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Everything posted by Dunjohn

  1. I wasn't sure where to post this; here, or in Other Lego Themes like all the other games. I put my Pirate Plank review down there instead of in the Pirates forum, but I think Potter fans will be more interested in this being here. A caveat: I'm not at home these days, I'm in an apartment hundreds of miles away from my collection, my usual photography setup, and my precious army of mini-mummies that usually helps me out with my reviews. I hope this won't impact on things too much! __________________________________________________ "Between the moving staircases and secret passages at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, it can be tricky to find your way around. Be the first to successfully navigate the magic castle to collect all your homework items and get back to your common room! A fun and challenging family game for 2-4 players." I'm a pilgrim in a strange land so I haven't actually played the game, but I'd imagine that it plays much more poorly with any fewer than four people. I also know virtually nothing about Harry Potter - I'm not a fan of HP, so I may overlook obvious references that you guys might spot. Apologies in advance! Still, I was delighted to see this, and the other new Wave 3 games, in the shop this afternoon, and even though this wasn't my first choice, I couldn't just leave it there. More on that later.... INFORMATION: Set Name: Harry Potter Hogwarts Set Number: 3862 Theme: Lego Games Year Released: 2010 Number of Pieces: 331 Microfigs: 9 Price: €32.99 on Lego.com, €29.99 locally _________________________________________________ THE BOX: Box cover is pretty cool, it's nice and uncluttered but doesn't really leap off the shelf. I'm not sure what Harry is doing: Cheating blatantly, or threatening Draco's life. Either way, not cool, Harry, not cool. This is what three of the four sides look like, the fourth has legal text. That's my knee at the bottom, yay, go knee! Here's the back, showing the board and close-ups of Dumbledore, Draco and the three protagonists. Harry & friends (and enemy) don't even have anything to do with the game, so it's pretty sweet of TLG to include them. A close-up of the Contents listing. The main reason I'm showing this is, despite being a Wave 3 game, Lego's still using the word "dice" to describe a single die! I know you're reading this, TLG, like you read everything I write anywhere on the 'net! I'm gonna keep mentioning this! Moving on.... THE CONTENTS Seven bags, which was a nice surprise, plus the instructions (large booklet), game rules (small) and the trademark customisable die. The bags aren't numbered so I had no trouble opening them all into one big heap - I'm one of those sadists who does that anyway - and some identical parts were split between multiple bags, which I thought was odd if they weren't meant to be opened in sequence. Here's a random instructions page, and pages 2 and 3 of the four English-language rules pages. The manual has no problems distinguishing between colours, even though the build mingles light grey, dark grey and black elements quite liberally. Most pages have a piece callout. Also, you might want to come back to this shot when I'm explaining tile movement later on, the diagrams might help. The trusty parts listing. The advertisement pages at the backs. There are also ads for the Lego Harry Potter game, Lego.com and the Win-shouty kid, but that'd be too many photos. The other three games in Wave 3. Hogwarts was the only game I'd known about before seeing them in the shop, so I had a good long study of them. Remember I said that this game wasn't my first choice? The game I really wanted was that Orient Bazaar one, it comes with some unbelievably awesome new accessories (perfume vials, etc) and a stack of about forty gold 2x2 coins, plus some more parts for rounding out the Prince of Persia brickset. Buuut, I figured you guys would be more interested in seeing the Harry Potter game so I went with that. Remember this. You guys owe me. The reason all those other photos were set on the bed was because the window above the desk plays havoc with the lighting, but I'm afraid I have no choice this time! All three-hundred-something pieces, painstakingly and, in all honestly, probably pointlessly arranged into a tidy rectangle for your viewing pleasure. There were too many 6x6 plates so I staggered those. There are nineteen dark grey ones and a tan. As usual with a Games set, certain pieces appear in disproportionately huge quantities. The big 16x8 flat tiles will be useful. One of the brown 2x2 tiles is actually dark red, which I thought was an error, but isn't actually. The four transparent things beside the green jumper plate are minifig heads. One slight factor that helped convince me to get this over Bazaar was all the sand green - my favourite colour that I didn't own any of until now. Too bad it's all cones, but hey, gift horses and all that. The nine microfigs and other accessories. Like I said earlier, Draco, Ron, Harry and Hermoine (yay, I remembered all their names!) don't feature in the game and are just gravy. Dumbledore also doesn't feature, but he can be used in a variant game. The four coloured microfigs aren't named in the rules; I don't know, do they look like any existing characters? That would probably be cool. The cat's name is Mrs. Norris, says the rulebook, which I presume means something to HP fans. She also doesn't appear in the main game, but can be used in another variant. Incase it's not obvious, she's dark brown. The spanner is included in all Game sets and is used to work the die. Some other interesting bits, though admittedly there aren't many in this set. The hogwarts crest is nice to have, and the map is referred to as the "Marauder's Map." Is the corner panel part new? I've never seen that before. There are eight in the set. Moving on... THE BUILD I hate to say it, but the build is very repetitive and boring. You start off building the tiles that represent various classrooms, and sections of the shifting staircase. The students of each house have to navigate the stairways and visit each classroom to collect their homework equipment. The classrooms can be tough to identify, because aside from the Divining Tower (not built in this photo) they're not named in the book. The homework item in the Tower is a crystal ball. You also have Potions Class, obviously. The four familiars are sitting quietly in a third classroom, absolutely not thinking about eating one another, so that's Familiars Class, or Care of Familiars or whatever. The last one is tricky, containing what appears to be four flavoured Iceberger bars. Mmmm, Icebergers.... that must be Refrigeration class. Here, the main board is half-built. It's just as dull and repetitive as the tile stage, but at least I know it'll look quite snazzy in the end. And here it is finished. Again, apologies for the suckiness of the lighting. The two tiles beside Dumbledore and the cat are the dark red tile and a brown tile used to control those two characters in their variant games. It does look pretty nice, though, right? Spare bricks consist of four coloured spots. Can never have too many, I say. Games sets are a bit weird like that; you either get loads of spares, or hardly any. Moving on.... THE GAMEPLAY I don't have anybody to play the game with, so I'll just run through the rules. Players take it in turns to roll the die. The die controls the tiles only - you get to move your character one tile every turn no matter what the die does. Characters can only move onto an adjacent tile if there's a solid brown path connecting them. So, to demonstrate stairs movement, let's say I roll a 2. That gets me two "shifts." I start by removing an empty stairs piece from the board. This does not count as a shift. Then, for my first shift, I choose what tiles to slide over into the empty space. In this case, I could have moved all three tiles in that line over, but I decided to just move the two classrooms. That's one of my shifts done. Red now has almost-direct access to the Potions classroom, and it's a quick hop from there into the Refrigeration classroom. Hmm. I hope I was playing red. For my second shift, I'm going to move those two tiles down. Most classrooms have two entrances, but the Divining tower only has one (facing up, in this photo, so you can't see it. Sorry). That leaves blue adrift in a sea of winding wood. I've made an enemy, horray! With all my shifts used, I replace the tile I removed earlier into the new gap. Then I move my character one space, and end my turn. If I roll this, I get to rotate any tile instead of shifting stuff. And the Marauder's Map shows me a secret passage - I can move my character onto an adjacent tile, even if they're not connected by a stairway. And that's pretty much it for the main game. Sounds like fun, probably. Lots of backstabbing. Replace the "1" tile on the die with Dumbledore's red tile to use him in the game. Roll the red, and move Dumbledore one space. Dumbledoor has total knowledge of the secret passages in Hogwarts, so he can use them every turn. If your character meets him on a tile, he'll show you a secret passage for your next turn. I'd imagine that this makes the game slightly more unpredictable, while introducing a new tactical element. It also explains why the Hogwarts front door isn't centred on the side of the game board, because it must line up with a tile. Replace the Marauder's Map with the brown tile to unlock Mrs. Norris. Any staircase tile occupied by Mrs. Norris is blocked off - no character can enter it. This, combined with the fact that all secret passages are now blocked off, probably makes for a more strategic game where thinking several moves ahead is the only way to proceed. Since her tile replaces a different one to Dumbledores, you can probably combine both variants, which probably results in sheer and utter madness. Like the other Games, this one fits back in the box ready to play again, though you'll need to knock the towers. No biggie. IN CONCLUSION Well, it's got sand green in it. And some nice accessories, including my first frog. And more brown tiles than I can shake a blueberry Iceberger at. I've no complaints about the parts content, they're all useful and there are quite a few that I didn't have any, or enough, of before. New map tiles are always welcome, and having microfig versions of the main cast is quite cool. The game sure sounds like a lot of fun, I'll need to dig up some open-minded nerd friends to play it with. It does paint a nice picture of the shifting staircase scene in the movie, with the students clambering all over trying to navigate them. It's a shame that the build was a bit dull but it's hard to design a board game that isn't. Design: 8/10 Seems good, the base turned out way more solid than the early instruction steps suggested it would be. It's quite small compared to Ramses Pyramid, which had the same base dimensions but a lot more bulk. Most of the pieces in this set are on the smal side, which is the reason for that. It's not as nice to display, either, being quite flat and vacant-looking. Parts: 9/10 I've said this for every Game set I've reviewed and I'll probably go on saying it, but you'll get high quantities and limited variety, because the nature of the series demands repitition and simplicity. That said, there are some very nice, unusual-yet-useful bits in here. Getting the four main characters as microfigs even though they aren't needed was especially nice. Build: 5/10 Dull and straightforward, with no particularly interesting techniques used. Playability: N/A I can't really say without having actually played it. I think this would rate highly, the rules make it sound very interesting. Price: 3/10 Not great. The Atlantis board game has 50 pieces fewer than this set's 331 but manages to cost €7 less. The Harry Potter license obviously adds a huge chunk to the price and makes it the most expensive of this box size by a considerable distance. Total: 85% I think it does a great job of evoking the Harry Potter universe, in particular the exact scene it's trying to emulate. An interesting parts list and some nice little bonuses do a good job of offsetting the steep price. Would you display it alongside your other HP sets? Probably not, but I'd keep it intact anyway. Thanks for reading! Caution: Potions Class in Progress
  2. I'd like a classic Green Goblin, or even the movie style one, using the modern minifig standards. I don't like the old one with the unprinted mask and yellow head, and I certainly don't recognise the new bulky Green Goblin character from the helicopter set. They did give us both styles of Dock Ock in the last year or so, so there's a chance, but I'm not too hopeful.... I wouldn't discount Ghost Rider on the basis of some bad old Cage movie nobody remembers. In fact, I'd say any superhero from either the Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom or Injustice games has a strong chance of showing up. Fan favourites that aren't likely to appear? Yeah.... Power Girl.
  3. I loved the S1 zombie and have over 50 of them, all plucked from the boxes. I haven't reached the stage where I've bought him online. I also have a dozen Zombie Drivers from Monster Fighters. I just like Lego zombies.... I'm also trying to build a nice big Balin's Tomb diorama so I need lots of Moria goblins. I only have about nine so far. They're expensive, and it's not a part of the movies that TLG is likely to visit a second time, so I'm stuck. As for hypothetical figures, a Borg drone. Yes. Hundreds of those. Lego, get the Star Trek license, then give me my Collective collection. Honestly I can't think of any unlicensed minifig I'd like in droves. I have full sets of Series 1-8 with spares, but the interest dwindled to the point where I haven't even bothered to get any S11. And it's right there on the shelf....
  4. Dunjohn

    Disney franchises selective?

    Wreck-It Ralph's multitude of themes wouldn't be a problem. Toy Story had the same thing, with Woody's western sets, Buzz's space sets and the various movie scenes in between. I personally lump Lone Ranger and Prince of Persia in with Speed Racer. It doesn't matter who made it, it's just a big flashy summer movie that Lego backs as a one-off licensing tie-in. I won't pretend to understand, or even try to speculate, what factors go into Lego's decisions on what Disney movies to tie into or not. I just see two categories - the blockbuster series mentioned above, which get one wave of half-a-dozen sets but are never seen again (like the movies, really), and the established, dead-cert movie licences like Toy Story and PotC that Lego know they can get more sets out of. Taken that way, maybe it's even a good sign we didn't get Wreck-It Ralph sets. Maybe Lego see some depth there and are waiting for it to mature.
  5. Dunjohn

    REVIEW: 7065 Alien Mothership

    Woot-woot-woot-waddawadda. Woot-woot-woot-waddawadda. Woot-woot-woot-waddawadda. Woot-woot-woot-waddawadda. The question of whether or not we are alone in the universe has been answered with weird, perplexing bleeping noises. The Alien Mothership may not have a mass roughly one-fourth the size of our moon like the one in Independence Day but it's sure big enough to make a mess of my already ad-hoc photography setup. Try to ignore some of the more distracting backgrounds. I've badly photoshopped the worst of them. ____________________________________________ Set Name: Alien Mothership Set Number: 7065 Theme: Alien Conquest Year Released: 2011 Number of Pieces: 416 Minifigures: 2½ Price: €64.99 on release Lego.com Bricklink _____________________________________________ FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The big, square box keeps to the green theme of the rest of the line. The entire city seems to be glowing with radioactivity. The back throws spotlights on some of the set's play features and gives us a hint about how the invasion will eventually be defeated - GOD HIMSELF. The Alien Commander clearly hates the new accessories-to-scale policy as much as I do. The set contains two manuals of different sizes, which may be a pain in the neck for some people (I store mine according to size) and a rather modest sticker sheet. Both manuals look substantially the same inside. The bigger one features one step per page. The smaller one contains four pages of multilingual safety stuff dealing with the sound brick. The DSS has no major surprises on it. Unlike the Tripod and the Abduction sets, there aren't any comedy bumper stickers here. I didn't apply these to the finished model, I rarely ever do. THE PARTS The box also contains three numbered bags, one non-numbered bag and eight loose train track parts. The train tracks are 6-wide (or 4-wide at the wheel, I don't own any train sets so I'm not sure of the terminology) and made of solid plastic. They've only ever appeared in one set before - Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom - but they were dark grey in that. Here are a few of the more interesting bits. Eight purple mudguards - I have sooo many of those now - and a few purple studs is all the purple in the set. It's actually a very scarce colour in the theme, and appears in less than a dozen different brick types throughout the line. There's the sound brick, push the orange thing in and it makes the campy bleepy noises that suit the theme so well. Those 2-wide curved bricks are brand new, and exclusive to this set (one of the Cars 2 sets has them in light blue). 1-wide versions have existed for years so I don't see them as a particularly useful addition to the catalogue. I suppose the company can put 2-wide stickers on them, but it doesn't happen in this set. Some more interesting stuff in the transparent categories. The 8-wide dome appears only in this set and in the Abduction one. The 1x4 trans light blue tiles made their debut in last year's Portal of Atlantis set. There's a couple in this theme's Jet-Copter set, but the twenty-four we have here makes this set the best one to get if you need them. The trans neon yellow stuff has all been seen before but it's all good. Couple of saucer sections and curved bricks. The set has a small Technic element with these parts being the most specialised. The large black and grey parts fit together to form a "H"-shaped spinning unit. The small black ball fits onto the end of a Technic rod and acts as a knob. It's mainly seen in Bionicle but has been breaking into System sets in the last six months or so. And here's the rest of the stuff, all basic parts that most people should be used to. Here we have the foolhardy reporter. I love the unorthodox hairstyle, the stereotypical image of this character type would have flowing blonde or brown hair but I've enough of those hairpieces. The reporter's clipboard is dripping with detail and looks great, even if it breaks the unwritten rule about partially-obscuring words that end with "-ck." It doesn't have many applications outside of Alien Conquest. The red handwriting, and the fact that the reporter brought a microphone up to the roof of a tall building, suggests that being abducted is what she's after all along. Here we have His Disgusting Horribleness himself, the Alien Commander. The torso printing is excellent, but it's front-only. I also like the head; some of his minions push things a little far but his facial proportions look just right. Seeing villains with eye scars is starting to get a bit old, though. The tentacles are obviously on loan from Atlantis. His Tentacly Revoltingness' head is made up of three elements. The green brain could become quite a fashion statement. It's built onto a trans-green head which slots over... wait a second... trans-green head.... Dear Lord! Those God-awful Mars Mission aliens are trying to get back into Lego! Somebody stop them!! Lastly, we have the alien head clinger. I've recycled this image from the Tripod review because they're identical. THE BUILD To begin construction of his majestic flagship, His Cackling Hideousness gathers his best, smartest and most colour-blind engineers to build the the saucer's cockpit module. A few steps later, some rimming is added and the handle is installed. A second layer of rimming is added. The single control stick is there, but kinda hard to see. Ah, the idiot-proof spaceforce. This quick and simple laser cannon is fixed to the front. Four more will later be added to the outer ring. Finish the handle and canopy and add some antennae and that's the upper central module (and first manual) finished with. The cockpit has enough room for His Slobbery Rottenness and his pet clinger, but as usual there's no place to put his pistol. I suppose you could jam it into one of those empty studs at the back. Four studs belonging to the bright yellow underbricks remain exposed, which is really sloppy. Here's a quick comparision with the saucer from the Abduction set. Slightly smaller, less detailed, inverted colour scheme but otherwise very similar. Flip open Volume 2 and we start on the outer ring. Here it is a few steps in with the Reporter to give a sense of scale. Then the arms are added and a couple of round black plates are attached to act as supports. They're only relevant during construction, as the final model has a central column in the middle that supports the whole thing. Add some detail to the ring.... Add some more detail... the construction experience kinda grinds to a snail's pace during this bit, having to do all this stuff four times around the ring left me praying that each page turn will let me finally start on the central module. And here it is. It houses pretty much all of the set's play features - the sound brick, the claw and the spinning mechanism. The sound brick is built up like so... And slotted in like so. Here's how the claw's arm is constructed. The claw itself is straightforward. That's attached to the side. The whole unit is attached to the underside and locked in place with the large black Technic thing. Now, when I attach the two Technic parts together and spin the ring, the red part on the underside of the cockpit will repeatedly hit the sound brick switch. The two technic parts do not separate easily once connected. Add some fins to the outer ring and the ship is finished! Time for humanity to roll over and play tasty. Not that many spare parts, though the long antenna is unusual. That green plate had me worried, they don't usually include spares of those, but I realized while typing this up that it's supposed to go on the claw's "palm." The claw has good range and is very maneuverable. It's not exactly easy to grab a minifigure while holding the saucer up but kids'll manage. It just about reaches up this high. Being positioned beneath one of the ring's beams is a slight restriction but it's not really meant for this anyhow. IN CONCLUSION: It's the most expensive alien set in Alien Conquest and, even if you know there's a lot of empty air inside the ring, its size certainly matches the price tag. Some people don't like the sound, others love it; I think it's great. Really old-fashioned and kooky, and just as improbable as everything in AC is supposed to be. The spinning mechanic is smooth, the ring is sturdy despite looking frail and the claw works well. The only real dowsides are the spartan cockpit design that feels unfinished (that's common to almost every AC set, but it's particularly bad in this case), and the very low minifigure count for a set this size. Design: 9/10: It looks beautiful and the function matches the form. Everything works. The use of train tracks is good and well done, so while there's nothing amazingly clever and the various features are quite independent of each other, it all adds up to a quality model. It would have been a solid 10 if not for that cockpit. Parts: 7/10: The two minifigures are great, but more would have been better. As with the other AC sets I own, the overall parts mix comes from the outer reaches of normal so there's nothing really remarkable. I've already mentioned that the new slope parts aren't exactly radical, and the purple elements border on useless. It's still a very good mix of parts that are found elsewhere, but not all at once. Build: 8/10: Building the outer ring dragged a bit, but everything else was fine. Playability: 9/10: It can be awkward to handle but the considerable array of features will usually distract from that fact. Price: 8/10: I'm not so good at gauging sets of this size since I rarely stray beyond €50, but minifigures aside, I think it's alright. Total: 86%: It's certainly the most eye-catching set in the theme and it has the playability to match those first impressions. Thanks for reading! Some planets were a lot easier to conquer - Dunjohn
  6. I got my usual 16 random packs and was kinda disgusted when I only got 7 different ones, but of the duplicates the Roman was the most common. Got 3 spares of him. It's odd, since the roman series is usually the rarest, but welcome.
  7. Dunjohn

    Best/Worst designed licenced minifigure ever?

    I like the promo Hulk. I consider him to be the Lou Ferrigno version, while the Helicarrier one is the CG version. They both have their places. I wish I owned him. My personal least favourite licensed minifig is the original Squidward, he looks like he's got his head stuck in a jam jar. I'm also not too fond of Gollum; he's a long way from "worst," but his arms keep falling off and he's so scrunched up that it's hard for him to hold his fishy. Best licensed minifig, hmm, toughie. I really like the Fellowship minifigs, all of them, especially the hobbits because their facial expressions are so perfect that it's remarkably easy to identify them at a glance. I'll go with Merry as my favourite. The mischievous grin is spot on.
  8. Dunjohn

    Where do you keep your Minifigures?

    That is actually very nice, I might have a look in my local Lidl. Thanks for the heads up.
  9. Dunjohn

    TMNT 2013

    Boy, they've really made it hard to get the team. Assembling the Fellowship of the Ring was easier than this. Okay, there are three small sets: Raphael, Michaelangelo/Krang, and Donatello/Shredder. The cheapest was to get Leonardo is the Escape set, which also comes with Michaelangelo. CON: I'd lose Krang. PRO: There is a less cool Krang in the set. So on balance, that's the set to get. Two turtles down, bonus Krang. I could get the two small sets for Donatello and Raphael, and have bonus Shredder, OR I could get the mech set, and have those two with bonus April and Baxter instead. So it comes down to which bonus characters are cooler: Shredder, or April + Baxter. This Baxter isn't the geek I remember from the 80's so he's down points there, and Shredder is Shredder, so right now it's strongly in Shredder's favour, even though I really want that April and I have a fondness for Lego mech sets (Exo-Force is what ended my Dark Age). I think I'll let the shelf price decide that for me. I'd like Splinter too, of course, but that set's way out of my price range.
  10. Dunjohn

    Fake Lego

    Seven years ago, yes
  11. Dunjohn

    CMFs: Do AFOLs and kids like the same ones?

    Hmm. I've never actually thought about anything that might link my favourites. Let's see, what have they been, S1 Zombie, S6 Aztec, S4 Werewolf, S5 Boxer, S1 Spaceman.... Can't really see a theme. Whenever a new series gets revealed I tend to examine and judge each minifigure individually, and decide based on their parts or the kinds of scenes I imagine using them in whether I really like them or not. The star of S8, for example, will likely be the DJ, and he doesn't sit easily beside any of the ones listed above. I guess I just like what I like.
  12. Has that been a problem? The Team GB series flew off the shelves here, and we're not even part of GB....
  13. Dunjohn

    Games where you build your dice during play

    The only one that comes to mind is Race 3000, though I don't think it's particularly good: http://www.eurobricks.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=44658
  14. Breakdown looks largely along the lines we'd been expecting, though I am glad to see my favourite - the DJ - is a 5-of. There's nothing in this series I plan to army so the set'll do me.
  15. Dunjohn

    LEGO Team GB Minifigures Discussion

    Sold out here in less than a week. AFOLs are far too savvy to let these slip away.
  16. Dunjohn

    Most wanted CMF for army builder

    How many kids buy minifigures on the secondary market? I'm not being sarcastic, I'm wondering. Do many?
  17. Dunjohn

    LEGO Team GB Minifigures Discussion

    You know what I would have been really impressed by? If they had made the boxer female. Seeing as how it's the first time women's boxing has featured in the Olympics. I know Lego is rather traditional when it comes to gender roles but it would have been a nice commemoration.
  18. Dunjohn

    LEGO Team GB Minifigures Discussion

    Not to mention, image right are a whole other expensive area of legal hassle.
  19. Dunjohn

    The Sun / News of the World Promotion

    I've also never been limited. May need to get a buttload of Uruk-hai and ghosts. Even though my LotR target is Moria orcs, not Uruk-hai.
  20. Dunjohn

    The Sun / News of the World Promotion

    There's a new Sun promo? When does it begin?
  21. Dunjohn

    LEGO Team GB Minifigures Discussion

    There'll be one soon.
  22. I like the DJ for his parts and the fairy for being a fairy. And the man-bat's torso can be used to make the gorilla more realistic. Aside from those and a few other little details, though, this series doesn't excite me too much. S1 and S5 are still the best.
  23. The collectible minifigures haven't contained spare parts for a long time.
  24. Dunjohn

    Value of CMF collection and certain minifigures

    I armied the zombies when they came out. I think I have about 50 of them. I've full sets of all the serieseses plus a few spares, mainly Spartans to trade for zombies should the opportunity ever arise. But value doesn't come into it for me, this is my personal collection.