Chapter Four: The Player Turn
|“The art of war is simple enough. Find out where your enemy is. Get at him as soon as you can. Strike him as hard as you can, and keep moving.”
|- Ulysses S. Grant
During a players turn, each of his units may engage in whatever Movement is allowed by its Move statistic, and may each
take one Action (preferably an attack). In the meantime,
enemy units with unused Actions to spend have the option to take
them in Enemy Response to his behavior.
|“Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there.”
|- Will Rogers
During Movement, a minifig's Move rating of 5" allows him to
move five inches in any direction - he can run across five inches
of level ground, climb five inches worth of stairs or ladders,
or leap over five inches of chasm.
His movement is limited in a couple of ways. He cant move through
obstacles, or leap higher than 1 (three bricks) in a single
jump. For difficult types of movement requiring both arms (e.g., swimming,
crawling, or climbing a rope or cliff), minifigs move at Half Speed: their Move costs are doubled (every
inch traveled costs two inches of Move). Minifigs cannot make
attacks while both arms are occupied.
If the minifig moves within striking distance of an enemys hand
weapon, it's assumed that the enemy unit automatically attacks him,
unless the opposing player says otherwise. If the minifig decides
to Counter the attack, they are both entered into Close Combat (5.2:
Close Combat) and the minifigs Movement is over for
the turn. If not, the minifig may continue moving normally, assuming
he survives the attack.
|“One ought never to turn one's back on a threatened danger and try to run away from it. If you do that, you will double the danger. But if you meet it promptly and without flinching, you will reduce the danger by half. Never run away from anything. Never!”
|- Winston Churchill
When speed is critical, a minifig (or any mobile unit) can Sprint,
giving itself extra inches of Move for the turn equal to its Skill Roll, as long as the minifig's entire Movement for the turn (including the Sprint) is in a straight line. The Sprinting unit's path may go up or down and over any obstacles that it could leap over without having to climb, but it may not turn to the right or left by even a tiny amount. Sprinting costs the unit's Action for the turn, although it may be combined with a Charge attack as a
special type of combined Action (5.4: Charge!).
|The Skill roll for Sprinting can benefit from Bonus Dice like any other roll (1.2: Numbers) - the extra sixes keep adding more inches to the Sprint, potentially allowing truly ridiculous straight-line speed. By tradition, if a series of sixes in a Sprint roll suddenly ends with a roll of one, it's a special kind of Critical Failure - the unit is unable to stop itself, and must run the full distance allowed by the extra sixes, even if he runs into a wall or off the table.
Although a minifig is limited to one major Action for the turn, there
are many lesser actions he can perform that are too minor to count
against this limit. Actions that require no particular attention,
aiming, or dice rolls are considered to be Quick Actions, and are taken
as a part of regular Movement. Very simple acts, like picking up or
dropping regular equipment objects, holding conversations, or sneezing,
incur no penalty. More involved actions, such as picking up a heavy
object (up to the size of a 2x4 brick), opening a door, or holstering
a weapon, cost 1 of Move taking that action took a small
amount of time, and now the minifig has less time for moving.
|Common Quick Actions
|Opening or closing a door
|Picking up or dropping equipment items
|Picking up a heavy item
|Dropping to a seated, kneeling, or
|Standing up from a seated or kneeling
|Standing up from a prone position
|“Action speaks louder than words, but not nearly as often.”
|- Mark Twain
act that requires a minifigs attention, focus, or concentrated
effort is an Action. Due to limits on time and minifig brainpower,
he may only take one such Action per turn. He may use his single Action
before, after, or in the middle of his Movement, but he only gets
one, so he must spend it wisely.
A minifig will almost always use his Action to make an Attack (5.1:
Making Attacks). But even the most belligerent minifigs
will concede that less direct types of Actions are sometimes called
for, in order to set up better Attacks later.
Actions are rarely automatic successes, since minifigs are clumsy
and easily distracted. Actions are given a Use rating describing
their relative difficulty. A minifig attempting an Action must
make a Skill Roll to see if his attempt succeeds. If his Skill
Roll is equal to or higher than the Action's Use rating, then the Action is a success.
If it is lower, the Action fails, and the minifig suffers whatever
consequences logically result.
Weapons and other equipment items have standard Use ratings in their descriptions; minifigs attacking with or utilizing these items will use those ratings (Chapter 3: Minifig Weapons).
Otherwise, there are all kinds of unusual tasks that minifigs
might attempt, from the trivial to the impossible, although these are much less common. Most will have
a default Use rating of 3; players may agree on a higher or lower
difficulty as seems appropriate.
||trivial (no roll required)
||kicking a corpse
||putting pants on;
|slashing someone with
||jumping off a ledge
to grab a rope;
hacking a U.S. election machine
||normal; might take
more than one try
| stabbing someone with a spear
||kicking open a regular
mixing complex drinks
odds of success
|hacking someone with a halberd
||rock-climbing a vertical
reassembling an unfamiliar rifle
||bashing someone with
a battering ram
||disarming a bomb;
winning at Vegas
someone with a catapult shot
||walking a tightrope;
performing minor surgery
with a wrecking ball
catching a crossbow
bolt in flight
||destroying someone with deck artillery
||hacking into a military satellite;
dodging concentrated machine-gun fire
|| obliterating someone
with an orbital laser
||injuring a Human;
performing a judo throw on a T-rex
For exceptional Actions, the Use rating can be so high that minifigs have to pin their hopes on rolling one or more Critical Successes to have any chance of matching it (1.4: Rolling Dice). This is relatively rare. The Skill requirements for most Actions are met with the first "6" rolled, making Bonus Skill Dice irrelevant. The minifig may find some way to show off and accomplish his task with a little extra flair, but from a mechanical standpoint, there's no advantage to succeeding by a large margin rather than a small one.
Certain types of Actions incorporate more than one die roll. Attacks, in particular, depend just as much on their Damage Roll as on the Skill Roll to hit in the first place (5.1: Making Attacks). For Actions such as these, rather than letting a Skill Roll's Critical Success go to waste, players can trade an unnecessary Bonus Skill Die for an Overskill Die and dedicate it to a secondary roll instead.
Unlike regular Bonus Dice, which always add +1d6, an Overskill Die is the same die type as the unit's Skill. Regular minifigs who earn an Overskill Die will add +1d6 to their Damage Roll (or other secondary roll), to match their 1d6 Skill. Heroes, with their 1d10 Skill, will add a more impressive Overskill of +1d10 (6.1: The Hero). When appropriate (which is to say, always), this +1d10 can be treated as an extra die of Explosion damage rather than regular Damage, with an area effect that fortuitously excludes the Hero himself (3.2: Ranged Weapons).
Regardless of Skill level, Bonus Dice rolled off of an Overskill Die still add +1d6 as normal.
|Overskill Example: The Hangman's Gallows
Example: In the excitement surrounding the public execution in Dottingham Square, Thieven Hood has managed to sneak his way onto the town palisade overlooking the plaza. He's too late! The hangman is already pulling the release lever, and one of Thieven's Merry Minifigs is about to take the long drop. Although well aware of the involuntary pants-pooping that follows a successful hanging, Thieven is still determined to try to save his minion. He only has one chance: to shoot the rope before it snaps the victim's neck.
This is an extraordinarily difficult shot. Thieven's longbow has a Use of 3 and a Range of 10", but the rope is very small, giving a -2 Skill Penalty for Target Size, and it's a full fifteen inches away, giving an additional -5 to Skill and Damage for being five inches Out of Range (5.1: Making Attacks). With a Use of 3 and Skill Penalties totaling -7, he needs to roll a 10 on his Skill of 1d6 just to hit the rope; it's a long shot by any interpretation.
Thieven makes his Attack Roll and rolls his Skill die. A six! But with so many Skill Penalties, even a Critical Success isn't enough. He needs to roll well on the Bonus Die, and luckily he does: another six! It's a miraculous shot; the total of 12 is enough to overcome the -7 Penalty and hit the rope, and it gives Thieven a second Bonus Skill Die he doesn't even need.
With the Skill requirement already met, Thieven converts the second Bonus Die into an Overskill Die, adding +1d6 to the longbow's regular Damage rating of 1d6+1. Taking into consideration the -5 Damage Penalty for a target Out of Range, this puts the total Damage Roll at 2d6-4.
Thieven rolls a 1 and a 3 on the dice, resulting in zero total Damage. The arrow strikes the rope with perfect precision, but bounces off without effect. The condemned Merry Minifig drops through the trapdoor, the noose snaps around his neck, and the inevitable pants-pooping follows moments later. Thieven Hood, along with the handful of other Merry Minifigs attending incognito, join the crowd of onlookers in merry laughter at the defecatory spectacle.
|“Victory belongs to the most persevering.”
|- Napoleon Bonaparte
The opposite of Quick Actions, some actions are so involved or time-consuming
that they take up a minifigs entire turn, even if they arent
difficult enough to require a Skill Roll. These are called Extended
Actions. Examples include piloting a vehicle, operating a computer,
putting on a suit of plate mail, rowing a rowboat, or reading a wargaming
rulebook. Extended Actions use up the minifigs entire Movement
and Action; he may do nothing else during that turn.
The most common Extended Action for minifigs, often extending over
a very large number of turns, is "Being Dead."
4.3: Enemy Response
|“Opportunities multiply as they are seized.”
|- Sun Tzu
a unit doesn't use its Action on its own turn, it can save it to
use in response to its opponents' actions - shooting at scouts as they
pop out from behind cover, whacking soldiers that wander into range
of his melee weapon, or pressing the self-destruct button when all
the invitees have boarded the cruise liner for its birthday party.
Of course, its enemies are free to use their own saved Actions during
its turn as well, so tread carefully!
To make a Response Action, a unit must have an unspent Action
from its previous turn. These Responding units may move up to one inch (known as an Angry Inch (5.2: Close Combat)) if necessary, in order to press, grab,
or otherwise operate a critical object (to pull a lever or slam
a door, for instance), or to put themselves in range of a target for a Close Combat or Ranged Attack.
Cone of Vision
A Responding unit must be aware of the specific enemy action or movement
to which he's reacting, and in a timely enough fashion to make a proper
Response. In almost all cases, this means he has to be able to see
it. If he sees an enemy soldier raise a rifle and take aim, he may
have time to dive for cover; if all he knows is that he heard a gunshot,
it's way too late.
A minifig's Cone of Vision points in whichever direction his
head is facing, and forty-five degrees to either side, making a complete
cone of ninety degrees. If an object or event is within that field
of view, the minifig can see it; if not, he can't. Whenever it's hard
to tell whether or not an object falls within that cone, a quick What
I Say Goes roll resolves the issue neatly.
Who Acts First
|"Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”
|- Abraham Lincoln
Even if a minifig can see disaster about to strike, he won't
always be fast enough to respond in time.
In some cases, a minifig will have plenty of time to make his Response Action. If an enemy's running across an open field with a knife while you're swinging a polearm, or if he's running across an open field with a polearm while you're aiming a pistol, or if he's running across an open field with a pistol while you're hiding in an underground bunker with a hand on the magma release lever, you are going to have plenty of time to act before he gets close enough to do anything about it. As a rule of thumb, if an enemy is already within range of your Response Action and has to move an inch or more before taking his own Action, you will automatically be able to act first during that inch.
In cases where one minifig's Action isn't automatically faster than another's, the Skill Rolls for their Actions will determine who goes first. (For Actions that don't require a Skill Roll, roll against a Use of zero).
Whichever unit's Skill Roll beats its Action's Use rating by a larger amount (or, if both fail, the one who fails by the lesser amount) will act first. In the case of a tie, assume that both Actions
occur simultaneously if possible; otherwise, the player whose
turn it is acts first.
|Who Acts First Example: High Noon Shootout
|Example: Two gunfighters meet outside the saloon for a duel at high noon. They eye each other warily, each prepared to draw and fire the moment their opponent so much as twitches.
On Hairtrigger Wayne's turn, he decides he's going to fire first, and declares his attack on Shoot-Em-in-the-Back Shaun. Shaun declares a similar attack on Wayne as a Response Action. Both players roll their Skill of 1d6 against their pistols' Use rating of 3. No doubt due to heavy drinking, Wayne rolls a 2 and Shaun rolls a 1; both miss their shots.
Wayne's failure by -1 (Skill Roll:2 minus Use:3) is less bad than Shaun's failure by -2 (Skill Roll:1 minus Use:3); his missed shot occurs first. Shaun's shot occurs second, and since it was a Critical Failure, the gun goes off before he even gets it out of the holster. Shaun collapses in agony after shooting himself in the foot, and a great cheer goes up as the crowd of spectators mistakenly assumes that Wayne's shot hit its mark.
While the recommended Response to almost any enemy behavior is to
attack with everything you've got, there are times when a unit's best
bet is to make a desperate leap for safety. He may be dodging an oncoming
truck, jumping out of a helicopter that's about to be hit by missiles,
or diving behind cover when a machine gun turret opens fire on him.
Units are not able to Sprint as a Response Action. Instead, assuming
their movement type would logically allow it, they have the option
to Bail. A Bailing unit makes a Skill roll and can dive to any spot within that many inches
of its current position, ending up lying on the ground in a prone
position. After Bailing, a unit is Disrupted, meaning he may
not attempt any further action until his next turn, not even to Counter
a Close Combat attack. On its following turn, the unit may spend 2" of Move to recover and stand up again, and
may once again behave as normal.
|Overskill: A unit who rolls a Critical Success on the Skill roll for Bailing distance may choose to land on its feet and avoid being Disrupted, rather than adding a Bonus d6 for extra inches.
Bailing has a zero Use rating, so a Bailing unit will get to
act first more often than not. However, because he has to roll 1d6
to see how far he's allowed to jump, a low roll can sometimes mean
that he doesn't Bail far as he needs to, and a Critical Failure means he just
falls on his face right where he's standing. If a Bailing unit doesn't
jump far enough to escape the path of an oncoming train, he still
gets hit by the train; if he's Bailing to avoid a rifle volley and
doesn't quite reach cover, the riflemen just fire at him in his new
position instead of his old one.
|Reconstruktion and Retconstruktion Numbers
|Because ABS, whether used as a construction material or as fuel, has the side effect of warping time and space, and because SpaceMen's inborn compulsion to kick ass must inevitably destroy every universe and rip all histories into a nonlinear tangled mess, time in the BrikWars universe is inconsistent and poorly-defined. One might leave in the morning on a brisk walk, and find oneself arriving home 300 years in the past. Two sides of the same street might be on separate planets one day, and interdimensionally superimposed on one another the next. How does one organize a timeline when such extreme distortions are possible?
BrikWars historians order their chronologies by numbered Reconstruktions, numbering each reality according to the number of previously destroyed universes by which it was influenced and from which it inherits recycled elements. The timeline in which SpaceMen first arose has been assigned the number 1,978, after Brik science determined that the destruction of the SpaceMen's universe retroactively created 1,977 previous generations of reality leading up to their own. None of these previous Retconstruktions (or "Retcons") contain minifigs, but as they get closer to R-1,978, devolved forms of pre-minifig life begin to appear. These proto-life forms occasionally reappear in later Reconstruktions, and may paradoxically be the source of the protofig bioengineers responsible for creating the SpaceMen in the first place, who would then go on to bring about the existence of the preceding universes in which the protofigs evolved.
Brik theologians theorize that, because the Universal Ass-Kicking created 1,977 previous generations of reality, it must have created exactly 1,977 generations to follow, and the universe will finally run out of ABS in R-3,955.
Naturally, the great powers of history don't simply disappear at the end of their Reconstruktion. As pieces of their previous realities shatter forward into new ones, remnants and echoes of their minifig civilizations linger on in the garage sales and discount shelves of history. Some are forgotten and fade away, allowing themselves to be absorbed into new, more popular factions, while a few, such as the Royals, regroup and persist for several Reconstruktions in a seemingly endless series of evolved forms.
Some Humans have noted curious synchronicities between Reconstruktion numbers and Earth years, based on the construction brik sets appearing on retail shelves. The all-destroying invasion of Poop Dragons from the Negaverse in Reconstruktion 2,003, for example, happens to correspond exactly with Mega Bloks' Dragons line knocking Lego out of its rightful #1 Construction Toy spot in the year 2003, complete with its "Piece-with-Only-One-Purpose" premolded dragons. These are complete coincidences, of course, and no attention should be paid to crackpots and their conspiracy theories.