Thursday 10 January 2013

Lego, NinjaGO and Things Like That...

Last year, I posted a review of NinjaGO, a so-called "game" from Lego, which was a little bit too light on the game aspect for my tastes. Now, I'll admit, I am not exactly the target audience; but even so, I thought it was a pretty poor show.

However, a little while ago my wife's eleven-year-old brother was around our place. He isn't great at listening to the rules of a game (or adhering to those rules once they have been explained), so we ended up playing NinjaGO. We didn't play with the cards, or any of the "official" rules; we just kitted out our little men with different weapons and winged them at each other. My brother-in-law absolutely loved it, and I have to admit that even I found myself having a bit of fun. We ended up trying to make the most outlandish weapon combinations possible, and sticking multiple Lego figures on each spinner. It's still not a game, but I have to admit it was pretty fun for a little while.

In a completely unrelated event, just before Christmas I invited a group of friends over for a "Christmas Party" (really, my excuse to get my friends over to play some board games). As there were a few "non-gamers" coming, I knew we would end up playing things like Logo or Cluedo, so I thought it would be funny to buy each of my guests one of the Lego blind bags. The intention was, each guest would open his blind bag, assemble the minifig, and then that minifig would be his avatar for the evening and would replace the usual playing piece in whatever games were played.

I intended to add whichever Lego figure I got for myself to my pot of NinjaGO stuff to increase my options the next time I challenged my brother-in-law. That being the case, you can imagine my disappointment when I opened my blind bag to find this:

Lego alien queen

As far as Lego minifigs go, this one is absolutely great; but as a character for NinjaGO there is a problem - NO LEGS! The alien queen is wearing a floor-length dress that sticks out at the back, so she doesn't fit in the spinner. Of course, even if she did, that ray gun she's carrying isn't going to be a lot of use.

Never mind, my wife had bought me an extra blind bag, so maybe there would be something more useful in that one...

Lego cowgirl

Now this is more like it. The Lego cowgirl has real legs, so she fits in the spinners. She also comes with an awesome lasso, which is quite large and creates quite a large surface area for whacking opponent ninjas with. Unfortunately, the lasso is made out of a rubbery material instead of hard plastic. Still, a marked improvement over the alien queen.

As well as the blind bags, I also managed to find a couple of old vikings from a dragon set my wife bought me years ago:

Lego viking

The vikings look suitably mean, but their helmets make them a bit top heavy (the horns on the helmet also tend to fly off during particularly violent spins). This viking's axe is massive, and is particularly good for smashing up wimpy ninjas.

Finally, only today, a good friend of mine gave me a Lego minifig from series nine as a gift. He did this because the minifig in question is a cyclops, and there is a cyclops character in The Legend Riders (my series of fantasy books for children and young adults). Now, this cyclops... Well... I'll show you the picture:

Lego cyclops

Awesome, right? Possibly the finest Lego minifig ever made. Beautiful detailing on the head and belt, and a nice big club which is perfect for NinjaGO battles. You can even reverse the piece inside his head to give him a different facial expression:

Lego cyclops

Man, I love Lego... And if you want to get yourself one of these awesome cyclops guys, you can do so right here.

So there we have it: the next time I play NinjaGo, I can use ninjas, crazy snake people, a cow girl, vikings, a cyclops, and even an alien queen (if she's prepared to swap her skirt for someone else's legs for a while).

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