Saturday, 11 August 2012

Lego at 80! Fantasy Lego on the Gaming Table

Lego Vikings -
a 100x100 gif made
by me to signify
Danish plunder
of my wallet
Happy Birthday you colourful bricks of pain!

Away from the role-playing games, map art and the odd gadget, my other major geek turn-on is Lego.

I have an aStore page given over to Lego -mainly packed with Star Wars Lego, it needs seriously updating - but it's fun to flip through.  There's a few posts on this blog about Lego as well: Lego tags 

So I clearly feel comfortable talking about Lego with fellow tabletop gamers. ;)  It's because gamers understand the hobbyist obsessions, the impulse buys and the devotion to an underground religion....

Lego on a scanner?  It must have been slow afternoon.
(Tha'ts Luke head in there btw)
About fifteen years ago I got back into buying and playing with Lego.  A Lego Star Wars product hypnotised me - a very chunky snowspeeder with Luke and Dak figures.  I don't have all that many sets now, partly because storage is often an issue, but every once in the while film franchise products catch my eye - like Indiana Jones on a motorcycle (I'm not like a proper collector, but the addiction comes in waves/seasons - a handful of I-should-know-better purchases).

When I was a kid I was really into the Space Lego range, but Lego must have been around since my earliest childhood because I seem to remember playing with Lego small two part people and minifigs being an exciting revolution in Lego which older friends and adults disapproved of (pft, therer were models which were practically already made!).  I didn't have much technical Lego - which seemed to appeal more to the sorts of parents thought Mechano would train their kids to be engineers. Incidentally, my brother who has severe learning difficulties enjoys holding Duplo (large) Lego pieces - it's the satisfying click they make when they are pushed together, I reckon.

I'll be honest - I like "playing" with Lego - I don't mind mixing sets up.  Sometimes it's nice to have a particular model on display for a while, but I think the child in me loves rifling through the plastic rubble.  But then I'm an easily distracted "dabbler" - I certainly don't have the focus to stick to just classic Star Wars models or to save up for the bigger sets- but I do have my preferences.

The most recent generation of "Castle" Lego had some fantasy green-skinned warriors who looked rather orc like - I bought a catapult cart driven by a bearded chap (a dwarf?) - little did I know that this might be the forerunner to the new Lord of the Rings and Hobbit Lego products.

This is where it all comes together.  LotR Lego makes me think of BrickQuest. With Moria and Helm's Deep it might be possible to build dungeons for gaming  like those in BrickQuest.   This was fantasy roleplaying with Lego figures - character sheets being a flat piece with a small bricks for hit points - inspired!


Herioca as elements of BrickQuest but it's on a mercifully smaller scale (unfortunately this means the figures have no arms).  The modular rooms and clearings remind me and others of Warhammer Quest and Advanced HeroQuest (the board game - not the RQ descendant).  Trying to make Lego and fantasy roleplaying feels like the romantic match-making of two friends - it has it's risks - i.e. your gaming group may never take you seriously again, or your child might wonder why you've made playing with Lego into a maths lesson.  If you're a parent you probably have almost nothing to in terms of the education and imagination of your children by forcing them to play a guided quest using Lego.  D&D plus Lego ticks so many boxes for me that the only worries are to do with price and your players building stuff when they should be concentrating on the game.

A lot of my money has been sent to Denmark over the years. Not since the Viking Invasions has some much of our wealth gone to that small country.

From Bricks to Bothans and the nostalgia imbued Lego Shop on Facebook there's a plethora of great Lego sites out there.  (And I didn't even mention the highly entertaining computer games!)

A big happy birthday and thank you to Lego for entertaining me (and robbing me) for years and possibly many years to come! :)

 The Shopping Bit: 

Heroica Lego on Amazon UK:

See also the Official Lego Site


  1. I've made a big decision lately, and that's to pass on my Lego collection. it's not the huge undertaking it once was as house moves and other such things has eroded over the years, but I still have a huge box of stuff. And now it's going to my nephew. I would love to keep hold of it, but something tells me that he'll get a bit more use of it these days, and get him started on the collecting/creative buzz that Lego can bring.

    My sister may not know it, but I'm trying to geek up her kid a bit ;)

    1. I heartily approve with the subtle geek-nurturing.
      I'm sure there's special separation therapy for giving away Lego. ;)