The M-Throne Empire does nothing small. The tympanum relief sculpture of the Imperial Senate Building pediment depicts the M-Throne Emperor championing the Greater Good, defending civilization against evil's ever-present threat.
Photo: Azmi Timur
From "Imperial Senate Building"
Elements shown: LEGO
image rights: Azmi Timur, signed 7/23
There is no environment more dangerous to minifigs than the flat open field of an empty dining room table or hardwood floor.
This is not to discount the admirable qualities of minefields, quicksand, black holes, and molten lava, but all they can threaten is mutilation or death. To the fighting minifig, a featureless plane is much more terrifying. Without strong points to exploit, choke points to control, obstacles to avoid, and sublime vistas to annihilate, minifigs face the danger of becoming tactically disoriented, or worse, bored.
Minifigs are tender, fragile, and slow compared to armored vehicles and other large units. Without cover to duck behind, they have a tendency to get ground up like plastic hamburger meat. An ideal battlefield is populated with enough structures to give minifigs a satisfactory range of tactical options. Whether fighting amongst walls and fortifications, trees and rivers, cliffs and caves, or gas stations and convenience stores, the more variety that's available to minifigs in the field, the better.
The more props and clever details players can pack into their structures, the more opportunities they'll discover for unplanned mayhem.
Photo: Shaun Sullivan
Elements shown: LEGO
rights not secured
Every physical object in the BrikWars universe is a structure at heart, from the minifig and his binoculars, to the grassy knoll he's crouching on, to the public libraries and orphanages he's targeting for orbital bombardment. The majority of these structures are simply handled as free scenery, not owned or paid for by any player, but it's still important to be able to cook up some quick stats to know how efficiently they can be reduced to smoking craters.
The core of any creation is its central structure, upon which all the limbs, weapons, devices, and decorations are mounted. As a rule of thumb, any section of the creation with an 'interior' (whether for cargo, minifigs, machinery, or vital internal organs) is structural.
A structure has two main attributes: Size and Armor. These apply only to the creation's central structure. Non-structural elements are not included in the Size measurement and will often have a lower Armor level.
Any parts that are decorative, moving, have activated functions, or are otherwise not an integral part of the core structure are non-structural. This includes devices mounted on the exterior of a structure, as well as interior objects like furniture, security systems, and intestines. While weapons and devices are the most obviously useful type (Chapter Eight: Weaponry), all non-structural elements are great for adding color and interest to an otherwise humdrum battlefield.
To determine a structure's Size, players take the physical model and measure the number of inches along the longest dimension of its structural section, ignoring non-structural elements like wings or missile launchers. The number of inches measured is the structure's Size rating. Players can round fractions upward or downward according to preference.
A structure's Size determines how many weapons and devices it can activate in a turn, how many times it can be damaged before it's destroyed, and its maximum Armor level.
The Armor Level of Shaun Sullivan's evil Juggerbunny fluctuates according to how fast it can absorb live rabbits. Fortunately those little buggers breed quickly.
Photo: Shaun Sullivan
From "T.E.A.M. Rebirth"
Elements shown: LEGO
rights not secured
Most structures have a minimum Size of 1", but very small single-piece creatures (snakes, bats, scorpions, and parrots, for instance), can have a Size rating of 0" (10.3: Dangerous Beasts).
Creations start with a base Armor of 1. A single Size Enhancement to Armor raises the 1 to 1, and each Enhancement thereafter raises it by an additional +1, to a normal maximum Armor of 3. Higher Armor levels are possible, but Armor 4 and especially 5 should be avoided except in the most unique and epic boss battles.
Rather than adding another Armor die, players can use an Armor Enhancement to add a single level of Deflection (3.3: Bodily Protection).
A Deflection Enhancement is most often balanced by a Half Move Impairment.
An Armor Impairment reduces a structure's Armor level to zero. A structure with zero Armor is destroyed on any successful hit, without the attacker having to make a Damage Roll.
* - For minifigs, the 1 Armor level is simplified to 4 to cut down on dice rolling.
Players can assign Armor levels according to whatever seems most appropriate. If their creations are based on Human structures, the players can choose an equivalent material from the examples in the Armor Levels table.
If their creations represent nothing more than the plastic constructions they actually are, then the players can discuss what Armor ranges they'd like for a satisfying game overall. A high Armor range encourages units to maneuver around strong points for cover, while a low Armor range invites them to blast through obstacles in a rush to take and hold the initiative.
By default, unmoving structures (buildings, rocks, trees, student loan balances) have Armor based on their inches of Size. Structures up to Size 2" have 1 Armor, structures up to Size 4" have 2 Armor, and structures larger than 4" have 3 Armor.
Any exposed hinges, turrets, pivots, or other moving attachment points on a creation are weak points. By default, these weak points, along with any non-structural elements and interior walls, have one less of Armor than the structure they're attached to. (Weak points on a structure that already has 1 Armor or less aren't affected.) Incidental decorations and other objects mounted to a main structure may have higher or lower Armor Ratings as seems appropriate to their particular nature, at the players' discretion.
The number of s in a structure's Armor is the creation's Weight class, which determines its maximum Momentum and its resistance to special damage effects. (An Armor level of 1 is treated as Weight class ½.) A structure's Weight and number of Armor s can never be greater than its inches of Size (or Effective Size, if it's taken Size Damage (7.2: Taking Damage)).
In the Core Rules, injuries are simple to deal with. For minifigs and Heroes, damage higher than their Armor rating kills them, damage of a lesser amount has no effect, and damage equal to their Armor causes Something Bad to happen (5.1: Making Attacks).
Custom creations come in a much more varied assortment, and the greater their Size and complexity, the more options they have for things to go disastrously and hilariously wrong. For larger creations, damage might only weaken them by stages or break off individual bricks, and every expanded option for customization is another potential disadvantage when Something Bad happens.
When attacking a large creation, players can handle the damage in two ways. Size Damage does damage to the creation as a whole, treating its Size inches as a type of hit points and allowing attackers to weaken the creation's overall abilities one inch at a time. Component Damage lets attackers focus on destroying individual systems or severing specific construction element connections rather than doing generalized damage overall.
Targeting a creation for Size Damage doesn't take a lot of precision — the attacker just has to be able to target any part of its central structure (7.1: Structure). This will often grant a nice Action Bonus, since the attacking unit can take a target size bonus for however much of the structure is visible to it (+1 bonus per 2" target Size; see 5.1: Making Attacks).
The attack damage must exceed the target's Armor to have any effect. If it does, the target creation takes one inch of Size Damage, represented by sticking a colored damage pip to a prominent spot on the creation or its baseplate.
Black or red 1x1 bricks are the usual choice for Damage pips, although other elements may be used for convenience or better visibility.
When a creation takes Size Damage, its physical model remains the same, but the creation's Effective Size is reduced by each inch of Size Damage. The creation's Power (8.1: Weapon Size) and Momentum (9.5: Collisions) limits are decreased to match the new Effective Size, and if its Weight class and number of Armor s (7.1: Structure) are greater than its Effective Size inches, they're reduced to match as well. If the creation takes enough Size Damage to reduce its Effective Size to half its original Size or less, then the creation moves at Half Speed.
When a creation's Armor is decreased by Size Damage, the Armor of its Non-Structural Elements and moving parts are also weakened accordingly.
Any positive advantages that might result from a smaller Size, such as a decreased targeting bonus for attackers, are ignored. The creation's Size as a physical target hasn't decreased, only its ability levels.
If a creation's Effective Size is reduced to zero inches, then the creation is destroyed in the manner that seems most appropriate. Towers collapse, spaceships explode, whales go belly-up, zeppelins burst into flame, and pirate ships sink to the briny bottom. Creations of Size 1" (and Vermin of Size 0") are destroyed on the first inch of Size Damage.
Never having been known for its sense of fair play, this Mega Bloks dragon aims for a particular weak spot while making a bite attack on its LEGO counterpart. Finer points of reptilian anatomy aside, it wouldn't be unreasonable for players to grant this attack a couple extra dice of damage or some especially crippling side effect.
Elements shown: LEGO, Mega Bloks
When attackers want to focus damage on a particular weak point, they can single out individual construction elements for Component Damage. This takes a little more accuracy than a Size Damage attack - many elements are small enough to incur Action Penalties for small target size (5.1: Making Attacks). The advantage is that Component Damage can be used to disable or destroy specific devices and systems, which tend to be less heavily armored than the main structure.
If Component Damage exceeds the target component's Armor, then the component is chopped, smashed, or blasted off of the creation. The attacker removes either a single building component or a chunk of bricks up to 1" in Size. Where possible, players should try to make the damage appropriate to the attack type — piercing armor plating with an energy blade makes a more precise cut than pounding it with mortar fire.
Explosives are especially satisfying when used for Component Damage, as they can potentially destroy a large number of Components in their blast radius at once.
If a creation is made of a single very large component, such as a towering BrikThulhoid Furry Horror made out of a stuffed teddy bear, it's poor form to try and use Component Damage to destroy the whole thing in one hit. Players should stick to Size Damage or choose a specific feature to disable rather than destroying the whole element.
Using Component Damage, a tank's armor, a castle wall, and a dragon's ribcage can all be breached to expose the juicy innards to more effective follow-up attacks. Critical devices like steering wheels, helicopter blades, and kneecaps can be destroyed individually to disable a target.
By targeting narrow connection points (the tail section of a helicopter or the waist of a giant wasp), a successful Component Damage attack can divide one large creation into two or more smaller ones. The Size Ratings of the new smaller creations are reduced to reflect their new stature, but each then inherits the full Size Damage of the original creation, which may mean that one or both are instantly destroyed. Each section may use whichever weapons and devices remain attached to them, but only if they still have the necessary remaining Effective Size and controls to activate them (Chapter 8: Weaponry).
When a creation is struck by Size or Component Damage that exactly matches its Armor, the creation's player picks Something Bad of their choice to happen as a result. This is the same as for minifigs in the Core Rules (5.1: Making Attacks), but with a larger menu of Something Bads to choose from.
Something Bad happens less frequently in full creation combat than in fights between minifigs, since the wider range of Armor and Damage ratings make exact matches less likely.
If Something Bad results from Size Damage, it can potentially affect any part of the creation. If it's the result of Component Damage, its effects are limited to the targeted component. Component Damage that knocks the System Offline!, for example, only knocks that single component Offline! while leaving the rest of the creation functional.
Not all Something Bads make sense for all types of creations or all types of attacks. It's up to the players to determine whether a given Something Bad is appropriate to the situation at hand and creates a genuine inconvenience for the target. If players are trying to break apart an asteroid hurtling towards their capital city, for instance, a result of Stunned! or Out of Control! would have no meaningful effect, and Struck to the Ground! would work to the asteroid's advantage. The only appropriate Something Bads would be for the asteroid to be Mortally Wounded! or for the players to come up with a clever Unexpected Twist! (for instance, deflecting the trajectory slightly to hit the asteroid's mom instead).
When the Damage from an attack is much higher or much lower than the target's Armor, players may decide to use special forms of Damage to account for the effects. Special damage takes a little more work than the usual kind and should be saved for appropriately special occasions.
Given enough time, a woodcutter's axe can chop down a telephone pole, a battering ram can beat down reinforced gates, and a hammer and chisel can punch a leak in the hull of a submarine. When the Armor of a target is too great to ever be overcome in a single attack, Grinding Damage can be used to grind down the Armor of specific components over the course of several turns.
Grinding can only be used in Component attacks. Grinding is different from a regular attack, and a player must declare that they are Grinding before rolling for Damage. Rather than comparing the Damage total to the target component's Armor, the player instead compares the result on each individual Damage die to the component's Weight class. For each die that comes up greater than this number, the component receives one point of Grinding Damage (use Damage Pips to keep track of this as necessary). These points of Grinding Damage are permanent, and are subtracted from that component's Armor for all subsequent attacks.
Eric Joslin's giant slays a series of Greg's minifig troops with a single mighty swing of his flail.
Photo: Eric Joslin
From "NELUG Gets Medieval"
Winners: a flock of sheep
Elements shown: LEGO
low image quality
Normally, points of damage in excess of a target's Armor rating are ignored. If an attack is so powerful that the leftover damage can be effective all over again, then that excess can be treated as Overkill Damage. Especially powerful attacks may cause enough Overkill Damage to inflict multiple inches of Size Damage on the same target, destroy several Components all at once, or even blow through multiple targets.
12 points of damage is enough to kill multiple minifigs if they all happen to be standing in the line of fire.
12 damage kills the first minifig. After overcoming his 4 Armor, 8 points of Overkill Damage remain.
8 damage kills the second minifig. After overcoming his 4 Armor, 4 points of Overkill Damage remain.
4 damage is enough to match the third minifig's Armor. Something Bad happens to him, but he and the other remaining minifigs survive.
When an attacker makes a successful attack and decides to go for Overkill, the player keeps track of the total damage inflicted and the defender's unsuccessful Armor Roll against it. After applying the appropriate damage destruction from the initial attack, they then subtract the result of the Armor Roll from the damage total to find out how much damage was left over. This leftover damage becomes Overkill Damage, continuing in the path of the original attack, doing additional inches of Size Damage or burning through additional Components.
Best of all, if the damage is enough to destroy the initial target or blast through its components, then the Overkill Damage may continue out the other side to strike whatever new targets fall along its path. The damage travels in a straight line determined by the direction of the attack and where it struck the target, and is limited by the range of the attack - a battleaxe is limited by the maximum reach of its swing, a laser blast by its maximum linear range, and a Charging bull by the maximum distance it's able to run in a straight line.
When the attacker wasn't specific about which part of a target he was aiming for, assume that the attack struck the closest, largest, and most generic part of the target — the center of a minifig's torso rather than the brainpan or groin, for example.
If the attack location was too-Koincidentally chosen so that the Overkill Damage would happen to hit a target or component the attacker couldn't have known was there, that's in pretty poor taste. It's one thing to fire at a vehicle cockpit and happen to hit the pilot; it's another to fire at the one spot on a blank wall that happens to have a security guard on the other side. In cases of obvious shenanigans, the defending player can declare by fiat which location on the target was struck by the attack, and then kick the attacking player in the shin.
Successive units hit by Overkill Damage can attempt to Bail or Parry the attack as if they had been the original target.
Repair Boss Chives rocket-surfs to a derelict vessel on a repurposed engine pod. He's not one to let ongoing space combat get in the way of a salvage and repair operation.
Drawing from "Space Repair Garage" by Ninja_bait
Painting by Mike Rayhawk
character and image rights: ninja_bait, signed 7/24
The hardest part of assembling creations in the field is collecting the construction elements in the first place.
Minifigs aren't fans of Actions that fail to result in violence, but they try to be tolerant towards efforts to put stuff together. Otherwise, the reasoning goes, they'd run out of stuff to blow up, and stuff to blow it up with.
When a minifig is carrying a construction component and tries to connect it to something, he succeeds automatically. Minifigs have been bred for this specific task for generations and are very efficient at it. Attaching construction components together costs an Action, but with that single Action they can spend the turn attaching as many components as they can physically move into position.
Makeshift constructed objects (or constructed sections added to other objects) have an Armor rating of 1 by default.
A minifig's ability to assemble structures is limited only by his ability to gather components together.
A minifig can pick up, carry, and drop a component (or group of components) up to the size of a 2x2 brick with one hand, at no cost to movement or Action. Using both hands, he can carry a load up to a 2x4 brick in size at Half Speed. He can push or drag a larger object or group of objects around at Half Speed, up to 2" in Size.
As a more general rule, a creation with the ability to carry things can pick up and carry a load half its own Size at full speed, and carry a load up to its own Size at Half Speed. It can push or pull objects around up to twice its own Size, at full speed if the object is on wheels or the equivalent, or at Half Speed otherwise. For objects that are too big to push, pull, or carry, creations can use teamwork to combine their effective strength.
If a Size 0" Vermin (10.4: Monsters) is able to carry objects, it can carry one minifig equipment item at no penalty, or two equipment items at Half Speed.
In the hands of a skilled Mechanik, the common brik becomes a thing of wonder.
While any minifig can slap some rubble together and call it a day, there are a few brikbuilding savants who, thanks to natural genius and rigorous union apprenticeship, earn the right to wear a hard hat and carry around actual tools. These licensed Mechaniks have the ability to assemble masterworks of engineering on the fly, even in the middle of pitched battles.
Mechanikal Aptitude Specialty:
allows a Construction Action
on enemy turns within a " radius
A Mechanik has the advantage of Mechanikal Aptitude, which allows him to use Construction Actions to build, repair, modify, and disassemble creations without respect to logic or common sense. Whenever engaging in one of these activities, a Mechanik uses his Specialty rather than his usual Action .
When constructing elements into new creations or modifying existing ones, Mechaniks are free to attach a loose brick here or there during their own turn like any amateur. For the really big jobs, though, they need to declare a Construction Action and abide by union rules.
UNION RULE 1
Mechaniks don't collect their own bricks.
No matter how hardworking an individual Mechanik might be in private life, the professional standards dictated by the Mechaniks' Union require him to be as lazy as possible on the job, in order to protect the hard-won rights of his union brothers. This means that Mechaniks avoid collecting their own bricks whenever possible.
In the aftermath of battle, the Menders of Construction sweep in with workers and collection drones to gather all the debris to use as raw materials in their holy mission to build new battlefields to destroy.
From "The Menders of Construction"
Elements shown: LEGO
Instead, when a Mechanik declares a Construction Action, he rolls his Specialty to determine the inches in his Construction Radius. Within that radius from wherever he's standing, he can use all loose chunks of construction components small enough to carry as if he had taken the trouble to collect them himself. Objects too large to carry can be included in Construction as well, but can't be moved — the Mechanik must build onto them where they are.
Mechaniks can treat any structures and vehicles that have been destroyed by Size Damage (that is, their Effective Size has been reduced to zero) as if they were already completely broken apart into components, even if the physical models are still otherwise intact.
Two Mechaniks working together can combine their Construction Radius rolls, but it doesn't give them any more time to Construct stuff.
While Constructing, the player is allowed to take this collection of elements off to one side of the battlefield in order to work with them more easily, but they are all considered to still be on the field, and are still subject to attacks at their field location by marauding opponents.
If any bystanders get too curious about how a Mechanik is able to use bricks without gathering them first, they find themselves having a chat soon afterwards with some of the local union boys, and they learn to not be so curious in the future.
UNION RULE 2
Mechaniks don't work on their own turns.
Two disguised United Systems Alliance Mechaniks bluff their way into an enemy maintenance shaft by pretending to have doctorates in Plumbing Studies.
From "The Jackpot"
Elements shown: LEGO
informal rights: Silent-Sigfig, 5/30/20
Union rules dictate that Mechaniks are always on break during their own turn. The Mechanik stops doing anything the moment he declares a Construction Action, and he goes right on doing nothing until the end of the turn. It's only afterwards, when his supervisors aren't looking, that he really gets down to business.
All Construction Actions take place during the Mechanik's opponents' turns. This has two advantages: first, it gives the Mechanik's player something to do while waiting for their opponents to move, and second, it encourages opponents to hurry up, since the longer they take, the more work the Mechanik can get done.
The Mechanik's player must take care to never let a Construction Action stall the game. If they're called on to make a roll, if the Mechanik or his Construction are attacked, or if the opponent's turn ends, the player must immediately pause working on the Construction, regardless of the state it's in. The player can return to working on it once the interruption is resolved, if the Mechanik is still alive and in a position to do so.
Mechaniks are best known for their ability to create machinery and fortifications from rubble, either as new creations (a new assault helicopter, a new castle tower) or as objects to add to existing creations (a new giant robot fist for the copter, a new weaponized assault garderobe for the tower). These are limited only by how fast the player can build, and by the parts available within the Mechanik's range.
A Mechanik's field constructions have the following stats, whether finished or in progress:
see 7.1: Structure
The Size of a field construction is measured the same as for any other creation - decide which parts are the core structure, and measure its largest dimension. The number of inches in this measurement is the construction's Size.
see 7.1: Structure
New field constructions have Armor 1.
By adding appropriate propulsion elements, a Mechanik can turn his field construction into a vehicle. On a ground vehicle, these might be wheels, legs, or treads. A flier might have jet engines, propellers, or rockets. On a seafaring craft, these might be sails, sternwheels, or manned oars.
If the new elements are used to replace previous propulsion elements, they restore whatever functionality was lost when the previous elements were damaged or destroyed. Otherwise, each new propulsion element adds two inches to the vehicle's Move rating, limited to fifteen inches for Flight and ten inches all other forms of Propulsion (9.1: Propulsion). The new elements must logically help push the vehicle forward - wheels don't add Move if they're not touching the ground, oars don't help if they can't reach the water, and fixed wings don't help to propel an aircraft the way flapping ones do. If any part of a field-constructed vehicle is dragging on the ground, it moves at Half Speed.
Field-constructed weapons work the same way as regular weapons. Players determine the basic type of weapon under construction and measure its Weapon Size, and these two factors determine its stats and abilities. The new weapon is subject to all the same limitations as a pre-built one, especially concerning Power limitations for how many weapons a creation is able to use at the same time.
The difficulty with field-constructed weapons is in determining what counts as a properly-constructed weapon and what doesn't, since this is entirely up to the building standards of the players. In some groups, a single 1x10 brick makes a very acceptable Size 3 laser cannon, by sole virtue of being mounted on the front of a death buggy; in less flexible groups it might be laughed right off the table. Here are some factors to consider when a Field-Constructed weapon is proposed:
If players can't quickly agree on whether a given Field-Constructed weapon or device is acceptable enough to allow, put it to a What I Say Goes Roll and move on.
When a creation takes Component Damage and a couple of chunks are blasted off, it's a simple matter for a Mechanik to gather them up and slap them back into place. Like any field construction, the repaired components are built with 1 Armor, but otherwise behave exactly as they did before.
If a Mechanik wants to repair inches of Size Damage, he takes a Construction Action to do Patch repairs. He does this by building one or more structural Patches on the creation's surface out of loose bricks.
Patch repairs are a separate Construction Action from field construction, and a Mechanik can't do both in the same turn.
In order to repair one inch of Size Damage, the Size of the Patch must be at least one inch larger than the creation's remaining Effective Size. When an inch of Size Damage is repaired, the creation regains the abilities it lost when it lost that point of damage, including Power, Armor, movement, and maximum Momentum.
A Patch must be one continuous construction attached to the surface of the creation for the entire length of the Patch. Sections of a Patch not directly attached to the surface have no effect. Patches can never be longer than the creations they're built on. Each inch repaired requires a separate Patch.
A Patch doesn't have to be completed all at once; a Mechanik can work on a single Patch over a series of turns if he's interrupted by a lack of time or parts. Once a Patch is complete, it becomes part of the structure of its creation. Blowing it off with Component Damage later won't reverse its effects, and other Patches can be built on top of it.
Living creatures tend to fight back or run off when you try to Disassemble them, making it hard to get any work done.
Lt. Krus avoids this difficulty by making sure his prisoners are properly restrained before harvesting their skeletons for throne-building.
Photo: Lt. Krus
from "Project Awesome"
Elements shown: LEGO
rights not secured
With the proper tools in hand, the Mechanik is a dangerous weapon - steel-plated armor designed to shrug off heavy mortar fire can find itself helpless against a Mechanik with a screwdriver and the will to use it.
Rather than building or repairing a creation, Mechaniks can use a Construction Action to Disassemble it in an orderly fashion. To do so, he needs to be touching the creation with tool in hand at the end of his own turn. If he's still alive and touching the creation at the beginning of his following turn, then he's had the time to perform a successful Disassembly.
At the beginning of this turn, the Mechanik rolls his Specialty and subtracts the creation's Weight class. The remaining number is the number of elements the Mechanik can separate from the creation. He can only remove elements (or groups of elements) that are directly accessible and not held in place by other pieces - that is to say, he has to be able to remove them without having to move any other parts of the creation. The effects on the creation are the same as if those pieces had been destroyed by Component Damage.
While a Mechanik can use Disassembly on friendly or neutral creations in order to create a supply of spare parts, he's much more dangerous if he gets access to Disassemble opponents' creations instead. To help prevent this, enemies have several ways to disrupt his efforts.
If a Mechanik becomes engaged in Close Combat before completing his attempt, or is otherwise removed from the creation he's working on, Disassembly fails automatically. If he's hit by ranged weapons fire or takes any other kind of Damage, he takes a -1 penalty to his Specialty Roll for every point of Damage. The most effective means of disrupting a Mechanik, of course, is to kill him, and his opponents will generally consider this to be the best option.