Being a "so-so" board game when it comes to it's popularity, not popular to the point everyone plays it and not so unknown it is reserved for the elite, it has survived the test of time and even now it is fighting through the more modern means of entertainment, such as video games, which made even backgammon look about as fun as throwing rocks at each other until someone falls unconscious.
So, given I'm so ass backwards and I enjoy chess more than I do video games, then including it is a given most of you have had their parents kick the door down just to say how they had nothing but a stick and a plastic hoop to play with on their Latvian mountain village home back in 1967, I have decided to write a review on the board game version of chess. The raw, non-filtered version. Because whenever you play a version on PC the AI is either artificially braindead or has the ability to see the future and beat you before you even make your first move.
As a note to [Admin username here]; Hands off that trash button, if a guy can review a set of headphones and not get sent to Gaming Gulag, I'm sure there's no issue if I review an actual game!
With all of that time wasted, and my board finally sawed in half let's see how truly great Chess is!:
It seems logical that a game so simple looking like chess wouldn't have much issue keeping balance, after all, both players have the same pieces, all of them placed in the same order, yadda yadda...
Well chess being in truth as complex as an edgeless 1000 piece jigsaw and considering someone has to start first, the game in reality can be pretty "brutal" at times.
Let's put on a side the fact that there being varying degrees of players, some which have four digit IQs and others forgetting how shoelaces are tied in the morning can have pretty concerning results as to how friendly the game is for beginners... or how good it is for a friendly match when your friend could potentially destroy you both in the match and physically from winning 50 to 1.
The biggest flaw of "balance" it has, if we take out the degrees of expertise and tactics of the players, tends to be the advantage black can potentially have, given that whites are always the first to start the matches.
While it seems like just a minor "haha" issue, someone who knows what they're doing can use it to steal your girl in 2 moves if you're playing whites.
It is possible for a player with blacks to win a game in 2 turns, whereas the shortest checkmate for whites is in 4 turns. That's quite a difference as much as you like to call me a pretentious chesstard.
Other than that, game's balanced enough for it to offer a fair chance to all new players!
Just make sure you pick a friend that has the attention span of a goldfish.
Imagine existing in the current century and having no idea how to play chess!
Everyone knows, or at least should know the basics of chess which is how each piece is moved. When it comes to that aspect, the game is pure grace, but that is until you begin to grasp the concept of the gameplay in depth and then you realize the absolute tornado of ass most of the billions of situations you may find yourself in chess can be.
It's not as much the lack of skill, but rather the way the pieces are used which adds that extra 0.1% to the rage meter because the rook managed to clean off 2/5 of your special pieces.
It's really easy to mess up your own "perfect" game if you rush or take things too carelessly, especially if the other player finds the smallest of openings, or if you miss that one piece you thought wasn't going to do anything 2 moves back.
As for the pieces, I'm going to review them as well and give some amateur overview to explain what it is like using them once you've suffered through their gimmicky movements:
Or as I like to call it; The Maginot Line.
Thing's as useful as using the royal guard on Warhammer 40k as meat shields, just move them forward and hopefully you get to capture something other than a bait pawn.
Despite their bland design and "usefulness" they are worth more than gold, and by that I mean they are just there to sacrifice to the chess gods rather than have it attack anything thanks to their 1-dimensional perception of the world.
If the person you're playing against sees as well as a bat maybe you'll have the luck of reaching the opposite edge and promoting it to something more useful like a Queen. Or if you like to frighten your contrarian just pick a Knight... you masochist.
This is the guy that when you see at him far away while walking on the streets you cross the road to avoid him.
Being honest this guy can be as deadly as he can be a bother when you're using it, because while it can go across the entire universe it seems to lack the spatial awareness to turn anywhere.
Even then, use this thing to block the king's path, or to exterminate pawns and the Rook becomes more valuable. Especially since I'm lame enough to get checkmates specifically with it.
Get into a fight with either a Bishop, Knight or a Queen and it's likely the Rook's dead before it even realized it.
You know when you're playing an RTS and you have that extremely weak unit that you use for nothing more than to send to scout the map before it dies in 0.3 nanoseconds? That's exactly what the Knight is.
Having been blessed by some ancient Aztec demon with the power of phasing through anything at the cost of mental retardation this is the only piece that is capable of "jumping over" any other piece, so it cannot be blocked in any way. The problem is that it can only move in an L pattern, meaning that it is also extremely easy to avoid and quite lame to maneuver around.
Unlike almost every other piece which has a pattern you usually want to avoid or steer off from the Knight has a single point around it which is as simple to stray out off as going around or just moving one square further in, then it cannot touch you.
It has it's uses, but personally, I never saw it as particularly useful for most situations... it does a good job at juggling pieces around though.
If you dislike snipers in any sort of shooter, boy are you going to enjoy how awful this piece is.
Being able to steer clear of almost every piece's range, and overall being really annoying to deal with if it's in a space that isn't surrounded. It is a piece that's going to last longer than the rest if you take good care of it, and oh god does it make me want to commit self-flagellation every time I see it JUST out of reach.
On your end you'll find it pretty handy for most things, that include offense rather than defense since it can reach almost anything by taking a few flips here and there.
Though when it comes to defense even placing it exactly where you want it may be a bit of a rough action...
Worth more than even the King, miss Jeanne d'Arc over here can not only mess up everyone in the hundred years' war but also give you a psychological breakdown in the middle of a game.
Likely to be the one piece you're going to use the most until it dies and then you realize you actually do have other pieces to play with, the Queen is going to be all over the place and pretty much take care of any annoying piece in the way.
It's hard to efficiently dodge it and once it reaches the King it's all going to turn into a turn skip with other pieces casually getting captured in the process because the Queen can do anything.
Imagine calling yourself a King and being even more useless than the Pawns! OH NO NO AHAHAHA!
Not only does the King have a veeeery awful pattern both to move and attack in but it also counts that it is the "flag" that marks any victory upon capture.
Now if it weren't for that it wouldn't be an issue at all, but given that it is, even thinking of attacking with it to save it or get rid of a piece gives off a paranoia vibe as it's scary trying to deduce whether that's exactly what the contrarian wants you to do or if you're just overthinking and being weird.
Overall this piece gets my official OOF seal. Complete 0/10. Not even a good porch garment.
Unlike many other board games out there, chess is 100% tactics and skill rather than luck! (At least that's what the internet says).
Thanks to that, it makes it a game where actually using your brain and designing tactics for every situation has a bigger reward than smashing it with a club.
There are many ways to approach a situation and many combinations which are specific and what not, to the point where writing all of them would pass the character limit by possible over 6M+ characters.
So! Instead I'm just going to go over the two most common rules that kind of act as tactics of their own; one which everyone should know and one which no one knows and you'll get stared at with murderous intent if you pull it off!
If there is someone who doesn't know what castling is, you're legally allowed to punch them. Ask any lawyer.
Being a tactic that is mostly used to save your King last second, it can only be performed if both the King and Rook haven't moved AT ALL when you plan to perform it. They both get close for a French kiss and swap places.
While useful for very specific situations, you can also be easily baited into leaving your King even more defenseless than before, and being fair, I've only used castling once and that single time it reduced the game from an expected 69 moves to 11, so that was nice.
Now this is the tactic where people will illegally punch you if you try to perform it when they know about chess as much as they remember what they ate yesterday.
It was designed as a way to stop people from using the rule that a Pawn can jump 2 squares rather than one in their first move, avoiding getting destroyed by another Pawn or piece in the way.
And thanks to that whoever design "En Passe" gave them all a big finger.
If someone does it when you have a piece nearby, for example a Pawn, it can break the laws of time and space and King Crimson the hell out of the pawn that just moved, giving you the satisfaction of having pulled out a maneuver that transcends the physical realm, with the added bonus of the look of confusion on your enemy's face.
Let me tell you, once you know about this satisfaction ensures. Absolutely brilliant.
As for other tactics that exist out there, they're mostly developed as the player goes about and increases their IQ points by an extra 20, so obviously tactics and strategic plays are what compose this game's chaotic style.
One of the strangest things one can notice about chess is how everything just seems to "work".
Sure there's a bunch of bullshit situations one can find themselves in, and often times some things just feel unfair, but ultimately, it's obvious the way this game was designed was so that any mistake is blamed on you, and not on that outdated piece of ancient entertainment looking like it was designed by Ubisoft.
The pieces, and each one of their movements have a purpose that the rest don't, even observing from real close, you can notice how one of the Bishops can cover ground that the Bishop on the opposite side cannot. A very interesting fact.
While not many take a moment to observe the beauty of how a board of chess is set up and how extremely specific it is, it matters a lot from a "review" stand point as many other board games love to just throw random graphics and pieces all over the place hoping that it turns out balanced.
Don't know about you, but chess has a very unique touch on even it's board alone.
You know what makes Chess a great game?
That it cannot be "mimicked" in any way.
The game was designed in such a way that is almost unreal how well it works, all pieces, all their functions, all the strategy involved, the many combinations and situations...
Adding any more or any less pieces would've made it so radically different the game would probably become much more condescending for a good chunk of all players, especially the new ones.
There are variations out there such as explosive/nuclear chess, 3D chess and who knows how many more which add to the game's fun factor, yet from my personal point of view at least, the base game, the way it was always meant to be played has this odd "aura" to it that makes it feel like an episode of OCD. It all feels right.
Onto other points for what makes chess so great, is how it's complexity develops as one goes along since anyone who knows the moves of the pieces can look at a board and know what doing what will cause, but the more you learn and observe the more options it gives off out of nowhere that you couldn't even notice before.
Of course, there are issues regarding how different people are, and how their way to think can affect the game greatly, often times to the point where it may seem "impossible" to play against some simply because they have much more observation or tactical skill than the rest, as opposed to actual experience playing the game.
Even so no matter how old or how young you are, this game is just made so that anyone can play it, have fun, and exercise their motor functions with something that isn't laying on the sofa devouring chips while looking at Netflix all day... or more accurate to it's time, chipping at rocks to make wheels.
So that's pretty much all there is to really review and say about this thing known as chess, which somehow survived all these centuries only to end up become a legal, regulated and professional sport, as well as make it's way into other matters which cannot quite be defined...