended periods of time.
What's an NPC?
If you don't know what an NPC is, we like you better already.  You have nothing to worry about and will do well in BrikWars and in life.

The attacker chooses the weapon he wants to use and the target he wants to attack.  An attacker may attack with one ranged weapon, with two hand weapons, or with any number of vehicle weapons, but each attacker can only focus on one target in any given turn.

For each weapon the attacker is using, he makes sure the target is within range of the weapon (in the case of Close Combat weapons, the attacker has to be able to touch the target with the weapon) and make an Attack Roll.  He does this by making a Skill Roll (i.e., a Trooper would roll 1d6), plus or minus any Skill Modifiers that apply (you won't have to worry about these until you get into more advanced chapters).  If his modified Skill Roll is equal to or greater than the Usage Rating (UR) of the weapon, he hits his target; otherwise, he misses.

(If all players agree that there is no way for the attacker to miss his target, then there is no need to bother making the Attack Roll.  For example: A SpaceHooligan is standing next to a glass window and decides he wants to break it with his BaseballBat.  Everyone agrees that the window doesn't stand a chance, so the Trooper goes ahead and breaks the window without bothering to roll any dice to see if he hit the window or if he did enough damage to break it.)

When an attacker successfully hits his target, the attacking player rolls the Damage Roll of the weapon being used, and the defending player rolls the Armor Roll of the target.  If the Armor Roll is equal to or higher than the Damage Roll, then the target survives unharmed; otherwise, it is destroyed (or damaged, in the case of vehicles or buildings).

Destroyed vehicles are ripped apart, and the pieces are scattered around the area it was destroyed.  Remove half the pieces from the playing field, leaving realistic debris behind.  If a trooper is destroyed, leave his dead body wherever it falls.

(Feel free to change the method of destruction whenever it seems appropriate.  A Trooper hit by a missile would leave scattered body parts.  A grenade tossed in the cabin of a pickup truck would only destroy the front half of the truck.  A blasted building would lose an appropriate-sized chunk of wall.  A Flier hit by an experimental Annihilation Ray would just disappear.)

Optional Rule: Critical Rolls Happy Face
If a player rolls a Skill Roll or a Damage Roll and the die ends up (or all dice end up) on a one, the Roll is an Automatic Failure, no matter how easy the task he was attempting.  Contrariwise, if all the dice in a Skill Roll or an Armor Roll end up on the dice's highest numbers (i.e., sixes on d6's, tens on d10's, etc.), the Roll is an Automatic Success, no matter how difficult the task was.  If there is a contest between two rolls, and both sides roll Automatic Successes or Failures, ignore the Automatic Success/Failure rules and just resolve the rolls normally.

Optional Rule: Better Critical Rolls Happy Face
There are a lot of situations where normal Critical Success rules lead to truly bizarre results (such as allowing a Trooper to punch his way through a mountain on one out of six tries).  Especially for Skill and Damage Rolls, you may want to handle your Critical Rolls a little differently.  Any time any one of the dice in a roll comes up on the die's highest number (a six on a d6, a ten on a d10, etc.), you may add one more of that die to the roll.  If the new die comes up on its highest-numbered face, than you may add an additional die, and so on, until you stop getting such lucky rolls.  Damage added in this manner does not increase the blast radius of an Explosion or the BurnRating of a Fire.

One Target per Turn
This rule is very important and often forgotten.  If one player has a giant BattleTank bristling with guns, each gunner in the Tank may only fire at one target on a given turn, regardless of how many weapons he controls.  Your best bet when taking down
a powerful target like this is to send in a large number of attackers - swarms of minifigs and fast vehicles can usually reach the target and start climbing around on it with a perfectly acceptable unit loss ratio.

Back to Chapter Zero: IntroductionBrikWarsForward to Chapter Two: The Trooper's Arsenal
© 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000