So what the heck is a ‘Forum Battle’?

Since nobody was really that much interested in playing tabletop with Lego locally (serious business guys were playing serious business miniature games), the online community was the way to go. I joined the Brikwars forums early 2008.

The boards allow members a lot of game-related stuff: to showcase their armies and creations, to discuss rules and house rules, and to show off their offline battles via battle reports. Seeing all of this was great; I went on to show off my budding armies and some of the battles I played with my friend and joined the buzz in general.

In the same year, the concept of forum battle was introduced by board user pesgores. It was a simple but genius idea that allowed forum members to play games together.

The best way to describe how a forum battle work is to imagine it as a PBM (play by mail) style of game: somebody (the host) sets up a battlefield, warring sides, objectives and creates a thread for it. Other players pick sides and send in orders via private messages. Once all orders are in, the host player processes them, plays it out on the battlefield and photographs every noteworthy action. Then the host posts the happenings of the turn and players get to send in orders again. This process repeats itself until one someone wins, either via completing an objective, or just by virtue of last man standing.

Sounds incredibly antiquated, doesn’t it? Still, it is probably the best way to manage a game of multiple people who do not live near each other. A lot of the battle depends on the host player: he or she has to put insurmountable efforts into proper presentation, and what is basically “letting others play with your stuff”. However, the host only provides a canvas for the carnage, it is the players whose actions make battles fun and incredible. It’s the combined efforts of host and players that make these games amazing.

Next time, I will introduce you to the little medieval microcosm I created over the years on the boards, to provide context for battle reports.

First post: What is this about?

Greetings!

This website is dedicated to showcase and as serve as an archive for my Lego tabletop battles and campaigns. Most of its content might be a little abstract at first, so before I start dumping my old games, I would like to briefly summarize how did this silly hobby of mine has begun.

Note – English is not my first language. I try to do my best to be as grammatically correct as possible; still I might screw up sometimes. Feel free to highlight my mistakes though, constructive criticism is always welcome!

How did this all begin?

Even though my interests shifted a lot since childhood, two major themes were always present: Lego and fantasy games with strategic elements.

As a young kid, my main interests were:

  • Lego
  • Heroes of Might and Magic 2 (and later 3)

During my teen years, not much has changed:

  • Lego
  • Warcraft 3
  • Warhammer (both Fantasy and 40k)

I often wondered: “If only there was a way to combine all of these elements into one game… that would be awesome, right?” I already tried to recreate HoMM3 units (or at least vague approximations of them) as a kid with some of my childhood friends and play with them as if we were having a hot seat multiplayer game, only on the carpet: but that was just kids making up stuff on the fly. Years later, with internet access, I decided to browse around and see if anyone else had a similar idea.

Initially, I was fascinated by BrickQuest: a game designed to play dungeon-crawling in a brick built dungeon where the player characters were represented by minifigs who had to fight monsters and collect treasure. I still think the idea of BrickQuest is great and has a ton of potential, however at the time (2006-2007), I found gathering the necessary pieces for a sizeable dungeon was too expensive and searched for a different type of game.

(Funnily enough, The Lego Group (TLG onwards) released ‘Heroica’ a few years later: it was a series of board games based on a similar idea, but on a smaller scale.)

Enter Brikwars: a very straightforward and somewhat lax wargaming ruleset created by Mike Rayhawk. Brikwars offers a nice pick up and play type of tabletop game, where armies of minifigures can duke it out, just like in all the big boy tabletop wargames! It was the game for me since I already had plenty of Lego, but it wasn’t necessary to set up large brick built battlefields (though you can totally do that and it is a dream of mine to once accomplish that). I knew that I wanted to collect and create an army with which I could play Brikwars.

Battlebrothers1

My initial team was a rag-tag scifi army called ‘The Order of Steel’,  with which I battled a friend. It was a little half-baked in hindsight, but I liked the idea behind it. In 2007 though, a new theme was introduced by Lego, one which would define my following years as a collector and army builder:

The Fantasy Era.

Castle is one of Lego’s core themes from the seventies, for the most part it was very much grounded in reality in the past. I used to own a few castle sets as a kid, but was not a dedicated fan of the theme (I usually only received Lego as a gift from parents and relatives, and as a nineties kid, by the time I could begin to be more conscious about the sets I wanted, the castle theme was in its darker ages and had little appeal to me).

2007 was a major comeback for Castle, but this time TLG decided to shake up the formula a little and instead of warring factions, they introduced allies and adversaries from fantasy: skeletons for the first year, followed by dwarves, trolls and orcs the year after.

Let me tell you, I was blown away by this new take: It was perfectly what I wanted, all in one incredibly toyetic package. It was the best time to get into the army-building game, as most sets were cheap to buy in bulk. Soon, the first version of what would later become the Imperial Army of Northeros was born.

2008_0126mocs0029

That was quite the trip down memory lane! In my next post, I will talk about getting in touch with the online community and introduce the concept of ‘forum battles’.