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F:At Scoop: first photo of LEGO boardgame by Knizia F:At Scoop: first photo of LEGO boardgame by Knizia Hot

Further to Friday's post about a new line of boardgames constructed from LEGO bricks, to be unveiled this week at International Toy Fair Nürnberg:

Here's a first photo of one of the games in the product line.  The designer appears to be Reiner Knizia.

 Not exactly the expandable miniatures game that I dream they'll someday produce.  One can still hope.

 Edit:

 OK, maybe not a scoop.  Here's an article with a different photo of the same game.

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Comments (53)
  • avatarjeb

    If this is any good AT ALL, we should all run out and get like three copies. This is HUGE for the hobby, people. HUGE.

  • Mr Skeletor

    This could actually be a really cool idea.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    With Knizia on board, it could turn out to be at least a fun game if he designs in the vein of his kid's stuff (which is usually pretty good).

    Seeing the picture of it, I'm definitely interested. It's a fun concept, something totally fresh.

  • avatarJuniper

    I really hope the games exploit the possibilities that the bricks present. If we're just talking about games that could have been made of cardboard, then I don't care. If the games can be extended or customized in interesting ways, or if players can build (or disassemble) the board in creative ways during gameplay, then these will definitely be new and innovative.

  • avatarhancock.tom

    Heck even if it is some of Knizia's worst hackneyed paste on garbage, if it lets mainstream people know Monopoly isn't the only board game out there its a good thing for the hobby.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Agreed. This is a situation where what I like/don't like about a game isn't as important as presenting a new concept to a mainstream audience. WAY more people are into Lego than board games. Provided that the games are actually good and don't turn out to be junk, this has a better potential for mainstream success than any other hobby board game currently on the market.

    Like Juniper says, I really hope that the games take advantage of the medium. If it's just a cardboard game rendered in Lego, then it's really kind of missed opportunity.

    Looking at the die in the logo, I bet there's something to do with rolling and getting place blocks of certain colors.

    Once they have completed the board and dice, the children can then play the games, before rebuilding the construction differently and playing a new version of the game.

    And here's something else telling. It looks like they're customizable.

    And for children.

  • avatartomvasel

    This is certainly exciting news, and I can't wait to get my hands on a copy. My only concern would be the pricing. Legos are cool, but I get a majority of mine from eBay, where they are affordable. To buy them in the store is quite expensive, hopefully this game won't follow suit.

  • avatartomvasel

    Well, scratch that last commment. I went and checked the other page, and it seems they're not that expensive after all. I'll probably buy the whole set.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    I thought that too...even back in the 80's Legos were notoriously expensive ("$100 for a Lego set" says mom..."but it's the King's Castle!" says me). They look very reasonable, particularly given that you're getting a Lego set AND a game.

  • Mr Skeletor

    Where are the prices listed?

  • avatarJuniper

    The article that's linked at the bottom of the blog entry says:

    Quote:

    The games start at £7.99 and climb to £19.99 and are aimed at children aged five to nine, but Lego predict younger children will be able to enjoy them.
  • avatarJuniper

    The thing about "children aged five to nine" suggests that you can't adapt the games to older players, but this site says:

    Quote:
    Designed to appeal to the existing core Lego fan base of boys aged six-plus, the Lego Games offering also extends to families who will be able to play together, and adults.

    I guess we'll find out more in about a week.

  • avatarGrudunza

    I saw these Basic Concepts 3D games at Toys R Us a while ago and thought, oh man, I'd have loved that as a kid: http://www.walshpr.com/PressReleases/prBasic01.htm I would have picked up the pyramid one just 'cause it looked cool, but I was in a hurry and figured there probably wasn't much actual game there. But then I saw a video demo on the company's website and it looks like maybe there's at least some actual decision-making involved, so I probably should have grabbed it. Those games look fun enough for kids to just play with the set and pieces, regardless of whether the game's any good, and the Lego idea is the same thing... As some have already said, the Lego pieces alone will sell it and make it "playable", if not necessarily as a game.

    In any case, it looks like Lego is picking up somewhat from the Basic Concepts thing, and they even used the same pyramid kind of theme... maybe trying to steal the thunder...

    Does anybody here actually have one of those Basic Concepts games? I'd like to know about how they are... nobody's reviewed them yet on TOS.

  • Mr Skeletor

    3D boardgames are new?
    I'm pretty sure I have a 3d popup MOTU game in my cupboard...

  • avatarcraniac

    This could be a magical confluence of goodness. Lego could become the next piecepack/treehouse. My kids have a mediocre race game I thrifted that is basically a lite, lite version of Car Wars meets Candyland, complete with snap-on weapons like flamethrowers. My oldest (12) also plays Brikwars.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Ha! What does this mean for the people who claim that games aren't toys?

    What does this mean for the people who claim AT games are a bunch of plastic toys in a box?

  • avatarSpace Ghost

    It will be met with a gigantic simultaneous orgasm about how now there are proper "gateway games" for kids -- like drug dealers fighting over who gets to sell across from the school. Fucking morons.

  • avatarubarose

    The worst game I have ever played was by LEGO. Knight's Kingdom, or something like that.

  • avatarGary Sax

    Lego is so savvy about protecting their brand, in general. It's sort of impressive.

  • avatarMichael Barnes

    The fact that Knizia is attached tells me that maybe they actually give a damn about the games themselves. The fact that the head honchos at Lego talk about the game business as not existing at all outside of mass market is not so promising.

    The thing is, at first glance this looks awesome. And I hope that it will be awesome. But between the clucking board game jackasses that Space Ghosts mentions and the very real possibility that the games will be kind of an afterthought it's worth being cautious.

    But the potential is very, very great.

  • avatarAnders Fager

    There allready are quite a few fanboy lego games out there, so of course there is a market. Question for the folks at Lego is where to aim, market segment-wise.

  • avatarmoss_icon

    How soon til the pissing contest commences at BGG:

    "My four year old is playing the Knizia lego game!"
    "My 2 1/2 year old is playing the Knizia lego game, and beat me!"
    "My 3 month old baby just swallowed a brick from the Knizia lego game!"
    "I just spunked what was a potential future child all over my copy of the new Knizia lego game!"

  • avatarSagrilarus

    I'm trying to figure out how to work the word LEGO into the title "Cleopatra and the Society of Architects" but can't quite find a way to do that.

    It's good to see all your excitement on this, but right now Lego is selling Star Wars "Lego sets" that are just space ships you put together and leave that way forever. If you're smart you glue them because they're never going back together once the pieces have been removed.

    A mega brand name embracing games is good, but right now there's nothing compelling about their products other than the exceptional licensing opportunities they have managed to land, and they are pretty brutal with their small customers -- Lego delivered no product to small retailers in the last quarter of 2008. I'm going to need to see the game before I get on board with this one.

    I want this to be good, but if I can quote Lego's main licensing partner, "I got a bad feeling about this."

    Sag.


  • avatarLegomancer

    "It's good to see all your excitement on this, but right now Lego is selling Star Wars "Lego sets" that are just space ships you put together and leave that way forever. If you're smart you glue them because they're never going back together once the pieces have been removed. "

    You have absolutely no clue what you're talking about.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    "Once they have completed the board and dice, the children can then play the games, before rebuilding the construction differently and playing a new version of the game." -- The Telegraph.

    I am very much hoping the Telegraph misreported this.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    "You have absolutely no clue what you're talking about."

    I got four kids -- I spend a substantial portion of my weekends "fixing" their Legos. Perhaps my life arc is a bit different than yours, but I'm Lego's target market.

    Sag.


  • avatarLegomancer

    Sag, then you have four very dull kids. I subscribe to the Lego tag feed on Flickr and see all the amazing things that -- yes, kids -- do with Legos, even Star Wars Legos. Although I don't personally have any kids, I'm not unaware of theri existence in the world, and have many friends and relatives with Lego-playing kids. If yours can't do anything but build the main model and can't get it back together once it's apart, it's not a problem with the Legos.

  • avatarSagrilarus


    I humbly recommend you consider where Lego is making their real money right now -- licensed product, which is very much in demand (hard to find at Christmas and not delivered to small retailers). At my local store they sell bottles of glue right next to the Star Wars and Raiders packages and the manager recommends it to parents buying the products. Apparently it's not just my kids that are too stupid to keep the toys from falling apart when they play with them.

    Lego sells basic building blocks and my kids (though all apparently both dull and having a problem) do indeed play with them and create lovely toys. You can get a bucket of them for a few dollars.

    But that's not where their money is. Lego sells Star Wars and Spongebob and Raiders kits, where the hundreds of pieces are exceptionally specialized (often coming in a dozen different bags in an attempt to isolate complexity for the poor parent stuck helping their five-year-old) and where nothing is marked. The directions are language neutral (i.e., no text at all) which doesn't help. Assembly is quite complex and frankly, more than a few of them do not stay together especially in light of the use case they should be designed for. When my kids pretend to fly the ships, they break in half. A smart parent glues them so that they can actually get on to other things that need done.

    I'm not saying that these games won't be good, but I am indeed saying that I'm approaching cautiously. Lego=work in my house and I can play Sorry Sliders or Hulk Smash on a moment's notice with no need to actively manage the toy. I'm the parent, I'm the one with the money, I'm the one that will either choose to buy or not to buy a Lego game. If it breaks, if it looks like it's going to break, it's out. I got Pinewood Derby cars to build, so Lego is firmly in the back seat.

    Sag.


  • avatarLegomancer

    Man, what a sad story.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    "Man, what a sad story."

    Thank you for your heartfelt sympathy. With four kids you have to industrialize the process, and toys that break 90 seconds after you assemble them just can't fit in the schedule. Folks with only one or two kids just don't understand the additional level of complexity.

    Given that most families only have one or two now, maybe I'm not the target market after all.

    If you have to reassemble the board each time you play my kids are going to be tired of it by 10am Christmas morning. If that's not the case then you they may have something. I will read the rules and see one in person prior to buying.

    Sag.


  • avatarjeb

    I've got three kids under 5, and we stick to Duplos--I've made that camel so much I make it WITH MY MIND. My oldest can make it now too. pretty much--at least she doesn't complain when it has got hump palsy.

  • avatarJuniper
    Quote:
    Didn't they already attempt this before with the Orient Express series?

    http://www.lego.com/eng/orient/

    My nephew had some of these Orient Express sets. I don't think the game used the bricks as a unique medium. I believe that it was a conventional cardboard game with minifigs as pawns, and the LEGO buildings only decorated the board. You didn't build anything during gameplay, and the bricks didn't make the game customizable or extensible.

    I might be wrong, though. Have you tried it?

  • avatarubarose

    Sag does know what he is talking about. LEGO offers process and product. The process of building something, whether freeform or the disciplined challenge of following model building instructions is one way to play. The other way is to play with the product of your labor, the toy you have now created. Kids that are interested in the product don't like it when something that they have but a great deal of time into creating fall apart. The process of building a kite is fun, but you don't want it to fall apart when you try to fly it. Personally, I have a shelf full of LEGO models waiting for one of us adults to get around to fixing them because my kid wants those models to look and work exactly the "way they are supposed to," such as the electric train cars that won't work because the wheels and some other bit have fallen off and gone missing, and the clock that doesn't go because something inside came loose. Getting these fixed is too complicated for a young child. We also have a huge pile chest of LEGO combined with sets of other less complex models that are used for building and creating.

    The issue Sag is bringing up, is how dependant is the game on following the building instructions exactly. Will it stay together during while playing the game? If it falls apart during play, will young kids be able to put it back together on their own? Will it interupt game play? When the kids want to play "the other game" will they come running to their parents to put the new game together, becaus they can't get it right on their own, or tehy are frustrated with how long it takes to get it together because they want to play the game NOW?

  • avatarJuniper

    These are legitimate concerns, but that pyramid looks like a far simpler construction than the Star Wars models they sell.

  • avatarLegomancer

    Legos don't "break". They come apart, and that is a feature. If they "break", then you bought the wrong toy.

  • avatarJuniper

    Oh no! Someone is disrespecting the Lego!

    Lego personnel need to address a large number of concerns when they design a set. Some of them are mutually contradictory.

    - cost/piece count
    - detail/attractiveness of the model
    - rewarding build experience (is it challenging and fun, or tedious and repetitive?)
    - rewarding play experience (including moving parts or action features)
    - ease of build so that the kid can play with the model quickly
    - sturdiness of the completed model, so that it won't disintegrate during play

    Each of these imperatives must be balanced, and sometimes the balance they've settled on isn't a good fit for an individual child. Calling a child dull because a given Lego set didn't suit his or her needs or interests is lame.

  • avatarSagrilarus
    Quote:
    Legos don't "break". They come apart, and that is a feature. If they "break", then you bought the wrong toy.

    Unfortunately their licensed products have stretched the technical tolerances of the Lego design beyond its breaking point. Kenobi's space ship in particular is too long and too thin for the four small lego dot connectors holding it together at the center to manage the stress load. That sounds all engineerish, but in reality it simply means that the toy is designed for failure unless those pieces are glued together -- a compromise their designers had to make for the look of the toy.

    The more interesting designs that Lego sells are the most sexy, and the most in-demand. Gluing them becomes part of the game, just like any other model you would buy. Lego has effectively stepped into a new market segment.

    And that's the original point I was trying to make. "Lego" and "games" aren't a clean fit. It may just work. But if anything I think the Lego concept may prove to be an impediment that needs to be overcome instead of a feature that makes the game interesting. My guess is that the two will coexist with little interesting overlap.

    I'm more than a bit surprised to hear the fawning over Knizia and the excitement of breaking into the mainstream game market in this thread. BGG is down, but apparently its ghost is roaming the halls here.

    Sag.


  • avatarMichael Barnes

    Why? Knizia is a capable designer, it's just that he's been more focused on paying his bills and churning out repetitive crap over the past, what, 10 years?

    It's easy to forget that he's done some truly amazing design work when you go into the FLGS and see "REINER KNIZIA'S BAKER'S DOZEN". A game about fucking doughnuts. Well, not really, it isn't about anything. RA, E&T, LOTR...pretty monumental designs. Hell,even IVANHOE and DRAGONLAND are damn good games. And very accessible.

    I'm wondering how much of these sets will be the big chunky pieces that cut down on the actual building you have to do. Back in my day, they didn't have those. If you wanted to build a castle wall, you had to do it brick by brick. There weren't any of this gigantic pieces that did it for you and then you just stick the crenelations on top.

  • avatarubarose
    Quote:
    My nephew had some of these Orient Express sets. I don't think the game used the bricks as a unique medium. I believe that it was a conventional cardboard game with minifigs as pawns, and the LEGO buildings only decorated the board. You didn't build anything during gameplay, and the bricks didn't make the game customizable or extensible.

    The game we have is like a convential game as well - a bad roll and move one at that. I was surprised as I expected building something to be the game, like Cootie. You do collect armour peices for your mini figure, kind of like how you collect the jewlery in Pretty, Pretty Princess. You are supposed to attach those pieces to your pawn, so technically there is a little building, but since you move the pawn around the board, the amour peices fall off, or unbalance the pawn and it falls over. Therefore, the kids were getting frustrated, so we had them just put the collected bits in front of them, and assemble their Knights at the end of the game.

  • avatarubarose
    Quote:
    Legos don't "break". They come apart, and that is a feature. If they "break", then you bought the wrong toy.

    Exactly, which is why Sag and I are taking the wait and see approach. The "it comes apart" feature doesn't seem like a good feature for a board game if what is built needs to stay intact to play the game, especially one marketed to 6 year old boys. It would make more sense to me if the "putting together" and "coming apart" were a mechanic of the game. Like if when one of those little pawn dudes or jems is stuck tight, and a kid impatiently pulls real hard to get it off, and it takes a big ole chunk of the pyramid with it - if that's part of the game and it's supposed to work that way, then great. Otherwise, the game's gonna be a pain in the ass.

  • avatarjeb

    RULE #1--if something falls off your pawn, you have to STICK IT IN YOUR ASS.

    Problem solved.

  • Mr Skeletor

    I haven’t touched LEGO in 24 years so I must admit I don't get the argument.
    I always thought Lego was about building shit. You stick your bricks together and make something, like a little engineer. My first ever lego was a hamburger store. I followed the instructions (which even then had no text - but I don't see why it needs it) and built it, and had a sexy looking hotdog stand at the end. Then I busted it up and made a free form shit looking car out of the bricks, because why the hell would I want to play with a hot dog stand?
    So I guess I see the construction as the point of lego, not playing with the shit after. If a kid wants to play with a millennium falcon then buy him a plastic one rather than a lego one. Besides, I always saw those expensive lego sets as being more for the ‘big kids’ (ie geeks) then for kids.

  • avatarubarose

    We aren't arguing. I think we are all saying the same thing. Because one of the features of LEGO is that they come apart they are a great toy for building temporary things. They are a less good medium for 6-9 year olds to use for building permenent, or even semi permenent things. I agree with Legomancer that if you want a toy that stays in one peice while a child plays with it, LEGO is the "wrong toy." It appears from the article, however, that the game board needs to stay together while children play with it. Therefore, Sag and I are skeptical about how successful this new game product will be with it's target audience, which the article says is 6-9 year old boys.

  • avatarwaddball

    Even the doubters have too much optimism here. As a parent whose kids play with lego--sorry, LEGO--I'm completely nonplussed. This looks like tedium + weak game, and will be of no interest to anyone past the listed age range (or of course freaks who buy and love anything LEGO). I'll continue to look to Ravensburger and Haba.

  • avatarubarose

    waddball, you bring up a good point. Based upon my experience with Knizia's children's games, I am also skeptical that the game will appeal to anyone past the listed age range. However, as I have said, the listed age range isn't a good fit for the building something that needs to stay together while it is played with.

  • avatarSagrilarus


    My concern is that the Legos won't add anything significant to the game other than a you-build-it phase at the beginning. My one boy will enjoy that, my other three will view it as a barrier to playing. The Telegraph article seemed to indicate that its a single game that's played on different boards. It may be good, but for the moment it has me rubbing the back of my neck.

    Sag.


  • avatarjeb

    DRAGONLAND is a pretty god Knizia's kids game, no? The guy's not totally green at this. You could just re-theme that and have folks pick up some pretty bricks and have a decent enough game.

  • avatarubarose

    So I showed the pictures of this product to my kid, who is 9, explained to her that she could build 6 different board games and then play them and asked her what she thought about it.

    She answered:

    Can I just build regular stuff with it? translation: Without parental supervision this set would eventually get mixed in with the bazillion LEGO bricks we own, making it near impossible to ever fish out all the bits needed to build the board games in the future

    Do I have to build that game? Can't I just build my own game? translation: This might actually turn out to be an interesting product, it just won't get used in the way the designer intended.

  • avatarSagrilarus
    Quote:
    Can I just build regular stuff with it? translation: Without parental supervision this set would eventually get mixed in with the bazillion LEGO bricks we own, making it near impossible to ever fish out all the bits needed to build the board games in the future

    Near impossible, and only with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is one of those situations where you actually consider purchasing a second copy because the hourly rate of the work involved is too low.

    Sag.


  • avatarubarose
    Quote:
    Near impossible, and only with much wailing and gnashing of teeth. This is one of those situations where you actually consider purchasing a second copy because the hourly rate of the work involved is too low.

    The up side is that you will find 2 dominos, three dice, an earring, the key to the cellar door, Polly Pocket's cat, that missing chit, a couple HeroQuest monsters, and a hand full of various FFG counters.

  • avatarSagrilarus

    Time to re-beat this dead horse.

    These are in the stores now. Has anybody seen one in action? Are the Legos part of the gameplay?

    Sag.


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