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Hack For More

WEEK 10: 04/29/04

by Edward McEneely
May 11,2004


Hack For More

WEEK 10: 04/29/04

So we didn't actually get around to playing BrikWars, but for a very, very good reason.

You see, when I (rather abruptly) moved out of my family's house and set out on my own, I had to leave a lot of the stuff I'd accumulated over the years behind me. Now, of course, one of the things I left behind was my huge lego collection, which filled an immense vat with nineteen years worth of the delightful little plastic bricks.

Now, I assumed that my family would play nice and release them into my custody upon request, but things didn't work that way. Apparently, in my absence, my mother's grand-nephew (God knows what that makes him to me) has started visiting the house, and the little fellow is, oh, four or five. Naturally, he's taken an interest in the legos. Now, it is important to realize here that while my mother is a sucessful businesswoman, a published author, and helped to design a quilt that went into, I belive, the Smithsonian (something to do with AIDS, if memory serves), she still has a remarkable weakness for small children, and as her youngest is now...well, look, I don't remember how old James is, but he's a teenager, so he's not really a cute little baby anymore, is he? The end result of this is that she refused to return the legos to me, and I was SOL.

So it's really not my fault. I promise!

BrikWars, however, is too brilliant for me to be stymied, so Erich and Laura and I went out shopping for legos with which to populate our armies.

Here, a digression of sorts. I think my early fondness for legos influence my later love of miniatures wargaming, which lead me into roleplaying (legos to Battletech to Mechwarrior to West End's Star Wars RPG), so now I've come full circle. I must say, though, that when I was but a boy, lego kits seemed...better. I don't know; maybe I'm the only one who dislikes the marketing tie-ins, but dammit, when I built an X-Wing out of legos, I didn't need no instructions, nosir! I just built it. Made my own astromechs, too. That was just the way it was.

In fact, my favorite lego kits remain the ones from my childhood: Blacktron, M:Tron, Space Police, and so forth. Especially Blacktron. Man, when you're seven years old, there's nothing cooler than a guy dressed all in black. Nothin'! And if you think that doesn't stay with you, how many people reading this didn't have at least one character dressed all in black? Not many, huh? That's right. Because black is awesome.

Fortunately, I was able to snatch up a lot of ten Blacktron minifigs (apparently, this is the proper term for what I always referred to as "lego guys") on, and they're forming the solid core of my army-to-be, my Praetorians.

Tonight, I snapped up a pair of "Rakshi Vorahk" from Lego's trying-a-little-too-hard Bionicle line, intending to get a third later on and use them as a trio of giant fighting robots, my Erinyes. I love the Furies of Greek mythology, and while I realize that Praetorians are Roman, they're my little lego guys, not yours, so don't worry too much about it.

I'm not sure why, but Ninjas and giant fighting robots, the two opposite ends of the spectrum, are generally the epitome of cool in RPG circles. If an RPG lacks one, it's sure to have the other. Now, what could be cooler than a giant fighting ninja robot? Answer: Not much. Therefore, despite the utter uselessness of huge war robots armed only with futuristic melee weapons loping about the battlefield, I decided to dispense with building on any sort of gun-style weapon, which I may in due time eventually regret.

Erich, meanwhile, picked up a Spiderman kit for the Doctor Octopus figure (the octopus-arm backpack was last seen on a Jedi figure, clutching four lightsabers) and a guy who resembled Lando from the Clerks animated series. He also picked up some of the smaller, midget-style Bionicle robots, intending to use them as leetle infantry support robots, and also apparently to combine them to build a four-legged, slightly lame scorpion-type robot, which, in his sadly deluded state, he decided was awesome.

Erich, still having the benefit of his lego collection, has gone a different route than me; his army is a sort of circus-of-the-damned type deal, with ghosts, skeletons, battledroids, Jedi, etc, and whatever else he has lying around. He was never really a wargamer like I was, so goofy fun is more his army's main priority, as opposed to my plan of looking good in black, which is about as much as can be expected by any force under my generalship.

Laura regarded the whole scheme with amused contempt and spent the evening doodling in her sketchpad, including a pretty amazing group portrait that I hope to scan and see if the boffins here at can include it as an extra-special bonus with one of my shorter, crappier columns.

You know, like this one.

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