"A [construction brick] gaming system
for individual level combat originated by Mike Rayhawk.
It's similar in intent to other individual level miniatures
games, but with an emphasis on mayhem and humor. A wide
selection of 'TekLevels' allows players to simulate combat
in any combination of time periods and genres.
Like many games offered free of charge on the internet,
BrikWars is appealing in concept, but in practice nearly
impossible to play. Rules that appear straightforward
at first become perniciously more complex with each
passing chapter, almost as if the author were using
the rulebook as the medium for some long-running and
obscure practical joke. It's a testament to the obstinate
nature of AFOLs that they've managed to play as many
battles as they have, despite the author's every attempt
to thwart them."
- Entry from the BrickWiki online encyclopedia
as of September 2, 2005
|"Anyone who leaves
behind him a written manual, and likewise anyone
who receives it, believing that such writing will
be clear and certain, must be exceedingly simple-minded."
Around a decade
ago I was bungling my way through college, three thousand miles
from the brick collection Id had to leave behind, always on
the lookout for more productive pursuits than the dreary rituals
of doing homework or attending classes. A large chunk of my time
was spent in flagrant appropriations-committee graft, railroading
proposals through to misallocate university funds and facilities
for our dorms secret Lego Room, all so we could try out these
new ideas for a half-assed brick wargame I was cooking up.
|The secret Lego
Room, paid for by university funds.
Dan Adinolfi, March 2006
few weeks, as best as I can calculate from those inauspicious beginnings,
BrikWars will be celebrating its tenth birthday. In other words,
Im getting pretty freaking old.
going through a box of old papers a few weeks ago, and came across
the remnants of my first stab at brick wargaming. I must have been
eleven or twelve when I wrote them, and like many young nerds I
was of the opinion that "better" meant "more detail."
Every minifig had its own character sheet, and we measured distances
with the painstaking counting of studs.
made it through the first turn. The game was completely impossible
Six years later, college gave me my first exposure to the brand
new World Wide Web, and I browsed my way to a game called Lego
a wargame worth playing! Sadly, Lego Wars existence
was short-lived LEGO®s lawyers discovered the game
shortly after I did, and you wouldnt believe the number
of dice in their damage roll.
drafts of BrikWars, written over the tail end of 1995, were meant
as little more than a non-copyright-infringing, non-Lego-specific
successor to that earlier games legacy. But the next few years
brought a process of relentless mutation, as dozens of meddlers added
ideas by the shovelful, and the whole mix was blended and re-blended
with no regard for consistency or continuity. By the time BrikWars.com
went live in 1998, the game still had recognizable references to its
Lego Wars heritage, but BrikWars had clearly evolved into its own
meantime the Internet had evolved as well. I quickly learned to dread
seeing the letters "aol.com"on an incoming BrikWars email.
The AOLien invaders sent waves of abuse for BrikWars failure
to tell them what to build, or because they couldnt find a button
that started a videogame version, or because they couldnt download
building instructions for example units and therefore found the game
unplayable. Too many products of American public schooling, angry
at being deprived of having someone telling them what to do, were
completely missing the point of a game and a toy that are both about
making creations of your own invention. Offers to refund their money
(BrikWars has always been a free download) only resulted in further
Regardless, the AOL users, while loud and annoying, were little more
than an irrelevant distraction from my target audience of people with
brains. The worse problem were the more intelligent morons, the idiot-savant
Anoraks,2 adept with
details and calculations but oblivious to the more critical objective
of having fun. I started hearing one horror story after another of
a breed of player whose single-minded goal seemed to be the derailment
of his group's enjoyment in favor of making sure everything was done
By the Book and, above all, that his personal interpretation of the
rules was Right. The story that topped it off was of a BrikWars battle
staged at a LEGO-enthusiasts' convention, in which the guy running
the game was such a rules nazi that he literally made his players
cry rather than let them have fun.3
From that point forward, the BrikWars rules became a personal battle
between myself and the Anoraks of the world. But how do you write
rules to stop people from following rules? Strident commands to ignore
the rulebook had no effect; nor did long passages dividing Anorak
behavior into bullet points and disallowing each one in specific.
For some guys the compulsion to be Right was just too strong.
So with the 2000 and 2001 editions I tried a different tack: I set
out to give the Anoraks more building-blocks than they could put together.
I concentrated my efforts on overloading the book with so many details,
systems, and optional sections that anyone trying to obey all of them
would be forced to throw their hands up in defeat, leaving only the
superior breed that knows how to treat rules with the proper disrespect.
I happily congratulated myself when the webs hardcore wargaming
sites panned BrikWars in their reviews. There are plenty of adequate
games catering to the wargamer mindset; BrikWars was intended for
the construction-brick mindset, whose brains are expertly trained
to pick out the specific elements that serve their goals and to chuck
It was a brilliant effort. In the end, it was a complete failure.
And that failures name was NELUG.
The New England LEGO® Users Group has been the wellspring
of a frightening proportion of the LEGO® fan communitys
most dominant centers of power, including the LUGNET
newsgroups, the Peeron parts
inventories, and lately even laying claim to the ultimate prize, the
trick of fate or geography, the members of that group represent a
concentration of Anorak powers more viciously intensified than can
be found in any other construction-brick club in the world. No matter
how desperately I struggled, I couldnt create a volume of detail
larger than Dave Eaton could memorize, or systems and formulae complex
enough to satisfy Shaun Sullivan's unslakable thirst for obscure modifiers.
No system of rules was woven tight enough that Joe couldn't twist
loopholes out of them. And no matter how daringly clever, no counterintuitive
passage or trick of psychology could prevent Jonathan from using every
game as a platform to aggressively pursue an agenda of proving himself
So I offer you the tenth-anniversary edition of BrikWars as a kind
of apology. I did everything I could to write a game that was impossible
to play, but what seemed automatic at age eleven has proven hopeless
in the age of the Internet. So Ive given up. I humbly present
BrikWars 2005, a game that works for everybody, construction fans
and Anoraks alike.
because the rules are playable this time, dont feel obligated
to follow them. Never forget who theyre written by, and his
long history of legislative deceit.
Mike Rayhawk, September 2005
"Lego Wars," Eric ODell and Todd Ogrin, ©1991.
Lego Wars was not associated with The LEGO Group and was annihilated
for making improper use of the LEGO® name. LEGOs legal
team did their best to obliterate the files from the web, but they
can still be found moldering away in forgotten archives by adventurous
types daring enough to Google for them.
I dont remember who suggested the term Anorak, or why we originally
thought it made sense, other than that were fond of words
ending with the letter K. UK trainspotters are infamous for their
dorky attire, and this may have been the source of the name.
I heard this story secondhand from Adult Lego Enthusiasts on the
scene, which throws the matter into some doubt. It's been my experience
that hardcore ALEs are unrepentantly vicious and backbiting when
gossiping about one another, and their stories sometimes bear only
the vaguest relation to the truth. However I should also add that
if I remember correctly, this particular gentleman ended up getting
hired by The LEGO® Company a little while later, which makes
me think that the story of his purported sadism towards the enthusiasts
is a little more believable.