It’s probably no secret that I’m a fan of statues. I think they’re my favorite artistic medium, no doubt influenced by its frequency in extant classical art. I like the tangibility of small statues, especially, so when I was visiting the local museum’s store, I picked up the little emperor figurine below.
I wish he were a game piece, because his size and heft are absolutely perfect. I like when a piece has enough gravitas to feel weighty. Plastic pieces are fine for casual use and portable boards, but if I have a good board, I want serious, weighty pieces. I’ve always wanted a chess set based on the Isle of Lewis pieces.
They just have so much character. I definitely prefer humanoid pieces to abstract ones. You might recognize them as the basis for the pieces for Wizard’s Chess in the Harry Potter movie. I wish more chess sets had this kind of attention to detail and realism in their pieces, although I certainly understand that there’s not necessarily a huge market for it. I recently got a new set from China that looks gorgeous, although I’m keeping it safely boxed up until I move soon. I’ll have to take pictures once it’s all set up, though.
Another game with pieces I really love is Thud! It’s based on a game from the Discworld series, by Terry Pratchett. Unfortunately, it can be a bit hard to find someone to play with. For a while, there was a working website to play online, but it didn’t seem to last very long, unfortunately. It’s a tafl game, with asymmetric sides, unlike chess. There’s a bit of a description here, but the gist is that it’s a battle between trolls and dwarfs, who each move in different ways, with trolls being strong individually while dwarfs require numbers to do any damage. But the pieces are a good combination of detailed and abstract, while also having a good weight to them.
What are some of your favorite game pieces?