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Knightmare Chess. The American version of Tempete sur l'Echiquier.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
DarkKnight wrote on 2002-06-29 UTCPoor ★
Although I´m glad to see this chess variant mentioned on this side, I´m somewhat surprised to see that so much negative is being commented on the dark design of the cards. It´s true, they could´ve chosen some other theme entirely, like the french 'cartoon' style or fairy-tale or whatever. Not only did SJG choose the gothic fantasy genre style, they´ve done some marvelous work on it. As for myself, the illustrations on the cards give me inspiration, a sort of storytelling on what really happens in the game. The dark tone may be somewhat frightenig for the younger audience, but so are the Grimm brothers stories as well.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-07-01 UTC
Tastes do vary. At 44 I no longer qualify as a 'younger player', but I have to admit that after winning the game in a contest, I looked it over two or three times, and then put it on a shelf where it remains today, due to the (to me) unpleasent artwork. Life is too short to expose myself to that sort of thing. But then, as I said, tastes vary -- the world contains many people who enjoy horror novels and long dreary Russian novels.

John Lawson wrote on 2002-07-02 UTC
Apropos to other discussions about the importance of theme in a chess variant, this is an example of how theme really does count, even if it ideally shouldn't. The choice of the gothic horror theme clearly can strongly attract or repel a player, regardless of the objective merits of the game.

Peter Aronson wrote on 2002-07-02 UTC
But in this case, the theme is not instrinsic to the variant, but to the particular edition of the variant. The original version of the game -- Tempete sur l'Echiquier -- used the same rules but different artwork on the cards. This is a case of effect of production choices on the resulting game.

John Lawson wrote on 2002-07-02 UTC
Exactly. The theme is completely arbitrary, totally unrelated to the mechanics of play, really just decoration. And yet, it has an effect on who likes and dislikes the game. This is a strong example for those who believe an appealing and well-expressed theme is important in a chess variant.

Patrick Carroll wrote on 2002-08-21 UTC
As much as I'm intrigued by this game, one look at the card art at the SJG Web site was enough to turn me away permanently. I can't speak from personal experience, but I suspect this is a terrific game in a horrific package. What was Steve Jackson thinking? I'm sorry to have to skip this one.

Joseph DiMuro wrote on 2002-08-21 UTC
You're not alone. If they had kept the silly cartoons that were in the French version, this game would be on my shelf right now. I keep hoping they'll eventually release a less 'knightmarish' version...

Anonymous wrote on 2002-11-11 UTC
It is also available in a german edition, called Tschach,
by Heidelberger Spieleverlag. The german edition is in the
funny cartoon style.


Jeff wrote on 2003-10-12 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
Strange, I think the art is wonderful and that's one of my favorite things about the game! It's images are dark and evocative, making you feel like you're in a medieval battle. I'm not a kid, so I don't care if it's PG or PG-13; it's certainly tame compared to the video games kids play.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2004-11-07 UTC
Contrary to what Hans says about this game, I really like the graphics in Knightmare Chess, and I highly recommend this game. David Howe and I have spent many enjoyable hours playing this game. It is a lot of fun, and I consider it tops among Chess variants.

Matt wrote on 2005-10-18 UTCExcellent ★★★★★
I personally like the artwork, but really I couldn't care less. I'm really shocked that's even a topic of discussion here. It's an excellent game. I've played it hundreds of times, though sadly almost always with the same 2 or 3 people. Really very few players out there. I could suggest lots of little things that might have improved this or that (as with all games), but generally I find it better thoughout and more well ballanced that most games that you'll find on store shelves. I've also found that being good a chess is almost a *disadvantage* as it tempts you spend time trying to play for position, which is rarely worth the effort in this game. Anyway, I encourage everyone to try it. If you have questions, even pretty specific ones, feel free to email me at MChirchill (at) comcast (dot) net.

kuyan judith wrote on 2008-04-23 UTC
I have not played the game, but From what Jeff said I don't like the sound of it: From what I have heard, the feeling of being in a medieval battle is not one I would enjoy, and Is not the point of playing games to enjoy them (unless there is a prize).

Anonymous wrote on 2009-07-16 UTC
@ below: The reason I play chess is because it gives the feeling of a medieval battle. I enjoy games which actually have a story to them.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-10-11 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Excellent concept, as somewhat borrowed from the original French variant. I'd suggest an alternative deck of cards, the same except for more child-friendly illustrations, might be used be used for when a child(ren) is playing the game.

Aurelian Florea wrote on 2017-10-31 UTC

I understand that by now there are 3 oficial decks, is there anyway besides actually buying the game to find out what the decks contain. If I'm violating any law please tell me and don't do that yourself, but otherwise, I just want to know what those rules say :)!

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