Monday, October 6, 2008

The Dirty Brickster

You've been to yankee swaps if you live in the Northeast. You've been to white elephants in the Midwest. But I'd wager that most of you have never been to a Dirty Brickster- the LEGO convention equivalent of the the grab bag swap.

This past Saturday at BrickCon 2008, I gathered with 48 other adult fans of LEGO (hobbyists according to convention organizer Wayne Hussey) to join in the time-honored tradition of the random gift swap. Wrapped presents (in brown paper, newsprint, yellow LEGO bags, and Christmas wrapping) were piled high on two folding tables. The groups gathered in two circles, one around each table, according to the month you were born.

And then began the intrigue. Presents were revealed with each subsequent person having the opportunity to steal an item that had been opened or choose from one of the remaining sealed gifts. When a gift exchanged hands the crowd chanted "dirty brickster," in honor of the theft. After an item had been stolen three times, it was locked and the current owner would be taking home the kit or piece of LEGO memorabilia. Over the next hour, castle battle packs, fridge magnets (discontinued for safety reasons), a bag filled with LEGO animals from monkey to dragon all were snatched up by eager fans.

I walked away with a plastic bag stuffed with loose bricks. I chose fourth, ignoring a set of LEGO-branded pens and a LEGO Racers set. Although nobody chose to steal my bag, I was pleased because it meant that I had more bricks to add to my collection. In addition, it was a random collection of spongebob parts, pink 1x1s, technic bricks, jumpers, and a whole host of parts I haven't even sorted yet. I was excited that my knowledge has increased to the point where I can begin to differentiate which pieces I should be excited about as this is a mild stepping stone towards achieving building acumen.

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