I'm an 'AFOL with kids'. I like Lego, but when I buy trains, it's to build and play with my kids. I'm not crafting my own train layout, I don't care about realism or other things that interest some train AFOLs. My main interest is having toys my kids will love.
So currently there are 3 full train sets, plus Maersk, Harry Potter and Toy Story which lack track etc.
The red cargo train is discounted in the UK right now, I thought about buying another, but I don't want two of them in the house. Same thing happened with the yellow train - I thought I'd buy a couple for the kids, but one seemed to be enough. I also bought one Maersk, and one Emerald Night (which is an AFOL dream, but rubbish for kids, my son likes the look of it but it breaks far too often, too easily).
I did buy 3 of the passenger train. It's a relatively boring set compared to the cargo trains, but it looks nice, it's cheaper, and a longer passenger train is better.
When I saw the red train discounted, I didn't think 'buy', I thought 'it would be nice to have a different, new train set to buy'.
I know that trains are not a big seller for TLG, and that designing and carrying lots of train SKUs is unlikely.
Still, I would happily buy around 5 train sets per year at an average £100 price point, if they were new set designs.
- passenger trains I'd always buy at least 2, to get a longer train
- cargo trains, I'd probably buy one
- 'something else' would be interesting, maybe a set with a small train, but one awesome accessory.
- AFOLs would grumble, but I would buy a 'fire train', or a forest-themed 'train robbery' set, because my kids would like it.
Trains are expensive toys, but can justify buying 2 at Christmas, 1 for each kid's birthday, and 1 'just because'.
One final thing to say - buying behaviour:
- the cargo trains have 'better' accessories, but too much makes it a harder buy. If I'm thinking "don't like the truck much", less likely to buy. Too many cranes, forklifts, trucks, loaders etc pushes the price up too, price point needs to be around £100 for an easy buy.
- by contrast the passenger train is an easy buy because there are few accessories. I don't really care if I don't like the platforms, they're just a small number of parts.
- I'd buy 2 of the same set to get a properly good alternative model. I do this with Technic sets. I guess the piece mix in trains makes it hard to achieve good alternatives (and TLG only seem to do alternatives with Technic).
- when buying for Christmas and birthdays, I want a complete set, in one box, delivered. The box is likely to be opened away from home, with grandparents, and I want everything in it except batteries. Despite that we have billions of curved tracks in cupboards at home, the set needs to be playable out of the box. This would be wasteful for a set like Maersk, which is aimed at AFOLs, but is essential for sets aimed at kids.
Edited by andythenorth, 20 April 2012 - 08:08 AM.