I happened across this new service called, “Pleygo” the other day. They bill themselves as a Netflix-like rental service for Lego sets. You subscribe to their service, select which set you want to play with and they’ll ship it to you. When you are finished with that set, you simply put the set back in the enclosed free-shipping box and send it back. In fact, if you lose one or two of the smaller pieces, no big deal. They’ve got more.
My first thought when I saw that this service existed was excitement. I love Lego! And this seems, initially, like a great way to play with a lot of Lego sets for a limited amount of money such as I have. But then I got to thinking about it and my second thoughts are rather skeptical. The cheapest subscription level is $15 per month and gives the member access to any of the smaller sets that are listed on the site. These sets typically retail for between $10 and $30. The deluxe membership that give complete access to the all sets is $39 per month. And if your goal is to build a lot of Lego sets, dismantle them, and move on, maybe Pleygo is a great thing for you. But that isn’t how I play with Lego.
As a kid, my Lego play consisted of dumping all my bricks and pieces onto the floor, annoying stirring the mix until I found the piece I wanted, and assembling something that no Lego set designer have ever concocted. As I grew older, I began to appreciate the original design for each set, and more often than not, I would build it and leave it assembled. In fact, one of my previous 3-Day Novel projects was inspired by my collections of assembled Lego sets. But through it all, I never considered actually owning Lego things to be a disadvantage. I view Lego sets to be more akin to heirlooms and something to rent.
And so, to put my money where my mouth is, I went out and bought a new Lego set. It is the only one of its series that I own, but I’m pretty excited to put it together. I bought the Monster Fighters set, The Crazy Scientist and his Monster, which has a Frankenstein meets Steampunk theme. It’s pretty cool. And though I bought it at a discounted rate, my money still went to support the fine efforts of the people at Lego. If you are considering the new-fangled rental program, maybe consider the fact that if you save your money for a month or two, you will be able to play with any given set indefinitely (or until your dog or toddler eats all the pieces).