Minifig Chess Set

White King
White Queen
White Bishop
White Knight L R
White Rook
White Pawn
Black King
Black Queen
Black Bishop L R
Black Knight L R
Black Rook L R
Black Pawn

WHEN I got back into playing with LEGO®, one of the first projects I wanted to tackle was a minifig chess set. I had yet to see anyone else make one, and the Castle sets' specialized pieces seemed to make it a natural.

   Not being a Castle set collector, however, I considered creating a men vs. monsters or Pirates vs. Imperial Guards sort of set. Knights didn't have to ride horses necessarily. Islanders on alligators could act as knights for example, or wizards on dragons, or men in cars... The possibilities seemed endless. In the end I decided to stay traditional for my first attempt.

   I had a lot of shopping to do. I tried to find sets on sale, always keeping an eye out for the specific pieces I needed. I think I bought eight polybag sets for $1.50 each for the black pawns. But by the end it was a fairly expensive project.

   I started out thinking I would have a board made up of 4x4 flat plates, black and white. I soon found out that there was no way I would be able to afford all those plates. So I went for a "raised" effect instead, using full height bricks. The decision to go blue and red rather than black and white came as I realized that the figures themselves would be predominantly black and white and I wanted them to "pop" off the board. I made the final squares 6x6 so that I'd be able to use LEGO horses for the knights. I added a yellow border for color balance and... bingo! It just fit on a large grey baseplate.

   One side of figures uses a white and red color scheme, and the other uses mostly black and blue. The white side appears to have a larger budget for outfitting their crew, many of which happen to have red hair. The black side looks a bit scruffier with their stubble, black hair, and unsaddled horses. Bishops were a problem at first. I couldn't think of a good way to create a religious figure, so I instead opted for magical wizards and undead skeletons.

   Close examination reveals details such as treasure chests in the black castles, a white queen who seems friendly enough but hides a knife behind her back, and pieces who differ for right and left positions.

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