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.