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Best official sets to play with

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Best official sets to play with

Postby Bruce N H » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:36 pm

Hey all,

I just wanted to raise the question of what you think are the best official sets to play with. I'm not asking about building here (there's another recent thread on that topic), nor am I asking about the best set for parts or figs. Instead I'm asking about once you've finished the official model and closed the instruction book, which set prompts you to sit down and play with the set as officially designed (as opposed to simply displaying it, modifying it, or just tearing it apart to use the parts for your own MOCs). I've got a few suggestions:

10193 Medieval Market Village
Okay, no big surprise here. I just loved how this one had such a great mix of different things - the two buildings that could be configured as opened or closed, the tree, the food stand, the cart, the cows, a mix of both soldiers and civilians. You could imagine and play out all sorts of scenarios with these.

6088 Robbers Retreat
I really liked the whole Ninja line, probably helped by the fact that this is right when I returned from my dark age. I never got the big set, but I had three of the small-to-medium fortresses - this one, the Ninja Fire Fortress, and the Samurai Stronghold. All three had little traps and other fun play features. The new climbing ropes were a lot of fun. I went with this one because I liked the inclusion of the little glider, you could either think of all of the figs as allies, or see this as the two black ninjas attacking the other two, so there were lots of play possibilities. Oh, there's this swinging axe trap that can be triggered on the unwary invader who comes in the door that works pretty well. BTW, this was not a great set to actually build, as it was over-reliant on large panels and burps.

6038 Wolfpack Renegades
I just loved this little set. Of course the Wolfpack are awesome, but the cart is well built, has those turning front wheels, and that impractical but great hidden compartment.

How about you?

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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby josdu » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:05 pm

Good question! Personally, when I want to play with a set, I usually modify it first but of the LEGO castle themed sets my favorite for playing with is probably this one. I think this one is fun because it has a gun that really shoots and lots of other cool things :D !

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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Purple Wolf » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:17 pm

Some of my favorite sets to play with would be the kingdoms Advent calender.
My main reason was well after opening it I actually did a lot of playing with it I meant there's a sword in a stone which led to a lot of games with just the set(usually the soldier with the frisbe helmet was the true king). This set gave me a lot more fun than I would of ever expected.

Another one would be WolfPack Renegades
As Bruce the wolfpack are awesome and the secret compartment was one of the funnest part and well lets just say Bruce covered it all.

and if I had to pick one more i'd say Scorpion Prison Cave
This set was my biggest set for many years and it was biggest set I had in my prime playing with Lego age. I think it jsut got more love than most sets due to when it came out but there was some really fun part I liked about it.
1. The cage was really fun to put Jayko in insteed of Danju and any other person I wanted.
2. The big scorpion. It was just plain fun who doesn't like big nasty beasts?

These I would say are the sets that got the most play and fun out of me.

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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby CoreyMitchell » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:18 pm

Hey Bruce, Great topic.

I know as an AFOL I often "forget" to play with my LEGO instead I create and display and I'm sure that's the case with many AFOL's and TFOl's and in a sense maybe I have with my age forgotten how to play with them.

in the mid 90's I remember when 6078: Royal Drawbridge came out. I wanted that set so bad I can still remember riding my bike to the store multiple times to just look at it. Unfortunately at that time it was way out of my family budget (30$ MSRP, that was a lot more back then)


Then I got a LEGO magazine with a 2 page picture of that set on display. I spent hours and maybe even a day on building what I could out of what I had, I'm sure it was red, yellow with blue highlights but in my mind it was that set. The bridge that fell to one side, the hidden chest in the tower with fold up roof and the very unsecured jail cell in the rock basement. I can remember playing with that thing for hours and even rebuilding it when my brother fell on it :cry:

so amongst the ramblings of an old man trying to hold onto his childhood this is the set with my vote as favorite to play with.
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby ffilz » Thu Feb 20, 2014 6:35 pm

Hmm, I don't tend to play with my sets very much...

When I ran Evil Stevie's Pirate Game, that did involve play with all the sets involved (mostly ships, but a few Pirate line structures, and a couple Adventurer's themed sets as focal points of "islands" to raid for treasure).

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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby rogue27 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 7:08 pm

Medieval Market Village is probably the best Castle set of all time. Part selection, design, building enjoyment, play options, price/part ratio, etc. It's close to the top in almost* any metric a person might use to rate a LEGO Castle set.

However, I'll post a couple favorites from my youth when I spent more time playing than I do now:

Crusader's Cart - Despite the confusing name, the idea of sneaking a criminal past gates / guards using a hidden compartment beneath a hay cart just seemed awesome, and I was constantly using this.

Camouflaged Outpost - Probably a bit plain compared to modern Lego, but this was an amazing toy. Six figures, a hidden tree fortress, treasure, secret doors! This set instantly turned me into a Forestmen fan for life.

*(I don't think any modern LEGO Castle sets will top the minifig counts from the 80s.)
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Quickblade22 » Thu Feb 20, 2014 8:49 pm

Easily at the top of my list is The Camouflaged Outpost. You could access the interior via hinge bricks or the sloped plates that made up part of the landscape. The interior allowed for you to make a sleeping spot inside the half tree trunk or just a nice hide out spot for what ever danger was around. The door was pretty genius and the built in balcony was useful in both it's opened and closed form. I liked having my minifigs be able to run up the slope and jump into the tree, or off onto an attacking enemy.

Forestmen's River Fortress also had some cool play features. Again, this one opened up to allow access to the interior and had a jail cell that looked pretty cool. I liked how tall the trees were and the arch pieces allowed for minifigs to hide under them. I used to take the legs off the minifigs and make them wade through the waist high water. I always wanted more room for the interior, but the other features made the build still fun to play with.

Forestmen's Crossing was fun because it had another hidden interior. The split tree design could be used as a nice optical illusion for a place to hide. I liked the balcony for having encounters of both the friendly and aggressive kind and the vine to swing off of was a nice touch. The rope bridge was a lot of fun because I always enjoyed having battles with an extra element of danger. The printed plate also added to the imagination.

Sets like these are what make me scratch my head when they pass up forestmen over and over. Look at the potential with all the newer pieces and colors.

An honorable mention goes to The King's Castle 6080 for having the hinge walls open up for interior play and to look like the castle had open extended walls. Also the Armor Shop 6041 was great because it included different shields, helmets, and weapons to equip you minifig. It was like taking your minifig shopping so he could decide what attire he wanted to wear that day, and that is my favorite thing about the minifigs is that you can swap out their items.

All of these sets had accessible interiors and were 360 builds, which means you can play with them from all sides as opposed to just being a front only approach. Also, none of them needed a catapult or flick fire missile to be engaging.
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Brickninja » Thu Feb 20, 2014 9:52 pm

I'm going to sound like an AFOL, but after seeing those pictures, I'm going to say they really don't make castle sets like they used to. Those old sets all look FAR superior to anything today. I wish they were still around. Fortunately, my dad collected lego as a kid, so I have a bunch of classic castle and space parts from him. This may seem like a no-no, since this is a castle site, but I think the set I've had the most fun with is 70701 Swarm Interceptor (On Brickipedia)
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby dyntar » Fri Feb 21, 2014 11:48 am

The classic castle sets are always fun to play with especially the 2 Black Knight castles. I usually have a Lego set sat on my desk to play with. My current set to play with is The Vampyre castle. Its a fun set and a pretty good modular castle.
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby mpoh98 » Fri Feb 21, 2014 9:53 pm

Oh man, my favorite I so wish I could own, but I don't. :cry: But, I have played with it at my friends house. my favorite is, THE MEDIEVAL MARKET VILLAGE! :D
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Lord Mercat » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:26 am

I'd have to say that out of all the released castle sets, I'm going to go with Bruce and say that other than the MMV (which is a given) I'd have to go with the original ninja line. I never actually had any "classic" castle sets as a kid, but I did get a lot of the ninja sets, and boy they were fun! I spend hours playing with those things! My favorite(s) of the whole line, and probably my favorite set(s) to play with ever were these two:



I remember spending hours as a kid flipping that trick bridge, and having adventures with the ninja battling it out with the samurai in that fortress. I loved the odd wing contraption as well. I still play with these from time to time. :tasty:
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Karalora » Tue Feb 25, 2014 4:59 am

The Fantasy Era Dwarves' Mine had a lot of fun stuff to tinker with. Between the carts on rails, the chute with the tilting hopper, and the little basket scooting along the curved wire, you could set up a rough facsimile of a mining operation. It was one of those rare sets that actually gave you a specific idea of what was going on before the bad guys showed up.
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Sir Valiant » Tue Feb 25, 2014 6:02 pm

Great question Bruce!
I have to say that overall my official collection of castle sets that I have bought is quite limited but from what I have this one got the most playability was
10176 Kings Castle

It had a good selection of minifigs, but what I loved about it was the functions. The drawbridge raised and lower, there was a prison cell under one of the towers, logs could fall off a tower, and hidden under the big middle section (which was removable) was a blacksmith shop. The reason that I played with this one the most is because I got it when I was younger, now that I buy for pieces I don't play with sets all that much.
For example, I got Kingdoms Joust for Christmas and thought that I would spend hours playing with it. Instead, I displayed it for a little while and now its dismantled and parts are used for MOCs.

In the non-castle theme by far is the entire Aqua Raiders Theme! I owned all of these sets. I cannot think of the countless hours of playing with these over and over again. Shark attacks, giant squid and submarines were all great. I think the reason for so much playability was the shooting cannon function which won my heart. :)
I played with these sets so much, I could have a massive battle and almost completely destroy the main base or any sub and rebuild them back with no instructions. Perhaps I'll rebuild them again one day...

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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Sir Erathor » Tue Feb 25, 2014 8:49 pm

Wow, this is a hard question to answer, Bruce! The Kingdoms sets were given to me three years ago for Christmas, and I have very fond memories of playing with them in the dark mornings (yes, I was thirteen!). I had a small forest and two towers on two baseplates! I also enjoyed the KK2 sets when I was a kid, but they were nowhere near as fun as the Kingdoms sets!

As for other themes, I've loved playing the Ninjago and Chima games with my brothers on Saturday mornings. There's a lot of friendly competiton between us! The Atlantis theme was what got me back into LEGO when I was twelve, so I obviously enjoyed playing with those sets. I even began writing a short story, I loved them so much!
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Re: Best official sets to play with

Postby Brickninja » Wed Feb 26, 2014 9:37 am

I totally agree with Ieuan. My sister and I bought a 2-pack thing of those little Chima Speedor thingies, and those are too much fun!You can send them flying everywhere.
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