This project was a collaboration between the accomplished micromecha builder CrashSanders and myself (which makes me feel very weird reporting on it). If you like this one you may be interested in our other collaboration on the Classic Star Control II.
This could end up being one of the more populated reviews with ATLAS and Female Minifigure Set already taking up seats, Poptropica and Ghostbusters (30th anniversary version) with a solid shot, and the official Wizard of Oz sites pushing Road to Oz. (Update: some people have asked about the Oz support rate so I am including this link to a chart of its support rate).
My thoughts on the Winter 2012 Review follow the break.
Thoughts on the Winter 2012 Review
It is uncertain if Portals is being treated as a "pass" from the previous review or if it is currently in its own undefined region of review space but for these purposes I am assuming it is passed into the Winter review. I mostly think this is because I believe it is the set that will be announced for the Winter 2012 Review period.
I think it is 100% awesome what Purdue did. They found a challenge and they took it down. More power to them. I have got to say though that in my personal experience, college students on a whole have disposable free time but not disposable funds. Ask your students to do something free for the benefit of the College and they will show up in droves. Ask them to spend $10 on anything and maybe five students show up. The exception to this is of course traditional social events such as sports. Nothing wrong with this lifestyle, I am just saying my opinion that whereas it was easy to get votes for the project, I don't think it will translate well to sales among the support base.
Of course that is a single argument and one to which people will say "So what, there are tons of Alumni!" To this I would say yes, but it is still a very specific audience. It is only Alumni! Excluding LEGO Collectors there is not a strong business case for someone not associated with Purdue to be interested in this set. Anyone who likes westerns might buy a Lone Ranger set, fantasy a LotR set, sci-fi a Star Wars set, etc... What secondary large audience outside of Purdue Alumni would buy a large guy with a helmet, shirt with a P on it, and a mallet?
I will counter my own argument by pointing out that Cuusoo has not actually stated how many sets they need to consider production. No where does it say that Cuusoo won't produce a small run of sets. If they could do a short run on a tiny set (think polybag) with a near guarantee of profit... LEGO is known to do short runs of minifigures for specialized audiences (Comicon). It would be very interesting if LEGO produces a limited run of Purdue Pete minifigs. They could even make people order them in advance and produce the exact amount ordered. Purdue happy and LEGO with some nice, school pride powered profit in their pocket.
The biggest issue in my mind is, does LEGO want to go down this road? If Pete was produced, it certainly would be an open call for more mascots. What Student Union would not organize to get their Mascot also made into an authentic LEGO set? Who knows, maybe LEGO is thrilled with the idea but once you go down that road, you start playing politics.
Limited market with complex fallout makes me think no on this one unless there is some very creative negotiations.
This is a very simple one.
Like so many others I think this one is just too close in time and subject matter to Galaxy Squad to be picked up. I wish Nick Royer better luck with his Hyperboria project. I very much wanted to put this in the FOL Cuusoo Campaign but as I drew the line at projects I had previously done "Brickset picks" for... next time though.
Thinking With Portals
The fact that LEGO is interested enough in this project to state that they are still in talks shows a vested interest in the property and means it has already cleared Brand Fit. Unless negotiations fail I can't see them not producing the set.
In fact I think the last review went something like this:
A: So, which one do we go with, Portals or Curiosity?
B: Well, I am not too thrilled with any of the projects in the next review so lets pick one for this review cycle and push the other into the next one.
A: Sure, but which one do we make now?
B: If Portals is good today, it will be good tomorrow, there might even be a Portals 3 in the future or some new content to release it with. But whereas Portals is a closed and controlled fiction, Curiosity is real world kind of stuff and is big right now... maybe it will break down next month or explode or loose a signal. Also the sooner we build it, the sooner it will show up in Science Classrooms. There is more risk in loosing public interest on that one if we don't move soon. Lets go with Curiosity.
Just my opinion.
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