Brick Radar Pick-A-Brick Build Challenge: January 2015

Inspired by a recurring feature in Blocks magazine, Scott and I decided to hold our own Build Challenge. The basic idea is that two people sit down with a pile of bricks and build their own creations that they then submit to a judge for review. We modified the rules a bit for the Brick Radar version, so here they are in detail.


The Rules
First, both competitors start with an identical selection of bricks. We went to the Pick-A-Brick wall at our local LEGO store and took turns putting elements in two containers to ensure a random selection. When you and your friends run your own challenge, you can do like we did, or you can use bricks that you already have in your collection. The point is to start with the same inventory.

bricks ready to start

Our build challenge bricks sorted and inventoried!

Second, both competitors must use some mutually agreed upon pieces from their containers. In our case, we agreed that we both had to use two green 6×8 plates (you can see them in the photo above). The next time we do a challenge, I suspect we’ll pick some elements that require more imagination to incorporate into a build.

Third, the competitors would sit at a table together for the duration of the build. We decided that our challenge would be face-to-face and would last an hour, which was the perfect length for the amount of bricks we had at our disposal. It also seemed like just the right duration for the trash-talking to remain in the PG-13 range. No sense in damaging the friendship, after all. Come up with a duration and physical situation that works for you.

Last, the creations would be judged by the Brick Radar readers. This is where you come in! We’re asking people to leave a comment or send us an email to let us know which of the two builds they like best. We’ll let the feedback accumulate for a while before announcing a winner.


The Build
We decided to pause and snap photos at 20 minute intervals so that you could follow how the creations developed. Throughout this section, Jay’s builds are pictured on the left, Scott’s on the right.

At the first pause, Jay seemed to be in the lead. He had a multi-level waterfall under way and was building a tree on the bank of the stream. Scott had just abandoned his first idea and was laying out the foundation of Plan B. The trash talk at this point was limited to faint praise served up in condescending tones.

Jay's - 20 minute mark Scott's - 20 minute mark







At the second pause, Jay’s creation had just fallen apart due to some seriously flawed infrastructure he’d slapped together to get multiple heights in his waterfall. Scott’s creation, on the other hand, was progressing steadily with some clever use of 1×2 hinge plates to produce a park bench. By this point, the trash talk had progressed to inarticulate snorts, eye-rolling, and poorly-suppressed snickering.

Jay's - 40 minute mark Scott's creation at 40 minutes. Steady progress!


When the final alarm sounded, both competitors had produced a finished product. Jay had fixed his stability issues and raised a multi-storey treehouse, while Scott created an idyllic riverside scene with good use of 1×1 elements for texture and interest. Here are the photos of the final products.

Jay's - finished Scott's - finished

Interestingly, the trash talk had pretty much dried up by the end of the build as both competitors found much to dislike in their own creations. Now it’s up to our readers to decide who make the most creative use of their bricks!

We will certainly be doing this again. It was fun to hang out and play around with LEGO, of course, and it was also interesting to see how somebody else utilized the same pile of elements to create something new. Let us know how your Build Challenges go!


3 thoughts on “Brick Radar Pick-A-Brick Build Challenge: January 2015

  1. I rather dig treehouses, so I’m voting for the treehouse. However, in the future, I think you should not identify who created which creation, so that your readers can vote completely unbiased. Because you know us readers have some crazy biases out here in the real world.

    Both creations have style and interest. Good job, builders.

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