In late May 2021, the LEGO® Group announced the largest set ever produced to date. Consisting of over 11,000 pieces, the World Map (31203) quickly became a sought-after commodity on LEGO.com. In fact, at the time of this writing, it is out of stock. In addition to being the largest LEGO® set ever, the World Map is also the summer 2021 entry into the Art theme. As luck would have it, the LEGO® Group sent True North Bricks a review copy of the set. What a lengthy and interesting build it was!
NOTE: The LEGO® Group provided this set for review. However, the provision of products does not guarantee a favorable review. I will use my usual rating system (click here for more information) and provide my honest opinion.
WORLD MAP SUMMARY
- NAME: World Map
- SET #: 31203
- THEME: LEGO® Art
- COST: $349.99 CAD
- BRICK COUNT: 11,692
- MINIFIGURES: None
- RELEASE DATE: June 1, 2021
WORLD MAP QUICK REVIEW
- VALUE: 100% (Loads of bricks and build time for the price.)
- BUILD: 90% (Paint-by-numbers style assembly with odd color choices.)
- MINIFIGURES: N/A
- ENTERTAINMENT: 100% (I like this concept a whole lot more than I thought I would.)
- OVERALL SCORE: 97%
WORLD MAP (31203) REVIEW
The World Map costs $349.99 in Canada. For the set with the largest piece count ever, that is not so expensive. Comparatively, one of the former title holders, the Millennium Falcon, clocks in at $899.99 CAD. However, the bricks included in the Falcon are larger and more intricate. Conversely, the World Map consists mostly of Dots pieces. In any case, the set contains 11,692 bricks. Consequently, the cost-per-brick is $0.03. That is the best cost-per-brick that I have ever seen in a non-discounted set. If LEGO® Art is your thing, you get a huge number of pieces at a low price with this set. It earns 100% in this category.
The World Map took me 14 hours and 42 minutes to build from start to finish (882 minutes total). At full price, that translates into a cost-per-minute of build time of $0.40. By comparison, my average cost-per-minute is $0.83 at the moment. The World Map gives you a huge amount of build time for the price, also earning 100%.
This was my first LEGO® Art set. Consequently, the build experience was different from my usual sets. However, different is not always bad. In fact, in this case, I enjoyed the process. I built the World Map over several days, mostly in the evenings after work. Tired after a long day, I need mindless entertainment and time to unwind. This set fit the bill. LEGO® Art offers a build similar to a paint-by-numbers kit. The instructions divide the set up by baseplate and you follow along Dot-by-Dot. It is not complicated, and you do not have to think much as you go. With that said, the calming monotony of snapping Dots into place also made me sleepy in the evenings. I usually managed somewhere between an hour and half to two hours before it was time for bed.
Interestingly, the World Map does not include numbered bags. The kit separates bricks by color for the most part. I always save my LEGO® Advent Calendar trays for brick sorting. I used one of those to empty the bag contents. It made the build experience more organized. Additionally, I could rearrange the table quickly and efficiently as the map grew. Another tip for building: make sure you have a ruler or LEGO® plate handy to help follow along in the instruction manual. That really assisted me in not losing my place on the baseplate as I inserted Dots.
I used an old LEGO® Advent calendar tray to help organize my pieces.
When assembling the World Map, the instructions allow you to configure the layout in different ways. I went with the standard Europe/Africa centric version. I do not like any of the continents split up on the map. You have to decide on your configuration before assembling the frame though. You add structural stability elements and the frame once the baseplates are complete. At that point, the map becomes difficult to switch up.
The color selection is a little odd on this piece. Listening to the soundtrack, you learn designers wanted the oceans colorful. They selected a representation of a bathymetric map for that reason. This type of map illustrates the land contours under the sea in varying colors. As an art set, designers wanted bright colors. I wish the oceans featured varying shades of blue instead. The oceans are fully customizable. Additionally, the World Map comes with a lot of extra Dots to that end. However, the extra colors are more of the orange and coral I do not really want. I wish the extra pieces were all shades of blue so you could build the bathymetric map or just have blue oceans.
The final map is large. 104 cm long by 65 cm wide to be precise. It was a nice experience, but one that I needed to do in chunks and not a solid build session. The color selection looks better in person than on the box and in photos. However, I wish extra bricks came in shades of blue and not more orange. Finally, the monotonous paint-by-numbers style might not be for everyone. I found it somewhat relaxing. Overall, I rate this build experience at 90%.
As mentioned earlier, the World Map’s colors are a little odd. They do look better in person than in photos though. I have not decided where to hang mine yet, but I will find a wall space for it. Additionally, the set contains extra bricks, allowing you to place markers on the map. I love that idea. You can mark where you have been, or where you would like to go. I am thinking about placing markers in all the places I have gone LEGO® shopping. Alternatively, I recently traded my first sig fig. If I continue with that, I might start placing the traded sig figs I get on their country of origin. I think this map is a lot of fun. The soundtrack suggests placing your LEGO® animals on the map. That is a great idea too.
You can mark up locations on the map with extra bricks included in the set.
Speaking of the soundtrack, I was on the fence when I first turned it on. I guess I was expecting music of some sort. However, it is a series of interviews lasting an hour and 13 minutes. To get the full intended experience, I kept listening. Interestingly, I ended up enjoying the stories and perspectives as I built my way through the map’s early stages. Ultimately, an hour and 13 minutes does not come close to matching the build time for the set though. In fact, it did not even last one full strip of baseplates. That is not really a contentious issue though. I just cranked my music for the remaining build time and enjoyed it just as much.
With normal sets, I often discuss MOC potential in this section of the review. Interestingly, MOC ideas came flooding in as I assembled the World Map. I started visualizing my own art pieces for starters. Additionally, the baseplates are amazing. I have not seen this piece outside of the Art theme. However, the potential for building multi-level cities and buildings is great. You can build under these as easily as you can build above them. Until now, the LEGO® Group lacked a plate like this. I lamented on that before. While not quite the baseplate I wished for, these plates might actually serve me better. The smaller modular nature of them makes them very versatile in terms of building platforms while being able to leave strategic openings. I want more Art sets now to build my own art, but also for those baseplates to use in my city!
OVERALL SCORE: 97%
The LEGO® World Map (31203) is a great set. It will not appeal to everyone though. The build is not standard AFOL fare. However, I found the build experience relaxing. My only real complaint is the color selection and the lack of appropriate colors to change it up. I also love the new baseplates in these Art sets. The potential for custom art projects and even custom city buildings is amazing. Finally, I look forward to marking up the map in my own unique way with Minifigures and/or LEGO® shopping destinations. Great set, great value. What are your thoughts on the LEGO® Art World Map (31203)? Feel free to comment below or reach out on social media.
Until next time,
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