Chapter SQ

Squad Combat


Commander Victor Actarious lives and dies for his men. Their final stand will determine the fate of the Bluvian homeworld.
Photo: Azmi Timur
From "Last Offensive on Bluvius Prime"
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BrikWars is well set up to send handfuls of individual minifigs and vehicles into tactical skirmishes. For more epic engagements, with units numbering in the dozens or hundreds, handling combatants individually can slow a battle to a crawl. Instead, it's best to group units together into Squads. A Squad moves together, takes its Action together, and attacks and defends together as a single coordinated unit.

Besides improving command efficiency, Squads enjoy a number of selfish advantages. A Squad can pool and combine its Damage, Momentum, and Counterstrikes in a way that its individual units can't, and it can coordinate Action-based movement like Sprints in order to stay in formation. A Squad also enjoys safety in numbers, distributing incoming attacks away from its most critical or vulnerable members and soaking them up with more durable or expendable ones. And because a Squad is treated as a single unit, many types of bonuses that are normally limited to an individual can be expanded to apply to a whole Squad.

The most important advantage of organizing units into Squads isn't the way it allows them to be directed to horrible deaths with greater machine-like efficiency. Itís that, as the Squad members are methodically slaughtered, they can know that they died as entries in an org chart rather than as people.

While Squads of foot soldiers are the most common type, any units can be grouped into Squads. Squads of horsemen or assault helicopters operate by the same rules. A Squad is much simpler to handle if it's composed of identical or similar units (a group of knights on horseback, a squadron of starfighters), but heterogeneous Squads are just as common (a catapult and its defending crew, a necromancer and his summoned undead).

SQ.1 The Squad Plate


Running this many soldiers as individual units could take hours. Organized into Squads, there's a much greater chance of players reaching the second turn.
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Tired of flintlock muskets, this squad of redcoats can't wait to give the rebel colonists a taste of their new submachineguns.
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The constructible nature of brick warriors makes them easy to group into quick formations. Players just take all the Squad members and stick them to a shared baseplate.

The Squad Plate combines multiple lesser units into a single super-unit. Instead of having to move and attack with units individually, players can now move the whole Squad Plate as a group and roll all of its attacks together. Players measure Ranges to or from whichever Squad member is closest, and instead of having to touch individual units to an object they want to act on, they touch the object with the Squad Plate and all the Squad members gain access to it equally.

In the best-case scenario, a Squad Plate should be an appropriate size for its Squad. There should be a roughly 4x4-stud area for each minifig on foot, for example, or 4x8 for each rider on horseback. These numbers can be fudged quite a bit depending on the available plates in the playersí collections and whether the troops need to be arranged in some specific formation.

If players don't have appropriate plates available for their Squads, they'll have to declare who is or isn't in a Squad by mutual agreement rather than by putting them on Squad Plates.

During their own turn, units can create, join, leave, or change the formation of a Squad Plate in response to emerging opportunities or threats. They might disperse to minimize damage from Explosive effects, concentrate to minimize their target area for ranged attacks, or spread out to block passage through a narrow choke point.

On other players' turns, units aren't able to create or join Squads, but they may be able to leave the Squad Plate as part of a response Action (for example, if they're forced to Bail out of the path of an incoming attack) or as a consequence of opposing players' actions (usually because they're Knocked Back by an Explosion or Collision).

Combined Movement

A Squad moves as quickly as its slowest member and is as maneuverable as its least maneuverable member (9.2: Maneuvering).

A Squad can move through spaces that don't have room for its Squad Plate if there's enough room for the Squad's individual members to pass through (for instance, moving through an archway wide enough for each of a Squad's minifigs, but too narrow for the entire Squad) , but a Squad can't end its turn in a position where the plate doesn't fit.

Combined Action

A Squad is most effective when several or all of its members take the same Action together for a single combined Action, although individual members are still allowed to take individual Actions with no penalty. Any bonuses from Bennies, SuperNatural Effects, an Officer's Coordination, or a Leader's Inspiration (S.7: Command Units) can be applied to a Squad's Combined Action as if it were a single Action.

If a Squad uses its Action to Sprint, it makes a single Sprint Roll with its smallest Action die, allowing the Squad to stay in formation. If a Squad uses its Action to Bail, on the other hand, all Squad members roll individually.

For other types of Actions, each participating Squad member makes a separate Action Roll. Often, these rolls can be combined - if a firing Squad of ten minifigs with identical Action es all fire at the same condemned prisoner with ten identical rifles, they can simply roll 10 and count the number of successful hits. All that matters is how many hits occur, not which specific minifigs were the ones responsible for them.

Combined Size

For target size bonuses, Momentum, Physical Opposition, and carrying capacity, a Squad's Size is the largest dimension in inches measured across the Squad's members. This number can't exceed the sum of the individual Squad member's Effective Sizes, even if they're spaced far apart in an attempt to appear more intimidating.

SQ.2 The Officer


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An Officer lives to tell Squads how to do their jobs properly. No matter how much skill, talent, and experience a group of minifigs possesses, and how few distinguishing qualities the Officer has in comparison, the Officer is compelled to micromanage and critique them relentlessly in order to justify his slightly fancier uniform. Army sergeants, pirate first mates, corporate middle managers, and art directors are all examples of Officers.

The Officer is lost without other minifigs to boss around, and his entire existence revolves around his Squad. When he's part of a Squad, his dumb ideas are mitigated by the smarter underlings carrying them out. Whenever an Officer isn't part of a Squad at the beginning of his turn, he's freed to indulge in Stupidity like other Incompetent units (10.1: Minds).

Specialty: Coordination

can spend an Action to improve the Action Dice of his Squad mates by one die size, up to , for one shared Action

The Officer's one advantage is his natural ability to foster Coordination among the members of his Squad, pushing them to all-new slightly-improved levels of performance. Once per turn, the Officer can spend an Action to give managerial feedback to the Squad, creating a momentary spirit of solidarity and unity among the Squad members as a direct effect of their shared irritation at his terrible ideas.

Coordination increases the effectiveness of a Squad's combined Action. As long as at least two Squad members are participating in the Action together, their Action Dice are increased by one size for that Action, up to the Officer's Specialty die size of . This is particularly useful when an Officer leads a Squad into Close Combat, where their amplified Action Dice increase their chances to hit, the damage they inflict, and their ability to counter their opponent's responses.

As part of his Coordination Action, the Officer can choose to join into the Squad's combined Action if appropriate (especially important for Sprints, despite how much the Squad would like to leave him behind), or he can micromanage from the sidelines.

Coordination isn't cumulative. No matter how many Officers are annoying the Squad, their Action Dice aren't increased more than one size.

SQ.3 Taking Damage


The ambassador from Reptilia keeps his personal medik close at hand, and puts as many armored bodies as possible between himself and possible danger.
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One advantage of forming a Squad is that it's harder for enemies to focus damage on any single unit. The drawback is that targeting a Squad as a whole is much easier than targeting individuals. As long as an attacker can target any unit or object within the Squad, it can make an attack on the Squad as a whole. Opponents making Ranged attacks on the Squad take an Action Bonus for the target size of the whole Squad (5.1: Making Attacks). Close Combat attacks are still based on the size of the individual Squad members.

Single Attacks

Whenever a Squad is hit by a single attack, effect, or other source of damage, the Squad's player may assign the effects to any unit within the Squad of their choice.

There are exceptions to this rule: an attacker can single out a specific unit within a Squad if hitting the target with a Close Combat Strike would be an Automatic Hit (for instance, if the target is Disrupted, involved in a Grab, or otherwise immobilized) or if the target unit is at least twice the attacking unit's Size. A Rat (Size:0") could single out a Peasant (Size:1") in a Peasant Squad; the Peasant could single out a mounted Knight (Size:2"); and the Knight could single out a Giant of Size 4" or more. Otherwise, damage done to a Squad is assigned by the defending player to whichever Squad member they feel most deserves it.

Multiple Attacks

When a Squad is hit by multiple attacks or effects at once, the attacking player makes all their Action Rolls first, and the defending player distributes the successful hits among the Squad members.

The defender can assign hits to whichever units in whatever order they want, but hits must be distributed evenly. No Squad member can take a second hit until every legal target has had its first.

Remember that minifigs can't be hit by more than three Close Combat attackers in the same turn. If a Squad is hit by enough Close Combat attacks to exceed this limit, the minifigs who have already hit the limit are no longer legal targets and will have to be passed over. The extra hits must either be distributed to larger targets or lost without effect.

Players resolve attempted Parries, Damage Rolls, and secondary effects as hits are assigned. If a unit is killed, destroyed, or Knocked Back out of the Squad Plate entirely, it's no longer a legal target, and further hits can skip over it. All damage from the simultaneous attacks is cumulative.

If there are a large number of victims with different damage levels to keep track of, it's good to have a pile of extra dice lying around to use as temporary damage counters for each of them until all the attacks are resolved.

Location-Specific Damage

Some sources of damage are location-specific, or have additional location-based effects after the initial hit has been distributed. An Explosion might go off nearby, causing damage and KnockBack to units within its Explosion radius. A massive laser blast might have enough Overkill Damage to take out a series of Squad members along its line of fire, or a rocket-boosted bulldozer might be plowing through an audience of monster truck fans.

Location-based side effects are distributed according to the Squad members' physical positions. If the origin of the damage is an attack on the Squad, the defending player decides which Squad member is hit by the attack in order to its location.

SQ.4 Close Combat Engagement


Ranged combat between Squads is simple - players measure the Range between the closest attacking and defending Squad members, make their combined Attack Rolls, and distribute damage from the successful hits accordingly. Squad Close Combat is a more involved process.

Levels of Engagement

In Close Combat, a Squad has two possible levels of engagement, depending on whether it has brought its Squad Plate into contact with its opponent.

Skirmishing

If a Squad is close enough for some or all of its members to attack a target, but has not brought the Squad Plate into contact with it, then the Squad can make a Skirmish attack. Only the Squad members and opponents who are close enough to strike or be struck with melee weapons are involved in a Skirmish, although the Squad still takes its Angry Inch all together. This is especially useful for Squads with longer Two-Handed Weapons that want to keep opponents at arms' length, or Squads with mixed melee and ranged units who want to keep their ranged units out of direct contact with the enemy.

A Squad can rearrange its members before making a Skirmish attack to best position themselves. Once engaged in combat, they're stuck in their positions.

Full Engagement

The Vasluxian Dragon soldiers' charge crashes against the Grek shield wall.
Photo: Dienekes22
From "Good Natured Violence"
Elements shown: LEGO, Brickwarriors, Saber Scorpion decals

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If a Squad brings its Squad Plate into contact with the opponent, then it enters Full Engagement. The Squad and its opponents are considered to be all mixed up together in a grand melee, and all members of the Squad can participate in the Close Combat, regardless of their relative positions.

Because the combatants are all mixed up together, any Ranged Attacks fired into a Fully Engaged Squad will also hit whatever opponents the Squad is Fully Engaged with. The involved players take turns distributing successful hits to their own units as if they were all part of one giant Squad, skipping players when necessary to maintain an even distribution (no player's unit can take a second hit until all players' units have taken their first hit).

Any unit or Squad that's involved in a Full Engagement cannot use Actions to target or focus on anything outside of the Full Engagement unless it first successfully Disengages. Units can still defend themselves normally if they're targeted by Skirmishing attacks from outside the Full Engagement.

Squad Maneuvers

In Close Combat, the active Squad takes a single Angry Inch for the turn, then declares what type of Close Combat maneuvers it will be making.

The Communal Angry Inch

If all of a Squad's members are capable of taking an Angry Inch, the Squad can take one Angry Inch at the beginning of its first Close Combat active maneuver or Counterstrike on each player's turn. Rather than moving individual units, the entire Squad Plate takes the Angry Inch in formation.

While a Squad and its opponents can use an Angry Inch to easily move from Skirmishing range into a Full Engagement, the reverse is more difficult. Squads and other units can only use an Angry Inch to exit a Full Engagement as part of an attempt to Disengage. Otherwise, some part of the Squad Plate must always remain in contact with the opponent or opponents.

Resolving Maneuvers

If Squad members are attacking with any combination of Strikes, Grabs, and Shoves, the Grabs and Shoves are resolved first. The defending targets can elect to Parry or Bail as hits are distributed. Successfully Grabbed units, along with the units Grabbing them, are moved to the nearest shared edges of their respective Squad Plates. Successfully Shoved units are Knocked Back from wherever they're standing.

Squad Shove Example: BlitzBrawl Fans

Example: The Red Blox have won the BlitzBrawl championship, and their fans have taken to the streets to attempt a two-point championship conversion by knocking over policemen.

A Squad of four BlitzBrawl fans has caught two mounted police by surprise. The first is on Horseback, while the second is standing next to his Horse. The fans rush up to make a Shove.

The Horses are too large to be Shoved by a single minifig, so they aren't legal targets for a single Shove. The defending player distributes the first Shove to the policeman on foot.

Once the only legal target has received its first Shove, the defending player can start distributing second Shoves. Two Shoves is enough to make the Horses legal targets, and the defending player assigns two of the Shoves to the dismounted policeman's Horse.

The remaining one Shove isnít enough to make the policeman on Horseback a legal target. The only legal target is the policeman on foot again; he gets Shoved a second time.

The attacking Squad's Strikes are delivered next, taking into account any freshly Grabbed or Disrupted targets the attackers can now single out. Action Rolls for Strikes and Counterstrikes get a bonus based on the Size of the target Squad, regardless of the Size of whichever unit ultimately takes the hit.

If a Squad is Disengaging, then all members Disengage together, and all opponents who are able to deliver Counterstrikes do so together.

Wherever possible, Action Rolls for attacks and Parries are combined into big piles of Action dice rather than individual rolls. As long as a group of units has the same Action die, maneuver, and weapon type, it doesn't matter which specific individuals hit or miss; only the number of successes matters.

Action Rolls for Bailing are handled individually. If a unit in a Full Engagement fails to Bail far enough to land outside of the Squad Plate, then it's still in the middle of the Engagement, but now Disrupted and an Automatic Hit for enemy Close Combat maneuvers.

A Squad can also combine efforts in a combined Shove to push back a large object or an entire opposing Squad rather than its individual members. In this case, the two Squads use their Squad Sizes for the Shove rather than the Sizes of their individual units. Remember that a smaller unit can't Shove a larger one, and a larger unit gets +2 to a Shove for every inch of Size advantage (8.2: Basic Weapons). If a Squad is successfully Shoved, the entire Squad is pushed back the appropriate distance, possibly getting Knocked Over if the distance is enough to upend the Squad Plate as a whole (9.5: Collisions). If the Combined Shove is unsuccessful, the attacking Squad is now Fully Engaged, even if it was only Skirmishing before.

Imperial Rome has no tolerance for hippies.
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Combined Rolls Example: Smiting Hippies

Example: Squads of five pikemen (Skirmishing) and ten swordsmen (Fully Engaged) are attacking the three remaining members of a Squad of sign-waving hippies.

2 4 5 3 1
Pikes
(hit on 4+)
1 3 3 1 5
4 2 1 5 1
Swords
(hit on 2+)

Making their Action Rolls, the Roman Squads roll one pile of five dice for the pikes, and a second pile of ten dice for the swords, counting the number of successful hits from each weapon type. They roll two hits with the pikes and six with the swords.

5 2 3
Heavy Shields
(-1 Action penalty, Parry on 4+)

Once the hits are counted, the hippies reveal that their protest signs are actually Heavy Shields in disguise. They roll a pile of three dice for their attempt to Parry with the signs, with no concern for which successful Parry was achieved by which hippie. They take a -1 Action Penalty for being Outnumbered, and only one Parry is successful.

The attacking player chooses to deliver the pike hits first, doing two dice of damage apiece, and the sword hits second, each doing one die of damage.

3 4
Pike 1Hippie 1

The defending player gives hippie #1 the sole successful Parry and the first pike hit. The attacker rolls 3 damage (after removing a die for the Parry); hippie #1 survives. The defending player leaves a die with the three facing upwards next to the hippie, to keep track of the unit's total damage until Close Combat is resolved for the turn.

534
Pike 2Hippie 2
(deceased)

Hippie #2 takes the remaining pike hit. The attacker rolls 8 damage for an immediate kill.

1
Sword 1

Hippie #3 takes the first sword hit. The attacker rolls a 1, Critically Failing and causing no Damage.

All hippies have now been struck once, and the survivors are ready for their second hits.

31
Sword 2Hippie 1
(deceased)

With two hippies remaining, the defending player gives the second sword hit to hippie #1. The attacker rolls 3 Damage. Combined with the earlier hit from the pike, this is enough for a kill.

224
Sword 3Sword 4Hippie 3
(unhanded)

Only hippie #3 remains, and the defender gives her the next two sword hits. The attacker rolls a 2 and another 2 for a total of 4. It's enough to match the hippie's Armor but not exceed it; the hippie gets one hand chopped off, but survives the attacks.

Although the Romans still have successful sword attacks to deliver, hippie #3 has reached the limit of three Close Combat attacks on a single minifig. The remaining sword attacks go to waste, and the hippie survives to protest for another turn.