Thursday, 2 September 2010

Cheating (?)

I seem to have been caught up in the collectible minifigure madness that’s sweeping the LEGO world right now. For any LEGO fans out there who have been sleeping for the past few months, LEGO have so far released 2 series of 16 different minifigs a couple of months apart. They come in little sealed foil packets so in theory you don’t know which minifig you’re buying, although it soon became apparent that you could identify which minifig was which via the barcodes on the packets, and folks put together crib sheets so you could dig through the boxes of minifigs and identify the specific one you wanted rather than trusting to luck. Retailers clearly underestimated the demand for these minifigs and there was a mad scramble to buy the few that appeared on the shelves. People would often go into shops such as WHSmiths and buy whole boxes of 60 figures to guarantee getting a few full sets of minifigs. I think we did OK in the U.K. – they seemed to be relatively easy to find here – but in other countries such as the U.S. a lot of people were left disappointed.
Collectible Minifigures Series 1
For series 1 I played by the rules, initially buying a couple of handfuls of foil bags and excitedly opening them. My folly became evident when my initial purchase of 20 bags only yielded about 9 different figures out of 16, including 5 Crash Test Dummies. I have nothing against Crash Test Dummies - hell, I think they do an important job under difficult circumstances - but what am I going to do with 5 of them ? So then I resorted to the crib sheet and thanks to an understanding wife who agreed to look through the minifig boxes in WHSmiths on a couple of occasions, my series I collection was complete.

Then series 2 came out. I was determined to avoid ending up with tons of duplicates this time. I realised that a number of enterprising Ebay sellers were buying whole boxes of figures, using the barcodes to identify whole sets of 16 figures, and selling them at a premium. So I paid a premium and got a full set. Still cheaper than taking pot luck, and much quicker than going to the shops and sifting through boxes of minifigs with a list of barcodes.
Collectible Minifigures Series 2
So is using barcode scanners, or even buying full sets on Ebay, cheating ? Part of me thinks so, but I tried the old fashioned approach and ended up with half a set and tons of duplicates. If I'd still been at school I could have done swapsies with my mates and made a full set. But I'm not at school anymore, and none of my friends even know what a minifig is, so what's a LEGO obsessive to do ?

And man, do I love the Zombie !

Thanks as ever to Brickset for the images. Bye !


  1. Anonymous3/9/10

    It might be "cheating" but you won't be able to after this series, so it doesn't really matter.
    I tried cheating and screwed up! I still don't have a skier. lol

  2. Yep, I heard the same about series 3 - the barcodes apparently won't give the game away. We're therefore facing the possibility of a lottery, which is a total pain. The LEGO community is pretty resourceful, though - I wouldn't bet against someone coming up with work-around so we're back in business - we shall see !

  3. vynsane3/9/10

    I gladly 'cheated' with both series 1 and 2. Well, I sort-of cheated with CMFs2... I was with my 3.5 y/o daughter (who wants a set to herself) and went up to the counter the first time with about 28 packets. Well, the clerk only let me buy 16, so it was a crapshoot after he piled hers and mine together (after I had made sure to grab 16 different barcodes as I didn't have thh cheatsheet with me). I ended up with 9 uniques that time around, giving my daughter the dupes. I then hit the NYC LEGO Store and finished off my set, and got some of the dupes I wanted along with some more for my daughter's set.

    Knowing that CMFs3 will be released sans-secondary barcode, I'll gladly enter the "collect 'em, trade 'em with your friends" arena. But seriously, if you're going to make it that easy for me to cheat, I'm going to!

  4. I got the 2 series from non official way too. First one in Hong Kong in a shop selling lego minifig & parts(during a work trip). Second one on ebay. For me it's not cheating, it's to be sure to have the full set without extra redundant minifig.

  5. Anonymous8/9/10

    I decided to cheat, having 18 Zombies and 25 Spartans New in sealed wrappers.. waiting for series 3 and 4 to come out.. waiting to trade my hoards for a hand full of the best series 3 and 4 has to offer..
    who cares about not having bar codes??? when you have Spartans and Zombies to trade.. you can get anything you want...

  6. Ah - so it's YOU who has all the Spartans.....

  7. in my opinion TLC did not do it correctly. People want Spartans, egyptians, vampires & Zombies. Why give singers, dummies & divers? No. I do not want doctors or wrestlers. And i do not want all of them to collect. I want the ones i want. So 'cheating' is fair in my opinion...

  8. It's easy enough to feel up the packages and identify what's inside based on head accessory or other accessory. If you've got time for Lego, you've got time to feel up some packages, which is time-consuming, but usually accurate.

  9. Anonymous4/10/11

    I am still looking to trade my minifigures for spartan, vampire and zombies and others in series 1 & 2. Who is up for some old school trading? Name your priced minfigure. ;D thanks. Email me at

  10. ^ If you're looking to trade and you're over 16 I'd suggest heading over to the Brickset forum; URL is

    There's a growing community over there and increasing amounts of trading going on, so there's a fair chance you'll be able to strike a deal.....