LEGO Parts Draft

One of the things that the NALUG group has done a number of times is a parts draft. This is a way of distributing parts among a group of people in the form of a friendly competition. Participants take turns selecting from small piles of identical parts, attempting to acquire the parts that they are most interested in. Here are some guidelines that we found useful for organizing and running a draft.

  1. Organization - A draft starts by soliciting for participants. Usually, drafts have between 3 and 8 players. Any less than 3 is pointless. Any more than 7 or 8 would mean that the draft takes too long.

  2. Set Purchasing - Each player purchases some particular LEGO set. For example, six people each paid $20 for six new #7144 "Slave I" sets. It is important that everyone purchases the same set.

  3. Part Sorting - All players meet and sort all parts into lots (small piles on a large table). Like parts are grouped together in a lot. Some lots have just a few parts, others could have dozens. Some lots may fit into a LEGO mailbox, while others could be bulky.

  4. Lot Splitting - Before the draft begins, players should agree if any of the lots should be split. Some LEGO parts are more desired by everyone than others, so a large lot of such a part may be split if everyone agrees. Kevin Maynes suggested that the size of the lot after a split should be a 'fistfull'. The advantage of lot splitting is that more players end up with at least some of parts they really want. The disadvantage is that there is less opportunity for making tactical choices, so those who like to gamble may not want to split lots.

  5. The Draft - The draft itself works by starting with one player (who could be chosen by a dice roll) and going around the table. Each player takes a turn by choosing and taking possession of a lot.

  6. End Result - Each player gets bulk quantities of parts they really wanted (plus some they probably didn't).
This is what the table of parts looks like just before the draft begins. Notice how Don is intently studying the table to devise a strategy.

We've done parts drafts of various sizes. Sometimes drafts only had a few people, other times everyone participated. Sometimes, two different sets (with multiple copies of each) were combined a single draft. The following is a detailed account of some of our larger drafts.

The Drafts of October 2001

NALUG got together at James' and Raven's place on October 8, 2001 (Canadian Thanksgiving). Our main purpose (besides the usual chitchat and ogling of things Lego) was to have some parts drafts. Originally we were also going to help James move some rocks and/or sidewalk slabs, but that wasn't ready and is still looming on the horizon. Some of us were there for only part of the time. Present were James and Raven Brown (with young Kalen being an honorary member present), Kevin Maynes, John Koob, Don Catton, Steve Chapple, Jason Krish, Chris Gray, Jennifer Lafleur and Kyle Duggan. Quite a crowd! This was the first time most of us had met Jennifer and Kyle - they introduced themselves at the 2001 GETS show, and have started in on our group activities. Also in town for a visit was Robin Sather from Vancouver. These drafts were the first for Robin Sather, but he enjoyed them and introduced the idea to the Vancouver Lego Club. They have published photos of one of their recent drafts.

Hogwart's Castle Draft

First, we started off with 4 copies of #4709 "Hogwarts Castle". Chris, Don, James and Kevin participated in this draft. Since we were doing it in James' basement, he was often able to put his draws directly into his stock. The rest made do with random containers like empty boxes.

Hogwarts Castle
Starting the sorting
The piles, first draw done
Jason's loot
Don's loot
Chris's loot (on top of other stuff)

John was there for the Hogwarts draft, but since he isn't a castle-head, he didn't participate. However, John is a Technic-head and James was sorely tempting him with his Technic Space Shuttle, which for some reason John doesn't have - yet!

Technic Shuttle

Desert Skiff and Slave I Draft

Zellers stores had a combo deal on sale - #7104 "Desert Skiff" and #7144 "Slave I" combined for $20.00 . And, Steve was able to get a bulk discount to drop that to $18.00 ! So, we had lots of those available. This draw was for eight of those, all parted out. We divided a few of the piles into two piles, since there was so many. Everyone except Jennifer and Kyle (who chose to just watch for their first meeting) and Raven (who got to tell James what to take) participated in this draft.

8 combo's parted out

Robin Sather from Vancouver was in town visiting, and he participated in some of the drafts. He brought his custom Hogwarts Express train along for us to look at. All agreed that it's much better than the official Lego one. It doesn't even launch a chest from the engine's boiler!

Robin's Hogwarts Express

Tie Fighter and Y-Wing Draft

The next draft was for 5 of the #7150 "Tie Fighter & Y-Wing" sets, which James was able to get a deal on at a local Walmart. This draft had James, John, Kevin, Steve, Don & Jason.

Yet Another Draft

Finally, Chris, James, Kevin, John and Steve went in for a draft from 6 more of the combos.

6 combo's parted out

Hopefully everyone went home happy with their loot!

2003 Draft At Laz's

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