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Even though, say a wall, may not be uniform and smooth because there is a round plate in the build, I think it's meant to look like a weathered spot. Think castle walls, instead of a wall built out of 2x1 Bricks, they'll add in a round 1x1 brick to make the wall look like the wall was constructed with rocks or just to add more detail.
@dougts - do you have some specific examples that have prompted this comment? I can't say I've noticed this trend, so I'm interested in finding out more. Cheers.
I thought it may be because of the ol' choking hazard. I know the edges are no sharper than say a 1x2, but given it's the smallest, perhaps this is the piece that gets eaten the most by toddlers...?
I hate 1x1 rounds. Slippy slidey rolly arrrgh.