Chess is a fun game by itself, but it can be improved with the right themed set. Fans of Star Wars likely already own a few pieces of memorabilia, so what fan who also likes chess wouldn’t enjoy a Star Wars chess set? There are a number of options out there, but two currently stand out as the best of the bunch.
Hasbro has been a trusted brand for a long time, so buying a themed chess set from them is something a lot of Star Wars enthusiasts have already done. It is one of the most reviewed Star Wars chess sets online, and the price is really tough to beat.
The packaging for the Star Wars Chess Game is pretty typical for a Hasbro board game. The pictures on the box are nice, but nothing too crazy. Once opened, the set includes a gameboard, 32 Star Wars chess pieces and 32 bases. Minor assembly is needed, but nothing difficult by any means.
After the pieces are all put together, they have nice weight to them. They definitely are sturdy, meaning that although they are made of plastic, they shouldn’t be too easy to break or have fall apart.
The board is pretty standard, and other too fancy. It gets the job done. The big difference in colors (silver vs. black) looks nice visually. Nothing in the set comes off as looking too fancy, but that is a good thing in this case, since it makes the set affordable.
First and foremost, this is a set designed to be a used and used a lot. There are some expensive chess sets out there that are meant to be on display mostly, but this is built for people of all ages. The box says ages 8+, but really anyone old enough to play chess will be able to use this set without an issue.
Setup is easy, and the details are pretty solid. The molds used by Hasbro definitely don’t look as though they mailed it in. Star Wars fans will be able to instantly tell what each piece is. On the front of each piece, it is easy to tell what chess piece it is as well. That comes in handy for first time players when certain pieces might not be clear in what they represent.
Durability after playing for a while is solid. There is no wear and tear on the paint, the board or anything.There are a few pieces that seem as though they could be prone to breaking with skinny limbs, but so far so good.
Any Room For Improvement?
The sizing of the set is a little weird. The board seems a little crowded with the big pieces. The compact size can be appreciated when taking the set on the road or to different parts of the house, but overall, it would look better on a bigger board.
While the symbols on each chess piece is a nice touch, the compact board and the smaller print means that occasionally, weird moves will be played. They probably should have made it a little bit bigger to improve the user experience and make it more like a real chess set instead of a novelty. This can be the case for a lot of themed chess sets, but just make sure to double-check all surrounding pieces the opponent has before moving into a vulnerable position.
There isn’t a better Star Wars chess set option under $50 on the market today. The fact that it is so cheap makes this a steal. Maybe it isn’t nice enough to be used as a display piece when chess isn’t being played, but it is geared more towards kids anyway. The durability is solid, as long as the pieces stay away from the ground or animals.
Those who like Hasbro and the playability of the set above will likely consider graduating to this set at some point. The Star Wars Saga Edition Chess Set does a much better job at being a display piece when not in use. When actually used for chess though, it just plays better as well, justifying the price tag.
Packaging for this set is pretty similar to the cheaper set reviewed above, but bigger. In all actuality, the packaging might be the most underwhelming part of the set in general. Once opened, a person can get a much better sense as far as how nice this set is.
In this matchup, it is Yoda and Luke vs. Darth Vader and the Emperor. All the pieces are well put together, sturdy and roughly two to three inches tall. There is a strong color difference between the two sides, and everything matches well in the set.
Setting up the board is an easy enough experience. The fold up board isn’t a game breaker, but since the board is so small, another option would have been nice. There is very little branding on the board, but enough space to store the pieces once they are captured.
Each piece actually seems to be at least somewhat bendable thanks to the plastic material they are made out of. Younger players will enjoy having that little bit of customization if they wish, although bending them too much could be risky.
Even though they are all pawns and it easy to tell they are pawn (size and look), it would be nice if they were a little bit more similar. It would make the game just a little bit better from a competition perspective.
This set is built to last for sure. The pieces are as durable as any type of figurine a person could find with a Star Wars theme. Plastic isn’t usually viewed as extremely durable, but this is quality, higher end material used.
Any Room For Improvement?
Once again, Hasbro seems to skimp a little on the size of the board. This is a minor inconvenience, until pieces begin to interlock. A saber, for example, will branch out in ways that go into another space. Some people have even gone as far as to replace the board completely for a more comfortable gaming experience.
For a chess set well over $100, it would be nice to get pieces made out of something a bit more durable than plastic. Although this plastic is stronger and better than most plastics out there, it still cheapens the set just a little. Hasbro makes up for it by adding so much detail, but it’s still a little disappointing.
There is no doubt that Hasbro has priced the two sets to market them for different uses. For the first set, it is a playable chess set for the entire family. When not in use, it can be boxed up and stored in the closet. The Star Wars Saga Edition Chess Set is a showstopper when in use and when displayed. It can seamlessly fit into any Star Wars set up at a home. Don’t be afraid to play with it on a consistent basis either, because it’s durable enough to not break down.
It might be a concern for some people about the size of the board, but it is less of a factor when not in use. There are also a number of alternative boards that could match well with this set if it really is an issue. Fortunately, those are usually very affordable. That is always an option for those people looking for some small type of customization.
Star Wars has a strong following thanks in large part to all the memorable characters. That is a big reason why it lends itself so well to a game like chess. There are a ton of figurine options for Star Wars characters, and each piece in chess sets acts as a mini figurine as well. The headliners, or in this case the characters acting as the king chess piece in each set, are always going to look the best and steal the show.
There are a few other options out there for Star Wars lovers, but these are the best of the best. For the most part, entry level Star Wars board games are going to be priced around $20-$40. When looking at the more expensive option, that is also pretty standard in pricing. There are some deluxe chess sets that are themed that have price tags over $500.
Shopping online tends to be the best option for any themed chess sets like Star Wars editions. They selection is better, the prices are more affordable and there are always options for returns and broken pieces.
Hasbro works directly with Disney and Star Wars, but there are a select few other manufacturers who can legally use the logos to create sets like the two listed above. Make sure to do all homework beforehand to make sure that the company has the full rights to use the likenesses.