We are LEGO purists at Whittle household. 14 years of buying, collecting and building Lego and our precious LEGO collection has yet to become contaminated with knock-offs.
There used not to be that many clone brands. Over the years the kids received a few Mega Blok sets for birthday or Christmas presents. They use the same studs-and-tubes design as LEGO. The Halo series captivated the kids but they were very disappointed with the quality and the lack of interconnectedness.
The Mega Bloks figures are very different from LEGO. They
are not as interchangeable/ customizable and can be quite a
challenge to build.From our experience, they just do not stay assembled. This led to a really disappointing play experience for the boys.
LEGO elements are fully compatible and you can re-use them in an
unlimited variety of ways. My guys use many of my old LEGO from my childhood collection. There are no junk-pieces in LEGO that
can only be used for one thing. The interchangeability, durability and quality have always separated LEGO from the clones.
LEGO has become very frigging expensive. The mid size sets are in the
$35-50 range and the larger sets are now well into the hundreds of
dollars. Even collecting bulk LEGOs has become expensive. This means that for may kids genuine LEGOs have become a little unattainable.
Due to the unlimited ways that children (and big kids) can reuse the LEGO blocks for generations and in pretty much unlimited ways I would have to argue that they offer the best long term value.
However....the Chinese have stepped up their game offering dozens of LEGO clone versions of blocks that blurs the line between genuine LEGO and knock-offs that are cheaper. This means the LEGO mandate of getting blocks into children's hands (boys & girls) to develop creativity can be met without breaking the bank.
Recently, I had a conversation with a salesperson for a clone brand. He gave my youngest child a bag of his bricks and asked us to do a comparison of what he was offering at 1/3 the price of LEGO.
You might be surprised with the result. I was left wondering if this brand was produced in a LEGO plant!
Stay tuned for the review.