A couple of weeks ago, Lucy and I were building with LEGOs, and I happened to grab one of our large plates.
We’ve had several large, square plates like this for a while, but it didn’t occur to me until that particular day to see just how big they were. As it turns out, they are 32 studs on a side. If I were to break the board up into 4×4 blocks, I’d have exactly enough to make a chess board.
A LEGO chess board.
I realize this board doesn’t have the usual checkered pattern, so it would be very difficult to actually play a game with this set, but I think it’s a great starting point.
With this board, I wanted to make sure that the pieces were very distinctive when viewed from above – the normal perspective when you are playing a game. I’ve played on several different boards in the past, and probably the most frustrating thing is trying to tell – at a glance – which piece is which. In particular, it seems to be a running problem that Bishops and Pawns look very similar, differing in height, but not much else. That works fine at the start of the game, but not in the middle game, when nothing is next to each other any more. The "at a glance" issue is worse with the commemorative boards, such as for Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter. These are gorgeous boards, but it would take a lot of play before I could just glance at the pieces before making a move.
The Pawns are simple, and distinguished from the other pieces by being significantly shorter.
With the Rooks, I tried to create a very simplified rampart.
The Knights are designed to look like horses. These went through a few iterations before I landed on this version, though.
The antenna look like strange stand-ins for ears, but they certainly allow the Knights to stand out on the board.
I originally thought about using pure-black antenna on the black Knights, but I didn’t have four of them, and the grey versions stand out better, anyway.
Many of the boards I’ve played on have the Bishops’ hats narrow to a point, very much like what a Catholic bishop would wear. With the LEGO Bishops, I tried to evoke that look with a slanted top.
Up to this point, the pieces had been purely black and white. With the Queens and Kings, I decided to add a splash of color – blue with the white pieces, and red with the black ones. Here are the Queens:
And the Kings:
Overall, I think it’s a fine-looking first attempt.
And as a bonus pic, I present you with the "Knights of the Rounded Table".