Monday, August 20, 2012

Tiago the Toco Toucan

Normally, I tend to be drawn more towards spaceships, castles, and other microfig centric models on MOCPages, but this one really caught my eye; Tiago the Toco Toucan by DeTomaso Pantera. For one thing, I love toucans (who doesn't, really?) and DeTomaso nailed it. His use of red, orange, and yellow in the beak give the piece a little extra life and the countouring of the wings in the back look very nice.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Rural Church

Once again, I was playing around with LDD and on a whim decided to try to make a model for a simple rural church. This one in particular is modeled after a historical Methodist church in the Appalachian Mountains location of Cades Cove, Tennessee. Most of them are pretty much the same in their simplistic design, though. You can usually tell the old Methodist churches apart from the others by the two doors leading into the front of the building, one for men and one for women.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lego Board Games

Ramses Return
Besides being a Lego fan, I'm a casual to moderate board game enthusiast. I like the popular games like Monopoly and Scrabble, the golden oldies like Backgammon and Checkers, and some of the slightly more obscure modern games like Settlers of Catan, Lost Cities, and Dominion. I've been aware of Lego's foray into the board game world, and was intrigued, but I have relatively little experience with them.
My first experience was my wife bought me a game of Creationary for Christmas. It's basically Pictionary, except instead of drawing an item to guess, you build it from the bricks provided. It's fun, but the rules are pretty loose. My other problem with it is the cards that tell you what to build don't have any words, just cartoonish pictures of what you are supposed to build. I guess it's geared more towards kids that way, but it leaves room for interpretation as to what people are supposed to be guessing.
Recently, I found someone selling Ramses Return for cheap on Craigslist in my home town. So I grabbed it on a whim. More so than Creationary, this game showed me a little more potential for what a Lego game could be. For one thing, the dice is more customizable. My 6 year old enjoyed playing it, though she didn't pick up on a few of the subleties to the rules. I found the game a little too easy. For one thing, there's a mummy that acts as an obstacle to progress in the game, but he's super easy to avoid if you pay attention.
My favorite website for board game related inquiries is Board Game Geeks, which has reviews, pictures, suggestions for alternate play, and anything you could want to know about board games. Generally, it seems the Lego games get average to low reviews on the site. Part of this seems to be the rules for the various games are sometimes hard to understand or seemingly incomplete. I think some of this is Lego's philosophy for using your imagination to make the game what you want it to be, but I think a lot of board game enthusiasts prefer to have the rules laid out for them. Then they can concentrate on developing strategies based on those rules.
However, I think Lego on it's own has huge potential to make very engaging board games for several reasons. For one thing, it's hugely customizeable. If you have a well thought out rule set that takes randomness into account, you can create a game that changes every time you play it. Add to this a die that is also customizeable and you extend your options. I think Lego is heading in the right direction with their Heroica games. These games are fantasy RPG themed and each different game has a different setting (forest, castle, etc.). So using the same rules, you can combine each board game with the others and create a massive game with different settings and enemies. Again, though, the rules are somewhat simplistic, but I think that's the point. Lego has always been about imagination, so using one of their board games and their simple rule set, you can springboard into creating your own ideas for a board game that you can customize to your friends' and families' tastes.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Back to the Future Train

G Russo on MOCpages put together a nice virtual mock up of the time traveling Train from BTtF3. From what I can remember (and I have a poor memory) it's a pretty representation of the train from the move. Besides all of teh bells and whistles (the yellow highlights really stand out), my favorite details are in the actual cab of the train. Two side panels fold open to reveal an overhead door and some foldout steps, and inside are a lot of controls, levers, pipes, and wheels for controlling the train. Very well done!
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