Sovereign Chess board game on Kickstarter

I hope this doesn’t violate any rules about promotion, but my brother his a Kickstarter for his game Sovereign Chess. If it sounds interesting to you, please check it out!

Please be 3d Star Trek Chess… Please be 3d Star Trek Chess…

/me watches video

Well it’s not 3d, but that’s definitely an interesting twist on chess.

Even though it’s a much bigger game, it seems like this could lessen the intimidation factor that comes with chess being such a widely studied and partially ‘solved’ game (since the larger board and extra colors should–I naively assume–break many of the well studied openings and scenarios common in traditional chess).

Yeah, I do indeed like the concept and it seems like there should be a niche for it. <rash generalization coming> Kids these days seem to have somewhat drifted away from board games, but I hope the pendulum will swing back a little bit and that something like this finds a home.

I will say that my kids tried it when they were younger, and they actually picked it up pretty quickly. It has more…I don’t want to say “randomness,” because it’s not really random…but it does feel like there are more options to surprise your opponent, like capturing another color that is right next to him and watching him scramble to respond.

Very nice! It reminds me a bit of Victory Point’s For the Crown, a crazy combination of chess and a deck-builder by Jeremy Lennart, the guy who made Darkest Night. But Sovereign Chess looks much more accessible.


I don’t think it’s colour blind friendly.

Those prices seem way too high.

I understand the difficulty there. They’re using ten different armies, so it’s hard not to use colors that trip up colorblind players. I guess he could use different shaped pieces, but that would drive the cost up quite a bit for custom molds.

I’m not colorblind, but even I get into trouble with these kinds of things because the colors of the pieces and the board don’t exactly match up. For example, blue, dark blue, and grey squares. The pieces are easy to differentiate, but the squares on the board look confusing.

There are 125 plastic pieces in there. $100 isn’t ridiculous for the typical kickstarter board game with 125 plastic miniatures. Those projects are often successful, since little plastic toys are kinda cool.

The problem is, the pieces are fairly unimaginative chess figures. We’re used to seeing sets with roughly this figure quality at $15 or so. You get a lot more pieces - 125 vs. 32 - but the nagging feeling is that it ought to be $20 for a set, even though that’s unrealistic.

Since you can mail order chess armies in all those colors for $8 / 16 pieces, I’m guessing they’re not even special-ordering the pieces, they’re just buying them and throwing away the unused bits. Which is kind of awkward for the corner armies, which have 2 queens each.

If you went that route to make your own Sovereign Chess set, you’d have to buy 12 armies for $96, and print and mount the board. You’d end up with 67 extra pieces.

That does seem a little unrealistic. Even at the $15 price for a low-end chess set (and let’s face it, chess sets are pretty well commoditized by now), you would expect to pay $60 for the number of pieces you get in this set. And a decent chess set with storage for the pieces usually runs around $25.

I don’t know why you think they’re buying stock sets and throwing away the extra pieces; as you pointed out, that’s $96 by itself, plus you need to get two extra queens.

But sure, if you wanted to go that route, I suppose you could make your own set. But if you’re spending $96 on pieces and printing and mounting the board yourself, you’re already pretty close to the $100 Kickstarter price, and that’s without the custom storage box that comes with the full version. For what you get, I think the price point is very reasonable.

That $96 includes the two extra queens. If you didn’t need those queens, you’d only need 10 sets.

As for why I get that impression, it’s because the pieces look like bog-standard cheap pieces, complete with obvious mold lines. When I searched on non-standard colors for chess armies, the pieces look exactly like the Sovereign pieces, without even minor variations.

$8 colored chess pieces:

Sovereign Chess kickstarter:

I’m not saying is their source, or even that they’re actually doing that, but the pieces look so much like the ultra-cheap sets I’ve seen that it gives that impression, whether it’s true or not. Funky colors do not a nice chess set make.

Competing in looks with nice sets is rough, of course. People have been making art-level sets for centuries. It’s just that when you’re looking at $100 for a set, it’s harder to stomach when the pieces look like something you might find in the toys section of a grocery store.

The bottom line is that even though I understand why they have to charge $100, I completely get why BobM said they were way too high. That’s a perfectly obvious knee-jerk reaction.

There are actually 12 different colors in a Sovereign Chess set, so you would need to buy 12 different sets (at $8 each) to get a full complement of the correct colors. And then you would need to buy or paint an additional two queens to complete the set.

It depends on what you’re looking for in an art-level set. You can have a standard chess set with custom pieces, or you can get standard chess pieces in custom colors on a larger board with new gameplay. I think there’s room in the gaming world for both variations.

Kicktraq’s current projection is $12k-$23k by funding campaign’s end, rather short of the $50k they need.

Hard to say why. Maybe it’s that there isn’t a lot of interest in an oddball chess variant. Not enough of a new game for some people, and too different for others. Or it could be BobM’s reaction, a failure to sell the idea that what you’re getting is worth $100.

$100 is pretty steep for a board game. There are projects that have made it, but they’ve conveyed the impression that you were getting something really sexy for the money, like Sedition Wars. Either you have to go cheaper, make what you’re getting look particularly nice, or have a cult following.

Andy, I would recommend taking the rules offline, dropping the goal price to something like 10K, and having a tier that sells the rules only at $10-15, with the board pdf at $25 and then the other tiers for those that want assembled sets. The rules are the thing and with those posted it seems like the KS is for naught unless you can build/sell the sets super cheap.

I think the idea is to go for 2 and 3. The game was on display at Strategicon this past weekend, and there were lots of comments about how eye-catching the game is.

If $100 is a hard sell for 124 pieces in custom colors, I don’t see how it makes any sense to sell the rules PDF for $10, or sell it with the board PDF for $25. As for selling the set for super cheap or dropping the goal price to $10K, again you have to weigh the selling price with the quality of the set. We’ve already established that it would cost someone $112 to order enough pieces for the game, and that’s not including the cost of making the board. Keeping in mind what it would take to make your own set, $100 fully shipped seems like a reasonable amount to pay. Obviously some people disagree, but I personally think it’s better to make a high-quality set that costs a little more, rather than making a set that is cheap in both price and quality.

By the way, he just dropped the price to $70.

I want to support this because it’s a great idea, but it’s still a hefty price. The thing that gets me is it only has 52 backers at $6,565 and he needs $50,000. I just don’t see how that’s going to happen in 20 days.

I’m not sure how many other people are also waiting to see how it does before jumping in. At worst, if it doesn’t hit its target, you aren’t out any money. I’m just hoping it builds momentum soon, because as you point out, it is getting down to the wire.

wow, I am a chess player since childhood…

from the kickstarter page.

If you know how to play chess it usually takes about 5-10 minutes to learn Sovereign Chess

Let me tell you, sir!, that although I play chess for many, many years, I still don’t how to play well ;) This looks like the complexity of chess might
have been increased to the power of 10 or something… well done! You made one of the most difficult games on the planet even look harder ;)

good luck, though…

The price at 70 seems good given the volume of pieces, it just sucks that you have to buy and ship so many pieces to play the game.

If it were possible to have a super cheap physical option, something at 35 or so? Like maybe just the print-and-play version on high quality print stock with a bag or something for the pieces. If you could pre-cut the paper that would be be great but even that isn’t necessary.