Fantasy chess set
The phenomenal success of the great fantasy epics such as J R R Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, J K Rowling’s Harry Potter and C S Lewis’s Narnia Chronicles plus the myriads of fantasy works on bookshop shelves, in cinemas and in video games stores reveals a great appetite around the world for the fantasy genre. Small surprise then that the world of chess should also have its fantasy aficionados. Most fantasy tales involve a strong element of combat and conflict. This fits neatly into the setting of the highly strategic battle of minds which is the game of chess. In fantasy chess the orthodox chess moves are the same, but playing with fantasy pieces introduces an extra element to the imagination of the players. In fantasy chess we are taken out of the world of mere men, so instead of just kings and queens, knights and castles, we have warriors and heroes battling against mythical creatures, dragons, elves and halflings. There would be a great array of weapons and armoury, not unlike the war games usually played by adults involving the strategic movement of regiments and armies in the field of battle. For even the generals in the war office were moving battalions, airplanes and tanks around on a large table map representing the positions of real flesh and blood soldiers on a real, not imagined, battleground.
Fantasy chess boards
Of course, some would say it could all be done on computers today, and yes, you can do all these things on a computer. But people of all ages still love the tactile experience of touching, holding, moving a three-dimensional object. For so many people their working life involves sitting in front of a computer screen. Then they relax on a sofa in front of another screen. Then, they will check another screen, held in their hands to see if any messages have arrived. How refreshing then to sit opposite a fellow human being to play a game on a board, not a screen, then to enjoy the pleasure of handling chess pieces that have been carefully shaped and carved, and very skilfully hand painted. These chess pieces are all based on fantastical designs and ideas. Some characters on the board could have originated in the mind of your favourite author. Maybe Terry Pritchett or C S Lewis. So one begins to comprehend the growing enthusiasm and demand for the fantasy chess set. The creator of the popular fantasy game, Dungeons and Dragons, has designed his own fantasy chess game, which requires three tiered glass chessboards to play on. There is a vast array of fantasy creatures involved in this game, and the game is played out on three separate levels. Sounds complicated, but surely is an enjoyable addition to the fantasy chess set genre.
Many themed or novelty chess sets are marketed as fantasy chess sets. Examples of these are a set based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, and The Lord of the Rings.