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What exactly constitutes a "real" Castle theme?

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12 hours ago, Gorilla94 said:

Well... a "castle" is from my point of view (and the Oxford English Dictionary's) a fortified immobile building in most cases made of traditional material. In German the word "Castle" is closely related to "mountain" which shows how much a Castle is defined by being a immobile building. The Nexo knight's "Castle" was a metal tank on wheels... an open metal Tank on the top offering no protecting at all from the various flying units of the theme... and a vehicle in danger of driving into a mine field or get attacked from Below while parking - something that is a risk necessary to take when attacking but certainly none a place for civilians to flee into should have. I can hardly see anything "castle" about the theme.

A knight is more than just a guy in an armor. He is the result of a society where a whole village is needed to get one guy into chainmail and on a horse. He is an expert in holding his lance and riding a straight line. This whole concept would not exist with this amount of recources and technology where keeping a bunch of war robots in a hut in case you get attacked would work better in every way. And certainly there would be no simple soldiers wearing a helmet not protecting the face...

I think your issues with the Fortrex could just as easily be argued for a lot of castles in fantasy settings. Can any castle really be any safer against aerial assault by dragons than the Fortrex is against aerial assault by flying machines? Or any safer against magical plant conjuring which tears apart the very ground beneath it than the Fortrex is against landmines? I think it should go without saying that in a fantasy setting, a mobile fortress could offer just as many tactical advantages as a stationary one — which should be obvious given just how many fantasy and sci-fi series alike have included mobile fortresses or mobile bases for their heroes and/or villains. And that's without getting into the deefensive capabilities of Merlok's Nexo Powers (the digitized versions of the magic spells he was able to use before he died and was reborn as a hologram).

As for your next point: what makes you think that even in the world of Nexo Knights every town or village could realistically afford a bunch of war robots? A lot of the storylines in Nexo Knights revolve around the kingdom of Knighton having been at peace for many years before Jestro used the Book of Monsters to summon his evil army, and thus most towns not being prepared for an invasion. Most of the kingdom's technological resources are relegated to peacetime applications like infrastructure, agriculture, and industry. Incidentally, this ends up making the Fortrex's mobility even more important, since it allows knights from the capital city of Knightonia to travel to whichever towns are likely to be targeted by Jestro's army and set up fort in order to defend them.

Likewise, what "simple soldiers" do you see in the Nexo Knights theme do you see without helmets, besides the supernatural monster armies? Because the Nexo Knights themselves, the Knighton soldiers and royal guards, and the squirebots ALL wear helmets into battle, with many even reusing the same helmet molds used in other Castle themes. Besides, the Forestmen and Wolfpack factions have never worn any armor or helmets whatsoever, and I can't imagine you trying to employ this same argument as evidence that those subthemes aren't "real" Castle sets.

There are probably a lot of arguments you could make for why the characters of Nexo Knights or the castles and fortresses that they call home don't actually qualify as knights in the medieval sense. But nitpicking the tactical effectiveness of their combat strategies and equipment is not one of them. Just because medieval castles were intended to be a safe refuge from enemy assaults doesn't mean that they always were implicitly invulnerable to enemy siege tactics.

3 minutes ago, Grover said:

That is an excellent point.  I had not considered that, but I would probably isolate the geography to continental Europe and the British Isles.  China, Japan, the Vikings, the middle east, etc., even if contemporaneous, probably deserve their own treatment based on large cultural differences.  You are correct in that the Ninja was consolidated with Castle in the late 1990s, although I never fully understood that since I thought that each theme deserved its own separate attention.

Another great question, and a much harder one.  I think that you are correct in asserting that at some point you have to rely on gut instinct to decide what is 'castle-y'.  Some video games, such as Skyrim, certainly have these magical robots that push the boundaries in an almost steampunk way.  I tend to think that gnomes and dwarves will push the limit of magical contraptions more based on the fantasy genre, but even these should not be ubiquitous, such as trapping lightning elementals in wires to make electricity and such.  I'd be more in favor of small, almost humorous uses of magic, such as magical lights instead of candles and torches, perhaps turned on and off with hand claps, or magical methods of communication to further a plot.  Magic does bend the rules of reality by its very definition, so it must be used carefully if not sparingly in order to maintain a suspension of disbelief through a self-consistent set of rules for the fantasy universe.  How that relates to Lego is an interesting question, but I think that the level of magic that they have had in the past with wizards, orcs, dragons, etc. has been pretty good.

Personally, I find that the end of the medieval is marked by weapons that do not require great skill and training to wield.  Early firearms were more difficult to maintain and had lower rates of fire than longbows, but had an advantage in labor since anyone could be trained to use one in a short time, whereas the loss of an archer represented years of invested training.  Even magic usually requires great study in most fiction, so I would be OK with it.  Thus, things like the fully automatic crossbow used in the Van Helsing movie are simply modern adaptations of a machine gun, whereas a wizard throwing a ball of fire wiping out 20 troops is reasonable given the amount of training he/she had to go through to achieve mastery.  That's all probably too detailed for the Lego universe, but I don't think it hurts to have some backstory to a theme in order to maintain consistency throughout.

These are some pretty well thought out answers! I think I'd probably agree with you on most of this stuff. The LEGO Elves theme (which I remain a huge fan of) took an approach very similar to the one you propose for some of their fantasy technologies — most of the non-fire-based lighting in that theme is based on magical glowing plants, animals, or crystals, Azari's flying chariot is both pulled by a Pegasus and propelled by rocket-like bursts of fire magic, and the theme's entire premise hinges on the existence of magic interdimensional portals!

One of the things I especially loved about the theme (but which would of course not be necessary in all medieval fantasy contexts) is how many aspects of the Elves' way of life was made possible by living in harmony with the elements that made up the environment surrounding them, like ovens powered by lava floes, baths and showers built around natural springs and waterfalls, and homes built into trees which provide shade, shelter, support, and protection. This helped the theme's uses of magic feel natural to the setting and its inhabitants, rather than just an excuse to write modern conveniences into a setting much less high-tech than the world we live in.

The point you make about the skill and training required for older styles of combat is definitely an interesting one, and funnily enough one that Nexo Knights took quite a few opportunities to explore as a concept. Most obviously, the guide book "The Knights' Code" is written as an in-universe textbook used at Knighton Academy, originally authored back when the kingdom was still fairly low-tech, and extensively revised in subsequent years to address the rapid technological and societal developments that occurred during Knighton's era of peace.

Margin notes by the Nexo Knights throughout the older course materials lampoon the way teens growing up in such a high-tech society would feel about the horror of having to live back in a time without the same high-tech conveniences, and yet at the same time, a lot of thought goes into just how much long and rigorous training students would need to go through to master their futuristic weapons and equipment before they could graduate from the academy and earn their knighthood. After all, there's a reason that in the modern world, there are far fewer hurdles to jump through (no pun intended) to be allowed ride a horse than to drive a car, ride a motorcycle, or pilot an airplane!

That's not to say that the Nexo Knights characters actually exhibit the same skill levels or diligence in their training as real-world knights did in medieval times, obviously, and it goes without saying that it's much easier to deal lethal damage in combat with modern firearms (or futuristic laser guns) than medieval weapons. I don't think I ever really thought about how much that element of lifelong skills training plays into the societal differences that define so much about medieval or medieval fantasy settings (e.g the elite status and prestige of knighthood, and the highly specialized nature of even much more "everyday" career skills) as opposed to settings more typical of other genres!

 

1 hour ago, Grover said:

As an amusing aside, I will date myself, but I think of the yellow borders as City themed, since all the yellow "Legoland" city boxes were yellow with blue or white lettering!

Growing up in the 90s I was only used to seeing the yellow-bordered "LEGOLAND" boxes in secondhand yard sale lots or the few vintage sets owned by older relatives… but truth be told, even having grown up with boxes that were color-coded by theme, there's a lot of it that I'd entirely forgotten about by the time I became an adult (especially since one of my family's decluttering strategies from my childhood was cutting out the pictures to save as inspiration/reference material and throw away the rest of the boxes). I was pretty surprised one year at BrickFair Virginia to see an exhibit of a bunch of the classic LEGO Pirates, Imperial Guards, and Islanders sets I'd grown up with, alongside their original PURPLE boxes!

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13 hours ago, Grover said:

Personally, I find that the end of the medieval is marked by weapons that do not require great skill and training to wield.  Early firearms were more difficult to maintain and had lower rates of fire than longbows, but had an advantage in labor since anyone could be trained to use one in a short time, whereas the loss of an archer represented years of invested training.

The same could be said about crossbows, the reason they became so popular was the same. They are very effective and required little to no training to use.

Firearms/cannons were a part of medieval europe for longer than most people think, of course in a quite primitive form, but still. That being said, I think it goes against the "fatansy" aspect of the middle ages, where most people are drawn by the classic tropes, such as King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc. So despite having quite an important role in the shaping of both defensive structures, armor and the likes, I don't believe that a "Real Classic Castle Theme" could pull off firearms/cannons without sacrificing other iconic elements. Which would probably do more harm than good, as far as sales are considered.

                                                 WarhammerBretonniaArmy_854.jpg.4741abb30389a4eca185164850a1ee3d.jpg                                  WHFSolider.jpg.e20e4197133e15c9620b9dfb2c538e8c.jpg

Looking at it from another perspective, I believe that Warhammer Fantasy illustrates this perfectly. Here we have two factions: Bretonnia (left) and The Empire (right) who are clear examples of earlier (classic) and later (firearm wielding) periods of history. (Note that magic is a VERY big factor in the Warhammer universe!) Bretonnia being inspired by early medieval France and The Empire being inspired by The Holy Roman Empire. It is clear that the majority would point toward Bretonnia as the classic castle trope, because it draws so heavily on the Arthurian legacy, the holy grail, maiden of the lake, etc. Whereas The Empire (IMO) requires a more mature audience, because it by default seems much more gritty and dark, compared to the splendor and heroism of the classic castle tropes. I do think that LEGO should look at later periods in the "middle ages", at the very least for 16-18+ sets, as there are great possibilities to make very interesting sets based on architecture from those periods.

In conclusion, LEGO is a brand for children (primarily) and therefore will (generally) adhere to softer and more classic/easy to grasp ideas. The classic castle tropes are just so ingrained, that it mostly just seems wrong to the majority, when it's not about the Knight in shining armor, rescuing the damsel in distress, or the struggle of "good vs evil". Honestly I don't mind, because this is what I imagine a LEGO castle set to be :sweet:

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2 hours ago, Sarophas said:

Looking at it from another perspective, I believe that Warhammer Fantasy illustrates this perfectly. Here we have two factions: Bretonnia (left) and The Empire (right) who are clear examples of earlier (classic) and later (firearm wielding) periods of history. (Note that magic is a VERY big factor in the Warhammer universe!) Bretonnia being inspired by early medieval France and The Empire being inspired by The Holy Roman Empire. It is clear that the majority would point toward Bretonnia as the classic castle trope, because it draws so heavily on the Arthurian legacy, the holy grail, maiden of the lake, etc. Whereas The Empire (IMO) requires a more mature audience, because it by default seems much more gritty and dark, compared to the splendor and heroism of the classic castle tropes. I do think that LEGO should look at later periods in the "middle ages", at the very least for 16-18+ sets, as there are great possibilities to make very interesting sets based on architecture from those periods.

You left out the most important faction: Skaven!:tongue:

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On 12/12/2020 at 1:53 AM, Gorilla94 said:

Well... a "castle" is from my point of view (and the Oxford English Dictionary's) a fortified immobile building in most cases made of traditional material. In German the word "Castle" is closely related to "mountain" which shows how much a Castle is defined by being a immobile building. The Nexo knight's "Castle" was a metal tank on wheels... an open metal Tank on the top offering no protecting at all from the various flying units of the theme... and a vehicle in danger of driving into a mine field or get attacked from Below while parking - something that is a risk necessary to take when attacking but certainly none a place for civilians to flee into should have. I can hardly see anything "castle" about the theme.

A knight is more than just a guy in an armor. He is the result of a society where a whole village is needed to get one guy into chainmail and on a horse. He is an expert in holding his lance and riding a straight line. This whole concept would not exist with this amount of recources and technology where keeping a bunch of war robots in a hut in case you get attacked would work better in every way. And certainly there would be no simple soldiers wearing a helmet not protecting the face...

I always thought there were a couple of words for castle, including Schloß and Burg.  In any case, your point is well taken, since there is some immovability implied.  And you're right, once you introduce flying adversaries, castle walls are useless, mobile or not.  To your point about the knight, it seems that there is some inherent part of the genre that implies a special, or specially trained individual to serve as a hero or champion.

17 hours ago, Aanchir said:

These are some pretty well thought out answers! I think I'd probably agree with you on most of this stuff. The LEGO Elves theme (which I remain a huge fan of) took an approach very similar to the one you propose for some of their fantasy technologies — most of the non-fire-based lighting in that theme is based on magical glowing plants, animals, or crystals, Azari's flying chariot is both pulled by a Pegasus and propelled by rocket-like bursts of fire magic, and the theme's entire premise hinges on the existence of magic interdimensional portals!

One of the things I especially loved about the theme (but which would of course not be necessary in all medieval fantasy contexts) is how many aspects of the Elves' way of life was made possible by living in harmony with the elements that made up the environment surrounding them, like ovens powered by lava floes, baths and showers built around natural springs and waterfalls, and homes built into trees which provide shade, shelter, support, and protection. This helped the theme's uses of magic feel natural to the setting and its inhabitants, rather than just an excuse to write modern conveniences into a setting much less high-tech than the world we live in.

The point you make about the skill and training required for older styles of combat is definitely an interesting one, and funnily enough one that Nexo Knights took quite a few opportunities to explore as a concept. Most obviously, the guide book "The Knights' Code" is written as an in-universe textbook used at Knighton Academy, originally authored back when the kingdom was still fairly low-tech, and extensively revised in subsequent years to address the rapid technological and societal developments that occurred during Knighton's era of peace.

Margin notes by the Nexo Knights throughout the older course materials lampoon the way teens growing up in such a high-tech society would feel about the horror of having to live back in a time without the same high-tech conveniences, and yet at the same time, a lot of thought goes into just how much long and rigorous training students would need to go through to master their futuristic weapons and equipment before they could graduate from the academy and earn their knighthood. After all, there's a reason that in the modern world, there are far fewer hurdles to jump through (no pun intended) to be allowed ride a horse than to drive a car, ride a motorcycle, or pilot an airplane!

That's not to say that the Nexo Knights characters actually exhibit the same skill levels or diligence in their training as real-world knights did in medieval times, obviously, and it goes without saying that it's much easier to deal lethal damage in combat with modern firearms (or futuristic laser guns) than medieval weapons. I don't think I ever really thought about how much that element of lifelong skills training plays into the societal differences that define so much about medieval or medieval fantasy settings (e.g the elite status and prestige of knighthood, and the highly specialized nature of even much more "everyday" career skills) as opposed to settings more typical of other genres!

I'm disappointed the Elves theme was canceled.  It had some really great ideas, including the elements you describe, and some very nice builds, especially at good price points.  The only part I didn't like was the minidolls, but I personally don't like the 'gendered' Lego themes, so that's a whole different argument.  It seems to be a real missed chance for us in the historic area for getting some great minifigure torsos and legs.  As it is we at least got some good hairpieces, but I am disappointed at the chance for more.  Animals that fit into the regular minifigure mold would be nice, too.  The cutsey dragons and such are OK, but would have been awesome if they matched, for instance, the white rabbit from the CMF line.

I think the Elves line did a good job meshing magic and the more primitive world that they lived in.  The NK line seemed to make technology magic, which I was not a fan of.  I'm sure that in their canon they needed training to reach expertise on their laser guns, but there is still a different level of learning required.  For instance, it requires a lot of training to be able to fire a rifle accurately at long range, but it still only requires minimal strength and training to be able to fire the gun with lethal force.  Similarly, learning to drive a car well without running into things takes skill.  Turning the key and putting the car in drive is quite easy.  Riding a horse seems to be subjective.  Some people have an instinct for it, others have a lot of difficulty and require training, and in any case, the horse requires quite a bit of training by a skilled individual to be ridden (if you've ever tried to break a new horse, it's quite an experience!).  One might be able to make the case that a manual transmission vehicle requires significant training, so there is some grey area here, and I'm sure there are examples one could come up with in the medieval period that require significantly less skill than some operations today, but on the whole, I would argue that technology is meant to provide easier ways of doing things to the masses to expand our capabilities while requiring less skill for each operation.

3 hours ago, Sarophas said:

The same could be said about crossbows, the reason they became so popular was the same. They are very effective and required little to no training to use.

Firearms/cannons were a part of medieval europe for longer than most people think, of course in a quite primitive form, but still. That being said, I think it goes against the "fatansy" aspect of the middle ages, where most people are drawn by the classic tropes, such as King Arthur, Robin Hood, etc. So despite having quite an important role in the shaping of both defensive structures, armor and the likes, I don't believe that a "Real Classic Castle Theme" could pull off firearms/cannons without sacrificing other iconic elements. Which would probably do more harm than good, as far as sales are considered.

Looking at it from another perspective, I believe that Warhammer Fantasy illustrates this perfectly. Here we have two factions: Bretonnia (left) and The Empire (right) who are clear examples of earlier (classic) and later (firearm wielding) periods of history. (Note that magic is a VERY big factor in the Warhammer universe!) Bretonnia being inspired by early medieval France and The Empire being inspired by The Holy Roman Empire. It is clear that the majority would point toward Bretonnia as the classic castle trope, because it draws so heavily on the Arthurian legacy, the holy grail, maiden of the lake, etc. Whereas The Empire (IMO) requires a more mature audience, because it by default seems much more gritty and dark, compared to the splendor and heroism of the classic castle tropes. I do think that LEGO should look at later periods in the "middle ages", at the very least for 16-18+ sets, as there are great possibilities to make very interesting sets based on architecture from those periods.

In conclusion, LEGO is a brand for children (primarily) and therefore will (generally) adhere to softer and more classic/easy to grasp ideas. The classic castle tropes are just so ingrained, that it mostly just seems wrong to the majority, when it's not about the Knight in shining armor, rescuing the damsel in distress, or the struggle of "good vs evil". Honestly I don't mind, because this is what I imagine a LEGO castle set to be :sweet:

Funny, I don't incorporate many crossbows in my build for this reason.  I also would still argue that use of a crossbow requires more physical strength than a firearm, even a medieval one.  I agree, they are more a part of medieval Europe than most people think, but the genre, as you say, is kind of ruined by their inclusion.  I think you're right in the inclusion of the later architectures, and think that TLG can include them in a 'castle' theme without having to include more modern technologies like firearms.

Also amusing, I have never been interested in Warhammer, partly because of the inclusion of firearms.  For whatever reason, mixing firearms with medieval genres really turns me off.  I'm completely fine with firearms in western, cyberpunk, sci-fi or modern games, so it's not an aversion to the instrument.

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4 hours ago, Sarophas said:

In conclusion, LEGO is a brand for children (primarily) and therefore will (generally) adhere to softer and more classic/easy to grasp ideas. The classic castle tropes are just so ingrained, that it mostly just seems wrong to the majority, when it's not about the Knight in shining armor, rescuing the damsel in distress, or the struggle of "good vs evil". Honestly I don't mind, because this is what I imagine a LEGO castle set to be :sweet:

This is also an extremely good point — there is SO MUCH about even the less fantasy-heavy "historic themes" like Castle, Pirates, Ninja, and Wild West that more closely represents a "pop culture" version of these particular historical settings than how these settings actually were in reality. So sometimes I suspect what gets included in these themes really does come down to "what feels right" (particularly among an audience of kids) than how accurate it is to historical reality. Hence why LEGO vikings almost invariably have horned helmets, LEGO pirate captains almost invariably have the whole hook/eyepatch/pegleg trifecta, and LEGO wizards wear pointy hats and carry star-tipped wands. Heck, you could even extend this to modern themes, given how LEGO City crooks tend to wear obvious prison stripes and bandit masks, and LEGO City fire and police stations are color-coded to match their respective vehicles!

Edited by Aanchir

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3 hours ago, Grover said:

I think you're right in the inclusion of the later architectures, and think that TLG can include them in a 'castle' theme without having to include more modern technologies like firearms.

I would love to see them do that, how is another question :laugh: I'd like to see them add more medieval machinery in future sets, especially the kind that utilizes the giant hamster wheels (like cranes, trebuchets, etc.)

2 hours ago, Aanchir said:

there is SO MUCH about even the less fantasy-heavy "historic themes" like Castle, Pirates, Ninja, and Wild West that more closely represents a "pop culture" version of these particular historical settings than how these settings actually were in reality. So sometimes I suspect what gets included in these themes really does come down to "what feels right" (particularly among an audience of kids) than how accurate it is to historical reality. Hence why LEGO vikings almost invariably have horned helmets, LEGO pirate captains almost invariably have the whole hook/eyepatch/pegleg trifecta, and LEGO wizards wear pointy hats and carry star-tipped wands.

Exactly! As an adult, I think most of us tend to forget this. I mean looking back to when I was a child, all I cared about was those exact things! I didn't mind the horned viking helmets or any of the other stereotypical depictions of certain factions/periods. I think we'll eventually be heard and get more "mature" castle themed sets, but I think those will mostly be limited to Ideas and Exclusives. At the end of the day, I'd just like them to release a new series, that might be continued and expanded upon (given there's a market). :excited:

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i do not mind the vikings with helmets and knights wearing armor, a historic accurte theme would be cool, but normal castle is cool to. I think that elves would have been better with normal minifigures i liked elves, but did not get as many sets, because if i can pick between a big set with normal minifigures or a big set with girl minifigures i would not pick girl minifigures i think that a theme like elves, with with normal minifigures and other castle aspects like knights would be cool/,i think that raya and the last dragon is a castle theme kind of, but with girl minifigures also the current season of ninjago .along with the next one look sort of fantasy castle like

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16 hours ago, valon said:

i do not mind the vikings with helmets and knights wearing armor, a historic accurte theme would be cool, but normal castle is cool to. I think that elves would have been better with normal minifigures i liked elves, but did not get as many sets, because if i can pick between a big set with normal minifigures or a big set with girl minifigures i would not pick girl minifigures i think that a theme like elves, with with normal minifigures and other castle aspects like knights would be cool/,i think that raya and the last dragon is a castle theme kind of, but with girl minifigures also the current season of ninjago .along with the next one look sort of fantasy castle like

Elves would not have happened with traditional minifigures though. It would have clashed on the shelves with Ninjago and Nexo Knights. And, at the same time, miss the audience of people that prefer minidoll based figures. PS. It is better to call them minidolls rather than girl minifigures as there are plenty of traditional minifigures that are girls. And some boys like minidolls. And if they created more male minidolls, the minidoll based sets might even be more popular with boys.

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good point, but if they did elves with minifigures now, it would not compete with ninjago as much ( dragons and mythical creatures are very diffrent from mechs and such, although i guess maybe the ninjago dragons might compete with elves ones )

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Nexo Knights had a few Castle sets, but it was still far from a true Castle theme.

But the few sets like Knighton Castle, Jestro's Volcano Lair, and even the Fortrex (with modifications), can serve as Castles, if you look past the color schemes, especially on the Knights side.

The Fortrex had potential where it could be expanded with the Library set, but there were never any more smaller buildings since, beside a small Tower and Tree sidebuilds in the stone monster season.

The neutral knights and villains can easily fit into Castle themes as well, the smaller vehicles were sized like something you'd see in a Castle theme with different colors.

The larger vehicles were something completely different however, and indeed closer to Sci-Fi/Space compared to Castle.

Especially the 2018 villains could easily have been a Sci-Fi space faction on it's own, a set like Berserker Bomber could've easily fit into another sci-fi/space theme.

 

Still , I loved the theme, but going forward, I would greatly prefer location/buildings over vehicles if another theme comes around.

 

Currently since 2018 Harry Potter sets have the expandability/modularity of traditional Castle sets, where walls/towers can be re-arranged with technic pins in the walls, now I hope they will continue that system if there eventually migh be another Castle theme or single large Castle set.

I personally don't think the Harry Potter sets work great as a Castle theme however, while there are some great Wizard figures, Centaurs and magical things in some sets, overall for me, it doesn't bring me in as a Castle fan unlike sets like Knighton Castle or Jestro's Lair.

Edited by TeriXeri

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20 minutes ago, TeriXeri said:

Nexo Knights had a few Castle sets, but it was still far from a true Castle theme.

But the few sets like Knighton Castle, Jestro's Volcano Lair, and even the Fortrex (with modifications), can serve as Castles, if you look past the color schemes, especially on the Knights side.

The Fortrex had potential where it could be expanded with the Library set, but there were never any more smaller buildings since, beside a small Tower and Tree sidebuilds in the stone monster season.

The neutral knights and villains can easily fit into Castle themes as well, the smaller vehicles were sized like something you'd see in a Castle theme with different colors.

The larger vehicles were something completely different however, and indeed closer to Sci-Fi/Space compared to Castle.

Especially the 2018 villains could easily have been a Sci-Fi space faction on it's own, a set like Berserker Bomber could've easily fit into another sci-fi/space theme.

 

Still , I loved the theme, but going forward, I would greatly prefer location/buildings over vehicles if another theme comes around.

 

Currently Harry Potter sets have the expandability/modularity of traditional Castle sets, where walls/towers can be re-arranged with technic pins in the walls, now I hope they will continue that system if there eventually migh be another Castle theme or large Castle set.

 

i also liked it but it was not a good castle theme, if a new castle theme is released, i hope that it has peasant buildings

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I feel like the definition of a "true" Castle theme is too nebulous to really pin down. The back-and-forth in this very thread about Nexo Knights is a key example (and one I can't really partake in, since it fell during my second Dark Ages so I've never seen any Nexo Knights sets in the flesh) but what it comes down to imo is that people's idea of a "true" Castle theme will just be something that 'feels' right.

It's the same as how people's definition of Classic versus Modern Castle themes will vary depending on when they got into Lego - for me, Knights Kingdom and before are the vintage, because they were off the shelves before I ever owned a Castle set, whereas Kingdoms and beyond are modern, because they're the sets I remember seeing in catalogues. Someone who's been collecting since the 1990s will see the Fright Knights/Dragon Knights/Knights Kingdom as modern because that's stuff they were around for, while someone who only gets into Lego with the release of a hypothetical 2022 Castle range will see even the Nexo Knights era as Classic. And yet, when you try to delineate the cutoff with some objective measure, it's just about impossible, because the evolution of Lego is so gradual.

In the same way, people will look at a range's sets and very quickly decide whether it feels like true Castle or not.

I'd be surprised if Lego ever pulled off a Castle theme without swords (tbh, I don't think there's any pre-Renaissance period which would make for a compelling theme that wouldn't include swords somewhere). I suspect there'll usually be a castle (but then again stuff like the Forestmen didn't necessarily contain a true Castle, just flagship faction bases)

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10 hours ago, Alexandrina said:

I feel like the definition of a "true" Castle theme is too nebulous to really pin down. The back-and-forth in this very thread about Nexo Knights is a key example (and one I can't really partake in, since it fell during my second Dark Ages so I've never seen any Nexo Knights sets in the flesh) but what it comes down to imo is that people's idea of a "true" Castle theme will just be something that 'feels' right. 

It's the same as how people's definition of Classic versus Modern Castle themes will vary depending on when they got into Lego - for me, Knights Kingdom and before are the vintage, because they were off the shelves before I ever owned a Castle set, whereas Kingdoms and beyond are modern, because they're the sets I remember seeing in catalogues. Someone who's been collecting since the 1990s will see the Fright Knights/Dragon Knights/Knights Kingdom as modern because that's stuff they were around for, while someone who only gets into Lego with the release of a hypothetical 2022 Castle range will see even the Nexo Knights era as Classic. And yet, when you try to delineate the cutoff with some objective measure, it's just about impossible, because the evolution of Lego is so gradual.

In the same way, people will look at a range's sets and very quickly decide whether it feels like true Castle or not.

Truth be told, I've seen these same sort of disagreements about LEGO Space sets. Particularly comments insisting that themes like Life On Mars, Mars Mission, Space Police 3, and Alien Conquest shouldn't count as "real" space themes because they are written or implied to take place on or near Earth (for Space Police 3 the only hint of this sort is an Earth-like blue-green planet in the background of some sets' box art), and/or because a lot of Space Police 3's vehicles were too closely inspired by Earth cars and trucks to believably be the work of space dwellers whose society developed independently from modern-day Earth culture.

Obviously, there's never been any sort of official lore to suggest that LEGO Space HAS to obey either of those rules, but I guess some people were so deeply committed to those sorts of inferences/generalizations they picked up about past Space themes that the idea of any REAL Space theme not adhering to them became anathema. Just today I saw a complaint on Facebook that LEGO keeps making new themes when they have thousands of fans "screaming for Space (not the weird alien space creatures/ships), Pirates, or Castle themes".

Apparently, this particular person either doesn't consider themes with alien creatures or ships "real" Space themes, or just doesn't consider them Space themes worth his or his fellow AFOLs' time and interest. I doubt a lot of kids would share the perspective "alien creatures don't belong in a Space theme", but to some AFOLs I guess that is still a pretty big deal, even more than two decades after Space themes like U.F.O. and Insectoids first broke that barrier!

Related to your point, I can speak from experience about just how deep my generation's nostalgia for the Bionicle theme often runs. And I know a lot of us would feel just as weird as I do about reading YouTube or social media comments from current or former Ninjago fans talking about how they miss the "classic" Ninjago sets and story arcs of 2011–2013. But would any of us have felt weird about describing the Black Seas Barracuda as a "classic Pirates set" in 1998/1999, shortly after the Pirates theme entered its first lengthy hiatus?

I've seen many "modern" themes like Ninjago, Legends of Chima, or Nexo Knights criticized with claims that nobody decades from now will remember them just as fondly as current AFOLs remember classic LEGO Space, Castle, or Pirates sets, but time and time again we've seen how untrue that really is. Just look at how many LEGO Castle fans openly wax nostalgic about the 2007–2009 "Fantasy Era" sets and consider them (at least on a conceptual level) the closest that LEGO has come to their vision for an ideal LEGO Castle theme. LEGO themes continue to change, but the nostalgia we experience as human beings remains a constant.

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Posted (edited)
On 12/13/2020 at 12:22 AM, Aanchir said:

I think your issues with the Fortrex could just as easily be argued for a lot of castles in fantasy settings. Can any castle really be any safer against aerial assault by dragons than the Fortrex is against aerial assault by flying machines? Or any safer against magical plant conjuring which tears apart the very ground beneath it than the Fortrex is against landmines? I think it should go without saying that in a fantasy setting, a mobile fortress could offer just as many tactical advantages as a stationary one — which should be obvious given just how many fantasy and sci-fi series alike have included mobile fortresses or mobile bases for their heroes and/or villains. And that's without getting into the deefensive capabilities of Merlok's Nexo Powers (the digitized versions of the magic spells he was able to use before he died and was reborn as a hologram).

As for your next point: what makes you think that even in the world of Nexo Knights every town or village could realistically afford a bunch of war robots? A lot of the storylines in Nexo Knights revolve around the kingdom of Knighton having been at peace for many years before Jestro used the Book of Monsters to summon his evil army, and thus most towns not being prepared for an invasion. Most of the kingdom's technological resources are relegated to peacetime applications like infrastructure, agriculture, and industry. Incidentally, this ends up making the Fortrex's mobility even more important, since it allows knights from the capital city of Knightonia to travel to whichever towns are likely to be targeted by Jestro's army and set up fort in order to defend them.

Likewise, what "simple soldiers" do you see in the Nexo Knights theme do you see without helmets, besides the supernatural monster armies? Because the Nexo Knights themselves, the Knighton soldiers and royal guards, and the squirebots ALL wear helmets into battle, with many even reusing the same helmet molds used in other Castle themes. Besides, the Forestmen and Wolfpack factions have never worn any armor or helmets whatsoever, and I can't imagine you trying to employ this same argument as evidence that those subthemes aren't "real" Castle sets.

There are probably a lot of arguments you could make for why the characters of Nexo Knights or the castles and fortresses that they call home don't actually qualify as knights in the medieval sense. But nitpicking the tactical effectiveness of their combat strategies and equipment is not one of them. Just because medieval castles were intended to be a safe refuge from enemy assaults doesn't mean that they always were implicitly invulnerable to enemy siege tactics.

 

Well... My point is this: "Castle" litterally means immobile and I don't speak just about the building of a castle but the whole era. The whole society behind it with limited resources which is structured in a way that keeps everything running anyhow. Where one dude is working for months at a chainmail armor and the question "can we really afford a visor for our knights helmet" is a serious question to consider. Where you wait with war until spring or summer because your troops will die by large numbers just because of the weather, if you don't. Let me put it that way: would you consider the Death Star a Castle? After all it has a dungeon, Throne room, weapon chambers. But there is also Vader's Castle and Jedi Knights. So would you consider Star Wars a Castle theme?

In the modern classic fantasy universes as well as in legends and myths I know a dragon is something supernatural if not diabolicannd not a common thing... just like magical plants breaking walls. A castle isn't designed to fight back this rare and ridicilously overpowered creature most medieval texts see as the devil himself or at least a very high status servant of him. The idea of a castle is to force the average joe opponent into a long siege that makes it basically an economic battle between the food ressources of the defender and the aggressor's insanely high costs... A Castle was the gamechanger in that scenario. A peasant throwing rocks down the wall became a real threat while a trained knight who would ride just trough/over the infantry became in a moment just another footsoldier trying go climb up that wall... in fact real siege battles were pretty rare in history. Pretty much every fantasy I know handles their castles that way, too. A bunch of orcs that could slaughter a village is no threat if you have a few bows on top of the wall. The siege battles are always a big event. The ridiculous amounts of Uruk Hai, Saruman sends against Helm's deep also giving them explosives, the undead army in Markus Heitz' "Dwarves"-Novels... the support of a Dragon in Eragon. A Castle is not supposed to be one option in a fair rock-paper-sissors game. It is like Indiana Jones bringing his gun to a swordfight (and a Dragon would be a tank vs. Gunslinger in that example). A scifi-setting where flying vehicles are standard is because of that not a Castle theme even if there is a horse head on the vehicles as decoration. The core of what Castle means is missing in my opinion. I also don't say that an armored motorised vehicle cant be usefull even in certain scifi settings. It just isn't a Castle.

They have a robot cook and a service robot. If they reached the point where it is cheaper to let them take care of the kitchen and have them as buttlers, it should also be cheap enough to be used for protection in larger numbers... 

Never wrote the guards wear no helmets. I wrote they don't protect their faces. Yes, they are using the old moulds from regular Castle themes. In these themes it made sense, that the simple soldier has a cheaper helmet than a knight, which means less metal, so no visor. In this context some are wearing crazy scifi-armors and medieval helmet designs without any protection for the face.

Yes, bandits and other characters from older themes wear clothes fitting the world they live in. A world where a Castle means what i described in the first part. The characters from the medieval market or the water mill don't wear any armor and they are still Castle characters in a Castle setting.

Well... a knight had two jobs: keep the place efficient as local representant of the nobleman above them. and be the elite in warfare in case they are needed. These "knights" are in a mobile tank driving around with the king and they are simply not needed as units. Like I said you could replace Lance with a belt keeping the lance in place while the scifi-motorcycle flies around. I'd say my argument was fine, but of course you are free to have your opinion.

Edited by Gorilla94

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A true castle theme for me would be a few different factions with perhaps a witch, a wizard and dragon thrown in some how. 

I always loved how castle sets could be opened up and connected, so I would make that a crucial part of it.

I thought some faction symbols started to get a little too childish so I would keep it simple and look at real hearldry.

For me real castle stopped with the Black Knights. But maybe that was because I was getting older.

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