Trooth's Lego Battle Game

Know what that thing is? That's my Lego treasure box. Good old cardboard made to look like wood through the magic of a sharpie. This cardboard chest is where I kept a very specific set of legos from my collection. All the coolest ones inhabited that box. I've got a big ol' tub of generic lego building blocks, but in here was all the cool stuff. All the lego men, the swords, the helmets, the guns, the motorcycles... Basically the ones that seem more attributable to action figures than construction tools. These were the ones I wanted to play with the most... But I wasn't satisfied to just give the dudes a bunch of weapons and smash them into each other to fight. No, no... I made rules for playing with the legos. I made a whole elaborate lego GAME with rules and dice-rolling and stuff. Want to hear all about it? Well, be my guest.

What you'll need

Item 1: A freakin' bunch of lego men. The ideal number is 60, but less than 25 or so would be no good. It's good to have them organized in such a way that they can easily be split into teams, like a red team, blue team, black team, etc. I recommend 10 men to a team, with 6 teams, but like most of my rules, you can feel free to experiment with those.

For a game-playing event like this, I even bust out my experiemental mutant lego men. You generally want to avoid this if you can though, as the guys really need to be able to hold weapons and wear helmets and stuff.

Item 2: Usable bases for your teams to inhabit. Here's where you need to decide how dedicated you're going to get to the game. The best thing to do would be to use your massive collection of legos to make individual bases for each team, like this massive tower I have:

But the easier option is to just have them inhabit a piece of furniture or an area of the room, like a shelf. Excuse the dust. I didn't prepare much for the writing of this guide. The bases ought to be pretty big (the game will make more sense that way, but it's not really necessary).

Item 3: A ton of legos (duh). If you were a kid like me who always wanted to buy the medieval or ninja or secret agent themed sets, you'll be better off, since you ought to have an abundance of weapons and helmets.
Item 4: Some weird-shaped dice. So... It also helps if you were a kid like me who was once into Dungeons & Dragons. I keep using these dice to make random decisions years after I've stopped playing the game they're intended for. I lost my 12-sided die some years ago (not sure how) but I still have the 4-sided, 6-sided, 8-sided, 10-sided, and 20-sided. If you don't have any of these funky dice yourself, you can probably just get a computer program that simulates them (a random number generator spanning whatever range you need). Or maybe some people have phones with such a program. The dice are really your best option though, to keep the fights running a bit more smoothly.

Item 5: The rule book! Of course! I actually almost panicked when looking for this thing. I had to turn the room upside-down and turn my desk inside-out to find it. I found a bunch of old junk I totally forgot about by accident, like my old strategy guide for Ocarina of Time, and some terrible comics I drew in 5th grade. Really though, this isn't much of a RULEbook, but more of a price listing/scoreboard, for me to keep track of the price of the many items, and to keep track of which team is going to buy which item and all... Well this probably doesn't make much sense to anyone now, so all you need to know is that this web page is YOUR rule book. Mine is right here:

However, I do recommend using a sheet of paper or some similar thing to keep track of stuff during the game. Maybe you could use a computer, I dunno, I prefer pencil and paper for the purposes of this game.

The basics

The premise of the game is this: You have these six (or so) teams of lego men scattered around the room, and they're all at war with each other. Their goal is to make a bunch of sneak attacks on the enemy bases, killing their men one by one, until all ten (or so) members are dead. They also receive gold periodically from an undisclosed source, which they use to buy weapons for their troops and fortify their base. In addition, they're awarded a certain sum for each enemy they kill.

Once you have all of your teams holed up in their respective bases, write the name of each on a sheet of paper. You'll use this to keep track of how much money they have and what item they're currently saving up for. What I'd do is roll dice to decide randomly what each team wants to buy, but some people may just decide for the team. The game is about whatever's the most fun, not so much about strategizing and winning. So what you COULD do is just let them accumulate gold and then spend it whenever you feel like it, but I prefer to have them decide randomly. So, once you have every team set with an item you want them to save up for, (see the item list at the end of the guide for details) you can start a round. First item of business:

Gold distribution: First, roll the d6 to decide which of the 6 teams is going to receive gold. Then roll the d10 to determine the sum of money they'll receive (1-10 gold pieces). If a team gains enough money for the item in their queue, have them buy it and receive it immediately. Then it can be set up in their base or equipped by one of their men (depending on the sort of item it is). If somebody does purchase an item, distribute gold again. Repeat as necessary, until gold is distributed and doesn't result in the purchase of an item. Once that's done with, you can start...

Planning the attack: Roll the d6 to determine which team is going to be making an attack. Then, roll it a second time to determine which team they're making an attack on. If you roll the same number twice, just try again. Once you decide which team is attacking which, you have a couple more rolls to make. First, roll the d4. If it's a 1-3, they'll be sending one attacker. If it's a 4, they'll send out two at once. Roll the d10 to determine which of their units they'll send out, or you can just decide for yourself if you don't like it being random. You may favor it being an armed unit rather than one of the generic unarmed men. Makes for a more interesting fight.

Reaching the enemy base: The unit(s) from the attacking base travel across the room to wherever the enemy base is. Their objective is to target somebody guarding one of the edges of the base, so that theoretically, nobody will hear them make their attack on one of the guards. This is why it's ideal to construct or lay out large bases for your teams. Once they reach their target, roll a d4 (or flip a coin or something, it doesn't matter). A 1-2 means the enemy hears them coming, but a 3-4 means they get to make the first strike. If you do roll a 1-2, roll a second time, and if it's once again a 1-2, the guard calls the nearest ally over for reinforcements. This is when the battle begins.

Combat: The first item of a battle is to roll initiative. Basically, this means deciding who goes first. Roll the d10 to determine this (re-rolling if you get a tie). If more than two men are involved in a fight, they may need to roll randomly to decide who they hit, or you just choose for them. When making an attack, roll the d6. A 1-3 means they miss their opponent, or they blocked the blow. A 4-6 means they successfully hit. In the event of a 4-6, you then roll the d10. If you roll a 10, the opponent takes 20 damage, killing him instantly, due to an especially potent death blow. This is a random factor employed to make fights more interesting, so that a little guy with the odds stacked against him can still pull off a miracle. If a 10 is not rolled, you then roll the d8. Whatever number shows up equals how much damage is done to the enemy.

By default, an ordinary lego man has 20 HP at maximum. This can be increased with certain items, and they can also be granted damage bonuses with weapons. A death blow is intended to do 20 damage only, so if one lego man is beefed up with heavy armor and such, the 20 damage may not kill him instantly. If a unit is wielding a weapon that increases his attack power, apply this bonus to death blow damage as well.

If a 1 is rolled on the d8, it's an especially weak attack that leaves the attacker open in his opponent's next turn. This means that the enemy can roll a 3-6 on the d6 to hit, rather than the normal 4-6.
If an 8 is rolled on the d8, it's an especially strong attack that stuns the enemy during their next turn. This means that the enemy may only roll a 5 or 6 to make a successful hit, rather than the normal 4-6.

After the battle: If the attacker wins his fight, roll the d20. If the result is higher or equal to his HP, he chooses to flee the enemy base, and he returns home without consequence. If the man he attacked was carrying any items, he may steal them if he is able to equip them currently. If he doesn't have a free hand, or if he's already wearing a helmet/piece of armor, he must leave some of his own equipment behind in order to carry whatever's more favorable. The enemies will find whatever he left as soon as he's gone, and redistribute it among themselves. If that d20 roll is lower than his current HP, he decides to press on further into the enemy base. From here, repeat all the steps involved in "reaching the enemy base" and beyond. Only now, of course, his health may be lower than before.

If the attacker loses the fight, nothing special happens, but the defenders will receive a gold reward, and they can keep any items the attacker was carrying with him.

Fleeing a battle: An attacker may choose to flee a battle at any time if the odds seem overwhelming. On his turn, he must roll the d10 until he reaches 10. It may only take one turn, but if he rolls a 6 when attempting to flee, then he will only need to roll a 4 in the next turn. During these fleeing turns, the alarm is sounded throughout the base, and any troops with long-range weapons are able to take shots at him, though any who were not involved in the fight with him have a decreased hit chance (must roll a 5-6 to make a successful hit). If no enemies have long-range weapons, and there are no automated base defenses, he'll always be able to escape unharmed.

When the fight is over: Once a fight ends and the attacker returns to his base (or is dead), all living parties have their health fully restored. Originally I wanted to have their health restored by d8 each turn, but this wound up being too hard to keep track of. If you want to keep everyone's current HP in mind, that's your prerogative, but I find it too hard to manage.

Gold bonuses: Whenever one unit kills another, his team receives a d6 gold bonus. If an attacker flees the enemy base in the middle of a fight, the defenders receive a d4 gold bonus for driving him away (and an additional d6 if they kill him as he's fleeing). If the attacker returns to his base after killing someone, and no other enemies are alerted to his presence, his team receives a d4 gold bonus.

Team elimination: When an entire team has been killed, the team that finished them off is greatly rewarded. They receive any gold that might have been present in the team's stock, as well as any equipment that may have been left in their base. Automated guns and other such base defenses may not be transferred to the conquering team's base, but the team may relocate if their conquered enemies had a more heavily fortified base.

The last two teams: When all but two teams have been eliminated, the grand final battle takes place. flip a coin (or roll a die) to determine which team will make the attack, and who the defenders will be. The attacking team assembles every single one of their troops, and they march on the enemy base, where all of the enemies will be assembled, waiting at once. For this battle, I recommend writing down every unit's HP on a sheet of paper to keep track of it all, and rolling their initiative with a d20. Of course, this may not be necessary if it's a small number of troops, but it tends to be a lot. The battle isn't over until an entire side is killed.

Of course, you don't HAVE to make the last two teams face off in this huge epic battle, but I find it much more fun this way. It tends to be the best part of the whole lego war when the two teams with the greatest survival capabilities put their heavily amassed resources to work all at once I've had some teams who were very small but very wealthy, so that all of their troops had two weapons.

Now, the big thing that everyone's probably been waiting for...

The item list

This is the place where, if anywhere, people are going to have to vary the rules of their game. It hinges heavily on you having many of the same lego weapons and such that I did, so your item list may vary if you don't own any such legos.

Of course, not everything I used for these purposes was a lego product... And some of these lego items are being used for something other than their original intention... I'm sure you'll see what I mean on several occasions.

Healing items

(7 GP) Small first-aid kit: The wearer may take a turn to restore 5 of his hit points. May also be used once between battles, but not more than once per battle.
(13 GP) Large first-aid kit: The wearer may take a turn to restore 10 of his hit points. May also be used once between battles, but not more than once per battle.

One unit could technically wear two of these at once (one in front and one in back) but may only use one per turn.

Long-range weapons

(5 GP) Grenade: +5 damage. Grenades must be bought individually. I'm not sure if real lego grenades have been made, so I just used these, usually sticking them on the user's head or leg.

(2 GP) Bow & Arrow: +1 damage.
(3 GP) Grapple gun: +2 damage
(5 GP) Spear/Rocket gun: May fire one spear for 5 damage, or bullets for +3 damage.
(10 GP) Rocket launcher/Cannon: Roll d8 twice to determine damage. Also has an extra death blow opportunity. Roll the d10 twice before attacking to check for a death blow.

(3 GP) Sludge machine: +2 damage
(3 GP) Crossbow: +2 damage
(4 GP) Pistol: +3 damage
(6 GP) Raygun: +4 damage
(12 GP) Big raygun: +6 damage

(15 GP) Ultimate raygun: +8 damage
(7 GP) Flamethrower: +4 damage. Can attack up to two enemies per burst.
(7 GP) Shotgun: +5 damage.

Base defense

This is probably the department where I strayed the most from the world of legos. I'm pretty sure all the guns below are originally Transformers toys, but they served the purpose well enough. The land mines are actually legos, but the "orbital sphere" item is actually just a marble, but it could be anything round.

How baseguns work: Every time an enemy approaches the base, the attacker must roll to see if he evades detection by the basegun. This is a 50/50 chance, just like sneaking up on a human enemy. If the enemy is spotted by the gun, roll a d3. The gun will make this many shots at the enemy before they reach their destination, and each must be rolled as a normal attack. The attacker may choose to make a strike on the basegun, at which point he fights it just as he would a person. HP taken from a basegun is permanent unless the team possesses a hired unit who can repair machinery. A basegun that loses all its HP may not be repaired.

Basegun prices: They're indicated in their titles. 10 GP for the first one, 20 for the second one, etc. Basegun 10: +3 damage. 30 HP
Basegun 20: +4 damage. 40 HP.
Basegun 30: +5 damage. 40 HP
Basegun 35: +5 damage. 60 HP
Basegun 40: 2x damage. 60 HP
Basegun 50: 3x damage. 60 HP
(5 GP) Land mine: +5 damage. Will strike any incoming attacker who doesn't hold a trap detector. Destroyed upon use.
(10 GP) Orbital sphere: +4 damage. Hovers in the sky above the base, and plummets to the ground to strike any incoming attacker. An attacker with a trap detector has a 50% chance to evade the strike. Can be used infinitely, and cannot be destroyed, but it can only attempt to hit one attacker, once per invasion.

Covert equipment

(25 GP) Antenna: Enemies are unable to make sneak attacks on any of the base's men. This won't alert EVERY team member, only the one being attacked.
(10 GP) Spying saucer: Hovers above one enemy base, and alerts its home whenever those enemies are about to make an attack on them. Cannot be used on a base where a trap detector is present. If an enemy currently being spied on buys a trap detector, the saucer is found and destroyed.
(25 GP) Ally summoner: Allows an attacker to call in an ally from his base if he goes below 10 HP during a fight. May only be used once per invasion.
(5 GP) Trap detector: +1 damage. Allows the holder to detect land mines and orbital spheres around an enemy base.

Armor

(1-6 GP) Helmets: Adds a number equal to the cost to the wearer's maximum HP

Now, if you're like me, you have a ton of lego helmets. Decide for yourself beforehand which helmets will be of what value.

(6 GP) Metal breastplate: +5 HP
(1 GP) Rusty dragon shield: -1 damage taken. Cannot reduce damage to 0.
(2 GP) Lion shield: -2 damage taken. Cannot reduce damage to 0.
(4 GP) Falcon shield: -3 damage taken.
(6 GP) Cosmic shield: -3 damage taken. +1 damage to all attacks by the wielder
(8 GP) Big bull shield: -5 damage taken.

Melee weapons

(1 GP) Lance: +1 damage
(2 GP) Spear: +1 damage. May be thrown for 5 damage. A full turn must be taken to pick the spear back up.
(2 GP) Samurai sword: +2 damage
(3 GP) Whip: +2 damage. Increased hit range (takes a 3-6 to hit rather than 4-6)
(3 GP) Pickaxe: +3 damage

(4 GP) Knight sword: +4 damage
(6 GP) Light saber: +4 damage. Increased death blow range (death blow on 8-10 rather than 10 only)
(7 GP) Giant paintbrush: +5 damage. Increased hit range (takes a 3-6 to hit rather than 4-6) (this item is obviously not a lego. It's just a paintbrush that I realized fits in the hands of a lego man)
(7 GP) Big axe: +6 damage
(9 GP) Giant halberd: 2x damage
(11 GP) Zapper: +7 damage
(20 GP) Weapon sprouter: This item is pretty much just the base of a light saber, but almost any other weapon can be attached to it. Two weapons can be attached to it, and they're used simultaneously in an attack, as one weapon. Their damage modifications stack.

Pets & Helpers

(20 GP) Croc: +3 damage. 50 HP
(25 GP) Robo: +5 damage. 60 HP. Comes with a built-in trap detector. Can repair machinery. This one is a robot that I built myself, so your design may vary.
(20 GP) Shark: +4 damage. 40 HP
(23 GP) Octopus: +5 damage. 40 HP
(15 GP) Robot assistant: +1 damage. 25 HP. Can repair machinery. A couple of mine came from a Star Wars set, but you could build your own like I did.
(10 GP) Hired muscle: This is just an extra lego man to add to the team

In these helpers, I deviated quite a bit from the lego formula. You can decide to just omit these, or replace them with something else.

(35 GP) Bionicle: 2 attacks. +3 damage each. Or 1 attack for 2x damage. 70 HP
(35 GP) Attack bot: Damage depends on weapons equipped (up to two). 65 HP. Can repair machinery. This is one that I built myself. Again, your design may vary.
(45 GP) Gundam: Yeah... Really. Has 70 HP, and damage varies based on weapons used. Can repair machinery. The story here is that I built several of these plastic models, and decided to use them for the lego wars because they seemed similar in nature to me, and they were poseable.

Transportation

When a unit equips a transportation item, the HP of the item becomes the user's HP. Once it is destroyed, the user will be at his normal health (except in the case of the jetpack, which explodes upon destruction). Weapons cannot be used while operating a transportation item. Also, it never occurred to me until writing this guide, but I also had a rule that only one person could use a transportation item at a time. No passengers. I suppose it wouldn't make much difference, since an extra person in a vehicle wouldn't add to its attack power.

(10 GP) Horse: +3 damage. 20 HP. +1 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(12 GP) Warhorse: +4 damage. 25 HP. +2 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(8 GP) Motorcycle: +2 damage. 20 HP. +3 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(25 GP) Carriage: +5 damage. 35 HP. +1 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(7 GP) Go-kart: +1 damage. 15 HP. +1 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(30 GP) Car: +5 damage. 40 HP. +3 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(8 GP) Jetpack: +1 damage. 10 HP. Subtracts 5 HP from user upon destruction. +5 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(40 GP) Alien bug: 2x damage. 45 HP. +5 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(20 GP) Hover vehicle: +2 damage. 30 HP. +4 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.

Add-ons

These are items I added to the list later, so they were never filed into their respective categories.

(10 GP) Glider: (transportation item) +2 damage. 20 HP. +2 speed to fleeing and initiative rolls.
(15 GP) Monkey: (pets & helpers item) 20 HP. Can hold and use up to 4 weapons, but can't wear armor or helmets.
(8 GP) Magic wand: (melee or long-range item) +4 damage. Increased death blow likelihood (death blow on a roll of 8-10 rather than 10 only).

Additional notes on rules

Dual-wielding: Any lego man with two arms can dual-wield weapons (I know some of mine had a broken hand or a missing arm). The rules go like this: The first weapon swing will function like normal, but the second one will be different depending on whether the first attack hits. If the first attack fails to hit, then the second one has a decreased hit chance (5-6 required by default). If the first attack successfully hits, then the second one has an increased hit chance (3-6 required by default). This can stack with other factors. For example, the giant paintbrush by default requires only a 3-6 to hit the enemy. Now, suppose a dual-wielding lego man got hit for 1 damage during his enemy's last turn. This means he has an increased hit chance for both of his weapons during his own turn. His first attack (with some other weapon) requires a 3-6 to hit. Now suppose further that this first attack succeeds. His attack with the giant paintbrush now has an increased hit chance due first to its default stats, then due to being hit for 1 damage in his enemy's turn, then due to landing a successful hit with his first weapon. That means he makes a successful strike on any number 1-6. In other words, it's a guaranteed hit. It's rare that this will happen, but it can.

Can I dual-wield fists? No. Nor can you make one attack with a weapon, and a second attack with a fist. That was my rule anyway. Feel free to change that since this is essentially a single-player game. I just think it's more fun when two weapons are required to make two attacks. If I allowed it, I'd probably penalize a second attack made with a fist with the hit chance decreased by 1 or 2.

Repairing machinery: When something mechanical/electronic gets destroyed, (like a robot or a motorcycle) they must be left where they are destroyed. They may only be carried back to the attacking base (or stolen by attackers) if the attacker is able to get away with it undetected (i.e. not having to flee a battle). The fighting lego men do not have the ability to repair these complex machines, but certain hireable units do (like robots). This action must be taken between turns (cannot be done during combat) and it restores any such device to perfect working order, as if it had never been harmed. The exception to this is baseguns. When those lose all their HP, they're gone forever, but a replacement may be purchased.

A note on ammo: Ideally, the long-range weapons that aren't laser-based have an ammo limit. 3 arrows come with a bow or crossbow, 7 bullets come with any gun, 2 rockets come with a rocket launcher, 15 bursts come in a flamethrower's fuel pack, and 5 shells come in a shotgun. The only reason this isn't implemented is that it's tedious to keep track of. If you want to play the limited-ammo way, I advise lowering the prices of the long-range weapons themselves, and charging 2-5 gold for reloads (depending on whether you want ammo to be bought for each gun individually, or bought in crates which reload everybody once). Another option I considered is implementing quivers and similar items which would grant the holder unlimited shots for that weapon.

The long-range weapons were designed with ammo taken into consideration. For this reason, they were originally cheaper, and some had alternate functions. For example, the grapple gun has a +1 attack with its hook, but can also fire bullets for +2 damage. When it's out of ammo, it can use the grappling hook infinitely. Another example is the rocket launcer/cannon. For some reason, I decided a cannon would have infinite ammo, but additional rockets must be bought for the rocket launcher. The sludge machine is another item that had infinite ammo. This is why some items appear redundant now. Why include two items that do a simple +2 damage? Because some used to require ammo.

"Grappling" items: Another element I used in the early design stages of the game was the necessity of certain "grappling" items to reach enemy bases that weren't connected to the ground. For this reason, weapons like the grapple gun had more functionality, and there was also a grapple motorcycle in the transportation section. It cost 1 GP more than the ordinary motorcycle, but it could drive up walls and upside-down on ceilings. Ultimately, I decided to scrap all this grappling business, because it was unfair to the lego men who built their base close to the ground.

Final word

That's pretty much the entirety of my lego war game. Certain elements of the items might be unbalanced, but they were fun enough to pass the time for me as a kid. It might seem kind of weird that a game designed for one person has any rule list at all, but that's the way it was fun for me. Naturally, since there aren't any other players, you can go ahead and break any rules you want to make the game more fun. Nobody is commanded to play this game in the exact way that I did, but maybe I'll at least give people some fun ideas.

Honestly, I would bend, break, and change the rules myself all the time. Sometimes I would play only with two teams of lego men, and give them a massive sum of gold to spend on tons of equipment, then skip straight to the final battle. Other times I might think outside the rules of the game, responding to what actually happened to the lego man, like if I accidentally knocked one off a shelf, I'd say "oops, he's dead now."

The bottom line here is that everything is subject to change. However, I have put a decent amount of thought into a multi-player strategic adaptation of this game (as well as an RPG version which doesn't work nearly as well). It involves playing as one team of lego men and moving them around a board, fighting against another player. I have a fully functioning draft of this game worked out, and all that would be required to finish it would be to balance items a bit more, and perhaps make the game board more interesting (as it is, it's a featureless grid). If I did that, I think it could have potential as a real board game. One never knows.