In 1994 Steve Jackson Games published a new way to play chess, with cards. At the time, as is the current thought from what I’ve experienced today, chess is a game to be played for both recreational and professional players.
When I was a kid, I used to play chess with my brother. We used to sit down and try to come up with new ways to make chess more fun. As I have heard before, chess is a smart persons game. In the end, you want to be a better player than when you started. Casual play was almost seen strictly as a way to get better, and by playing against a wider variety of people, skill would almost certainly increase. I was 8 in 1994. I barely registered what I was doing on a conception level, but I was playing chess. My mother taught me. We used to sit down on a regular basis and play for hours on end. It was then I learned more about that game than anything else from anyone else at the time. She taught me how to be sly, look for opportunities, take risk, look for traps and bait, and how to win, and lose, gracefully. I had a problem though.
As much as I loved chess, and learning what my mom taught me about life in general while on the board, the fun factor didn’t feel the same as playing with my year younger brother. When we played, we would set up the pawns in an alternating pattern on black squares to try something different and see who would win. Sometimes we played with no pawns…or just pawns and a king. We did this because, for as awesome as Nintendo was when I was a child, my mother limited our playing time to just an hour a day. And when it was time to come inside from playing with the other kids, my brother and I would crouch around a chess board and come up with new ways to play chess.
I got older, and lost that practice. In high school, I was on a chess team (I was that dorky, no lie), and speech and debate team. I took opportunities in both clubs, looked for traps and bait, and took risks. I was sly, calculating, and alone. I played Magic: The Gathering back then too. I played more with a close group of friends and my brother than anyone else I knew. It was about then, that I learned of Knightmare Chess. But that year was 2000. The decks, these cards of wonder, were already getting hard to find. But acquiring them, I wasn’t interested in, playing however, was the spice of life.
I spent hours playing Knightmare chess with other kids in the chess club. Our instructor, didn’t condone the idea of using cards to enhance a game, especially chess, but he often reminded us that at tournaments, this game wouldn’t be there. Chess would. But the cards were just a pastime. I would see others play the game for a few years off and on later in life, but I really would never get the opportunity to get my own set, or play as much as I wanted to. Even today, finding a mint condition set of cards is almost impossible. So I decided to do something different. Insert Primordial Chess.
It’s a card game, that integrates with chess, in a manner like Knightmare chess, but aimed to be more. There are cards called Legends that put in powerful pieces that act differently on their own, and often bring elements to the game that change how a piece like that acts (each Legend has a rank, which makes it initially mimic a standard piece of chess, King, Queen, Rook, etc.).
There are also Incantations, one time effect cards that make a change to the game, and move one. There are also Relics and Enchantments, which provide a static effect, or give players an opportunity to do something every turn.
Every card of this game is aimed not just at pieces and how they behave, but board spaces, other player’s hands, their decks, and even discard piles. Some cards even target captured pieces and can bring them back.
I think a Kickstarter that brings back that element of fun for chess using cards is worth running a campaign for. The art is done in pure charcoal by a single artist, and it gives it a great feel to the card overall.
Anyway, here is a link for the Kickstarter, and a sample card from the game.
Thanks for taking the time to look at this and I hope it helps bring back the memory of playing chess for fun like I did when I was a kid.
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