BrikWars is a miniatures wargaming system by Mike Rayhawk, created for use with plastic building blocks and figurines. It is designed to be simplistic and flexible, allowing for its players' full range of creativity in creating armies, creatures, vehicles, and worlds out of construction toys. Although targeted primarily at adults, BrikWars is known for its straight-faced acceptance of the kinds of ridiculous scenarios and multi-genre mashups that arise naturally when children dump out their unsorted toybins on the floor. Much of its humor comes from satirizing "serious" wargames and their players, while flouting or deliberately misinterpreting conventions of the genre.
|“||BrikWars is the plastic-brick wargaming system that throws the peaceful worlds of your favorite construction toys into wanton chaos and destruction!||”|
BrikWars uses "minifigs" (usually LEGO minifigures or equivalent miniature figures from other construction toy brands) as small soldiers, and terrain constructed from construction bricks or random objects found near the playing area. While the game can be played with completely non-construction-toy related objects, such as action figures, stuffed animals, or tin soldiers, the rules lend themselves best to figures and structures which can be easily disassembled and reconstructed. These models might represent real or fictional-world forces and situations, but are just as likely to represent exactly what they are - toys engaging in arbitrary battles for toy supremacy.
BrikWars 2005 is the most current version of the BrikWars rules, and is greatly reduced in size and complexity from the BrikWars 2001 rules. The 2001 rules are now considered the "advanced" version of the 2005 rules, containing additional material that covers subjects excluded from the 2005 rules (such as adjudicating superpowers and magic). Both the 2001 and 2005 versions can be found on Brikwars.com's Downloads page. These rules are compatible with BrikWars 2005 and are used by many players to add supplemental unit and weapon types, such as flamethrowers or Mediks.
BrikWars is a turn-based skirmish-level miniatures wargame. Each player in the game controls forces custom-built from construction toys or whatever materials they have at hand, one such example would be plastic army men. The creations are assigned attributes according to the current size and features of the physical models at any given moment. Because constructible models can be easily damaged, augmented, or destroyed with the addition or removal of construction elements, a unit's abilities can vary greatly over the course of a battle.
Players take turns, with each player moving and attacking with each of his units able to do so before passing the turn to the next player in sequence, until one player or team emerges victorious. With rare exceptions, each unit is able to move once (a number of inches based on its "Move" statistic) and take one major Action (usually to make an attack, or to use one of its special abilities known as a "Specialty") in a given turn, in addition to any number of minor actions.
For determining the success or failure of actions and attacks, each unit is assigned an appropriate-sized polyhedral die for its Skill attribute, which it must roll against a set number determined by the difficulty of the act. When an attack successfully hits, the attacker rolls his weapon's Damage dice in the hopes of overcoming the target's Armor dice roll. Most infantry units are killed by having their Armor overcome once, while larger vehicles and structures are more resilient and may take multiple hits before being destroyed.
The rules also encourage players to disobey the rules as often as possible, as seen in the Law of Fudge. The rulebook repeatedly encourages fun over obsessive rules-lawyering, to make the game as enjoyable as possible for all parties involved.
BrikWars originated in 1995 as an extensive expansion of an earlier game entitled Legowars, a miniatures wargame invented in March 1991 by Eric O'Dell and R. Todd Ogrin. Legowars gained a cult following on local bulletin board systems before becoming more generally known on the Usenet newsgroup rec.toys.lego. The game featured space-themed combat between Lego minifigures, and was distinguished from other miniature wargames of the time by a strong building-brick construction theme allowing the customization of playing pieces. It was followed in January 1995 by an Internet-released sequel, Legowars II, which the authors had refined in the hopes of making the game more attractive for publication.
In October 1995, the authors of Legowars received a cease and desist order from the LEGO Group for their improper usage of the trademarked word "LEGO." Their proposed renamed version, Butthead Toy Company Wars, never came to fruition, and several unrelated authors released their own variants, expansions, and alternate systems to try to fill the void. Of these, only BrikWars was updated and maintained for any length of time following its release.
This first version of BrikWars was written and refined from its release in 1995 until 1997. It was followed in 1998 by the first BrikWars edition to be released in HTML with illustrations.
The 2000 edition of BrikWars brought significantly more rules and game mechanics. It was quickly followed by the 2001 edition, which added so many rules that Rayhawk later admitted that it was made to spite the most vocal and hardcore BrikWars players, who demanded specific systems for every conceivable wargame trope without regard to their effect on overall playability.
The 2005 edition, released in 2006, was shortly preceded by QuikWars. Only 3 pages long, it was designed for players without enough time, energy, or attention spans for a full game of BrikWars.
The 2005 rules represented a major revision. The overall length was cut significantly, and many rules were removed or reclassified as variants. Most importantly, the in-game elements like unit types and weapons were defined in generalized terms rather than theme-specific ones. Periodically, since the release of the 2005 edition, minor rules changes have been added into the rulebook, such as a new automatic fire system and a chapter about Horses (which is used as a general term to describe any steed or vehicle which only carries one person).
The 2010 version has some more interesting changes, such as Gunners, shields, and new rules for self-made creations.
A free open source computer game based on BrikWars began development in December 2008, with the first playable version released late that month. It allows players to create custom armies and maps from building blocks and play battles against the computer or other players.