Creationary is the first LEGO party game. It’s not like any other LEGO Game, yet it’s the best way to discover what LEGO Games are all about.
First of all, it’s great fun. It’s very easy to learn (especially if you know how to play Pictionary). It’s invites play (especially if you know LEGOs). And it’s completely open-ended. You can pretty much change everything about the game.
During our “Tasting” of the game, we were fortunate to have one player who had never really played with LEGOs. Fortunate, because it helped us appreciate how fundamentally fun the whole concept of LEGO Games can be – fun for people who love LEGOs, fun for people who don’t know anything about LEGOs.
First of all, you get the LEGO Dice. Actually, it’s a single die, but they call it “dice” anyway. The thing about the LEGO dice is that the faces are all replaceable. You can change them, and, in this way, change the game. Which is why you also get a couple extra LEGO Dice faces. You also get a lot of LEGO pieces. Most of them are the standard kind you’d expect to find in almost any set of LEGO bricks. Some are wonderfully non-standard, inviting invention. You also get 2 LEGO figures – a minifigure and a microfigure. The microfigure is too small to have moving parts, but not too small to feature that characteristically wonderfully playful, sometimes somewhat sinister expression. And then there’s a deck of cards. Three decks, actually, of different difficulty level. Each card shows four different pictures of four different categories of things that can be built: nature, vehicles, things, buildings.
When it’s your turn to do the building (as a single player, a couple or team), you throw the die to determine the category, and pick whatever level of difficulty you want to go for. It doesn’t matter what level you choose – if you’re playing for score you still only get one point if your creation is guessed correctly.
This is something you only find in LEGO Games and maybe among a few enlightened physical educators – the idea that people might actually choose to do something more challenging, not because they get more points for it, but simply because it is more fun.
The rules describe four different ways to play: one person builds and everyone else guesses, one person guesses and as many of four people build, two teams play simultaneously – each with one builder, and race to be the first to identify the object being built; and finally everybody plays as one team, racing against the clock – one player building, everyone guessing, seeing how many items they can identify before the time (whatever time they decide on) has elapsed.
We, of course, invented our own variations. Mine was not only to allow unlimited guesses and unmeasured time, but also to allow the builder to accompany her creation with sound effects, gestures, facial expressions, and full-body dramatizations, as needed. This not only made the game much easier for the LEGO-challenged, but also much funnier for everyone.
In addition to all 341 pieces, you get a sorting tray, which, given the intensity of having to build something as quickly as possible, proves to be a most constructive tool for the construction constructor. Of course, in the process of carting the game to someone else’s house everything falls out of the tray. But sorting is always fun, sort of, and a great way to start the next game. And, should you happen across any spare LEGO bricks from abandoned LEGO kits, you can give them a new and even more playworthy life as part of your Creationary collection.
Creationary was designed by LEGO Game designer, and initial conceptualizer of the whole, shall we say, concept of LEGO Games: Cephas Howard.
For more background about this post, please see LEGO Games – an Introduction