Chapter One: Gameplay
|"Thus, a prince should have no other object, nor any other thought, nor take any thing else as his art but that of war and its orders and discipline; for that is the only art which is of concern to one who commands."
|- Niccolo Machiavelli
|Almighty Benny and Major Natalya settle their BrikWars differences over a high-stakes game of Nano-BrikWars, proving themselves to be deadly metagamers.
|Elements shown: LEGO, Nanoblock, die
The purpose of BrikWars is to provide a safe and comfortable setting
in which groups of like-minded minifigs can gather to mutilate and slaughter
one another for the entertainment of their Humans. Their conflicts can be large or small, balanced or skewed,
orderly or chaotic; the important thing is that they deliver the mindless
violence on which minifig mental health depends.
1.1: Overview of Play
|"If our most highly qualified General Staff officers had been told to work out the most nonsensical high level organization for war which they could think of, they could not have produced anything more stupid than that which we have at present."
|- Claus von Stauffenberg
Human players prepare for a game by building armies, landscaping, scenic fortifications, and whatever else they think might add to their battlefield enjoyment. The only limits are the imagination and construction abilities of the players. It's best if the forces are built from plastic bricks, so that soldiers and structures can be modified to show damage, changes in posture, or equipment loadout, but it's by no means necessary - an army of action figures and stuffed animals can march over a landscape of book-stack mountains and shoebox buildings using the same rules.
Players have the option of imposing a military budget
of Construction Points if they suffer from the notion that
armies should be equal or that battles should be "fair." They might decide on a structured scenario, setting strict guidelines for the combat genre and spending hours crafting formations of
vehicles and infantry, or they might just grab mismatched units at random
out of a bin and start fighting immediately. Its left to the players to decide how serious
they want to pretend to be.
When the battlefield and armies are assembled, players can pick their
starting locations according to the requirements of the scenario or by any combination of mutual agreement and dice-rolling.
If one player designed the battlefield, its customary to allow
the other players to have first pick of starting locations, to prevent
|"First I kick you in the nuts as hard as I can, then you kick me in the nuts as hard as you can, and we keep going back and forth until somebody falls."
|- Eric Cartman
Once the battlefield and armies are in place, combat can begin. Each player takes
a turn, maneuvering forces and conducting attacks for all of the units
under his or her control, and then passes play to the next player. When all
surviving players have taken their turns, the cycle begins again with the first
|While it's easiest to pick a turn order and stick with it, players can mix the sequence up as they see fit. Some players like to roll dice to randomize the order of each cycle of turns. When multiple players are allied, or their forces are too far apart to interact, it can save time to run them all simultaneously until they're ready to try to kill each other like civilized figures. If forces start too far apart at the beginning of a battle, it can help to give them all double or triple turns to get into fighting range more quickly; on the other hand, it can help even more not to start the forces too far apart in the first place.
|"It's never 'just a game' when you're winning."
|- George Carlin
It's not especially important for any one player or
team to "win" a battle. Dying horribly
in some ridiculous fashion is always funnier than surviving horribly in some ridiculous fashion, and BrikWars
is set up to favor the optimum result of a complete massacre of all
participants, along with all bystanders and scenery. You should expect
your BrikWars battles to end with final victory going to
a force of nature or deadly catastrophe as often as to any of the players.
'Fire,' 'explosive decompression,' and 'I told you to put your toys away twenty minutes ago' have winning
records that no Human strategist can hope to match.
The classic ending for a BrikWars battle is for the entire battlefield
to be destroyed in a cataclysmic fireball. This is considered a victory
for all sides except those whose depressing objective was to prevent destruction
(e.g., "protect the doughnut supply ").
|Given the opportunity, there is nothing in the world that minifigs won't use as an excuse for killing each other. Minifigs are notoriously poor at sharing.
The simplest types of battles have no military objectives. Minifigs with weapons don't need any excuse to run around whacking other minifigs with them, and there's no reason not to just send them out on the field and let them go crazy. When the dust and body parts settle, it's irrelevant which side won or lost; success is measured by whether events on the battlefield were more crazy than those of the battle before, and by how much.
In (marginally) more serious battles, minifigs fight for a higher cause - stealing the enemy's secret taco recipe, assassinating a meddling peace delegation, or heaping the largest pile of skulls for the glory of the Stud God. Objectives work best when they're aggressive and focused - specific targets to destroy, murder, or steal make for exciting battles. Passive goals like defense or escape, if they're tolerated at all, should only be considered if they're made secondary to more target-oriented Objectives.
|"Survival" is never a worthwhile goal. Any minifigs saddled with such a lame Objective should ignore their Humans' orders and kill themselves immediately in protest.
Units in BrikWars are defined by their physical construction and placement. Players don't need to refer to charts and graphs to see if a minifig policeman has a chainsaw spear in his hand, or if it's long enough to eviscerate a nearby jaywalker, or if the fair and balanced cable news channel has cameras in position to catch the patriotic video of justice being served. The plastic figures speak for themselves.
Some attributes aren't obvious from the physical models, however. In-game abilities like a civilian's running speed, a policeman's spear-handling skill, or a chainsaw's effectiveness versus intestines are represented by a small handful of abstract numbers. BrikWars relies heavily on mayhem and chaos in the big picture, but the moment-to-moment details are made up of orderly numerical comparisons.
In BrikWars, distances are measured in inches. If you don't like inches,
you can use any alternate system of measurement that seems reasonable
- an inch is about three centimeters, the length of three construction brick
studs, or the height of three construction bricks. It's not important
whether or not the conversion is exact, as long as everyone's using
the same system.
|Keychain mini-measuring tapes are great for winding around narrow spaces.
As with most aspects of BrikWars, flexibility is key: bendable measuring
tape is going to be a lot more useful than a rigid ruler, since you'll
often want to measure around corners or in tight spaces. If you haven't
got a measuring tape handy, a simple ribbon or piece of string marked
off in inches will work as well.
|"Jacta alea est.”
|- Julius Caesar
BrikWars uses dice to add an element of randomness into the game.
If a minifig fires a rifle at an opponent, sometimes he'll hit and
sometimes he'll miss; if the enemy minifig is struck by the bullet,
he might survive the damage, or he might not. Die rolls determine
the outcome of actions whose success isn't guaranteed.
For the Core Rules, dice come in two flavors: the d6 and the d10, named according to how many faces are on each die. The
six-sided d6es ("dee-sixes") are regular cube-shaped
dice, much like you might find from raiding any lesser board game, except
that when you call them d6es it sounds 1d100 times as geeky. The ten-sided
d10s ("dee-tens") are a little more unusual; you'll
have to do some shopping at your local gaming store or website to
stock up. The d6es are used for almost all normal action in BrikWars,
while d10s are reserved for certain types of high-powered combat.
|If you don't have any ten-sided dice, you can replace any d10 roll with 2d6-2 - that is, roll two six-sided dice and subtract two from the result. Is this statistically equivalent? Not really. Does anyone care? Refer to The Law of Fudge, below.
Die rolls are described according
to the number of each type of dice involved, plus or minus a modifier (if any). 4d6 means a roll of four six-sided dice, all added together. 1d10+2 means you roll one ten-sided die and add two to the
result. 17d6 + 23d10 + 0937 means rolling seventeen six-sided dice
and twenty-three ten-sided dice together, and adding nine hundred
thirty-seven to the result, which you will hopefully never have to
|Some people like to refer to dice with a "die" rather than a "dee" prefix. But how, then, do you refer to multiples? With the utilitarian "die-sixes," or the more erudite "dice-six?" The solution is this: whenever someone refers to a die-anything, kick them in whichever shin is most convenient. This will forestall further arguments about proper nomenclature and pluralization.
No matter how negative a modifier may be, the lowest possible result
for any die roll is zero. A roll of 1d6-100 will almost always
have a simple result of zero, for instance, unless a player's luck
with Critical Rolls defies belief.
Rolling dice in BrikWars is never a sure thing. No matter how easy
or how difficult the task, theres always at least a tiny chance
of failure or success, thanks to a couple of special cases when rolling
If the die in any roll comes up 1, then the
roll is a Critical Failure, regardless of other modifiers. Whatever task a player or unit was
attempting fails completely, no matter how easy it might have
If there are multiple dice in a roll, it's only a Critical Failure if all of the dice come up '1.'
Luckily, rolls can also turn out unexpectedly well. When rolling
any number of dice, for each die that comes up on its highest-numbered
face (a six on a d6, a ten on a d10), the player may add +1d6
to that roll as a Bonus Die. The same holds true for
the additional dice rolled any sixes rolled on the Bonus
Dice continue earning additional Bonus Dice. A player may elect
not to roll a Bonus Die that hes earned, for whatever
1.3: Supplies Checklist
|"The very existence of flamethrowers proves that some time, somewhere, someone said to themselves, 'You know, I want to set those people over there on fire, but I'm just not close enough to get the job done.'”
|- George Carlin
Besides the obvious items like armies, a battlefield, and opponents, players should make sure to have the following.
Things You'll Need
First and most importantly: fun. It seems obvious,
but this item is so often strangely forgotten by all types
of gamers that it bears repeating: don't play a game
if you don't mean to have fun.
And remember that it's not all about you! BrikWars caters to a much wider range of play styles than most wargames, and other players may have entirely different ideas than you do about what counts as fun. If you're having a fantastic time but everyone else is frustrated or bored stiff, then the game is a failure and it's probably your fault. Make sure you know what kind of game everyone else showed up to play, and pay attention to what types of fun they're trying to get out of it.
- Measuring Devices
BrikWars is won or lost by its ranges and measurements, and you'll want enough measuring tools to go around. Flexible measuring tape is best, but in a pinch you can put together brick-built measuring sticks instead, measuring distances at three studs per inch.
You'll need a good supply of dice - the more, the better. The Core Rules are written entirely for two types of dice: regular cube-shaped six-sided dice (d6es) for regular units, and the
more unusual ten-sided dice (d10s) for siege- and hero-level
|In the advanced rules (Book Two: MOC Combat), rules are given for using a greater variety of exotic dice, but these also have equivalent d6 conversions if necessary.
An ancient curse among minifigs warns: "Pics or it didn't happen!" By nature, BrikWars games are full of amazing constructions,
crazy action scenes, and hilarious mishaps, but without photographic evidence even the most glorious triumphs will never achieve Kanon status outside their local group of Humans.
- Doughnuts and Beer
Pizza, chips, and Mountain Dew are the traditional
food of tabletop gamers, but the proper BrikWars mindset is
further from Gary Gygax and closer to Homer
Simpson. Cheeseburgers are an acceptable compromise.
|Which Bricks Should I Use?
Most people associate construction bricks with The LEGO Company, but there are many other fly-by-night toymakers riding on LEGO's coattails. The knockoff products from these "clone brands" can cost much less than genuine LEGO bricks. This is no coincidence: Regular toymakers use less expensive toy molds to make toy-quality bricks, while LEGO uses super-precise (and super-expensive) engineering to create building elements with accuracy measured in microns.
The difference is impossible to miss once you start trying to build anything. Two clone bricks can often fit together without trouble (depending on the brand), and it's not unusual to find a third that fits onto the first two. But the inconsistencies compound with each brick added, and soon it's a struggle to force additional bricks together at all. With LEGO, by contrast, thousands of parts snap together as a matter of course.
Here, LEGO is the victim of its own excellence - people are so used to bricks that "just work," they assume that any similar-looking brick will function just as well. Ignorant grandparents think the clone bricks give more value for the dollar. Unlucky grandkids, frustrated by trying to get the knockoffs to function at all, grow up never wanting to play with construction toys again, and become murderers, drug dealers, and politicians, or worse: news pundits..
By counterfeiting and betraying the good will built up by LEGO over the course of generations, the clone brand parasites sabotage the very market they're leeching off of. To give them a single dollar of support is an act of perversion beyond justification, and any Human who knowingly buys a clone set is doomed to burn in Human Hell in a richly-deserved fiery torment lasting for all eternity.
That being said, clone brands offer specific advantages to the pragmatic BrikWarrior.
Because they aren't limited by LEGO's anti-war ethics, or by the need for each element to earn back the hundreds of thousands of dollars it costs to make a single LEGO mold, their elements and sets can be much more specialized and morally dubious. Historically, the clone brands' most successful playthemes have looked like they could have come straight out of a traditional miniatures wargame.
For minifig and weapon elements, this is fantastic, since their use doesn't depend as heavily on quality or buildability. For contruction elements, the results are less usable, but even the crappy clone bricks can have a role to play. By sandwiching them between layers of genuine LEGO elements, they can sometimes be used to build stable structures while still keeping a lower overall cost.
Things You Probably Won't Need But Might
If you're not making up bizarre and crazy ad hoc rules on the fly,
you're not really playing BrikWars. As such, you might want to bring
extra gear just on the off chance that you think of funny things to
do with it.
- Pencil and Paper
In case you want to pass love notes to the cute player
on the other team.
Or to all of the other players at once, if you're into that kind of thing.
- Spare Parts
It's often nice to be able
to whip up a costume change for your hero, craters and
random debris from explosions, a stand to hold a
minifig in a precarious position between turns, or any number of other
objects that might appear as the result of unexpected
- Stat Cards
Even if you think you've got all your units' stats memorized,
it's good to keep their stat cards handy, if for no other
reason than to reassure your opponents that you're not
making up numbers off the top of your head.
- Blood and Fire
While not completely necessary, it really adds to the
ambience if you have a healthy supply of little red plates and
flame elements to scatter around whenever it seems like
the battlefield could use more blood or more fire. And
seriously, when could a battlefield not use more blood
and more fire?
|Nothing says gaming like funny dice. A Stumble die, for
instance, is easily made by taking a marker and dashing
off a quick arrow on each face of a regular d6. Now with
every roll you get both a direction and a number of inches,
good for ad hoc rulings on wind direction, shrapnel trajectories,
and drunken staggering.
If you've ever played a collectible card game, you've
got piles of these: colored beads or beans or chits or
little pewter brains. Even if you haven't got some counting
pips set aside already, it's easy to improvise some with
a pile of plastic bricks. Pips let you make up conditions
like "everyone remove one blue pip at the end
of your turn - when they run out, the nuke goes off."
- Fire Rings
Complicated and arcane-looking gear with no real purpose
is great for intimidating newbies. More experienced players
may just laugh at you whether the things actually have
a purpose or not, so be careful.
1.4: The Spirit of the Game
|Minifigs hold faith in any number of greater and lesser powers that inspire their fear, worship, and adulation.
Some abandon rationality in obeisance to BrikThulhu, the nine-tentacled RagnorOktopus of Chaos.
Others are seduced by the corruption of the Nega-Bloktrix and her promises of cheap Cloan-brik assembly. These blasphemers are opposed by purist orders of Legiti Knights and fraternal legions of BrikMasons who devote themselves to acts of brutal oppression and self-righteous douchebaggery in the name of an unseen Great Builder.
On the fringes, Rainbowistic cultists pursue the ecstatic anti-sentience of the baseball-capped Dimmy swarms, while ascetics at the opposite extreme abandon all hygiene in a quest to harness the forces of deconstruction and rebirth that sustain the poop-worshipping Dungans. Some put their faith in the impossible figure of the Dodekube, ascribing all events to the random dice rolls of disinterested Human gods. There are even rumors of isolated minifig hermits who hold a laughable belief in an omnipotent personal Player who oversees their every move.
No matter how ridiculous, all minifig belief systems are true. The Farce ensures that no faith goes unrewarded.
|By longstanding tradition, the customary drink of BrikWars is a black Irish stout. When Spirits are called for, whiskey is the accepted alternative.
Proper Observance of Rules
|"The secret we should never let the gamemasters know is that they don't need any rules."
|- Gary Gygax
The right answer is the wrong answer if it takes more than thirty seconds to look it up. When checking a rule isn't worth the effort, it's better to axe a stupid question than to get the stupid answer.
Rules are for the small-minded and weak. Let a little kid loose among
your collection of bricks sometime, and watch the way he plays. In
his hands, those minifigs will have all kinds of crazy battles and
adventures. There'll be all the drama, death, and explosions you could
ever want, and the whole time that kid won't have to crack open a rulebook even once. How is it that he's so much smarter than we are?
The answer is that most of us have had a lot more years of schooling
than he has. Wait until he's eighteen, he'll have become just as slack-jawed
and dull-eyed as the rest of us.
BrikWars has a lot of rules. If the mandatory education system has
had the chance to get its hooks in you, then you'll respect the authority
of those rules, because they're all written down in a book and some
of them are capitalized.
If things went so badly that you ended up
going to college as well, then you'll not only shackle yourself
to those rules in a masochistic fever, but also start twisting them to your own
ends, weaseling out loopholes and exploits to cleverly frustrate the
other players and ingeniously prevent fun for the entire group.
If you find yourself engaging in that kind of rules-lawyering and
munchkinism, then you have just failed at BrikWars. Stamp a big F
on your report card, schedule a get-together between your face and
the Hammer of Discipline, and see if you can't spend a little time
afterwards with a couple of eight-year-olds to remember all the things
you've forgotten about having fun.
|"The more laws and order are made prominent, the more thieves and robbers there will be."
|- Lao Tzu
The reason BrikWars has so many rules is that it's a lot more fun
to flout a large rules system than a small one. Hopefully you can
use these rules as a springboard for the imagination rather than as
manacles with which to enslave yourself. However, not everyone is ready to live without the safety net that such a system
provides, especially while in competition with others. So,
before going any further, here are the three most important rules in
|THE RULE OF FUDGE
everything your opponents
will let you get away with.
|"Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something."
|- Thomas Edison
The power of fudge overrides
BrikWars provides pages and pages of rules to calculate
events down to the tiniest detail. If a player tries to follow all
of them to the letter, their turns will take hours, everyone will
lose interest, and no one will want to play a second time. This is
for the best. Those people should give up on construction
bricks and donate them to someone with an imagination.
Just because you can assign die rolls to every sneeze and determine
landing trajectories for every blown-off body part, doesn't mean you
should. The most probable results are very often the least ridiculous,
and why bust out the calculators just to spend more time having less
fun? Except where your opponents insist otherwise, you should resolve
the bulk of your actions with rough estimates, arbitrary decisions,
and an abundance of vague hand-waving. Given the opportunity, always
Fudge in favor of mayhem.
Don't waste time on stuff nobody cares about. Following the rules
and winning are the two lowest priorities on your list. Getting some
laughs during the battle and having a good story to
tell afterwards are your primary goals.
|Remember that while you're fudging everything your opponents aren't objecting to, they're trusting you to set the limits on their fudging in return. They won't know what level of rule-minding you're most comfortable with if you don't tell them.
|WHAT I SAY GOES
are smarter than rulebooks. Especially the ones with the
highest dice rolls.
|"Any commander who fails to exceed his authority is not of much use to his subordinates."
|- Arleigh Burke
will be many times when players will have a difference of opinion,
when the best course of action isn't clear, or when no one remembers
the details of a rule but they don't care enough to waste time looking
it up. Can a zombie bite convert dogs into zombie dogs?
Can that archer really fire at the petting zoo from inside a juniper bush? Is that hot dog stand within bazooka range?
If players cant come to a quick consensus, then its time
for a What I Say Goes Roll. Every interested player (and, in some cases, any sufficiently opinionated bystander) states
his position. All participating players roll dice, re-rolling
ties if necessary. The player with the highest roll wins, and What
He Says Goes.
|If one player takes a position thats an obvious
and deliberate attempt to cheat, his opponents are obligated to beat
the crap out of him. The player should then revise his position, although
you might let him get away with keeping it if the beating
was good enough.
The first What I Say Goes Roll in many games is to decide the order
of play. The winner decides who goes first and in what order the players
will take their turns.
|EVERYONE'S THE BOSS
OF THEIR OWN TOYS
Don't break other people's toys
without their blessing.
|"You guys don't get it, do you? Once we go into Sid's house, we won't be coming out!"
BrikWars works best when the game effects are reflected in the physical objects. When a soldier gets decapitated, the minifig's head is removed and knocked aside. When a tank gets blown apart, the model is smashed to pieces and scattered across the battlefield. When land mines explode underfoot, holes are chainsawed into the dining room table surface to show where the craters are. When the doomsday nuke goes off, players set the house on fire.
Sadly, not everyone is happy to see their prized constructions, furniture, or home equity destroyed for the sake of BrikWars realism. They may doubt their ability to put their favorite models back together again after the battle, or they might worry about losing valuable elements when all the pieces get mixed up. They may be thinking ahead and wondering how they'll explain to the insurance adjuster exactly how their house burned down.
No matter how lame the excuse, Everyone's the Boss of Their Own Toys. If they don't want you breaking their stuff, don't break it. There are other ways to track damage to enemy units and structures and players besides busting pieces off of them, even if it's not as much fun.
Even more important than the physical models,
players can be very protective of their personal Kanon. If a player comes to the table with the characters and storyline that sustained him and his brother through a desperate childhood thirty years earlier, don't What I Say Goes them into a black hole for the sake of making the half-assed army you invented over your lunch break seem two percent cooler. Regardless of what happens on the battlefield, players are the bosses of their own storylines. If they don't feel that you're treating their Kanon with respect, your contributions will be vetoed.
The Farce is a mass satire created by all laughing things. Its jokes surround and penetrate the bricks, and its punchlines bind them together. With a Lite side, a Snark side, and a regrettably stupid Dim side, Farce-attuned minifigs attest that "anything can be funny... from a certain point of view."
The Farce unsubtly alters reality and events to fall in favor of more chaos, more mayhem, and more hilarity from victors and victims alike.
The Farce ensures that characters and factions exist only as their own worst straw-man plastic caricatures, and Farce-influenced events are rarely accompanied by any more logical justification than "wouldn't it be funny if," often going to absurd lengths to avoid one. Instead, the Farce acts through the power of gratuitous and inescapable Koincidence.
Koincidences occur according to how entertaining they are, rather than respecting any normal rules of probability. No matter how unlikely or impossible, new elements of hilarity become all but inevitable if they Koincidentally spark a fresh paroxysm of minifig-on-minifig violence, disrupt a well-laid and rational plan, or amplify the worst possible consequences of a harmless error.
BrikWars takes place in a rigged BrikVerse, whose fundamental laws are set up to make sure the most improbable thing that could possibly happen usually does. The ends justify the means, and if the Humans need a medieval castle and breathable atmosphere to mysteriously appear in an asteroid field in order to play out their dream battle of dragons versus starfighters, then that's exactly what happens. The forces of Koincidence put the castle where it needs to go, and its arrival requires no explanation, any more than the non-Euclidean space pony invasion force does when it arrives two turns later.
The Farce accomplishes this, as often as possible, by putting the power of Koincidence into the hands of those least interested in using it responsibly. Specifically, the Humans. And more specifically, whichever Humans are most opposed to the well-being of the minifigs affected.
|"Oceania was at war with Eurasia; therefore Oceania had always been at war with Eurasia."
|- George Orwell
Koincidence is a wonderful tool, but it must never be allowed to fall into benevolent hands. When it comes time for Koincidence to affect events in battle, the power must be granted by a Human player to one of his Enemies, preferably to use against him. Which players are Enemies at any given moment is determined by the following criteria:
- Not Enemies: You
Players can never be their own Enemies, no matter what their terrible die-rolling skills seem to indicate.
- Not Enemies: Your Allies
Players cannot be Enemies with their current allies, no matter how viciously they may have battled in the past. Happily, alliances are easily canceled by a well-timed Inevitable Betrayal.
- Not Enemies: Non-Players
Without an agenda to pursue, inanimate objects and neutral bystanders have no way to ironically benefit from a player's errors, making them worthless as Enemies. Neutralized opponents and absent players are included in the Non-Players category.
- Enemies: Any Players Trying to Kill You
First and foremost, a player is Enemies with any player with whom he's engaged in direct combat.
In situations where this isn't clear, two players are considered to be engaged in direct combat if either of them has attempted at least one attack on the other since the beginning of their previous turn.
- Otherwise: Enemies: Any Players That Tried to Kill You, or Your Allies, Ever
If a player is not currently directly engaged in combat, then his Enemies are any players who have engaged in combat with him or his current allies at any point in the battle.
- If all else fails: Enemies: Everybody
If neither the player nor his current allies have engaged in combat at all, then every other player is an Enemy by default.
|Note that Enemies are not necessarily reciprocal - it's possible for a player to have clear Enemies who are too busy to consider him an Enemy in return, if they're focused on more pressing combat elsewhere.