If an aspiring player doesn't have any of these types of opponents available, they can build some out of bricks. Unfortunately, this will limit the number of bricks left over to stage battles with, and therefore many players choose to seek out battles and opponents online.
Many players' first experience of BrikWars is in forum battles, whether on the BrikWars Forums or the forums of other gaming and construction toy sites. This can be the easiest introduction for new players, since they don't have to build anything or learn any of the rules and can just let the host worry about the details.
They don't even have to play - hundreds of past forum battles are archived in the forum threads, and new players can read as many of them as they like in order to get a feel for the ebb and flow of the game.
Playing a Forum Battle
Once you feel ready to play in a forum battle, watch for invites from hosts setting up a new game. These are usually posted in the Forum Battles sub-forum or in the Discord chat. Don't take it personally if a host limits a spot to players who are well-established as especially reliable players or who are a particularly appropriate match for the faction in play.
Once the game is underway, you'll watch the battle progress in updates to threads on the forum. Simple battles can take place entirely in a single forum thread; larger battles will often have a separate thread for every cycle of player turns.
Between your turns, you'll send orders for your forces. Depending on the host's desire for secrecy and convenience, they might have you post orders openly in the forum thread or in a Discord channel, or send them secretly in private messages.
Giving Up Control
The battle will not go the way you think it will. The dice will turn against you, your most reliable attacks will miss completely, and your trusted allies will stab you in the back. The host won't interpret half the rules the same way you do, if they even bother following rules at all.
Most importantly, no matter how carefully you write your orders, they'll be misinterpreted or ignored by your forces as they become irrelevant in the face of changing conditions on the field. This is all part of trying to direct units in a chaotic situation. Try not to get too worked up about it.
Hosting a Forum Battle
In a forum battle, the host builds the armies and battlefield, carries out the players' orders, rolls all the dice, and keeps players updated with photos and descriptions of the unfolding action.
Hosting a forum battle can be a lot of work if the host is taking it seriously. Fortunately, many don't. Slapdash half-assed brawls the host makes up on the fly and shoots with a smartphone are just as valid as professionally-photographed epic final battles drawing from a decade of Kanon and bringing closure to dozens of narrative arcs. In fact, the two are often indistinguishable.
Organizing the Battle
The first order of business is gathering players and setting up the battle.
Sometimes the host will already have a specific battle story and scenario in mind, and only needs players to take up the roles. Other times, the host will put together a battle based on the suggestions and existing forces of the players signing up to play. Make sure your players know which plan they're signing up for, and which parts are locked in stone and which are open to player preference.
The host might make a public call for players in a forum thread, or they might make a more limited invite in a Discord chat or in private messages. In some cases they'll be picky about who they're willing to assign to each faction. Try not to take it personally.
As the host, no matter how selective you are in your player choices, be prepared for even the most reliable ones to flake out and fail to send orders sometimes, or for orders to become completely irrelevant as the battlefield situation changes between the time the orders are sent and the time to carry them out. It's good to have a plan, whether making sure players have standing general orders for backup, or replacement players for the ones who disappear mid-battle, or a willingness to make decisions for their forces yourself if they fail to send orders in a timely manner.
Players aren't able to move around the battlefield in person, so it's up to the host to communicate the state of play through photos.
Players will get frustrated if the photos are confusing or unclear. Make sure to light the scene properly and steady the camera against a stable object if necessary. Try to design a battlefield with visually distinct sections, so players can tell where action is occurring.
Ideally, you want three types of photos:
- Action highlights, to show important events happening. Two minifigs becoming locked in combat, a vehicle losing a wheel, or a drawbridge closing are all important events that will affect players' tactical decisions for what to do next.
- Position shots, to show forces' position relative to each other. An overhead shot to show enemy berzerkers just out of allies' rifle range, an archer's point-of-view shot to show a target's head poking up over a battlement wall, or a wide angle shot of a pirate ship deck and rigging to show where the crew members are positioned will help players identify their tactical options.
- Depending how clever you are with the camera, action highlight shots can also be used to show relative positions.
- Overview shots, to show the overall state of the battlefield, especially in very large or complex battles. These are often posted at the end of each round of player turns or after major events.