Friday, 26 April 2013

Breaking News: LEGO Games Cancelled

The die has been cast, and the LEGO Games theme will be wound down this year. After a big launch in 2009 that took the board games sector by storm, it seems that since then the popularity of the line has decreased. Four years is longer than most LEGO themes manage, but this was seen back in 2009/2010 as a line that LEGO hoped would be a supplement to the regular building sets.

The news is as yet unconfirmed by LEGO, however the 2012 line up of LEGO Games products will be the final sets released. The current range will be available until all supplies are depleted, however the Games that were due for release later this year are all cancelled.

These are the cancelled sets:
50006 Legends of Chima
50003 Batman
50004 Story Mixer


It is surprising to see the cancellation now as at London Toy Fair the new Story Mixer (50004) was being talked up, and the sales team were still promoting the ever-popular Creationary (3844). If the team at LEGO are smart they will keep Creationary available despite the line ending, as that particular set was consistently the clear best seller. Other retailers in the UK were frustrated that it was an Argos exclusive product back when it was launched.

The success of Creationary is perhaps what has kept LEGO Games alive for so long. Like all board games, they only tend to sell well at Christmas. That’s why the rest of the year LEGO Games can be seen on sale a lot. But even at Christmas, Creationary would vastly out-sell the other LEGO Games. Creationary was seen by parents as exactly what a board game from LEGO should be – it was a family game, it involved building and could be enjoyed by adults as much as children. Retailers identified on many occasions that Creationary was the one to watch, and the rest of the line didn’t sell anywhere near as well.

LEGO explored releasing games tied into other themes and licenses, such as Atlantis Treasure (3851), Ninjago (3856) and Harry Potter Hogwarts (3862). For some reason these were used by UK supermarkets in the run up to Christmas as loss leaders, with prices heavily discounted even when they were new. This likely hurt the sales in toy shops, and meant that the sets seemed popular to the supermarkets but not to toy retailers. The problem with this is that the supermarkets only stock a tiny selection, whereas the toy stores stock the entire range.

The licensed LEGO Games seemed to sell through reasonably well, and it seemed a good strategy to mix up regular LEGO Games with those tied in to other themes. Unfortunately, an attempt to bring a fantasy role-playing subtheme with Heroica was unsuccessful. These sets regularly didn’t sell and ended up discounted frequently. Other sets, such as Maya Mystic (3867) and Phineas and Ferb (3868) were cancelled despite being fully designed which perhaps suggested that things haven’t looking great for LEGO Games for a while.

It is a shame that LEGO Games will be coming to an end, as the sets have been well designed builds and satisfying games too. The theme has been notable for using printed tiles and baseplates, both of which are usually in short supply. It is a shame that the remaining sets will not see release, particularly as Batman and Chima games would both have probably been popular. Hopefully LEGO will have learned a few lessons for the future, and other themes that start with a big bang will get the continued market support with their subsequent years.

LEGO have been contacted for comment, no response as of yet.

16 comments:

  1. I didn't buy any, but this is sad news. I wonder if they'll ever bring the cancelled sets out in the future...

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  2. Sad news indeed. I may have to pick up a few games now before they're gone.

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  3. What is the source for this article?
    Did you hear it from someone, is it a rumour or a fact.

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  5. I'd like to see a source as well.

    You can actually buy the 50006 Legends of Chima set (as well as the 50011 LOTR: Battle of Helm's Deep set) from the Swiss and German stores on Lego.com.

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  6. This is a shame as if they had left it until the next batch came out, they probably would've gone off in a storm again with the Legends of Chima and Batman games but nevertheless, they were ALL eventually heading downhill. I only managed to pick up Creationary and ramses Pyramid but oh well, don't matter, i'll just find them on Ebay when i next get given some £££.

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  8. Hi, thanks for your Blog. Regarding your comments about the end of the line of LEGO Games:
    - "Like all board games, they only tend to sell well at Christmas..." This is true, but it's also true for most of the games/toys companies and certainly for most of the board games editors. That's a fact, and not an excuse.
    I not agreed with you about "...sets have been well designed builds and satisfying games too..." The games were beautiful, with lovely pieces and make any LEGO fan like to build them. But ONLY build them. Not play with them! Im my point of view, most of the mechanics of LEGO games were very poor and do not explore the true potential of LEGO. Only Creatonary did it in some way. I have played most of the LEGO games and normally the mechanical is a basic Draughts/checkers game with a die. LEGO wasn't abble to distinguish there game from the thousand board games that appear every year. I'm very sad with this news, because I'm huge fan of LEGO and board games and I still think LEGO have a BIG potential in material and characters to explore. Ideas? Build, rebuild, change pieces, change the face of the die, Change the board, build the board, give freedom to players, let them play in a table and not only in a small board... Really hope LEGO see this setback as a new opportunity for rebuild there games, like a Fenix :-)

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  9. I disagree that Lego Games are not fun to play. All of the Heroica games, the City Alarm game, and the Star Wars: Battle of Hoth game were all fun to play. And for the games where the rulebooks were lacking, well... I'm surprised how many creative Lego fans were stymied by the challenge of improving upon the rulebook. That was the whole point of Lego Games! You're not bound by the rulebook! Make up your own! Combine a couple different games! Lego gives us these great sandboxes with which we can create our own rules and games. I'll be very sad if they don't make any more. At the VERY least, I very strongly believe that Lego should release this last wave of games (Batman, Chima, Lord of the Rings) and see what happens.

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  10. It's been 10 days since this report and still no confirmation from Lego. Every site that reported this news has used this blog as its source. Anybody know what's going on?

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  11. News confirmed on June 6, 2013 from the VP of sales for LEGO: http://www.spielwarenmesse.de/news/einzelansicht/news/10524/

    Press release in German.

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  16. Ninjago is an amazing releasing of LEGO i like it too much
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