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Thoughts on Brickworld 2011


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#1 brickmack

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 05:41 PM

So Brickworld 2011 is now over (Or will be in a few hours for those staying for the closing ceremonies and all that stuff, I couldn't stay for the whole thing...). This was my first time attending Brickworld, and I'm planning to next year. I saw a lot of great displays (Lot's of really cool ones, like the Titanic and various skyscrapers, and some really huge train sets), and went to a few of the seminars and presentations. There were also some people from EB there, and Hinkley was doing a workshop on landscaping (Though it really ended up just as making a dome). Most of the people there were nice (except one of the vendors seemed a bit grumpy...) My only complaint is that there weren't enough seats for the workshops that I was in, so I ended up having to stand against the back wall for most of them, along with about 10 other people that didn't have seats. And also LEGO didn't have their booth set up, so I had to leave early to go to the store before going home, which ended up taking so long I couldn't go the the presentations I wanted to on Friday afternoon... So what are your thoughts on it?

#2 Rob Klingberg

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 03:46 AM

Hi 'brickmack', I too attended my first BW this year (just got back to St. Paul, MN, tonight actually).  Overall I thought it was a fantastic show-- I had a great time, my kids had a blast, I thought everyone was extremely nice, and I loved seeing everyone's creativity on display.  I'm a train and City fan, so those were my favorites (and there were amazing specimens of both on display), but I also enjoyed the mind-blowing Lord of the Rings displays.  I thought the venue was excellent, though there could have been more onsite food (the only food onsite was sold through the Westin's gift shop, and of course they ran out almost immediately).  I'm definitely planning to make this an annual trip.

My only major complaint relates to the "Light" registration (which I purchased).  I felt there wasn't anywhere close to enough content to justify the price of a "light" registration ($40/person-- and I have three kids!) vs. the public registration ($10).  Nor did I want to pay $60/person (again, including my 4-year old?!) for "full" registration.  I felt there was too much content offered to "full" registrants only, and far too little content offered to "light" registrants.  My suggestion would be either to open up more of the seminars to "light" registrants or offer a $10/kid flat rate for all children not displaying MOCs and/or under age 8.  That, and give all preregistered attendees the option to purchse their own engraved BW nametag!  :wink:

My $0.02.  Overall, a great experience!

--Rob

#3 lisqr

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:04 AM

Just got back from my first BW. I had a great time. It was nice to meet some of the eurobricks mods in person. The best part of the trip is the shopping part :laugh: I ended up going to lego store everyday because of my friend, and we cleared out a local Target of 50% off lego sets. Seeing some of the best moc is of course wonderful.

And some suggestions:

1. MOC name tags should be a lot smaller. They take up too much space and block the moc's. Also every person should be limited to 2 or at most 3 tags. Or at least encouraged to ask for fewer tags.

2. During world of light, there should be a limit to how bright the light can be. Some of the flood light completely light up that corner of the room and make world of light pointless.

3. raffle can be done differently. The way it is now, you know whether or not you win on day 1. They can at least pick a different block of numbers everyday, so it keeps the excitement.

Edited by lisqr, 20 June 2011 - 07:06 AM.


#4 nebraska

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 06:40 PM

My first Brickworld as well.  It was very inspiring and my thoughts are already racing on what to build for 2012.  It was an honor to meet many of you and hope we can meet again.  My only complaint was on public days was the parents who wouldn't watch their small children; besides parenting lessons on manners I don't think we can do much about that.

Since this was my first; is public day usually that crazy?  I couldn't believe how many people showed up to view the creations.  Lego should have really had more of an appearance with that many people showing up.

#5 Phred

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:18 PM

View Postnebraska, on 20 June 2011 - 06:40 PM, said:

My first Brickworld as well.  It was very inspiring and my thoughts are already racing on what to build for 2012.  It was an honor to meet many of you and hope we can meet again.  My only complaint was on public days was the parents who wouldn't watch their small children; besides parenting lessons on manners I don't think we can do much about that.
A good way that I've seen to prevent naughty little kids from touching your MOCs is to use plexiglas.  It does a good job of keeping out the kiddies. :thumbup:

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#6 Rufus

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 07:24 PM

View Postlisqr, on 20 June 2011 - 07:04 AM, said:

3. raffle can be done differently. The way it is now, you know whether or not you win on day 1. They can at least pick a different block of numbers everyday, so it keeps the excitement.
It was great to meet you, lisqr!  The raffles kept going - I don't know if you stayed till the closing ceremony, but they gave away a 10179 as the big raffle prize, and then there was an 'everyone gets a prize' raffle with random giveaways, some of which were pretty cool ex-display sets and such.  

I agree with Rob - the lack of onsite food is a big issue.  The Westin is missing a trick there.

#7 AhabDarab

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 11:25 PM

It was great to see everyone again this year.  My highlights were two of the Friday presentations. The presentation on 2007 Castle (Ben Ellerman)and the presentation "Inside LEGO Design" (Jamie Berard) were both outstanding.

My low point was being the the first person in line in the "everybody gets something" auction, to get nothing. Maybe next year.

Thanks to everyone for another great year. See you in 2012.



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#8 BrickworldBryan

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 01:43 AM

Good evening everyone.  I arrived home this evening and found this thread already running.  Some great points.  I am happy to say we agree with most but can only influence some of them.  Thanks for the feedback and I am glad that everyone seems to agree they had a great time overall.  As I told people about the artwork throughout the event, the two guys on top of the 5 working symbolize that the event is always under construction to be better.  Here are some specific responses:

@brickmack - LEGO had a booth, but they never sell sets on-site.  So, booth or not, you had to go to one of the stores to get your discount.

@Rob - Light Registration was new this year and we will continue to make changes.  But, to be clear, the point of light registration was to allow people that aren't interested in displaying to arrive at the event on Friday evening and be part of the entire weekend (including viewing of displays during non-public hours).  If you came on Saturday and Sunday, it would cost $20.  So, double that to participate in the minifig speed build, be a part of raffles, be able to view the world of lights, and view displays during non-public hours seems like a resonable fee.

@lisqr - the logistics of MOC cards are more complicated than simply making the card smaller.  What if you want to say something more than fits on a smaller card?  Doing multiple sizes increases work load.  So, you may be thinking, why not let everyone print their own cards?  Brickworld focuses on quality.  So, we review MOC card submittals for correct spelling and grammar.  Additionally, we review cards to ensure appropriate content.  So, we maintain control of the cards.  Regarding the world of lights, I had noted the same thing about one particularly bright corner of the room.  Regarding the raffle, we will continue the evolution of the system.  Your block suggestion is one of the alternatives being considered.

@nebraska - yes, public days (especially Saturday) is that crazy.  Other events that draw over double the public of Brickworld are much crazier.  Regarding the presence of LEGO, there really isn't much for them to gain with a larger presence.  And, more LEGO presence means a larger LEGO booth and less area for fans to display.  I am happy with their smaller footprint in the event hall.  There were over 10 LEGO people there doing several presenations.  And, that kind of catering to the registrants (not the general public) is what I want from LEGO for the event.

@Rufus & Rob - the Westin is working on the food.  Actually, the gift shop was continually restocked with sandwiches.  I gave the event manager some grief on Friday when we announced the sandwiches and then found out the gift shop was out.  All the lady in the gift shop needed to do was let someone know she needed more.  This continues to be a frustration for us and is a topic every year in the pre-con and post-con meeting with the hotel.  We are working on it.

@Ahab - I don't know what you are referring to with your "everyone gets something" auction.  I think you are referring to the raffle and we only had a bit over 200 raffles prizes, not 920.  So, not everyone will get one.

Again, thank you everyone for the comments!!!  I hope you can all make it back next year.

Play well, Bryan

#9 Darkdragon

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Posted 21 June 2011 - 02:03 AM

It was my first year also. It was a lot of fun and my non-afol husband even asked for full registration next year (he had light this year).  During public hours I mostly hid in the hotel room or went to the Lego store - those crowds of kids are just too much for me.

The after hours stuff was a lot of fun and next year I plan on being more prepared (RED BULL) and awake longer during the whole thing.

I really enjoyed the classes and presentations I attended and my only complaint is that I had to choose them and couldn't be at everything! Hopefully they will have some of the same seminars next year and I can do the ones I missed this year.

I wish I had participated in some contests but I missed out on them just because I wasn't sure what to expect/what to do - not a fault of the show, just my own ineptness there. Haha.

Everyone involved with the show was very helpful and friendly when I came up to them to ask anything. Even when it got stressful, seemed like everyone was in a good mood.

I'm already planning my project for next year and hope I can bring something people will remember.

Next year I need to be sure and bring more money to spend!!!

#10 Rob Klingberg

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:32 AM

@Bryan, thanks for the feedback-- I realize BW is an evolving thing, and it's great to know organizers are so open to participant feedback.  My primary issue with the Light Registration wasn't the price of one ticket, and what benefit that conferred, but rather the multiplied cost of 5x Light Registrations, even for my 3 1/2 year old.  In that case the value was significantly diminished-- my kids didn't participate in minifig speed builds, etc. (weren't interested in that particular activity)  So my suggestion would be to consider allowing Light registrants into seminars next year (excluding us from seminars with as broad an appeal as ME-Models track best practices was especially disappointing), and also to consider a Light Registrant family pack.  If people aren't displaying but still want to participate in as full a capacity as possible, I think you would draw a lot more "middle of the road" people like my family to the Light category vs. the Public category (resulting in a more profitible event).

One other suggestion I forgot to make in my original post was to allow Light registrants to register on Thursday, along with the Full registrants.  I tried to do this (drove 500 miles to check in at the hotel a day early), and was greeted with more than a little disdain from the "Full" people staffing the registration booth.  Even if Light registrants don't have access to any events on Thursday, we could sure use those badges to take advantage of the LEGO Store discount before everyone else has picked the shelves clean!  :-)

Lastly, just to reiterate, I think Light Registrants should be provided with the ability to order their own engraved nametags that are identical in appearance to those of the Full registrants.  Receiving a Brickworld 2011 engraved brick with nothing to attach it to was a downer.

Since it seems as though I'm the champion for the Light registrants, feel free to contact me off board-- I'd be happy to volunteer next year in the planning to provide suggestions on how to make the experience for this attendee group even better.  rob(at)theklingbergs.com.

Thanks!

--Rob

#11 BrickworldBryan

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 01:28 AM

View PostRob Klingberg, on 22 June 2011 - 12:32 AM, said:

One other suggestion I forgot to make in my original post was to allow Light registrants to register on Thursday, along with the Full registrants.  I tried to do this (drove 500 miles to check in at the hotel a day early), and was greeted with more than a little disdain from the "Full" people staffing the registration booth.  Even if Light registrants don't have access to any events on Thursday, we could sure use those badges to take advantage of the LEGO Store discount before everyone else has picked the shelves clean!  :-)

Lastly, just to reiterate, I think Light Registrants should be provided with the ability to order their own engraved nametags that are identical in appearance to those of the Full registrants.  Receiving a Brickworld 2011 engraved brick with nothing to attach it to was a downer.

Rob - quite happy to answer here...you never know who might be lurking and going "yay Rob, you are asking the right questions"   :classic:

I did send an email at some point to all registrants indicating the discount started on Tuesday.  But, I probably didn't say that you didn't need your badge to get it.  We actually supplied a list of attendees to the LEGO stores and the discount was available without your badge.  We will do a better job of communicating this next year.

Regarding engraved name badges:  They were available for preorder on the Brickworld web site.  Any black badges you saw on full or light registrants were purchased in preorders.  Full registrants had the same official ID badges (except background color on your name) as light registrants.

We are more generally working on a way to help new attendees know more BEFORE the event.  It always stinks to get somewhere and find out you already missed out on some things.  We do appreciate the feedback.  I think a lot of it boils down to some things seem obvious to us because we live and breathe Brickworld...and in reality, they aren't so obvious.  Communication is the key.

Thanks, Bryan

#12 Rob Klingberg

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:13 AM

Cool, thanks Bryan!  So it seems I was the one who missed the fancy badge pre-order.  Will definitely make sure not to do that again next year!   :blush:  Gotta have that Brickworld bling, you know!   :grin:

Thanks again for all the hard work to put on a great show-- my kids are still talking about it, and we're already planning for next year.

--Rob

#13 nfl_solo

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:35 AM

My thoughts on Brickworld 2011....
This was my 5th Brickworld, the first 3 I attended just on the public day, last year I was a registered attendee but did not display any MOC's or attend any workshops due to timing constraints, this year was my first year as a registered attendee and displaying with a group.
I think my expectations were exceeded with the event, It was a fantastic time. I really enjoyed meeting new folks, hanging out with people I met last year, attending workshops and presentations.
I think my favorite part of Brickworld has to be Saturday after the public hours waiting for World of Lights and sound. Plenty of time to relax, meet new people, walk around and judge MOCS, really take your time looking at things etc. A few of us including Ricecracker decided to play our newly purchased games of Heroica for a while. Personally I like having the vendors all in one room, although perhaps they need a larger room:)
Last year it was nice to receive the Brick Badge as part of registration, but I understand the cost of them, not to mention the time needed to coordinate to have them engraved and completed in enough time, plus not everyone wants one. I did like the lanyard and plastic attendee badge though, I think that is a great idea.
I am already looking forward to Brickworld 2012.

#14 Phred

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:51 AM

I really enjoyed BW '11. :thumbup:
I like the idea for a light registration, since my wife will not likely be interested in a full registration. It was fun hanging out with all of the fellow EBers.  :cry_happy:  

The only thing I did not like about the convention was the hotel that I slept at.  I really feel that the cost of the hotel was much higher than what we were given.  :sceptic:  
Next year, we will not stay at the Westin and will stay at another one nearby.

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#15 Ricecracker

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 03:59 AM

As I said in the Images thread, I had a great time with new and old friends alike!

View Postnfl_solo, on 22 June 2011 - 03:35 AM, said:

I think my favorite part of Brickworld has to be Saturday after the public hours waiting for World of Lights and sound. Plenty of time to relax, meet new people, walk around and judge MOCS, really take your time looking at things etc. A few of us including Ricecracker decided to play our newly purchased games of Heroica for a while.
That was fun! Maybe we should combine the games and have some more people play next year?

View PostPhred, on 22 June 2011 - 03:51 AM, said:

The only thing I did not like about the convention was the hotel that I slept at.  I really feel that the cost of the hotel was much higher than what we were given.  :sceptic:  
Next year, we will not stay at the Westin and will stay at another one nearby.
It was awesome to meet you, Phred. Just FYI, registrants get a discounted hotel rate. :wink:

#16 Quarryman

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 12:02 PM

Second Brickworld for me, even more awesome than last year, despite the lack of a 2 meters tall Australian madman. :laugh: Really loved that we could start setting up on Thursday morning, and I think having the opening ceremonies on Wednesday evening worked very well too, everything just seemed a lot more relaxed and laidback than last year, which was very good. :thumbup:

As for more constructive criticism I don't have much to add at the moment as I'm currently at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris on my way home and have jetlag from Hell, so I'll post more later. But I do have to say that having the flight home being 3 hours delayed, and those 3 hours being spent sitting in the plane without working aircondition, and due to the delay missing the connecting flight in Paris so I have to wait here for 4 hours while I should be at home already SUCKS :angry: I am, however, amazed that AirFrance let me take a way too large bag with lots of LEGO and a LEGO Store bag with a MISB 10219 in it as carry-on on the plane from Chicago, going to be interesting to see what they say at the next flight. :laugh:
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#17 cjdoyle

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Posted 22 June 2011 - 04:38 PM

View PostBrickworldBryan, on 21 June 2011 - 01:43 AM, said:

Regarding the world of lights, I had noted the same thing about one particularly bright corner of the room.

Yeah....that was mostly my bad. I should have switched off the backlight on the GL Logos (and would have done so immediately had someone mentioned it to me at the time.)
Combined with the lights in Alyska's Stained Glass display next to mine that corner was too bright.

Sorry gang. I'll do better next year.

#18 fallentomato

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:51 AM

This was my 5th Brickworld, 4th time as a full registrant, 3rd time displaying, and 2nd time as a Vendor and 1st time giving a presentation. This Brickworld was really great, one of the best yet (though it will be hard to ever top 2009 when Kjeld graced us with his presence). Moving the opening ceremony to Wednesday was a stroke of genius (I don't think anyone enjoyed sitting in the hallways last year) and having all the vendors in one room makes sense for so many reasons. I didn't miss having the in-store event at all, I made a trek to the Northbrook store on Saturday night with an SUV full of Eurobricks members and it was far more enjoyable than the insanity the the damaged goods have inspired in previous years. Overall, Brickworld was a huge step up from last year in terms of utilizing both space and time effectively.

In the long term, I'd love to see Brickworld graduate to a larger venue (though I know we're locked into the Westin for a few more years), possibly closer to downtown Chicago (despite being called Brickworld Chicago, this event is really Brickworld Wheeling). At LEGO KidsFest Chicago, I got a glimpse of what is possible with a larger event space, I can just imagine what fans could do with that much space...

Having been to a few other LEGO fan conventions now, I have even more admiration for what a terrific job all the coordinators do putting on BrickWorld every year. There's a reason it keeps on growing and I can't wait until we reconvene again next year. Now just have to get through the other 360 days of the year  :sad:
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#19 Vincent Kessels

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 09:03 AM

View PostQuarryman, on 22 June 2011 - 12:02 PM, said:

I am, however, amazed that AirFrance let me take a way too large bag with lots of LEGO and a LEGO Store bag with a MISB 10219 in it as carry-on on the plane from Chicago, going to be interesting to see what they say at the next flight. :laugh:

Lucky you! Did you have any other carry-on baggage? My suitcase was with 52 pounds just over the weight limit, but they didn't even look at the weight. If I had known that I would have bought more.  :hmpf_bad:

However, the worst part was carrying my suitcase and carry-on up the stairs of the L and down the stairs of metro. (The L station had no elevator, and the elevator of the metro had a big puddle of urine on the floor.)


View Postfallentomato, on 23 June 2011 - 03:51 AM, said:

I didn't miss having the in-store event at all, I made a trek to the Northbrook store on Saturday night with an SUV full of Eurobricks members and it was far more enjoyable than the insanity the the damaged goods have inspired in previous years.

Yes, that was fun. And the discount was an improvement. I only wish they had more PAB, because somebody go away with a whole box of Reddish Brown bricks  :sad:

The most stressful for me was the voting after the public hours, but that might have to do with our trip to the store.

#20 Phred

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 01:42 PM

View PostVincent Kessels, on 23 June 2011 - 09:03 AM, said:

Yes, that was fun. And the discount was an improvement. I only wish they had more PAB, because somebody go away with a whole box of Reddish Brown bricks  :sad:

The most stressful for me was the voting after the public hours, but that might have to do with our trip to the store.
Are you talking about MY reddish brown bricks that I grabbed? :devil:
Or were there other reddish brown bricks there before we got there? :look:

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#21 Vincent Kessels

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 03:55 PM

View PostPhred, on 23 June 2011 - 01:42 PM, said:

Are you talking about MY reddish brown bricks that I grabbed? :devil:

Well, if the shoe fits...  :grin:


View PostPhred, on 23 June 2011 - 01:42 PM, said:

Or were there other reddish brown bricks there before we got there? :look:

I wish there where.  :laugh:

#22 nfl_solo

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:53 PM

BTW, Vincent. It was cool to meet you at BW this year.
We will have to grab lunch next year with Jameson again.

Edited by nfl_solo, 23 June 2011 - 05:54 PM.


#23 Quarryman

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:06 PM

And now for something with more substance than the previous post. :wink:

First of all, though the Westin is pretty good (with the mess-up they did with our rooms being the biggest problem, but I blame Hinckley for that :tongue:) I fear Brickworld might go stale if it stays at the Westin forever (and when talking about events 5 years is close to forever), as the hotel is now maxed out. Brickworld has great potential for further growth and to become even better quality-wise, but I don't think that potential can be unleashed at the Westin. So pretty, pretty please with ultra-rare Q-elements on top (:laugh:) consider moving to somewhere else if it's possible.

Apart from that I'd love to see some grouping of awards categories, it would just be so much simpler to compare MOCs when deciding who to vote for when you don't have to visit four different ballrooms. Obviously it's not possible to do this completely, but it could be better than today. I can see this being a bit much work to implement though.

View PostVincent Kessels, on 23 June 2011 - 09:03 AM, said:

Lucky you! Did you have any other carry-on baggage? My suitcase was with 52 pounds just over the weight limit, but they didn't even look at the weight. If I had known that I would have bought more.  :hmpf_bad:
Well, the large bag, the bag from the shop and my camera bag, but the camera bag is pretty small. It did also contain LEGO though. :laugh:

View PostVincent Kessels, on 23 June 2011 - 09:03 AM, said:

However, the worst part was carrying my suitcase and carry-on up the stairs of the L and down the stairs of metro. (The L station had no elevator, and the elevator of the metro had a big puddle of urine on the floor.)
I considered for a second or two to take the metro, but quickly realized that the walk home from the metro station would kill me, so I took a taxi instead.

View PostVincent Kessels, on 23 June 2011 - 09:03 AM, said:

Yes, that was fun. And the discount was an improvement. I only wish they had more PAB, because somebody go away with a whole box of Reddish Brown bricks  :sad:
Totally agree about the discount being an improvement, after discount and taxes I on average saved 60% on sets compared to Norwegian prices, which is pretty damn good. And I don't miss the 50% off damaged boxes sale at all, doing such a sale just isn't possible to make even slightly fair, so it's good riddance in most ways. (though I did get a 10179 from that last year, and I probably wouldn't have bought that set even with 30% :wink:)
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#24 ronmcrae

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Posted 23 June 2011 - 08:38 PM

Having attended all five Brickworld events I'd have to say that 2011 was the best yet.  Starting out on Wednesday evening definitely gave the entire event a more relaxed feel, though it still seemed to be over all too quickly!

The most enjoyable part for my little robotics group was the BOTS event on Thursday.  A big thanks to Bryan for continuing to coordinate this annual competition.  It has always been sufficiently challenging for the more experienced roboticists, but still straightforward enough in concept that it doesn't discourage others from getting involved.  It's tough to draw that line, and Bryan you do a great job.

Competing in the boat race was a blast.  I definitely hope that that stays on the schedule as my ideas are already forming for 2012, just need to get more balls  :laugh:  (you'll understand if you saw my boat).

Then there was SUMO.  Who'd have though that the attendees could muster up 74 robots?  We ran with continuous crowds all day Saturday during public hours and beyond.  I talked at length with several parents, both attendees and public, and dispatched at least a couple of them to Woodfield to pick up a Mindstorms set for their kids Xmas.  We certainly generated some good publicity for the Mindstorms line, and I know that LEGO appreciates that.

In closing,  brilliant.  Absolutely brilliant.  Quality and attention to detail, that’s what sells it to me.  I'm seeing people advocating bigger & bigger & bigger, but bigger isn't automatically better, that takes exponentially more work.  In the corporate world you must grow to stay alive, but is that also true of a LEGO convention?  I hope not.

#25 BrickworldBryan

BrickworldBryan

  • Brickworld.us Bring It!


    Posts: 105
    Joined: 05-April 09
    Member: 5728

Posted 24 June 2011 - 01:48 AM

Hey everyone - thanks for the comments (both good and constructive).  I am still reading them all.  I just gave up trying to respond between this and the Facebook page.

There were a lot of people that frowned at the Wednesday night ceremonies and I was disappointed in the total number of people that showed up.  But, those that did show up (400 to 500), we treated to the best keynote address we ever had.  I am afraid that we won't be able to top that one for a while.   :wink:

Of course, just continuing to improve Brickworld Chicago (because nobody ever heard of Wheeling and the unions at McCormick Place downtown would just upset everyone, especially after paying $19 a day to park) is not enough.  We are holding public expo event in a third location this year.  Brickworld Fort Wayne will occur October 1 and 2.

whew...I think I got a day off this year   *huh* and I am probably losing my mind.

B



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