Wednesday, 4 January 2012

All About Bricks Awards 2011

Before being overwhelmed by the new worlds of LEGO Friends, Dino and Lord of the Rings it’s time to kick start the New Year with a look at the All About Bricks 2011 Awards! Here I select which sets from each of my favourite themes are the best of 2011, and also throw in a few other awards to. The winning sets are awarded the prestige of being liked by one random voice online. 

Award for the best LEGO City set of 2011
Police, Space and Harbour dominated LEGO City in 2011. My pick is the Marina (4644), as a similar set has not been released since City’s re-launch. There’s also some nice variety in leisure activities for mini-figs to take part in and some cool pieces such as diver gear (yeah, I still think it’s awesome). The set could have been more detailed (the cafĂ© is a bit on the small side) but this would have resulted in a higher price point.

Award for the Least Inspired LEGO set of 2011
The Police Station (7498) gets a mention as the least inspired set – this was a completely unnecessary replacement for the fine Police Headquarters (7744).

Award for the best LEGO Star Wars set of 2011
From the Star Wars range Darth Maul’s Sith Infiltrator (7961) was a stand out for me, as update sets rarely impress me – but the last one was so awful and the original now so outdated that this really did seem a worthy release. It’s a suitably LEGO-istic version of the ship from the movies, there bits that open up, and the mini-figure selection is nice.

Award for the most mishandled LEGO promotion of 2011
The Shadow ARF Trooper promotion gets a mention as the most mishandled promotion. When it was originally given away free from LEGO Shop at Home supplies ran out, and Star Wars key chains were sent out instead. Then supplies appeared randomly again in December, but only if you lived in the USA.

Award for the best LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean set of 2011
Pirates of the Caribbean sets varied in how much they actually resembled scenes from the movie, or just gave a flavour of them. They did a great job of using classic Pirates pieces but also introducing new elements. It feels like one of the ships should have been the stand out of this line, but neither seemed to offer an improvement on the ships we enjoyed in regular Pirates.
Whitecap Bay (4194) narrowly beat The Mill (4183) as my best from this theme, as it represents the film reasonably well (especially since the film was still being produced when it was designed), there are some nice features and it looks like a nice set sat on the shelf. Also the new mermaid tail pieces are awesome. 

Award for the best LEGO Video Game of 2011
My video game of the year winner is LEGO Harry Potter: Years 1-4. Ironically this is the franchise of the three new video games that I have no interest in. What is undeniable is that it brought a newness to the video games that fit Harry Potter, but also included a huge amount of bonuses and extra that were in LEGO Pirates of the Caribbean. LEGO Star Wars III: The Clone Wars did a great job of changing up aspects of the Star Wars games, but it didn’t have that winning formula of being able to follow one familiar storyline.

Special Award of 2011 for Strange Ideas from LEGO
There is also a Special Award for Strangeness. LEGO have seen Universe, an idea always questionable, go horribly wrong. But new - even stranger but much cheaper – ideas such as LEGO Cuusoo and LEGO Life of George have popped up in an attempt to embrace new uses of technology. It seems a bit like throwing brown bricks at a wall of other bricks, to see which studs click. But a bit of experimentation seems like a good thing.  

Please leave a comment with your own favourite picks from 2011, and a Happy New Year to everyone reading.

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