Who are LUGOLA members?

LUGOLA has a diverse membership.

We have lifelong fans of LEGO® and adults who only discovered the joy of the brick later in life. We have builders and collectors, with folks who focus on every LEGO® theme and style of building.

Many of the programs and opportunities available through LUGOLA and LEGO® are focused on building and MOCs, and LUGOLA has some of the best builders in the world. Our members have had builds featured in LEGO® Masters, The LEGO® Movie and The LEGO® Batman Movie, turned into an Ideas set, displayed at LEGOLAND, and showcased at The LEGO® House. Members have been involved in builds, events, and video content for Doctor Who, Scooby-Doo, Marvel, DC, Star Wars, Disney, and many more partners/properties. We’ve helped to create and judge LEGO® game/reality shows, built sets and props, acted as on-air talent and behind-the-scenes production support, and created stop-motion animation. We’ve partnered with community organizations on special events of all sizes.

How often do you meet? Where?
LUGOLA typically has at least one event our activity each month.

Monthly meetings are typically the second Saturday of the month, from 11 to 3. For our meetings a host will volunteer their backyard, community center, or other space they have access to. With a wide and dispersed membership this allows us to all get to know each other better (we love tours of our member’s building space or collection). We’re always looking for new hosts.

In months with large events like conventions, the event will often take the place of the monthly meeting. Participating in events and actively contributing to the LUG helps members become eligible for LUGBULK and other privileges and opportunities.

Events and activities are announced through our private forum. Please join to get more information on upcoming events.

What happens at a monthly meeting?
At our monthly meetings, we display MOCS, showcase new, interesting, or rare sets, draft parts, buy, sell, trade, share information and building techniques, and generally talk about Lego®. Often there will be fun challenges or games.

Our meetings are casual affairs, so feel free to come when you can and leave when you need to. An RSVP is appreciated though to help with planning.

MOC? What’s a MOC?
A MOC or “My Own Creation” is a model built from LEGO®. These can vary from custom minifigs to a 9′ tall Tower of Orthanc, from Lego® jewellery to projects built for online competitions, from modified official Lego® sets to 7′ long space ships or, well, just about anything you can think of, made out of Lego®.

What kind of games?
Games such as ‘Speed Build’ (fastest to build a kit), ‘Blind Build’ (in which participants build a set in a manner so that they can’t see the build, but can only build by feel) or ‘Build in the Bag’ (in which participants build small sets that come in a polybag without opening the bag first). Dirty Brickster is a ‘White-Elephant’ style gift exchange game.

What happens at a public event?
Public events vary and sometime involve club members displaying their MOCs, sometime we assist the public, particularly children to free-build their own creations with LEGO® and other events involve selling LEGO® parts and sets or any combination of all of these, particularly at a Lego® Convention. We’ll often spend downtime at our booth chatting, playing games, and sharing our love of the brick.

Draft parts you say? What’s a draft?
A draft is a sort of game LUGs play; everyone walks away with new LEGO® pieces, so everyone wins! It involves parting out a number of sets and picking lots. Ideally you’ll get lots of pieces you can use while letting someone else take the pieces you won’t use.

Here’s how it works:

Sets and shares
Generally we decide on a single set to draft. We try to limit the cost to under $25 per share. That means that if we use a $25 set, each set is one share. If we choose a larger set, we’ll typically divide each set into shares (a $100 set divides evenly into 4 $25 shares). We’ll sometimes even pair up two $10 or under sets to do a combo draft; in that case, each share is made up of both sets.

Some LUGs have each participant buy a copy of the set for a draft, but to make things a little easier, LUGOLA typically has a draft organizer procure the sets on discount (to maximize your brick per buck), and participants just pay a buy in of $5-$20, depending on the specifics of that draft.

Typically there’s no need to sign-up in advance for a draft. Just show up with your money or set. The one thing you can do ahead of time is look at the parts list on Brickset or Bricklink and work out which parts you want. If you have a prioritized list in your mind or written down, things go a lot faster.

Once all the sets are present and paid for, the sorting begins. The sets are opened and all of the exact same parts get placed together in cups (red 2x4s in one cup, black 2x4s in another cup).

Although not officially part of the draft process, we inevitably marvel at how many different pieces are in the set and scramble to find more cups. Each cup of pieces becomes a lot in the draft.

Generally for any very large, valuable, or rare parts, or even mid-sized parts where there are many in the set, we will split them into 2 (or more) lots or a sensible “set” (eg 4x or 8x or 12x wheels). Usually we join hinges to make one part and pair wings (often splitting the paired
wings into two lots).

Minifigs are sometimes built, sometimes parted out as head, torso, legs, headgear, accessories separately. It depends on the minifigs and the will of the group. Stickers generally make up one lot.

We don’t normally ensure there is a ‘right’ number of lots so everyone gets and even number of picks, it’s just luck of the draw.

Once the sets are completely sorted out everyone participating randomly draws numbers. If you have contributed/purchased more than one share you draw as many numbers as you have shares.

Starting at number one, we take turns choosing a lot of parts to keep. Once we reach the highest number, that person gets a second pick and the chain snakes back to one and so on.

At this point we predict the last lot to be chosen. You can’t go wrong guessing black Technic pins. Once all the pieces are selected the draft is complete. Trading is encouraged if you missed out on a piece you wanted, and you get special bonus awesome points if you build something using only what you drafted.

Drafts occur at many, but not all, LUGOLA meetings. You need time, space, and interest for a draft, and we don’t always have all three (like when we meet at a LEGO® Store or do our annual swap meet).

Sometimes what you want is what lots of people want and sometimes you have free reign over a particular color or part-type. We have a pretty diverse group of builders, so things tend to balance out nicely. If you approach the draft knowing that you will likely only get a few of the parts you want, and that half the joy of the draft is tearing into ton of LEGO® with a bunch of your friends, you’re likely to have a lot more fun.

We try to run the drafts as democratically as possible. General consensus decides what we draft, and during the draft the group generally rules. The draft organizer will sometimes be the final arbiter just to keep things moving (and ensure we have a draft at all), but if you have a question, comment, or suggestion on how things should be done, chime in.

What is LUGBULK?

LUGBULK is a program run by LEGO® through which members of LUGs can bulk order pieces directly from LEGO once a year.

LEGO® provides us with a list of elements available each year, and the prices. From that list LUGOLA uses a voting and reconciliation process to whittle it down to a list of 85 elements available for members to order. Members have a short period of time to place and pay for their individual order and then we submit the group’s order to LEGO®. Months later LEGO® sends all the pieces in bulk LUGOLA, and we have a party to sort the pieces into each order.

The program is designed by LEGO® to support MOCs and especially large-scale building projects. All pieces acquired through the program are for personal use only.

LUGBULK is a privilege. LEGO® offers it to LUGS as part of the recognition for the work they do promoting LEGO®. To help maintain this recognition and protect the program, LUGBULK is offered to established LUGOLA members who actively participate in the group’s events and activities.

How can I get involved?

Sign up for access to our forum and to get more information on upcoming events. Hop in the discussion, and attend an event that works for you.

The best way to introduce yourself to the group is to share a set you recently acquired or built, or a MOC. Even a work-in-progress MOC is great; member who are interested in the same thing will immediately gravitate to you, and you can get immediate constructive feedback, if that’s something you’re interested in.

The more you participate with LUGOLA, the more you’ll get out of it.

Can you build something for me?

LUGOLA members have lots of experience with commissioned builds of all sizes and types. If you are interested in having us build something for you, please contact us with as much information as possible, including what the build is, size, timeline, budget, and any special requirements. Any reference images you have would be appreciated as well.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that LEGO® is an expensive material (and is exponentially more expensive as the size of a build increases).

Can you appear at our event?

LUGOLA loves to participate in events throughout the Southern California area. We often display our builds and run build areas for kids.

If you are interested in having us at your event, please contact us with as much information as possible, including the location, date, and what you would like us to do.

As an entirely volunteer organization, though, our participation depends entirely on interest from our members, so we can’t do every event.