You’ve finally made your decision. You’re going to dive into the fun-filled world of LEGO tabletop games. Adventure calls to you, and you want to experience it using the versatile power of bricks and mini-figures. So, you’ve gone off to the attic to dust off your old LEGO boxes, maybe picked up a few new sets and pieces to add some pizzazz. Perhaps you’ve even gotten your friends all hype as well. But now, you’re a bit overwhelmed, wondering which tabletop RPGs and games are great for starting.
We’ve all been there. There’s a galaxy’s worth of games, formats, and genres out there, and that’s not even the worst bit; all the best carry some legit appeal. Have no worries, though, dear budding brick adventurer. We’ve got the perfect list of beginner LEGO tabletop games for you.
I. How to Choose a Beginner LEGO Tabletop Game?
For a brief stint between 2011-2013, LEGO forayed into the realm of board game RPGs with lineups like Games and Heroica. But neither saw much development.
And with corporate LEGO Group’s current apathy toward thematic stagnation in their original lineups, it’s slightly harder today to easily get your hands on the “just right” jumping-off point straight from the source – whether it’s a series of sets, figures, or a theme – without delving into the realm of customs and aftermarket.
But as you’ll see around here, with some pointers, it’s far from being “too difficult” to accomplish. So let’s return to looking at using tabletop games as a way toward imaginative and generative play with LEGO!
Like most new endeavors, starting a LEGO tabletop adventure feels a bit daunting. You’re looking at the peak of Brick Mountain afar off and wonder how you’re ever going to get to the fun parts with all the rules and systems you have to learn.
It’s at this juncture where your choice of game is crucial. Tabletop RPGs and wargames like Dungeons & Dragons and Warhammer have gone through decades of evolution. Their adventures and campaigns have grown more elaborate than the LEGO Millennium Falcon set. This is where beginner-friendly games come into play, designed to ease budding adventurers like yourself into their worlds.
What makes a game, campaign, or adventure good for newbies are a few elements:
- They’re light on the rules, meaning they either have trimmed some of the fat or use fewer mechanics from their main ruleset.
- They’re shorter in length, meaning it takes less time than the average game to complete.
- They’re designed with LEGO in mind, meaning someone created a unique tabletop game for people like yourself who want to put their brick collection to a different use.
Let’s get started – in no particular order.
II. What are the Best LEGO Tabletop Games for Beginners?
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Even after considering those basic criteria, still a bit unsure where to start? Since you’re twisting our arm, here are nine games from across the spectrum to get you started with some LEGO tabletop adventuring.
Ready-Made Homebrew Games
These recommendations are games specifically designed with LEGO in mind. They’re primarily free and have their own rules and mechanics, which you can check out for free on their respective websites.
1 / 9
This game is one of the best-known LEGO tabletop RPGs out there. Designed from the ground up to emulate classic pen-n-paper role-playing games, its rules are straightforward to remember. The designer and website owner, Peter Guenther, even has a bunch of LEGO schematics for what he calls modular dungeons to help you craft your first adventures.
2 / 9
Brikwars is the LEGO tabletop game that’s inspired by wargames like Warhammer. Like BrickQuest, it has a simple set of custom rules to help you get started. What’s more is that the free Game Book was last updated in 2019, meaning that the designers are still quite active. On their website, you’ll also find tons of photos of real Brikwars games to help spark your imagination.
Tabletop LEGO RPGs
We’re now stepping out of the domain of games built for purpose. These next RPG games are intended to be played as pen-n-paper adventures or with the typical figurines and playmats. Instead of using that stuff, you can sub in your own flare with some glorious LEGO.
3 / 9
Dungeons & Dragons (Early Level Adventures)
DnD (D&D??) is arguably one of the most popular tabletop role-playing games of all time. Its most recent edition, 5e, has seen a significant overhaul to its rules, making them more accessible. On top of that, there are tons of new early-level adventures that are perfect for beginners crafting LEGO adventures of their own. Examples include the Essentials Kit, which has everything you need to get started, and the adventure Lost Mine of Phandelver.
4 / 9
Quest is a minimalistic tabletop RPG that doesn’t just trim the fat; it slashes it in big chunks. Designed to be played with highly streamlined rules, it’s the perfect way to kickstart a LEGO RPG when you want to focus more on the building and less on complicated mechanics.
5 / 9
The gritty Cthulhu RPG series blends surreal horror with mystery-solving, but it’s pretty complex for beginners. Enter Cthulhu Dark, a version of the base game that cuts down on the rules and mechanics without killing the fun… if you’re into that. Even better, the 2010 rules are available for free.
6 / 9
The Ultimate Micro-RPG Book
A must-have book for any budding tabletop adventurer getting their feet wet, the Ultimate Micro-RPG Book is the perfect starting point when you want to play quick adventures. What’s great about this title is that it gives you the tools to craft your games and adventures instead of leading you through something premade, and it accomplishes this effortlessly.
Tabletop LEGO Wargames
This category’s for the aspiring brick generals out there. Tabletop wargames have been settling nerd scores for decades, and they’re even better when you put in that LEGO dynamism.
7 / 9
One Page Rules
While not literally one page, this website is chockful of wargames that are extremely thin in terms of rules, allowing you to focus on the good parts, demolishing your friends’ brick-based armies.
8 / 9
Song of Blades & Heroes
One of the most flexible wargame systems, Song of Blades & Heroes goes beyond competitive strategy by also including mechanics and rules for allied war. What’s more is that this system prides itself in not requiring any bookkeeping to keep track of everything that’s going on, so you’re always right there in the action.
9 / 9
Kings of War
Often touted as a superior battle system to that of Warhammer, critics and fans alike will often concede that Kings of War is one of the best fantasy wargame series of all time. It’s got a deep system of mechanics for those looking to grow the sophistication of their campaign, but at the same time manages to stay relatively light on the rules, meaning you can have big fun with fewer rules to keep track of.
III. An Additional Tabletop Recommendation!
With so many options to choose from, you better believe it was challenging to pick only nine here!
So if you are interested in beginning as a GM/DM (game master aka dungeon master, “the director”, for the folks in the back), look no further than Dungeon World. It lays the foundation for your experience while minimizing your chances of getting lost in the weeds of nerd detail and rigid mechanics.
Dungeon World is designed as an old-school dungeon crawler that prides itself on offering adaptable narrative, running simplified rules and customization for multiple experience levels, and providing expedited game preparation and character creation. The website even has some free downloads available. So if you feel so inclined, combine the Dungeon World sandbox with the LEGO sandbox, and you’re in for a trip without dead ends!
IV. Why LEGO Tabletop Games?
After all this, you may still be on the fence wondering what the point of adding LEGO to tabletop RPGs is… or if RPGs are even viable at all in today’s world of apps and digital experiences.
While I can see the big potential in RPGs, I also recognize how convoluted the overall design can seem and how impossibly nerdy it seems to simply get started. If you don’t know where to start, it simply appears too difficult to get into tabletop gaming.
There’s too many brickin’ rules, too many “absolutely must-have” rulebooks (that you have to commit to heart as a DM, not to mention learning how to be a DM if you don’t know one already!), too many conflicting opinions about designing a world, too much geekery overall (…eh, debatable, maybe), and too little certainty that you’ll actually enjoy the game you’re investing so much energy into preparing for.
Point taken: there are more barriers to tabletop RPGs than say, picking up a videogame incarnation. With the videogame RPGs, the setting and characters are already at your disposal; no need for other live people, no need for a live, versatile DM facilitating your pleasurable experience. With such convenience, no wonder many pass by the tabletop experience!
Hence this guide, and more to come like it. You should come away knowing at least a little better where to start your journey, adventurous reader!
And no – virtual “tabletop” options don’t afford the same interactive accomplishment, tangible community building, or growth as actual TABLE-top RPGs. Once you know the secrets to getting into your own RPG groove – by following my advice of course! – you’ll see how LEGO tabletop gaming can offer a lot that other games don’t.
Over time, learning and participating in RPGs can increase your imaginative range, provide an outlet for story telling and dynamic planning, and offer opportunities for unique engagements face to face. You may even find the occasion to make some new friends.
For those who don’t know much, or who – like me – have only peripherally dabbled in RPGs, take heart!
Don’t go out buying up every miniature and guidebook expecting to take a shortcut to mastery. Put one foot in front of the other on your path to adventure, and take pleasure in knowing that you’ve stumbled on something special.
One advantage that tabletop games have over videogame counterparts (more so today than the past) is that they retain more of the potency of the source material they draw from – namely the great mythologies and traditions of world culture. Good quality tabletops are less derivative and less “photocopy-of-a-photocopy” than a lot of today’s mainstream “anime”-type videogame RPGs.
If you want to imagine yourself in a Celtic fantasyland or a grandiose space opera, or anything in between, in a cooperative setting or in one with competing rivalries, the only limit is you, how far you want to go with your LEGO bricks, and how readily you respond to the need for storytelling, and thinking outside the box and thinking on your feet with fellow players.
Well, there you have it! View the top picks highlighted in this article by checking out the linked items above.
What game or person served as your introduction to tabletop play? Did I miss an RPG that you’ve been particularly fond of… or that you love to hate?
Get started gathering ideas by checking out what’s available on eBay!