Do You Follow the Instructions?


We have met a lot of other brick-building fans over the years; some face-to-face at conventions or building events and others only virtually, on message boards or sites just like this one. It’s been a great experience sharing our love of brick-building with others. Over time, we have learned that people have strong feelings about those blue booklets that come with the sets. Some people like to follow the sets exactly and never deviate or build anything else because it is the set that attracts them to building in the first place. Others like to build objects of their own creation because the endless possibilities in a pile of bricks are what compels them to build.Some do a mixture of the two—they’re just happy when they’re playing with bricks!

We are a mixture by marriage household. Mama Brick was big on sets, never deviating from the instructions, and Daddy is more of an experimenter. He will pick up a bunch of leftover pieces and make some interesting stuff. Kiddo can do either with the same amount of joy and has taught us to see things his way more often than not. Now we try to accommodate everyone. There are sets that we buy because we like the look or playability of them. They look like fun to have, to build, or have interesting features/specialty bricks that we haven’t seen before. Then there are sets that we buy kind of like a car at a junkyard—we strip it for parts. Mama is learning not to cringe. Other options include the pick-a-brick site and the pick a brick wall at your local LEGO store, where you can get any number of interesting and useful pieces. This is especially helpful if you lose a piece of your set or if you have something very specific that you are looking for. It is a much more economical choice than buying and then pilfering pieces out of a set if you have the option.

LEGO is one of those rare companies that actually appreciates ingenuity. They are in the business of creativity, after all. They have a website where people can actually submit their awesomely unique LEGO creations as product suggestions. So for those of you who don’t follow the instructions, if you make a set cool enough, and enough people like it (as of this writing, you need 100,000 supporters), LEGO will actually take your idea into consideration. There are tons of rules (for example, you can’t mix themes, you can’t use too many pieces, you can’t create your own pieces or modify existing pieces) but if they review your product and like it—they really make your set! They’ll sell it in stores! They even give you credit as the creator! And—here’s the best part: you get a (small) cut of the profits from your design, as well as 10 free sets.  It is on Daddy’s list of life goals, and he will continue to try and come up with a worthy idea. Stay tuned for that one.

What about you? Are you strictly a set-builder?