REVIEW: Desk Business Card Holder

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GBP 11.39 / USD 14.99
WARNING: this review may contain content unsuitable for children.

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850425 Desk Business Card Holder promotional image

Yet again this is your boy SilentMode, and I’m feeling very generous today: because the “belated review” poll ended in a draw, I’ve decided to post both of the most wanted set reviews before the year is out. This one will take a little longer to put out, as it’s being written from scratch.

So here we have another of LEGO’s miscellaneous sets, and I can tell you that many an AFOL was excited about its release. You see, it reintroduces individual numbered and lettered tiles: parts that haven’t been seen in LEGO sets for a very long time. Someone was able to obtain enough of those kinds of tiles to make a Star Wars intro sequence, and I’d hate to imagine how much he’d spent on them.

Looking past the obvious allure of the numbered and lettered tiles, LEGO is offering its fans the chance to promote themselves with their own business card and business card holder. This would be good for accompanying one’s display at a convention or exhibition, and is an easy way to let other people know that they do other things besides play with bricks.

But is it any good? Let’s find out.

The Box

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We’re presented with a very yellow box for this set, although there have been some efforts to jazz the design up with the dark gradient and dots at the top. Rather confusingly we’re given two names: Chris the LEGO fan and “Sam”.

Back of the box

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The back of the box completely ruins the surprise, as it reveals the entire contents of the set along with part counts. Thanks a lot.
There wasn’t enough space on the front of the box for the various translations of the set name, it appears, so they’ve been placed here.

Sides of the box

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As with other sets in the Other range, the sides of the box are as plain as can be. Oh yes, and there are likely to be parts coming from China in this set. ^_^

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Other parts from China include one of the many choking hazard warnings, gracing one of the shorter sides of the box.

The Contents

I can assure you there is nothing special between staring at the box and tipping to contents out to see how things have been packed. Here’s what you get inside…

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The set is separated into three bags: the instructions, which includes the business card; a bag of regular LEGO bricks and parts, along with the minifigure pieces; a bag of those precious numbered and letter tiles, with even a LEGO logo tile peeking from the back.

You know what, I’m tired of doing all these fruitless reviews. I don’t even know why I’m reviewing this set; it’s obviously just an excuse to have people spending godly amounts on lettered and numbered tiles.

Why don’t these guys do the work for a change, eh? All they do is just stand there, every single review. Let them tell you why this set is so good, and why you should go and buy it from a LEGO store or LEGO Shop @ Home. See how they like it. I’m out.

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Male: “Well, I wonder if we’ll meet any budding young business owners today?”
Female: “There’s bound to be someone coming our way, just raring to go!”

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Male: “Well hello there young man! How are you today?”
EvilMode: “… Who the **** are you?”
Female: “You look like a budding young entrepreneur! Have you considered starting your own business?”
EvilMode: “A… what now?”
Male: “We can help you get started on the road to financial freedom in two easy steps, absolutely free!”

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Female: “It’s so simple: we give you this big business card to fill out, then we set you up with a nice fancy display to showcase yourself to the world!”
Male: “It only takes a couple of minutes, but think of the possibilities!”
EvilMode: “… Are you two on something?”
Male: “Only on the road to success! Ha ha!”
Female: “Yes, and we want to give you all the tools you need to be on that road with us!”

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Male: “This is the card we have all out fellow travellers fill out to get started. It’s just your basic details so people can contact you: we won’t give any of your personal information away!”
EvilMode: “What’s that second thing on the back?”
Female: “That’s where you put the job title of your dreams!”
EvilMode: “Whad’ya mean?”
Female: “Think about your dream job! Whatever you’d like to be!”
Male: “The only limit is your imagination!”
EvilMode: “… Oh so you mean if I put something like…”

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Male: “There you go, that was easy!”
Female: “We’re so glad you’ve taken the first step, Mr EvilMode! Do you prefer being called EvilMode? Evil?”
EvilMode: “Whatever man. What happens next?”
Male: “Steady there, mister ‘pimp playa’! We haven’t gotten to the best part yet!”

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Female: “It’s time to let the world know you’re in business, with a giant display!”
Male: “There’s no use having a business card if no-one gets to see it!”
Female: “Come on EvilMode, you can help us build your display!”

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Male: “It’s very simple: just lay these bricks down in a rainbow like pattern…”

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“…so we can add a nice smooth surface for your card and other materials to sit on…”

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“… then we create another rainbow wall…”

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EvilMode:Woah, what?! Rainbows?! ‘Low that, I ain’t steppin’ anywhere with no rainbows!”

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Female: “Relax EvilMode, this is just to get you started!”
EvilMode: “Nah man, what do you take me for?”
Male: “Everybody starts out with a rainbow; it’s a rainbow of hope!”
Female: “You can make it look however you want when it’s finished: any colours you want. You can pimp it out! Eh? Eh?”
EvilMode hisses teeth

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Female: “There you go! Just one more layer; that’s not so bad, is it?”

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Female: “… Actually just that one other layer! That’s it!”

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Female: “… Um… Just that one more!”
EvilMode: “gah! It ain’t even matching!”

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Male: “That really is it to this part!”
Female: “See what we’ve built together? A really smart, innovative business card holder for your big business card!”
Male: “For all the world to see!”

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EvilMode: “It looks like ****! And what about them other parts over there?”
Male: “Ah, that’s the third and most exciting part of all!”
EvilMode: “You said there were two steps!”
Female: “Yes, but this is a bonus step!”

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Female: “If we place this bracket behind the big yellow board, what do you think will happen?”
EvilMode: “This will be over?!”
Male: “No, silly!”

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Male and Female: “It turns into your very own name plate!”
EvilMode: “… A’ight, but does it have to be yellow?”
Female: “You can have any colour you want when we’re finished; this is just the starter kit!”
Male: “Now here’s where things get really fun and creative…”

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Male: “You can use as many of these letters and numbers as you like to put on your very own name plate!”
EvilMode: “… okay, so I get to write whatever I want on there?”
Female: “Anything you want, as long as it doesn’t infringe on any trademarks.”

EvilMode: “And this is the last step, right?”
Male: “That’s all there is to it, playa!”

EvilMode: “Can I get some more letters?”
Female: “Those are all the letters you get in the starter kit. You can buy some more if you like, for 11.39.”
EvilMode: “WHAT?!”

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EvilMode: “How am I supposed to write anything on this thing with not enough letters?”
Male: “You can do it, pimp! Just use your imagination!”
Female: “Anything’s possible, if you just believe!”
EvilMode: “This is stupid, man, for real…”

Several minutes later…

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Female: “There you go! See, it wasn’t hard at all!”
EvilMode: “Whatever…”
Male: “Isn’t he going to make such an excellent businessperson?”

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Female: “Well EvilMode: you’ve filled in the giant business card, helped us build this display, and you’ve filled in your very own name plate!”
Male: “Which means…”

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Male and Female:Congratulations, you’re now officially in business! Woohoo!”

EvilMode: “Okay…”

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EvilMode: “So what happens now?”
Male: “The world’s your oyster EvilMode; get out there and be a ‘pimp playa’!”
Female: “That’s right! Be the best ‘playa pimp’ you can be! There’s nothing that can stop you!”

Two hours later

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EvilMode: “Yo homie, you lookin’ for a good time? Check out my new girl right here, she’s got skills!”
Male: “That’s my wife!”
EvilMode: “She can be whatever you want her to be, my brother – lemme see what you workin’ with.”

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Male: “Obviously there’s been some misunderstanding…”
EvilMode: “Chill homie, ain’t no misunderstanding. Tell you what: 50 for a -”
Male: “No, you have it all wrong sir: this is my wife, and she belongs to me!”

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EvilMode: “Get over here, girl.”
Female: “Yes papi…”
EvilMode: “I said there ain’t no misunderstandin’ here, pal. This is mine right here; you want the goods, you gimme green! Y’heard?”
Male: “I’m calling the police.”

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EvilMode: “Girl, get me that talcum powder.”

The Verdict

Leaving aside the letter and number tiles – which, let’s be honest, is the only reason anyone would buy this set – the thing that strikes me about this set as a whole is that it’s just too… generic. Whether we’re talking about the basic colours (and green) being used for the business card holder, or the choice of minifigures and their heads, there’s nothing that grabs our attention. It’s very obvious that the printed tiles are the star of the show, being of reasonable quality, and everything else is filler.
On the bright side, the set does give us two minifigures, and their generic uniforms mean they can fit inside a town environment, or perhaps working behind the scenes. Personally I would dispose of (or wipe) the heads and exchange them with others.

The inclusion of the business card was an okay touch: for anyone (perhaps six year olds) who is unfamiliar with the concept of having a business card, it serves as a good enough introduction. The only problem I can envisage is what would happen if said six year old makes a mistake writing their details down. An easy thought would be that, since there’s only one card included, they’d have to buy another set and try again. It may encourage them, however, to have a go at making their own card designs.

But let’s talk about those tiles: the focal point of the entire set.

In any circumstance, it’s highly unlikely that anyone providing sets of letters and numbers will ever get the distributions right. Some people will run out of particular letters faster than others, and when using a lot of text it’s inevitable that more than one pack will have to be bought.
LEGO really screwed up with the letter distributions. For some reason we – in the UK – have three Qs and three Js, but only one Y and Z which are arguably more common.
I would have been a lot happier if the distributions were closer to those in Scrabble, to the extent that I’d rather have just a pack of printed tiles, with maybe a plate to play around with, than the filler in this set. With just the one pack of letters in this set, you will run out of something. On a lighter note it was cool that a printed LEGO tile was included, as well as the “.com” 1×2 tiles.

It would be interesting to find out if other countries have variations in the letters found in this set; Europeans and those from certain other countries may be lost without the presence of accented letters.

Rating breakdown

Design: 3 out of 10
The printed tiles were good quality, but I get the distinct impression they were bundled with filler parts to increase the RRP. The distribution of letters is best described by a four-letter word.
Build: 4 out of 10
There's hardly anything to build in this set, and what there is to build is largely unnecessary: it could have been done with fewer bricks and without a rainbow design!
Parts: 6 out of 10
I haven't noticed any quality issues, but besides the conveniently bagged printed tiles (and perhaps the minifigures) there isn't really anything worth holding on to.
Playability: 3 out of 10
The minifigures provide the only playability in this set. Even though they are simple in design, they deserved a little more than the "stands" given to them in the set.
Price: 4 out of 10
I'd advise only ever buying multiples (which will be necessary if you want enough letters) if there's a deep discount or promotion involved.

Based on these scores this set gets a not-so-fantastic 4.0/10.

In terms of reviews, that is the final word from SilentMode for 2012. I will be back.

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