Monday, June 11, 2012

Lego Kingdoms Chess Set Review

I recently picked up the LEGO Kingdoms Chess Set at the LEGO Store.  My son just finished putting it together today, after which we had a game.  So I thought I'd write a short review.

My son has been interested in building a Lego chess set for a few years now, but only recently did I notice some of the cool sets that LEGO has been putting out -- including the Pirates Chess Set, Viking Chess Set, and Giant Castle Set.  All have become collector's items and are selling for far more than their original purchase price.  So I was glad to see a new set come out that I'd actually buy.  At $49.99, the Kingdoms Chess Set is a real bargain, especially considering that LEGO mini-figures generally go for over $3 each and the set contains 28 of them, each with weapons and various other accoutrements.  You better buy it soon, though, because it has already been bid up to nearly $70 on Amazon and hasn't even been out for a month.

It is a fun set and easy to assemble, with a Medieval theme of warring feudal armies surrounded by a plastic castle shell.  The white pieces bear a lion crest, with steel weapons and helmets, looking like civilized knights in full regalia; the black pieces have a dragon coat of arms, iron gear, and more pagan appearance, with a wizard king and warrior queen (complete with dagger).  The pawns have two different types of weapons, so there is some variety there, though this does introduce some potential confusion during play ("that's a Knight?  I thought it was a pawn!")  It is easy to play with, and though you'll inevitably knock off some of the gear during battle  it snaps right back on, of course.  I especially like white's jester knights with their cross-bows and two possible faces (so you can make the king's knight wear a frown and the queen's knight a smile).  My son really loves it and it has definitely gotten him excited about playing chess, which I am always looking to encourage.  Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

Scott Massey Lecture Thursday

Life Master Scott Massey (club champion 1991-2004) will be giving Part 2 of his lecture on Alexander Alekhine, covering the years 1927 - 1946, this Thursday, June 7th, at the Kenilworth Chess Club.  The event begins at 8:15 p.m. and admission is $5.  I have written up notes on several of Scott's past lectures, including on Paul Keres, Bobby Fischer, Moscow 1925, and How to Analyze. Highly recommended.