Chess is since its inception, one of the most popular games, specially created for two players. Since then, a number of abstract games tried to follow its success, but only few managed to touch their fame. Few are even older and yet not as famous around the world, but only in cultures – Go leads in Japan and Mancala in Africa. But the world is still filled with a 64 square board, towers and kings in most popular and best known game of all times.
Chess can be played in many ways – thoughtfully, recreationally, on time or very quickly. Its up to you. But in case you wanted to become really good in this game and stand up to the starting line of a tournament, there was one little glitch. Without studying past games and many famous opening combinations, you have practically no chance, because only according to them you can often recognize opponent’s intentions.
And among these famous maneuvers, you are trying to manage your way to victory. It is still thoughtful, but unfortunately less fun – who likes to learn stuff all the time? This does not diminish the value of chess as a family game, perfectly fit for playing father-son matches or just for plain fun.
But just in those learning parts was seen a room for improvement. Two people saw it clearer than anyone else – creators coming from Germany – Matthias Schmitt and Heinrich Glumpler. They came out with their idea originally in German language in game under the title SchachEN and then published in the same year (2011) also english version called Chess Me. A simple design of chess figures was taken care of by Carsten Fuhrmann and the whole publishing business by Mücke Spiele. A company, that is a daughter company of the popular server www.spielmaterial.de. We have already had the opportunity to review the AstroNuts (review) game, whose family sci-fi touch really succeeded with our players.
Now we’ll look together, how Chess Me succeded, in next lines and articles. Can they find their own niche in the sun alongside such legends known to everyone around the world, such as Chess? It begins its journey very well, because it is found inside a small box, which does not contains any game board! This is something, you will never need to play this game. Only table or flat surface is enough? Intrigued? Fine, that was our intention.
So, now we have probably put a bug inside your head, but if you read on, everything gets clearer and you will soon understand intentions of the authors. But you do not have to worry, that the contents of the box was close to zero. Its not. Conversely you get cardboard pieces with pictures of popular and well-known chess figures – pawns, castle, bishop, knight, queens and kings.
Nothing is missing now and all these cardboard pieces will keep you busy, as you move them just like you do on the board, but this time its only virtual. All of this will be very happily and clearly explained by the attached rules, contain enough variety of examples.
At the beginning of the game, players divide among themselves pieces by color. One will represent white, while the second has to do with black color. Disposition is really different from the classic game, because in fact you do not start match with all the pieces on the board! All you will initally need is only king and four pawns. You take all the other figures, mix them well and prepare drawing pile out of them. Now you can draw the first three tiles into your hand, where you will prepare them for your next moves.
But back to the placement of the original five pieces, with which you will have to prepare. Four pawns are standing side by side in a line and while the king is hiding behind the second from the left. Opponent will do the same, so your kings stand exactly opposite to each other in the same column. Between these two armies must remain two free rows, which are only thing, that divide your armies at the beginning.
And what are player’s choice, when his turn comes? First, one must always move his pawn. Already this movement has specific conditions, which we are not accustomed to from the original game. You can merely move to such places, which is adjacent to some other soldiers of yours or units of your opponent.
The only exception is a situation, where you capture an opponent’s piece. Then you can land in a spot, where is no other pawn present. You can move your token arbitrarily, but must always follow the movement of the units, that you know from chess – castles move horizontally and vertically, bishops diagonally and knights to shape of the letter L. But be careful, the king may under no circumstances go back and can only move forward and sideways (with exception of capturing opponent’s pieces).
So we solved the movement, but then there’s the second part of the turn: deploying reinforcements. Each round, you can (but need not) send new soldier into battle out of those three, you are holding in your hand. Once you do, you draw new card from your drawing pile to get back to three tiles in your hand.
But you might think: Even the deployment of new units will not be so self-evident and loose, as it might seem. And you’re right. In Chess Me, there are two types of deployment – pawns and other troops. While inserting new pawn into the game, you can put only beside already placed pawn. This place must be of course empty. But all other units must be played behind any of your active pawns. There is no other way for bringing them into game.
You have no other choice. There is a much stronger position for pawns in this game and especially their placement and movement on the plan is crucial. And it really is so, that if you lose all your pawns, you have lost the possibility of bringing new soldiers into play!
Aim of the game of course remained the same, ie to checkmate the opponent’s king. He is not under allowed to move back even, when check happens, but only forward or sideways. Just draw option widened slightly – if the player cannot move any piece on his regular place in the neighborhood of another, then the game ends in a draw immediately, as well as when rivals agree.
Chess Me is a wonderful chess reimagination. It brings into play an entirely new idea, yet retains all the essential features, that we love about this classical game – tactics, that inspire imagination.
During the game, you must throw aside everything, you know about the classic game, whose name is borrowed by this game. With exception of pieces movement, which will be useful. Otherwise, however, the game requires a whole different approach and tactics, making it really unique game. Yet you still feel with no doubt, that you are playing chess. Unbelievable.
The game is thoughtful and only random thing about the whole game is drawing of the pieces, you can send to the game. Some may label this principle as immature and uninteresting, but it forces you to constantly adapt your tactics to new situation. And that’s great thing. Players must work with a trio of figures in their hand, not with the whole arsenal. But it is still sufficient for the preparation of a plan. And it makes the game roll faster, because you have not so many options available on the table.
For the entire game and winning, there is one important rule to remember – figurines can be deployed only behind a pawn. This limit is currently also tremendously challenging rule, that will give you a hard time. While pawns in chess are often only scapegoats, here they play a vital role. At least until you deploy all units.
Chess Me works perfectly and brings great and unforgettable experience to everyone, regardless of their relationship to classical chess. Moments of surprise, deception and tension are present. Do not hesitate you and let this game CHESS YOU!
+ based on the most popular board game in the world
+ no need to learn famous moves
+ no board
+ can be easily transported
+ tactical options
+ pawns are more important
+ reinforcements are put from hand
- random tile drawing