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Some love for Castle

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Some love for Castle

Postby Aliencat » Fri Oct 14, 2011 9:10 am

Hey everyone,

Despite a topic titled No love for Castle in this very Dear LEGO forum, I would argue that AFOL Castleheads have been getting quite the attention the past few years.
Apart from the Castle (Fantasy Era) and Kingdoms lines that are taking LEGO Castle sets closer to the way us "adults" remember LEGO Castle from our childhood, there have been amazing AFOL-targeted releases such as 10193 Medieval Market Village and the new 10223 Kingdoms Joust.

However, we are AFOLs and no matter how happy and excited we get about new stuff, we always want more!
That's why I'm starting this topic, for you guys to drop your ideas in. What do you want to see in the future of LEGO Castle? Where do you think things should be taken from here? What are your hopes and dreams and wishes?

Of course I can't guarantee anything at all, and this is nothing but wishes and speculation from our fandom side, but I will relay any trends I see in ideas to The LEGO Group's Community Engagement and Communication department.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby andhe » Fri Oct 14, 2011 12:59 pm

I'd like to see Castle take a step away from the traditional King/Princess/Large Castle dynamic and perhaps explore some smaller 'rougher' factions instead of the 'clean-cut' crown/lion knights.

Something more like the protagonists from Heroica, with barbarians (Conan?? :tasty:) and fortresses, instead of shiney knights and grey castles.
(I can see the problem with this as kids expect knights, Kings and castles in the same way they expect their pirates to have peg-legs and patches).

I'd also like to see some female characters that aren't just there to be rescued, but either heroes or have a bit more intrigue than just being a damsel in distress :)
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Aliencat » Fri Oct 14, 2011 1:13 pm

andhe wrote:some smaller 'rougher' factions instead of the 'clean-cut' crown/lion knights.

You mean like the dragon knights? ;)
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby andhe » Fri Oct 14, 2011 2:58 pm

Aliencat wrote:
andhe wrote:some smaller 'rougher' factions instead of the 'clean-cut' crown/lion knights.

You mean like the dragon knights? ;)


No, they still have shiney armour and some sort of command structure. I mean more like the wolfpack :)
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Bruce N H » Fri Oct 14, 2011 5:38 pm

Three ideas:

Religion.

Yes, I know that in a multicultural era with a company that sells sets in such diverse places as Italy, Sweden, the US, Japan, and the United Arab Emirates, religion can be a touchy subject, but its complete absence from the world of LEGO is a glaring omission. It's been 53 years since they made set 309. Yes, there are a couple of little hints - an Angel Christmas ornament set here, the Ark of the Covenant in an Indiana Jones set there - but even these are few and far between.

The medieval era was dominated by the church. Why not include something like a cathedral or a monastery, or at least incorporate my sigfig as a monk into a set like the MMV? :sly:

Even if they didn't want to do this within their fig-based lines, I truly believe there is a market in this among their sculpture/landmarks type sets. Along side the Statue of Liberty, the Eiffel Tower, the Taj Mahal (okay, I'd argue this last has some tangential relation to religion), imagine if they made a similar scale/detail set of Notre Dame, the Kolner Dom, Chatres, etc etc etc. Imagine Arthur Gugick as a set designer. Wouldn't we all rush out and buy such a set? Or take Kiyomizu-dera, the Putra Mosque, Angkor Wat, etc etc etc.

I should note that LEGO has not been shy to depict religious structures at miniland scale in the various Legolands, so they are willing to say "This is a great cultural landmark" without endorsing the particular faith espoused by the worshipers at those structures.

Okay, off my high horse. I do have a blog along these lines if they want more ideas ...

Okay, much shorter ideas:

Real history

Include figs depicting real people and real castles. So instead of being 'the king with the a lion on his torso', make it Henry II or whoever. The NXT people make no secret that they are mixing play and learning. The Architecture sets include some educational information about the actual buildings. LEGO has a whole partnership with NASA promoting science via LEGO. Why not have a set and include a little one page educational portion about the actual king or battle or whatever. It doesn't hurt the play value at all - a kid could still ignore what this or that real character did in history and simply say "I'm going to have my red knight fight your green knight."

Shakespeare

Most of his plays are set in a medieval era, and, let's face it, I'd also love to see some Classical sets anyway, so bring on those plays as well. Again, you have a set with the key characters and a castle, or the town square of Padua, or other medieval era setting, and include some educational insert describing the play or scene. Again, if the kid wants to ignore the fact that it's Shakespeare and just play with the cool figs and castle they are welcome to. But that added depth would be really cool, and might help teach kids that literature doesn't have to be stuffy. These plays have four centuries of staying power, which is a lot better source material than, say, Avatar the Last Airbender. Bonus - no licensing fees.

You could obviously do other classic literature here as well. So, for instance, the Three Musketeers sets (they've already made the fig), or Beowulf, etc.

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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby BiggerJim » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:04 pm

andhe wrote:I'd also like to see some female characters that aren't just there to be rescued, but either heroes or have a bit more intrigue than just being a damsel in distress :)


I would love to see this! Warrior Princesses or really any other female "Hero" type would be great!

I also would love to see some "third faction" type sets. Meaning forest-men, wolf pack or some other new (Black Falcon?) faction to spice up the Lions v. Dragons.

I agree with our ambassador feline, since the release of fantasy era "castle" we have been blessed with great set after great set.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby lord_of_orks » Sun Oct 16, 2011 5:10 pm

BiggerJim wrote:
andhe wrote:I'd also like to see some female characters that aren't just there to be rescued, but either heroes or have a bit more intrigue than just being a damsel in distress :)


I would love to see this! Warrior Princesses or really any other female "Hero" type would be great!

I also would love to see some "third faction" type sets. Meaning forest-men, wolf pack or some other new (Black Falcon?) faction to spice up the Lions v. Dragons.

I agree with our ambassador feline, since the release of fantasy era "castle" we have been blessed with great set after great set.

there was princesses storm from KKI
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Karalora » Mon Oct 17, 2011 2:58 am

My big one is more active female minifigs. It's been years and years since Princess Storm; isn't it time the Castle landscape received another shot of "girl power," for lack of a better term? It would help broaden the appeal of the line to girls as well. Equally nice would be a female magic-user on the side of good. Dude wizards come in both good and evil varieties, but the only non-evil female spellcasters seem to be in the Harry Potter theme.

I would also like to see a wider variety in the types of scenes that are created. How many "prison tower" scenarios do we need? How many roadside ambushes? How many gatehouses/wilderness outposts that are just an excuse to add another couple of catapults and a treasure chest to the line? I don't think there's anyone who doesn't love the MMV and Windmill and I would be thrilled to see more "village" sets, but how about more exotic/fantastic scenes like a crystal cave or ancient tomb? Make Castle feel like a real world, not just an endless series of battles between two or more factions.
Last edited by Karalora on Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Shadowviking » Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:30 am

Bruce N H wrote:Religion.


Sure, including Islam, Judaism, Germanic, Norse and Celtic Paganism, each sect of christianity... plus all the others I've missed.

Of course... since the LEGO castle sets aren't exactly historical, historical religions... don't really belong, now, do they? So your first idea would really have to be built on your second idea.
Then we can talk about how they included this particular historic event and not that one, and why they left out this important event, and why they're only paying attention to this area of the world, which they would have to do, because there are more countries than there are sets in a line.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Tyrant » Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:43 am

Building on some of the other ideas here, I think an RPG esque series of sets (maybe just Heroica in System scale) could be interesting. It would allow for a number of unique figures to represent unique individuals. Going with 2 "teams", both would need (at least) a magic user, a warrior/soldier/tank, a thief/rogue type, and a healer (could go with something like a Cleric, or just a different type of magic user, or someone with lots of potions). Then factor in that we can now have dwarves and elves for even more variety. The two groups would be different, not necessarily good vs evil. It would allow for dungeon/ruin type sets instead of the endless cycle of castles and siege equipment (not that I mind that, honestly). Then throw in some unique villains. A Goblin or Orc ambush, a haunted tomb, an ancient temple, an evil mage with an army of golems (or a golem lord instead of a mage), a vampire nest, a necromancer with skeletons and/or zombies, large trolls (maybe a 2 headed troll), an evil druid with evil plant minions, anything they can legally "borrow" from D&D (Beholder?, Illithid?, Drow? I honestly don't know what's open source on that front), a circle of evil mages, and of course, a dragon. A big dragon.

Beyond that, I would like to see some of the older factions reimagined. New designs that improve detail yet retain the flavor of the original. Being honest, I am mainly thinking of the Black Falcons and Forestmen here.

If the Dragons are going to stay around, flesh out the command structure. We need a King, at least.

A Castle Creator set. More or less a set to get lots of bley parts with a decent price point. I figure it can't be that hard to come up with a set of parts that could make a wizards tower, a small keep, and a section of fortress/city wall (for the 3 alternate models). Throw in a door and a few windows. It probably wouldn't need a figure as I think that will cut into the price, but if there is one seeing a unique one (unique, non aligned wizard maybe?) would be nice.

Just about any of that would make me happy.

Edit to add: Also in full agreement about non-damsel female characters.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby andhe » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:12 am

Following on slightly from above ^, I've heard mixed things about the popluarity of Heroica, some saying that it's been a bit of a failure, but there seems to be a general interest in the 'theme' but perhaps it's sat on the fence between serious gamers, and serious lego collectors (I haven't played it, but it's on my possible purchase list if I saw it for the right price).

A suggestion would maybe be to include a minifig with each game of one of the micro-fig characters from that particular set. That figure would be exclusive to that game set (much like they do with the Star Wars books) and desirable to castle collectors, minifig collectors and and added incentive for people buying the game as it gives them a figure they can use in their normal sets.

Or a battle pack of the various characters, eg one of heroes, one of villains. I'm sure army builders would jump at the chance to get a truckload of barbarian torsos, red made hoods, stone golems or the various new heroica-style weapons. These could be sold seperately or an exclusive if you bought spend X-amount on the games.

(edit for minor spelling mistakes :P)
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby soccerkid6 » Tue Oct 25, 2011 11:49 am

andhe wrote:Following on slightly from above ^, I've heard mixed things about the popluarity of Heroica, some saying that it's been a bit of a failure, but there seesm to be a general interest in the 'theme' but perhaps it's it sat on the fence between serious gamers, and serious lego collectors (I haven't played it, but it's on my possible purchase list if I saw it for the right price).

A suggestion would maybe be to include a minifig with each game of one of the micro-fig characters from that particular set. That figure would be exclusive to that game set (much like they do with the Star Wars books) and desirable to castle collectors, minifig collectors and and added incentive for people buying the game as it gives them a figure they can use in their normal sets.

Or a battle pack of the various characters, eg one of heroes, one of villains. I'm sure army builders would jump at the chance to get a truckload of barbarian torsos, red made hoods, stone golems or the various new heroica-style weapons. These could be sold seperately or an exclusive if you bought spend X-amount on the games.


That would definitely make me buy some, I'm already fairly interested in the series. Not a bad piece price, and the microfigs heads can be used with normal guys. If they would go on sale, I would probably get one or two.
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Ye Olde Republic » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:05 pm

I've been quite happy these past few years but it TLG really wants to please me, they can do one simple thing for me:
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Frank_Lloyd_Knight » Tue Oct 25, 2011 4:09 pm

Trevor!
You got me all excited because I never knew that set existed. I went as far as trying to look it up in bricklink. Then I noticed the date.
:P

But I agree with your statement...
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Re: Some love for Castle

Postby Tedward » Tue Oct 25, 2011 9:55 pm

Bruce N H wrote:Shakespeare

Most of his plays are set in a medieval era, and, let's face it, I'd also love to see some Classical sets anyway, so bring on those plays as well. Again, you have a set with the key characters and a castle, or the town square of Padua, or other medieval era setting, and include some educational insert describing the play or scene. Again, if the kid wants to ignore the fact that it's Shakespeare and just play with the cool figs and castle they are welcome to. But that added depth would be really cool, and might help teach kids that literature doesn't have to be stuffy. These plays have four centuries of staying power, which is a lot better source material than, say, Avatar the Last Airbender. Bonus - no licensing fees.

You could obviously do other classic literature here as well. So, for instance, the Three Musketeers sets (they've already made the fig), or Beowulf, etc.

This would be a fantastic jumping off point. But why not start with The Globe Theater as a the "big" set (or perhaps two with a "stage" set and a "gallery" set which combine) and then create smaller complimentary sets around London c.1600. Small buildings like taverns and shops, wagons and carts, theatergoers from the upper, middle and lower classes all to create a town. Adding on the scenes from the various plays allows some great additions and smaller sets would let such a theme run easily for several years.

These sets would then be able to integrate into any time period from "Castle" to modern (as historic buildings and costumes).
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