I’ve been a massive Star Wars fan for as long as I can remember (thanks, Mom and Dad for introducing me to it when I could barely walk). As I grew up and started playing (and loving) chess, I naturally wanted to combine both of these interests and buy a Star Wars themed chess set.
After years of research, buying and using almost a dozen of these Star Wars themed chess sets, I’ve come to the conclusion that the Star Wars Saga Edition Chess Set is the best you can find on planet earth. Now, if you want to channel your inner Luke Skywalker and want to explore other galaxies, you are more than welcome but if you want to just enjoy the classic game of chess using your favorite Star Wars characters from the comfort of our own galaxy, this is as good as it gets.
Before sharing my experience with using this chess set, I just want to point out that when looking for any type of themed chess set, game play and usability is never top of my list. I assume that’s the case for most people since nothing can come close to a good, old-fashioned tournament chess set for serious chess play.
However, if you are looking to experience chess in a more fun, casual environment with friends that share your love for Star Wars, this set is the perfect choice. The set includes characters from the first six Star Wars movies (yes, even Phantom Menace. *shudders*). You can either choose the dark side and command the evil characters from the movies or join the force and defeat evil.
The chess pieces are made up of semi-soft plastic ranging from 2-4 inches in height.
The black army is naturally the ‘dark’ side where (8) Storm Troopers make up the Pawns. Count Doku and Darth Maul are the two Rooks. Bobba Fet and Jango Fett are the Knights while Grievous Bodyguard and General Grievous are the two Bishops. The infamous Darth Vader is the Queen (haha) and the cunning, aged and evil Emperor Palpatine is the King.
On the other side, we have silver pieces ready to wipe off the evil from the galactic empire. The Pawns of the silver army include 8 Clone Troopers. Padme Amidala and a two-in-one piece of C3PO & R2D2 make up the two Rooks. Han Solo and Chewbacca make up the two Knights while Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker are the two Bishops. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the Queen and Yoda – the master of the force – is the King.
The Saga Edition Chess Set comes with a black and silver cardboard chess board with dimensions of 2.3×11.4×15.4 inches and weight of 4.3 pounds. While the board is sturdy and smooth to allow a decent playing surface, the size is too small considering the size of the chess pieces that come with it. The pieces can feel cramped up when arranged together at the start of the game. But then again, chances are you won’t be using this set for serious game play so the board size should not really matter. However, in case you do want to go that route, upgrading to a larger board might be a good idea.
If you’re looking for a more affordable option that the Star Wars Saga Chess Set, the simple, budget friendly Star Wars Chess Game is a great option.
Just the like the Saga version, this one is made up of look-alike Star Wars characters with Rebel and Imperial armies made up of plastic chess pieces. One drawback of this budget-friendly option is that the pieces are way too top heavy and tend to fall very easily.
Also, since some of the characters are carrying light sabers and other props, I found that bumping into other pieces when making a move is very common. This can be solved if you have a larger chess board so space out the pieces. Other than that, this Star Wars Chess Set is pretty good as a novelty item as well as a decent gift item.
If you are someone in your family or friends is a Star Wars fan and has even the slightest interest in playing chess, the Star Wars Saga Chess Set is the chess set you should buy for their next birthday or Christmas. Apart from not being totally perfect for serious game play, the make-believe characters from the Start Wars movie saga will provide immense joy to kids and adults alike. Apart from that, the set makes for a really good collector’s item as well and I’m sure it will be a part of my chess sets collection for a really long time.