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Why does there have to be fighting in every set?

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Why does there have to be fighting in every set?

Postby stuifzand » Wed Mar 07, 2007 3:53 pm

architect wrote:
stuifzand wrote:why does there have to fighting in every entry? :?
Where have the days gone that LEGO was a friendly and happy toy?
:roll:


I am sorry but we are matching the categories to the prizes. I agree that LEGO needs to make a few civilian Castle sets. Convincing marketing and retailers the value of non-conflict play would be hard to do. This is an interesting topic but probably deserves its own thread. Please feel free to start one. Thanks.

Ben


Well, that's the reason for this thread.
Now we have this contest going on, which is great in itself, but I myself don't like to build fighting scenes. I dare to say there are many more afols who don't either. But, to match the sets I have to build violent moc's to be able to even enter. Which brings me to the following:

Why aren't there any castle sets that don't involve fighting? People in the middle ages mainly worked on the land or in the guilds to bring food on the table. :? It's not like the middle ages were 1200 years of constant fighting, everywhere all over Europe... People who think it was need to go study history again.

I know, it won't sell. But what message is given to children?
To me, it is a big point, that I have to build violent scenes to enter a contest which is set up partly by TLC.
It's a good thing the new castle sets come out in June over here anyway. :roll:

to be clear, this is not a complaint to cc, that's why I'm posting in "dear LEGO".
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Postby ottoatm » Wed Mar 07, 2007 4:20 pm

I can see your point here... I've thought about this before too, which is why my response is so long... although I'll disagree, it's not to say that I think your ideas are unfounded.

Still, when I was a kid, I didn't want to play with anything that didn't fight battles and win glory... He-Man and GI Joe beat LEGO everytime for me, because LEGO was just a bunch of men from the same army sitting around. If I wanted to get their enemies, I had to pay a lot more money than I was willing to for it.

It wasn't about the message LEGO or another company was sending to me, it was more about the message I was sending to them :) .

In a related point, all the stories I read/wrote when I was little were full of fighting and bloodletting... the dialogue was boring to me. :P You can see some of that now, too.

Some of the LEGO stories on brickshelf are almost all fighting and heroics... that's what younger writers love about knights and castles and wizards and kings... that's where the romance of it all comes into play for younger people.

I think that almost all AFOLs would love a "Ye Ole Farm" set, or what not, and LEGO has done a blacksmith shop before. I know Playmobile is successful to some extent with this kind of set as well, so it might be worth a shot.

In another point, most contests here don't require violent scenes/action in order to enter, so I don't see a problem with it happening now.

The fact that LEGO is involved isn't really a big point to me - they just want us to be creative and try imitating/improving the sets they will soon release.

If I was young and only had enough money for the month to buy one set, I'd chose the one with the knight fighting the skeleton over the one with the farmer and his cow any day. :)
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Postby Bruce N H » Wed Mar 07, 2007 5:19 pm

Hey,

"Fighting" or "action" has been a big issue in how LEGO sets have changed over the years. I was a big Classic Space kid, and those original sets were all about exploring with no built in conflict. However, I'm sure I'm not the only kid who imagined the "red spacemen" faction flying around shooting lasers at the "white spacemen" faction, and was that rocket in the Alpha-1 Rocket Base to launch a satellite into orbit (LEGO's notion), or a nuclear tipped ICBM (my notion). I think in general LEGO has followed the kids here, and skewed their sets more to action and conflict. Look at the Western series, for example. Every set, it seems, includes a few bandits for the sheriff to shoot at and some sort of exploding safe mechanism, when it would have been a no brainer to build several "peaceful" sets (train station, settlers in a covered wagon, farmstead, saloon, cattle drive, gold prospector). I think you said it best:
I know, it won't sell.
Yes, it would be great if LEGO were able to push kids in a different direction, but I think that would just lead to unsold merchandise (hey, wait a minute, that leads to clearance sales, which is great for us! :) ).

That said, I think LEGO has responded to AFOL's desire for more peaceful sets. Look at some of the greatest sets to come out--MOC Blacksmith's Shop, the new Corner Cafe, some of the great train sets--these are all geared toward the adult market, and are all peaceful.

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Re: Why does there have to be fighting in every set?

Postby Tedward » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:02 pm

stuifzand wrote:I know, it won't sell. But what message is given to children?

You know what, if that sort of set wouldn't sell we would not have the new, stunning Corner Cafe (discussed elsewhere). There is no violence nor even conflict. Airports and hospitals and fire stations ... they are not violent.

TLC is just being lazy and jumping on the bandwagn so to speak. They see lots of miniature war games, online medieval/fantasy games, movies like Eragon and Lord of the Rings and see an opportunity to provide their own conflict-based toys.

It would be harder to sell peaceful sets but perhaps we can use LEGO Factory to create some reasonable sets to test the market or offer an alternative. I would like to see another blacksmith shop, a bakery, a chapel and a tavern along with a "peasant hovel".
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Postby architect » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:03 pm

I also agree that LEGO Direct specials are the way to go. They can give fans an alternative to the conflict based themes that retailers want. LEGO really needs to improve by making more peaceful sets within their lines as they did in the 70's and 80's. Sure most sets were conflict/action based, but not every set. City needs actual houses and not just the fire and police departments. Castle needs a blacksmith shop, stable, market, etc.

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Postby wunztwice » Wed Mar 07, 2007 7:18 pm

architect wrote:I also agree that LEGO Direct specials are the way to go. They can give fans an alternative to the conflict based themes that retailers want. LEGO really needs to improve by making more peaceful sets within their lines as they did in the 70's and 80's. Sure most sets were conflict/action based, but not every set. City needs actual houses and not just the fire and police departments. Castle needs a blacksmith shop, stable, market, etc.

Ben


I beleive you have stated this very well Ben. I can dig the fighting sets alright, but I would love to have something other than one single maiden to fight over. (not to dis the new maiden mind you, I like her alot. [Don't tell my G/F])

If there has to be some sort of dual-faction action (hehe that rymes...:wink:) then for a farm there could be some bad guy trying to burn the crops of what have you. While I would still love just a peacable castle set once in a while, at least that would provide some sort of a differing setting and the ability for some inclusion of a peasant, etc...

I think the specials are a super way to get AFOLs what they want (as discussed above the corner cafe, etc.) but still have kids buying up the store-shelf sets.

One last thing too, though. I know many youngsters who would buy up civi sets as well. I'm not saying all would, but there are still some kids out there (and parents) who would love just a farm set or a medieval marketplace. I know, I was one of them, and many of my friends were too. Now some of my brothers' friends are too. Just to show there are some.
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Re: Why does there have to be fighting in every set?

Postby Recluce » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:07 pm

stuifzand wrote:Well, that's the reason for this thread.
Now we have this contest going on, which is great in itself, but I myself don't like to build fighting scenes. I dare to say there are many more afols who don't either. But, to match the sets I have to build violent moc's to be able to even enter.


In regards to this specific thing, there's nothing saying you have to show a battle going on in your mocs, they just have to have 2 factions. For example, with the joust scene, why not make 2 pavilions in different colors and have a knight, squire, and retainers for each of the combatants? Sure, it's combat, but Civilized combat a la "A knight's tale" (make sure there is only one lady so the knights can fight for her favor). Make the good guys in white and blue with flowers and banners and happy stuff, and the bad guys in black and red and some skulls and horns and I think you'll have the desired effect.

For the tower scene, why not have a tower and prisoner and another of the prisoner's faction scaling the tower to break them out? No overt combat there, just an interesting scene.

There only has to be 2 factions, one 'good', one 'bad', present. No one said they had to be hacking each other up in the MOC. That's for others' imaginations, much as it was in the classic sets where we got to decide just how bad those forestmen really were. :wink:

Look, if I can go without chopping up a brick to make a MOC then I have faith that you can make a MOC without any combat that still fits the contest rules. And who knows, you may even make your non-violence point a bit better known by succeeding in such a difficult contest.
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Re: Why does there have to be fighting in every set?

Postby Sibley » Wed Mar 07, 2007 8:39 pm

Recluce wrote:There only has to be 2 factions, one 'good', one 'bad', present.

Why does it even have to be one good, one bad? When I was a kid, I was genuinely dismayed that the Company told me which factions were good and which were bad (towards the end of the Castle line). So I rebeled, and made the Fright Knights the good guys. :twisted:

Uh...choose your own ending.

1) I can no longer associate myself with good; I now enjoy standing at dangerous intersections to watch car accidents. Do today's kids really need that?

2) Having less strictly-defined factions allows for more creative play as well as encouraging a less black-and-white worldview (which is presumably a good thing).
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Postby DARKspawn » Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:14 pm

I have not built any MOCs that have actually dipicted a violent act (ok maybe 1), perhaps the intent of possible violence is there, but it doesn't necessarily have to actually be violent.

stuifzand wrote:It's not like the middle ages were 1200 years of constant fighting, everywhere all over Europe... People who think it was need to go study history again.


Perhaps not all over Europe at once, no, but war was relatively constant throughout Western Europe & the British Isles.

I do find it interesting that Castle sets need to be conflict based in LEGO's opinion to sell, for they certainly don't have the same philosophy regarding other themes. & I agree that conflict based toys aren't necessarily a great thing, but it is an undeniable part of human nature. Especially for boys ;)

I guess LEGO is really focusing on the popular & glamorised aspects of medieval life - chivalry, high combat, the epic struggle of good vs evil ... That's what kids think of when you ask them about the middleages - knights, dragons, swords, perhaps the crusades. And picking up almost any childrens book on the subject pretty much confirms this theory.

I don't see a problem building a castle / hillfort / motte & bailey with armed soldiers guarding it, that was a pretty normal site throughout Britain in any town larger than a hamlet. Angles, Saxons, Vikings, Scotts, Welsh, Irish, Normans (just to name the major players throughout those "peaceful" 1200 years & more) all built strongholds from ditches too citadels. It was a nasty, nasty time to live.
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Postby Blueandwhite » Thu Mar 08, 2007 4:51 am

Well, I certainly feel your pain.

I would also like to see a more civilized look at the medieval world. Of course, even the majority of AFOLs seem to be very focused on the military aspects of feudal life, collecting large armies of clone soldiers to stand on otherwise useful baseplates :wink: .

Honestly, back in the 80s it wasn't that different. The majority of sets featured opposing factions and fortifications. Now I always had a softspot for the non-military sets, however I can see myself as being a small minority.

I think the best we can hope for is another Shop@home exclusive in the future, not unlike the Blacksmith Shop. In fact, given some of LEGO's other sets, a few village sets would be most welcome. Given some of the other exclusives that have been announced recently, this would be more than welcome in the next few years. Give us a small church, town hall, or something similar, with peasants and merchants.

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Postby Lord Felix » Thu Mar 08, 2007 5:35 am

Corner Cafe


I saw that on Brickshelf. Is it on S@H? I can't find it.

Fighting makes it "playable." I personally believe it would be cool to have peaceful sets that have extra armor, and other weapons that don't come in the fighting sets (Think the Armor Shop). Then that way, people would buy ("Look at that COOL Big Sword!!!"), and there would be peaceable peasants and other carts and what not. Or smuggler's carts like the old Forestmen sets.
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Postby ottoatm » Thu Mar 08, 2007 7:44 am

After reading some of the posts, I'd say that I would have to agree that direct selling/S@H is a great way for LEGO to offer some of the sets all of us AFOLs want to see.

The peasants hovel (great idea), farm, merchant, etc, would no doubt sell very quickly because of us (I'd love to buy a whole bunch of hovels to make a village/hamlet).

Still, in general, I'd say that LEGO offers "conflict-based" sets because they started to lose money long ago, when they were selling smuggler's hayrides and what-not. That could be the exact reason they stopped making the Castle line at all for a few years.

Now that castle is back, I'd say they should do whatever they have to do to let the line survive - for although some kinds like peaceful sets, almost all kinds like glory and confict sets. I don't think that's really lazy, but more smart. The free market can be a harsh and unforgiving world, sometimes a mistake here or there doesn't just mean losses, but the end of an entire product line...
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Postby JPinoy » Fri Mar 16, 2007 9:24 pm

LEGO targets kids, but mainly boys. Thus the "fighting" action.

IMO, they should go into the civilian side of it some more. I mean the soldiers/kings/warriors DO need someone to defend. Castles are buildings, but people are more important.

Why can't the knight save a pretty peasant girl, instead of it always being the princess or queen?
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Postby Sir Kohran » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:07 pm

JPinoy wrote:Why can't the knight save a pretty peasant girl, instead of it always being the princess or queen?


My dad has always advised me to make sure the girl I marry has plenty of money to her name :wink:


Just out of interest, has there ever been a Castle set that hasn't had a weapon in it?

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Postby Sibley » Fri Mar 16, 2007 11:11 pm

How about this one? ;)
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