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This item is one or more photographs
It belongs to categories: Orthodox chess, 
It was last modified on: 2016-09-02
 Author: Fergus  Duniho. House of Staunton Chess Variant Kits. Photos of Chess variant pieces sold by the House of Staunton.[All Comments] [Add Comment or Rating]
Fergus Duniho wrote on 2017-09-24 UTC

I'm glad you will be making more figurine pieces, including a figurine dragon. With that, and substituting cougars for lions, I'll be able to set up Caïssa Britannia. Many of the other pieces you mention will probably fit with various variants, though I'm not sure how distinct the eagle and mammoth will be from the hawk and elephant you already have. A lion piece would probably be popular, because many variants include lions, and the lion can be easily distinguished from the cougar by including the mane.

Since the main designer of the pieces is also the founder of the House of Staunton, I'm under the impression that the House of Staunton has more to do with these pieces than just selling them. Anyway, I put the emphasis on the House of Staunton, because this site is an affiliate of the House of Staunton, and I earn money for the site when people go through my affiliate links to the House of Staunton to buy these pieces. Also, I want to enourage people to buy them through the House of Staunton over Amazon, because they are cheaper that way, and the House of Staunton pays its affiliates better than Amazon does.

Dr Zied Haddad wrote on 2011-11-30 UTCExcellent ★★★★★


Thanks for all these pictures and comments. Let's share more about the kits. House of Staunton is a partner who only sells the kits. I'm the inventor, manufacturer etc. of the kits. The main designer is Mr Frank Camaratta. This is for the available kits. I tend to call them Musketeer Chess Series1, because there is going to be a series2 (14 newly designed and unique pieces) and NextGen Pawns (7 different designs).

Let me explain some of the names of the pieces: Dragon = Amazon. The name Dragon was suggested by Mr Camaratta. I accepted. I must say that it wasn't a good idea. When you see my website and the page where i give links to European Customers to buy the kits i talk about Dragon or Amazone.


The name Spider was influenced by the moves of the pieces. It looks like a net made by a spider. When manufacturing the pieces, the manufacturer made a mistake and interverted the Diagrams between Fortress and Spider. Fortunately, both pieces have a lot of common moves and the Current Spider rules fit well with the name.


Musketeer Chess Series2 will have a Real Figural Spider, a real Figural Dragon and many many more figural pieces (Rhinoceros Wolf Bear Dog Eagle Mammoth etc.)

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2017-05-03 UTC

My latest take on why the dragon piece looks like it does is because in the Musketeer Chess variant, an amazon (the common name for the queen plus knight powers compound piece) is called a dragon, and the dragon piece figurine thus is tall like a queen, while having the face-mask used by knights in real life (much as you alluded to originally in describing the piece figurine yourself, Fergus).

As for the spider piece, I looked just now at the movement pattern of this piece type just within 1/4 (90 degrees) of all its legal moves in mid-board on an empty board, and noticed there are 6 legal moves possible within such a quadrant of all of its possible moves, and 6 is the number of prongs given to the figurine for this piece... a real stretch of the imagination I'll admit. This sort of speculation doesn't work similarly for other piece figurines though, such as the Fortress.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-09-09 UTC

Maybe that price difference is one of the reasons no one ever ordered anything through my affiliate links back when I had them. I tend to promote the House of Staunton affiliate links for these items over Amazon or eBay  links, because the prices for these items are lowest when ordered directly from the manufacturer, and the House of Staunton pays its affiliates a larger percentage of the sale price.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-08 UTC

It's possible that the manufacturer goofed on the number of legs of a spider (i.e. it's not an insect, which would often have 6 legs), or perhaps for practical reasons 8 prongs instead of 6 at the top would have made the design awkward somehow.

On the dragoon, the manufacturer may have been taking some artistic license by being anacronistic with the helmet (it certainly was being so if not trying to represent a mythical beast, all the same). I might give the benefit of the doubt, instead, by suggesting such a musketeer (with such a helmet) was modelled on a brief transition period between still wearing helmets (to protect oneself in close quarters engagement) and the period after, when no helmet was worn at all.

Again, all a bit of a stretch of the imagination.

Fwiw, last night I compared the prices for the 5 kits as sold on (approx. $98 Cdn per kit; I used the search words "THE HOUSE OF STAUNTON") & as sold on The House of Staunton in the US (approx. $15 per kit). Quite a shocking difference in prices, even taking into account a Cdn $ is currently worth approx. $US 0.77.

Fergus Duniho wrote on 2016-09-08 UTC

The top part of the Spider piece would look something like a spider if it had eight prongs instead of six.

I did just learn that the word "dragoon" is related to the word "dragon," but the origin of the word makes the armored helmet an anachronistic way to represent a dragoon. Dragoons were originally so called, because they carried a firearm called a dragon. Given that dragons are supposed to be dangerous, fire-breathing monsters, it's an appropriate name for a firearm. But firearms made the usual armor of knights obsolete. This armor had been designed to protect against weapons like swords and arrows, but it couldn't protect as well against firearms, and in a battle with firearms it would serve more to slow a soldier down than to protect him.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-08 UTC

I edited my previous post slightly, with a postscript.

Kevin Pacey wrote on 2016-09-07 UTCExcellent ★★★★★

Hi Fergus

Nice pictures of the lovely plastic fairy chess pieces!

Regarding the mysterious representations of the Spider & Dragon pieces, I came up with possible explanations, which are a bit of a stretch of the imagination, though.

The Spider piece could be meant as an abstract representation of a spider's body, minus all 8 of its legs (perhaps for practical reasons); it looks like there may be 4 little stubs near the top of the piece, possibly representing the beginnings of a spider's front 4 legs.

The Dragon piece does look like it has an armoured face mask to me, too. I found a wikipedia illustration of the type of face mask (actually, helmet) that it might represent:


Since this (barred) type of helmet is reserved for nobility, that led me to heraldry, to verify that dragon symbols were ever used for that. ;) Sure enough, yes; see part way down from the start of this link:


P.S.: A dragon can sometimes mean a soldier who is a musketeer (dragoon is common spelling); muskets have been around a long time, so it's possible a (nobleman) musketeer could have worn such a helmet too, I suppose.

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