The Idea Brick - LEGO card game for LEGO builders - Angus Deacon
Angus' Idea Bricks card game for LEGO builders

LEGO Fan Interview: Angus from The Idea Brick

3 August 2021

In our LEGO fan interview series, we speak to AFOLs (Adult Fans of LEGO) from around the world. This issue, we talk to Angus Deacon from The Idea Brick, who are releasing a card game based on our favourite plastic blocks.

Angus is a LEGO fan based in New Zealand, and we get very nostalgic about LEGO sets as we discuss his journey in to LEGO fandom.

 

How did you get in to the LEGO hobby?

I’ve always loved LEGO since I was a kid. I remember one of my first ever sets was the Allied Avenger (#6887) set, from the legendary Blacktron series way back in 1992. That radioactive yellow with the black, and the futuristic spaceship designs are still eye-catching even today. This set in-particular had that iconic three-piece, transparent yellow cockpit design that rivals some of the newest LEGO sets in my opinion.”

LEGO 6887 spaceship - image by Brickset

“As an only-child, LEGO was my go to as it fueled my active imagination perfectly. From there I think what happened is pretty typical amongst all AFOLs, it was partly nostalgia for reminiscing over my childhood. But now having disposable income, it also means I can purchase some of those huge sets that I always dreamed about building when I was a kid.”

“Now that I’m a grown up (physically anyway), and working as a Product Designer, I have now found LEGO is also an amazing tool to bring into the workplace. While I don’t do LEGO Serious Play exactly, I use a lot of the same concepts in a more unorthodox way. Having a pile of LEGO in the middle of the table is inviting for any workshop, and there is a science behind doing something tactile with your hands that can trigger the creative side of your brain. Getting people to interact with LEGO can work as a fun ice-breaker (for example, build your favourite hobby); right through to complex problem solving (such as building a representation for how your last project went), and so on.”

A similar story for me – I’ve always loved LEGO and have been lucky enough not to have had a significant dark ages from the hobby. LEGO is definitely a great ice-breaker – it’s something we put to good use for corporate workshops!

Image: Brickset.com.

What’s your favourite LEGO set of all time?

“Probably the only LEGO set I’ve purchased two of (one to build, one to keep in the box): The 1989 Batmobile (76139). I’ve always thought Tim Burton’s Batmobile was the best, and I never imagined that LEGO would be able to pull off all those sleek curves and awkward angles that make that particular Batmobile so unique.”

“But they pulled it off beautifully, even including pop-up machine guns and the sliding cockpit. Not to mention the addition of the minifigs for Michael Keaton’s Batman, Jack Nicholson’s Joker and Kim Basinger’s Vicky Vale – it’s a stunning piece of pop culture that catches everyone’s eye on a bookshelf.”

If you could bring back one retired LEGO theme, which would it be?

Without a question, the Forestmen theme from the 1990s – in particular, the 6071: Forestmen’s Crossing set. I was too young to be able to buy my own sets when they came out, but I remember spending hours flipping through the annual LEGO catalogues wishing I had them all. I’m also curious as to why they could never just call it Robin Hood, and the idea of calling them “Forestmen” still amuses me today.”

“With the Creator 3-in-1 release of the Castle set (Medieval Castle 31120) and the nostalgic heavy LEGO Ideas Pirates of Barracuda Bay (21322) I can only hope they bring back a Forestmen set. I can only imagine how much better they could make the tree tops and forest hide-outs with the plant-themed pieces at their disposal now. Hopefully someone from LEGO is working on that right now.”

A great choice – a lot of adult LEGO fans are definitely eager to see the various castle and forest factions return. It would be interesting to see

Are there any LEGO builders you admire? Who are they?

I am in awe everytime I see Ghanaian-Canadian artist Ekow Nimako’s work. What he does with LEGO transcends the medium into something almost spiritual. His ability to sculpt with only black pieces, and create so much movement and emotion at the same time is something I never knew was possible with humble LEGO bricks. He’s like a rock star of LEGO.”

Wow – not a builder I’d come across before, but they have some fantastic pieces on their website (linked above).

What’s your favourite LEGO minifigure of all time? Why?

The Hazmat Guy minifigure from the fourth series of the blind Minifigure packs I believe. The orange suit and helmet is cool, but it’s his expression which really makes it for me. That terrified face, with that little sweat drip on his brow conjures up so much story-telling to me.”

LEGO Hazmat suit guy. Image: Brickset / LEGO

“You can definitely tell that things are really not looking too good for him, but what’s happened? He’s also an amazing center-piece for any zombie apocalypse creation. I’m not ashamed to say I have a handful of him sitting in a drawer, and he always brings a smile to my face when I see him. It’s maybe a bit too close to home now with these COVID days… which makes me wonder if we’ll get a face-mask wearing minifig, maybe with a little hand sanitizer bottle, in the next series?”

Excellent choice – one of those figures I knew I had to have as soon as I saw it released! And, of course, it helps that he’s yellow too!

Image: Brickset.com / LEGO.

Have you attended any LEGO shows or exhibitions? How did you find them?

“Being here in New Zealand, we don’t get a huge number of LEGO exhibitions, but thanks to Brickman (Australia’s Ryan McNaught) we’ve had some pretty amazing ones visit here. His Wonders of the World exhibition was mind-blowing – with huge builds of ancient Egytian Pyramids and the Empire State Building complete with King Kong at the top. This was at our national museum, Te Papa – so it was heavily advertised.”

“One of my favourite LEGO shows that I had the privilege to attend though was a Brickcon in Melbourne, held at the Royal Exhibition Building a few years ago. What I loved about it was that it was put on by a community of fans – and seeing some of the creations that avid collectors had put together in their own time were really inspiring. I stumbled across this one when I was in Australia for a business trip and was looking at “things of interest” on Google – I even changed my travelling schedule to make sure I didn’t miss it.”

Ryan has some great work – and has been exposed to a much wider audience as part of the host team in the Australian LEGO Masters TV show recently, too.

I love shows because of the community, too – it’s great to see builders old and new with models from every corner of the human brain.

You’ve launched a Kickstarter recently. Tell us about what The Idea Brick is?

“The Idea Brick is a card game for all ages, designed to be played with LEGO bricks. It’s developed to encourage creativity and imagination, but also adds in a fun twist that can help promote problem solving and having to deal with constraints. There are Create cards which have things the person needs to build with LEGO, but then Disrupt cards which impact how the player can go about building it.”

The Idea Brick - LEGO card games - Angus Deacon

“So for example, your Create card might be “Create something that will take you to Mars”, and your Disrupt card is “It has to be larger than everyone else’s build” – which can really shake things up. It’s particularly hilarious when two people have this same Disrupt card, and you can see them trying to build bigger than the other. Rounds can be as long as players would like, but the idea is that the Disrupt card gets introduced AFTER players have started building. So that they need to adapt their build half-way through. The Idea Brick has 100 cards all up, so the combinations are limitless.”

The Idea Brick - LEGO card games - Angus Deacon

“I got the idea after running numerous LEGO-based workshop sessions as a UX designer, partly because I look for any excuse to get LEGO into the office, but also because it can stimulate a lot of creativity and encourage team building. But being a dad, it’s also just a great way to see how imaginative your kids can be and it makes a fun family game, and is a great reason to get the LEGO out again on a rainy day.”

What a cool idea! Any excuse for LEGO bricks in the office is good with me. You can find out more – and support – The Idea Brick – on Kickstarter here.