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Portwine or Vodka?

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Portwine or Vodka?

Postby Hippotam » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:04 pm

Portwine Or Vodka?

On May 30, a message was posted on Portuguese Forum0937 saying:

Dear Portuguese Community,

Inspired by the discussion in the "Classic Castle Contest" thread, We, the Polish Castle Builders Community at LUGPol forum, propose you a challenge. Let's see who has got better castle builders, Poland or Portugal!
We propose that both communities enter the annual Colossal Castle Contest V (scheduled for November 2007). The community awarded with more Honorable Mentions & Prizes, wins the Polish-Portuguese competition. Let's assume that 1 grand prize counts as 3 honorable mentions.

If Portugal wins, we will send you a crate (6 bottles) of traditional Polish Zubrowka vodka (Bison Grass Vodka), so you can celebrate your victory with some quality fluids.
If Poland wins, we kindly request a donation of 6 bottles of quality Vinho do Porto, so we can celebrate our success in the same manner.
If there is a draw, we both celebrate which means the fluids travel both sides.

We hope you guys are cool, have the guts and are brave enough to take the challenge. Please, discuss it internally and give us your answer.

Looking forward to your decision,

Polish Castle Builders Community


The message started a story of international competition, community binding, friendship and last, but not least - castle building. Today, we would like to tell you this story.

Who we are

Tânia:
I'm Tânia Baixinho and I was one of the founders of 0937Community, a Portuguese LUG open to every AFOL especially all Portuguese speaking AFOLs. The community joins up in http://forum0937.miniancora.com where participants are mainly Portuguese, but the proportion of Brazilians is increasing considerably and participation of AFOLs from other countries has some regularity.
I'm also part of the LEGO Ambassador Program.
I see myself as a builder, and I have a very special affection for medieval theme. Though I don't build as much as I would like due to lack of time, I've also another problem to deal with, the fact that I like to build large MOCs. At the end of the year I end up by building just one or two medieval MOCs.

Hippotam:
I'm Marcin Danielak a.k.a. Hippotam. I represent LUGPol, Polish community gathered around www.lugpol.pl site and forum. I also run a LEGO blog, Klocki and for last year I was helping to drive the CCCV secret community project to the successful end.
I'm really happy I can finally unveil some of the secrets, because, oh boy!, it really hurts to keep my mouth shut for a whole year!

The Challenge - How it All Began

Tânia:
After a comment by Luis Baixinho about the participation of the Polish AFOLs in CCC, Hippotam, representing LUGPol suggested a challenge between the Portuguese and Polish communities within CCC. We should exchange our national drinks according to the results accomplished by the two LUGs. The idea was immediately welcome in 0937 Community; it was a good way to try the Polish vodka ;)
We were brave and somehow crazy to take the challenge ;)
Apart from the funny felling, I believe that every kind of interaction between communities from different countries is more than just a competition, it's a way to help each other, to motivate and obviously, to create bows.
No problem with the language, there´s the help of some language translators who help us understand what's going on, sometimes in a very hilarious way…
I think this kind of healthy competitive spirit is one driving force in the quality of buildings, though it can be scary, you never know what may come up...

Hippotam:
We started the preparations for CCCV a week after jury announced CCCIV results. Really.
In February, 2007 we were really hit by the CCCIV results. Our community was proud to submit 8 creations and we were pretty surprised we won only one category (Lomero’s Sampan). From the year's perspective I must say we were quite silly, but the feeling of defeat was strong.
We were all talking and whining a bit, but then we decided: next year we must do it right. That’s how the secret CCCV project was started on LUGPol.

At the beginning, we formulated a manifesto that contained our goals:
* Enter in all categories
* Submit more than 20 creations
* Win 4 categories
* Have 3 members qualified for Master Builder award

It all sounded like a very crazy idea, but we felt the goal must be ambitious. We started heavy preparations (which I describe below), but a long, one year perspective was making us lazy. I realized one thing was still missing - a competition factor that would drive us forward. We needed to have also something to lose. That's when the our Portuguese friends appeared on the horizon...
To our surprise, Classic-Castle staff organized LCC in March/April, so we could test our approach in early phase and we really succeeded. Prizes for Piotr Ślęzak and Hippotam, honorable mentions for Lomero, Kris and Ciamek and mysterious, spectacular Lolas were not coincidence.
We knew we were on the right track. And then, Luis Baixinho made a comment. I do not know for sure what he meant (it was in Portuguese), but it looked as he was pretty certain they could compete with us during the next contest. I knew we just have to challenge them! That how it all started.

Community Reaction, First Opinions

Tânia:
Though pleased with the idea, we knew that LUGPol had more experience in such competitions and had more builders interested in the Castle theme. So, it was natural the fear some sensed, although we didn't showed it. We wouldn't say no to such challenge and LUGPol has some great builders, which are greatly appreciated in Portugal.
Hippotam:
We were all like wow! I expected we will be a bit burn out after LCC, but this challenge really gave us speed. We had to defend our honor and that's what we do best :-). The preparations started again and new community members declared their participation. We also was a bit scared of Luis’ and Tânia’s experience and Rupi’s sick imagination, but tried to keep the appearance.

Preparation to the Contest

Tânia:
A "secret" board was created on the forum for the discussion of ideas and projects for the competition. The condition to access was to be Portuguese and the will to participate or help in the development of ideas for the contest. Who had ideas for MOCs, , themes, techniques and scenarios should post them on the board for discussion, that way we could have other members involved other the ones who were going to build something.
Hippotam:
We made a real effort to prepare to the CCCV.
* A private, hidden board on LUGPol forum. We were bound by the rules of CCC and could not show the creations in public. But it’s not prohibited to show a WIP to few friends and ask for advice, right? That's what the board was far. To gain access, a builder had to be LUGPol member for a while and be widely accepted by the secret team members. We were careful with new faces as our secret must have been protected at all cost. One leak and we would be screwed.
* Brick Bank. If someone needed rare parts, large quantities of bricks he could always count on the community.
* Idea Bank, where we collected hundreds of ideas for amazing castle creations. Some of them were realized as a contest creations you can see now.
* Category predictions. We have analyzed the categories of the previous four contests and tried to predict which could repeat next year. Judges surprised us with the whole new concept of categories, but some of our predictions still held true. For example The Last Journey was built with Carts & Boats category in mind. Unfortunately, lot of the creations have to go into Misc category as they not fit the categories or were too big to fit with the size requirements (another surprise).
* Building Technique catalog. Need a fancy windows? Unusual way to make a roof? We have collected lots nice ideas and invented a number of them so it was just there when team members needed it for their creations.
* Jury's psychological portraits. We tried to analyze who the judges are, what they like, how they build, which creations they value so we could build things that judges like. Well, we failed to make it right, because some judges just went dark and rarely present their likes and dislikes (except Bruce, of course, who is kind enough to give out his preferences in his famous thoughts).

We also decided a unified branding with the black banner at the bottom of each picture and local heraldry would be a nice touch.

The Crisis

Tânia:
The challenge was launched in late May 2007. In the beginning there were some fuzz and several volunteers but after some time the will lost strength and over a long period the activity was virtually zero.
The amount of AFOLs truly interested in participating declined, this has meant that the survivors feel more responsibilities in the participation and progress was slower.
For example, I've started WinterFell in August, had several months looking for parts (some people I knew in LEGOWorld 2007 thought that I was obsessed by cheeses...) and just got to finish it on 30th December.

Hippotam:
The excitement did not last long. After few weeks we turned back into our "sleepy" mode and only Ciamek continued cranking out wonderful dioramas for the contest with surprising regularity. We tried to organize internal contests (three categories each quarter, starting from the most probable ones), but first one brought only two creations and we did not organized the following.
In autumn, we had a really exhausting Brick Transport Tycoon contest and the castle work almost stopped (not counting Ciamek of course, cranking out another set of dioramas. How does he do that?). I was observing the Portuguese community (wonderful "Who's online" feature on their forum) and realized they have the secret forum too. I felt we can start to plan the Vodka purchases, because we cannot win with what we had at the moment. But then, a miracle happened.

The Busy Final Weeks

Tânia:
The last few weeks before the deadline were quite busy; we had to wait for the arrival of some purchased elements, essential for finishing the MOCs. Usually, we the Portuguese call ourselves: "last minute improvisers". We leave everything to the last moment and this contest was not an exception.
Even on the early hours of the new year's day, taking advantage of the time difference, I had fun building my second entry on CCC.

Hippotam:
Whoever say that Poles leave everything for the last moment was right. With exception of Ciamek of course, who by that time had 6 or more creations ready. During the last weeks, the creations started to pour in! We counted - 8, 16, 30, then - 38 of them! We were busy building up to the last hour of the contest!

Creations

Tânia:
We've accomplished the amazing number of 9 creations (one more than the Polish did on their first time ;), here they are:

Medieval Legend (2):
D. Ines de Castro Coronation - Luis Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292496
Return of the king Sebastian - Luis Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292760

Trade and Industry (3):
Woods R' Us - Evildead (aka Ricardo Silva) - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292543
King's Burger Factory - Rupi (aka Rui Pinho) - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292525
Tax Collector's House - Luis Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292795

Medieval Journey (1):
Hunter - Tânia Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292898

Miscellaneous (3):
WinterFell - Tânia Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292749
Cursed Princess Tower - Evildead (aka Ricardo Silva) - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292501
Pursuit Into The Underworld - Luis Baixinho - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292553
(The category for the last two has changed by the jury, they were initially built for medieval journey category)

Hippotam:
We entered 38 creations (compared to 8 last year). Here they are:

Castle Spaces (3):
Fall of a Kingdom - k1089 (Marcin Kitala) - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292817
Unlucky Queen – Iskra - http://gardenium.org/gallery/v/oddech/Unlucky+Queen/
Serenade – pkowacz - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292803

Medieval Legend (6):
Saint George and the Dragon – crises - http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287401
The Dragon of Wawel Hill - Piotr (pitrek02) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=288691
The Sword in The Stone – szww – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=291633
Sigurd and Brunhilda - Pepin Krootki – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289386
Robin Hood and Little John - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292151
Spider rescue – pkowalcz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292263
The Last Adventure - Piotr (pitrek02) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292279

Festivals and Celebrations (2):
Medieval Mass in the church – Tobiasz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292138
Judgement Day - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292154

Fortifications (2):
Fortifying The Monastery - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287306
House on the Hill - Pepin Krootki – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292712

Trade and Industry (8):
Mountain Mine - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289022
Stone works – crises – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289397
Bakery - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289844
Windmill - Pepin Krootki – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287313
Port crane – Liwnik – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292101
Miller's Nightmare – Lolas – http://www.lolas.pl/lego/cccv/
Harbour – Lomero – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292538
Fire in the hole! – pkowalcz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292804

Medieval Journey (5):
The Last Journey – hippotam – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289382
Medieval Sub - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289839
Winter Traveller - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292404
Dangerous journey – Liwnik – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292353

Historic Event (2):
Congress of Gniezno 1000 A.D. – Kamzel – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289514
1453 – pkowalcz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292802

Medieval Farm (1):
Black & White – pkowalcz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292801

Miscellaneous (9):
The Bell Inn – Liwnik – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287730
Arabian Street - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=287807
Corner House - Maciej Koszyka (Ciamek aka Piglet) – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=289575
The Duel – crises – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=290814
The road, the inn and the black owl - kris kelvin – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=291622
The Tower of Brothers – V1 – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=291704
Giant snake – pkowalcz – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=291891
Guardhouse – Liwnik – http://www.brickshelf.com/cgi-bin/gallery.cgi?f=292350
Chapel – Iskra – http://gardenium.org/gallery/v/oddech/Chapel/

Results - Winners And Loosers

Tânia:
Well, we did win one honorable mention (WinterFell), in our first try ;) and that's a very good felling.
We don't feel defeated; we feel that we made our share by motivating our competitors. So every AFOL who enjoys the creations done by LUGPol AFOLs for CCC should thank us! ;)
In the end we can all say this was a very good learning experience. We're extremely happy to see that the effort and great work of LUGPol members has been recognized by everyone!
Congratulation guys!!

Ah! The prize!
Humm, we're carefully gathering a nice selection of national drinks. Some Portwine, liquors and national red and white wine. We truly hope the bottles arrive to Poland on one piece, so LUGPol members can be delighted by the liquid wonders of Portugal. (lolol)

Hippotam:
LUGPOL entered in all categories, winning 3 of them (Hippotam, Lolas and V1) and being awarded with 7 honorable mentions (Ciamek x3 , Piotrek Builder x 2, Iskra and Lomero). Two members qualified for Master Builder. So, we came pretty close to our initial goal.
We are sooooo happy! And we must say that this would not be possible without Portuguese AFOLs! Thank you, you were wonderful and your creations were really great!
We are really looking forward to our port wine, which we will probably drink at our annual meeting in Kielce, in August.

Impact On The Community

Tânia:
Despite the low participation in community, the MOCs presented at the contest were well received within the community. For a first participation, it was been looked as an example for how international competitions work. For the future, we hope that 0937 Community participations in competitions will be bigger and better planned.

Hippotam:
Could a secret undercover project that is about competing with other community and related to port wine integrate a community? We are now ready to take over the world!

Next Year, Again?

Tânia:
Oh yeah, you bet!! We still want to taste Polish Vodka :) Well done everybody!

Hippotam:
It really depends on the quality of Portuguese wine ? But seriously – we're ready! Choose your weapon, 0937 Community!

Tânia & Hippotam
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Postby Athos » Tue Jan 29, 2008 9:46 pm

What a cool idea! :D

The Poles beat the Portugese... sounds like we need a worthy opponent for the Poles...

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Postby LORD DOOM » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:39 am

This sounds like a fun wager, and it' seemed to be in very good taste. What a great story, must've been quite an experience. :D

Just plain awesome. :)

Coolest thing I've read all night. I'm very interested in you Polish builders! You all contributed some excellent work! The Portuguese LUG builders did an equally astonishing array of MOC's. You all should be proud of your great work!
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Postby Bruce N H » Wed Jan 30, 2008 4:03 pm

Hey,

Cool story. I knew, of course, about the wager, but didn't know of all the community mobilization behind the scenes. Let's all raise our glasses and toast the Poles.

sounds like we need a worthy opponent for the Poles


Hmm, I think if the German community would mobilize in a similar fashion they'd have a real run. The Dutch are another group with a tight-knit community with a deep roster of great builders. Here in the US we probably are too spread out - maybe something like NELUG could pull together a challenge.

Judges surprised us with the whole new concept of categories


We always try to change up the categories to keep the contest fun and interesting. Otherwise it would just be endless variations on the same few ideas. My hat is off to Ben for coming up with some great new ideas this year.

Jury's psychological portraits.


Wow, I didn't reallize I was under such close scrutiny. Hmm, just to confuse everyone, from now on I'll only praise Bionicle and Fabuland creations! :twisted:

Bruce
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Postby Spongey » Wed Jan 30, 2008 5:46 pm

Wow, this was a cool contest. How about a global clash for next year: North America vs Europe. :)
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Postby Aliencat » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:22 pm

Spongey wrote:How about a global clash for next year: North America vs Europe. :)

If you guys really want to be humiliated like that... ;)
I kid I kid, this is a great idea, we should organize something like this. Not in next year's CCCV, but just as a stand-alone contest, some time soon.
Between plotting to kill you all and chasing balls of yarn, I also build MOCs

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Postby Hippotam » Wed Jan 30, 2008 6:53 pm

Aliencat wrote:I kid I kid, this is a great idea, we should organize something like this. Not in next year's CCCV, but just as a stand-alone contest, some time soon.


Someone is already working on that :-) Please, stay tuned and give some time to figure out details.
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Postby Aliencat » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:04 pm

Hippotam wrote:Someone is already working on that :-) Please, stay tuned and give some time to figure out details.

Most excellent! I'm really looking forward to that kind of contest! :)
Between plotting to kill you all and chasing balls of yarn, I also build MOCs

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Postby SavaTheAggie » Wed Jan 30, 2008 7:17 pm

Bruce N H wrote:
Jury's psychological portraits.


Wow, I didn't reallize I was under such close scrutiny. Hmm, just to confuse everyone, from now on I'll only praise Bionicle and Fabuland creations! :twisted:

Bruce


I defy all definition and categorization.

:twisted:

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Set a man on fire and he'll be warm for the rest of his life.
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Postby Traveler » Wed Jan 30, 2008 11:46 pm

What a cool story! I love the international community we have here. Let's hope this can start a tradition of friendly competition and great castle building among the many countries represented here.

SavaTheAggie wrote:
Bruce N H wrote:
Jury's psychological portraits.


Wow, I didn't reallize I was under such close scrutiny. Hmm, just to confuse everyone, from now on I'll only praise Bionicle and Fabuland creations! :twisted:

Bruce


I defy all definition and categorization.

:twisted:

--Tony


I'm sure you were the wildcard.
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Postby LORD DOOM » Thu Jan 31, 2008 1:12 am

If by North America you include Canada. We just can't lose. So AC, put your liquor where your mouth is punk. :wink:
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