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Hack For More

WEEK XXX: 05/29/04

by Edward McEneely
Jun 29,2004


Hack For More

WEEK XXX: 05/29/04

This is technically yet another filler column; those of you inclined to find fault should blame Erich, who's been off visiting Texas for the past two weeks; why anyone would want to go to Texas is beyond me, of course. (ATTENTION, TEXANS: I apologize for offending any of you who for one reason or another take wholly unnatural pride in your home state. I myself have a great deal of respect for Texas: in the future, I'm fairly certain that the mere threat of landing Texas on top of smaller nations will be sufficient to preserve the peace.) Since I don't know Seth outside of gaming, and since Erich is the tenuous chain that binds us all together (not to mention official host of Hack For More and official soda buyer of Hack For More), there hasn't been gaming since he left. Needless to say, I hope fervent non-denominational hopes towards his return; without gaming, I don't have much of a column, do I? I mean, it's not much of a column to begin with, but at least it's something, right? Right.

At any rate. Before he left, Erich and I met to do violent battle within the fairly loose confines of the BrikWars lego miniatures wargame. (Lego itself does not, repeat not, endorse BrikWars. Legos are not about violence or killing, despite an entire line of lego siege artillery and the much anticipated lego Enola Gay kit with atomic-era-ushering-in-bomb-bay action. Yes, I made the last part up...or did I?)

I like to think that Erich's and my armies say something about us. In my case, it's nothing good.

Since I had to basically start from scratch where my legos are concerned (the two of you still following along may remember something about this from back around Week 10), my army is simple, organized, and very, very munchy.

The term "munchkin", of course, is a perjorative assigned to min/maxers or powergamers, the basic idea being that only a snivelling child (or a filthy, stinking, candy-wielding, wiccan-hating midget) would treat the essentially social pencil-and-paper RPG in the same way as he might play SSI's Eye of the Beholder or Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, a game whose designers were so naive, they assumed the built-in character editor would be used to recreate treasured characters from the TSR game it was based upon. I first encountered the term when I started playing Battletech, and I think it's fairly safe to say that I certainly fit the description at the time ("I'm playing a mercenary unit, but we have our own factory! It makes clan tech! Were [sic] awesome! LOL!"), and perhaps have never really grown out of that phase fully. To a certain extent, I'm sure that this is a result of being almost solely a gamemaster, a position that's easy to abuse. The transition from chief architect to inhabitant is always a little jarring, and some of us adapt to it better.

That being said, my army consisted of a troop of three large fighting robots for hand-to-hand combat, four five-man fire teams armed with rapid-fire energy weapons, and an armored car based off the old Blacktron Battrax kit. I thought it would be a nice compact force and that it should square off nicely against Erich's army.

Erich and I weren't playing with points, and the two of us combined had maybe skimmed half of the rules of the game, so perhaps the cruel mismatch that resulted is nobody's fault.

Erich's army had a mob of telepathically-controlled war elephants, twenty or so skeletons, a vampire armed with a lightsaber, various assorted champion types armed with lightsabers, some mummies, some hippogriff air cavalry, a convention of mad scientists, and assorted other foofaraw. Erich is pretty into the whole BrikWars thing, so he assures me that he's setting up a website for his army, The Circus of Insanity, complete with images and battle reports. Until that's all good to go, though, you're stuck with me. "Think, when we talk of legos..."

The battle itself was a horrendous slaughter, with Erich's troops falling in droves to long-range gunfire as they tried to close the range; I lost all three robots and three soldiers.

That isn't to say, of course, that we didn't have fun playing out such a massively lopsided battle, but I still felt bad about winning. It's one thing to defeat your opponent through clever planning; it's quite another to win through sheer logistical superiority.

I've never been good at wargames because I tend to become too involved in them; if it's a World War II game, I'd rather have my troops die wherw they stand than give an inch of ground. Likewise, if it's a World War III tank game, my troops will blunder into ambushes or retreat prematurely to avoid annihilation at the hands of the Red Army's onrushing T-72s. I'm not sure if this is because mass psychology, being somewhat more simplistic, is simply easier to portray instinctively, or simply because I'm really, really bad at wargames.

I like to think it's a little of both.

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What do you think?

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