When somebody says a game is like chess, it is usually completely unlike chess

Raymond Chen

Chess has become elevated to the gold standard of board games. Everybody wishes their game had the cultural gravity of chess, a game whose mere mention elevates you to the category of deep thinker and profound strategist. (We’ll set aside the scrawny glasses-wearing nerd part for now.)

I’ve learned that when somebody says a game is like chess, it’s pretty much guaranteed that the game in fact bears no resemblance to chess whatsoever.

I came to this realization when somebody pulled out a game with a strange-looking board with what looked like plastic volcanoes glued to the surface, catwalks, and a lazy susan. Each player was represented by a token, set in its respective starting position. I asked, “Hey, what’s this game?”

The person replied, “It’s a lot like chess. First you roll the dice…”

(Translation from the German in that link above, for those who need some help.)

[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]


Discussion is closed.

Feedback usabilla icon