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Sorry - I didn't mean that as a criticism regarding your post (are you Rich?). I just thought it ironic the post quoted Kim, but not the various people in the relevant thread (a special thanks isn't necessary, just quotation marks).
As I said, I'm married to a librarian, so it's been pounded into my head to give credit when possible. I appreciate that Huw does the same here on Brickset, and the mods on TnB do as well.
The updated post looks great however!
Changing the distribution this way makes sense when regarding boxes of 30, but as pointed out by CCC, why not boxes of 32 with two complete sets?
Six of several figs and only two of several others is even more limiting than three and five - and we know Lego wasn't aiming for a rarity factor...at least initially.
I don't want to imagine what will happen if a fig like the Elf, Zombie, Spartan or Roman (highly desirable army builder) was only available two to a box. As a reseller, I salivate, but as a collector and enthusiast, I am disheartened.
Yes, obviously, everyone uses Legos differently, but as everyone is fond of saying, and much to my chagrin, Lego sells to boys, targets to boys, focuses on boys. It makes sense that this mini-box is targeted to that boy market and not necessarily the collector/afol/reseller/adult market, that are more prone to buying a big box. Because of that they specifically cut the number of girl minfigs.
The argument that 3 is an odd number is a lame one, because it doesn't explain WHY they suddenly stuffed all the female minfigs down to 2, after all this time.
Is it because they thought a army-building box would sell better? Does Lego really make most of it's profit from boxes over packs? Is it because they wanted to bring out this 1/2 box, and in order to make it sell to parents and boys, they felt they needed far more males in it? Is it because the leftovers are female minifigs? (That hasn't been my experience at stores...) Is it because they decided the girl focus should only be on Lego Friends?
I don't think we can figure out the real reasons, but at this point, I'm going with the shift in females was due to this 1/2 box targeting kits/parents, combined with the need to be 'even'. I may be completely wrong, though. Who knows. I only know it will be that much harder for me to find what we would like.
What is the complaint about the female figs in this series? There are 5 of them, granted 3 need legs, but that is right on the mark with what is in all other series'. Actually there have been an increase in the number of female characters in each series as the CMFs have been made.
Series 1-4 = 3 Females
Series 5 = 4 Females
Series 5-9 = 5 Females.
Looks pretty well balanced to me, and so long as Lego prices the new 30 pack box at 1/2 the price of the 60 pack box then the average person could afford to buy a whole box and get at least one full set and a few extras. Random extras is just that random, this box may have 4 extra females while another box may get 6 or even none.
If the marketing to boys only is true, then surely Lego should just be cutting the number of female figs in the series. If these are being marketed only to boys, then why not just remove the female figs completely. They could even go the route of playmobil, and do girls bags and boys bags (which is partly what they are doing with the friends line). But this would probably mean more girly girls in the female side that are not attractive to boys. That said, I don't think girls have to have girls and boys have to have boys.
Boys (at least mine) really want the female elf and the mermaid and the fortune teller - it is not down to the gender of the minifig, it is down to the subject matter. My kids loved the cleopatra from S5 and space girl and surgeon from S6, but hated the zoo keeper and fitness girl from S5. They like the viking woman and little red riding hood but not the swimmer (as it is a near dupe of Team GB) or the bride from S7. They are not so keen on the fairy, but like the other S8 female figures. I don't believe their likes and dislikes are anything to do with gender, it is whether or not the subjects fit in with what they are playing. As I see it 4/5 of series 9 female figs are going to fit in quite well with castles / fantasy themes, albeit with a change of hairstyle for Marilyn. If any of that is also true for a wider audience and lego want to market just to boys, then lego should be making more female figures but in themes that fit in with boys play - so fantasy, castles, space, etc. That would also mean ditching the other boring male figures too.
Back on topic, I wondered if this smaller case size is a response to stores (especially smaller ones) that struggle to sell entire multiples of 60? I still see loads of old series and wonder if stores are getting a little bit hesitant to stock up on loads of new series?
Honestly, I couldn't agree with this more, and something I've mentioned many a time. This is how my son is. With the CMFs, he always picks several of the female minfigis he likes, and then several other minfigs. It is exactly as you said, it is down completely to subject matter and not gender. Again, it is as you said, it depends on how the subject matter hits their playing. If anything, the ones all my kids truly dislike are the 'boring' male minfigs. In this line, nobody is going to care about the poor plumber. (My kids are far more into fantasy, and not boring plumbers...)
I'm glad to hear it isn't just my kids that play this way.
Anyway, the response I hear over and over is along the lines of 'it will be the demise of Lego sales if Lego so much as increases female minifigs' (which I disagree with). Looking at the 2013 release, though, it just seems that Lego keeps going in the direction of fewer female minifigs (or in the direction of no increase), so either they are doing it without recognizing they are doing it, or they have reasoning behind it.
First off, how will normal parents even know what the distribution is? Ask any non-AFOL parent buying random bags for their kids what the distribution in a current box is. I bet they will not know which ones are more common.
This is a good point. My assumption was that they would market 1/2 boxes, such that people would know, but no, thinking on that more, they probably would not, so good point.
Whatever the reason, though, and as I mentioned, it could be many of the items I mentioned (or others I didn't), there is a drop this go around.
I will agree Lego has continued to go 'up' or maintain the number of females per set. We had several drops this go around, though.
a) There was an overall drop in the ratio of female minifigs per box. Having 12/60 female minifigs per box goes back to the range of numbers we saw in series 2-4, where the range was 10-11. In the last 4 series, the average has been higher at 16.5.
b) This is the first time in any of the series where we are seeing the individual ratios of 2/60 for any female minifig per box. (In fact, I think the only time we saw 2 of any minifig per box was with the mad scientist inititially, and I believe they changed that box distribution...I may be mistaken on that, since I haven't verified my recollection on that.) Not only are we seeing that low ratio, but we are seeing it for 80% of the female minifigs, or 4/5. In addition of the items that are at 2/60, ~66% are the female minifigs or 4/6.
The first change is a fairly big changes compared to the previous 4 series. The second change, is unprecedented in any of the series. Without even considering female minifigs, the drop to a ratio of 2/60, for 6/16 of the minifigs is a huge change.
As another stated, I don't think the extras are random extras, but simply a box split. I may be wrong on that.
series female/box #females/series ratios of individul females
series 9- 12/60 (5 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 1, and 2/60 for 4)
series 8- 17/60 (5 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 2, and 3/60 for 3)
series 7- 16/60 (5 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 1, and 3/60 for 4)
series 6- 18/60 (5 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 3, and 3/60 for 2)
series 5- 15/60 (4 total) (ratios fo 5/60 for 1, 4/60 for 2, and 3/60 for 1)
series 4- 11/60 (3 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 2 and 3/60 for 1)
series 3- 10/60 (3 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 1 and 3/60 for 2)
series 2- 11/60 (3 total) (ratios of 4/60 for 2 and 3/60 for 1)
series 1- 6/60 (2 total) (ratios of 3/60 for 2)
Also, a smaller box means less space dedicated to this one box = fits on the impulse shelves at the front of the store better.
I won't get into the female-male minifig battle... I've been ornery at Lego about the lack of playable females for years (role playing is what kids do - just give them powerful and active female characters (female elf vs. hollywood starlet) and you've got a sell-able product.
In the end, it is smart to not place perfect set counts into these boxes, and though early run might have certain figures as the "extras" in the box of 30, we've also seen in the past that the "extras" vary in later runs of the CMF boxes. The only weakness being that the female minifigs never increase during those later runs :(
As for why TLG doesn't eliminate female figs from the series altogether, that's creating a false dichotomy. It's not like TLG can market only to boys or to boys and girls equally-- rather, they can market primarily to boys if that's who they think their most reliable audience is. And time and time again, that strategy seems to have worked for them. It's not pretty, but you can't expect them to sacrifice the success they've had with their core audience for the sake of trying to attract a new audience that they can't count on in the same way.
I agree with a lot of people that the ideal solution would be to sell boxes of 32 and 64 rather than 30 and 60, and thus allow for equal distribution of the figs. But it's not totally clear how easy that'd be to market to retailers. It might mean pushing the cost of a box up by a certain margin, which might upset retailers (then again, I have no doubt they already do this every couple years, just as they have done with the RRP of individual bags, so it's not like it's something the retailers wouldn't be used to). Also, perhaps retailers might prefer lots divisible by 10 for inventory purposes. *shrug* In any event these misgivings seem minor to me and I agree this is probably the direction TLG should move in.
I don't think LEGO Friends needs to be brought into the discussion at all. Regardless of how successful it's been, TLG isn't mad enough to think that its success makes their previous successes with girls in the CMFs and licensed themes superfluous. Girls are still a bigger audience for the CMFs than for most play themes, which tend to be more boy-focused, and I think TLG knows that it's in their interest to capitalize on that.
I think anytime that a company makes as large of a change as Lego did with adding Friends into their line-up, one does have to consider what a companies thoughts and reactions will be and how it will impact it's future products.
Even if you check BL-prices the expensive figures of each series are always the army-builders and not the female figs!!!
Her torso and dress are so plain compared to what we have been getting used to in CMF. Comparing her to the fortune teller, the print is so minimal. The other thing (for me) is the head/hair. She really doesn't look like an elf at all. I should have read the description clearer - she is paired with the S1 forestman, not with the S3 elf. The shield is nice, similar to S3 elf's, which is probably why I thought of her as elf-like. I'm glad I got one to go with the forestmen and maybe I'll get a couple more and replace the head / hair for variety, but I'm not so sure about building a whole army now. Looks like my money will be going on Hobbit elves instead of chasing this one too much.
No, really, this is the one figure from the series that I am disappointed with - probably as I was a bit hyped up about it. Just having elf ears on that hairpiece would have been so much better.
I have just tried out Legolas's hair on her ... and it makes an improvement although the ears are obviously the wrong colour. It's a shame to lose that nice hairpiece, but with elf ears she looks nicer already. Now she just needs a sterner face.
The torso printing is still a bit too plain though. And why did they have to put yellow on it. It could have been a good one to swap to a fleshie head, but the yellow printing stops that.
In this case, we were more more on target than the norm. We loved the Cyclops, Dr. Splitz and 4/5 females going in. Those are still the top favorites, just the order has shifted a bit. The big surprise for us was the knight. That has been one of our favorites from the series.
I will say, though, my daughter does love the forest maiden's hair. I agree the outfit is plain. Usually within about 5 minutes of opening and having looked at all of them, my kids immediately start mixing pieces. :-) They have made at least three females I adore more than the originals.
At first the CMF were a must have, but after a while the series just got worse after the last. I wonder if this is the end for CMF.
People have been predicting the end of CMF since series 5. If they continue to do their job, I doubt they will stop. Just because some figures are redone in different versions, it doesn't stop kids wanting them, especially kids that missed out on the first ones a few years ago. A couple of years in terms of a kids life is large. (Non-AFOL family) five and six years olds now weren't old enough to get S1. Older kids that weren't into lego a few years back might now be.
I say let them continue as long as they can, even with similar reissued figures. People that just collect them for display can decide whether they want to continue or not. If they don't , they just need to break their completist habit. Personally, I use them for MOCs and army building (also for MOCs). Every time there is a new character I like, I have to make a MOC to fit them in.
I find them a great inspiration, especially if you get a character that lego has never made a set for. You then have to think about what you are building, where the character would fit, rather than rely on knowledge of what sets lego has built before you.
I'm loving the Minifigs, long may they continue! So much variety and fun without paying for a big set with a building or mode of transport you don't need.
I think depending on how many new series they make, I might have to abandon completing every set for a while, simply because I'll run out of space haha.
A bride of Frankenstein would be superb though, great shout!
My guess is this is a mistake. But then again Series 10 is slated to be out soon isn't it?