Top positive review
26 people found this helpful
A worthwhile variant
on May 14, 2014
From my boardgamegeek.com review:
In my opinion, people who love the game of chess TEND to be chess-purists for whom tinkering with the system they have spent so much effort to master occurs as a reduction of the advantages they have fought to hold. However, I can heartily recommend this variation to you if you fall into any of the following 3 categories: 1.) You enjoy chess and are open to new ways of playing. 2.) You have already played other chess variants and enjoyed them. 3.) You know how the pieces move but want to even the playing field against players with more chess skill than you.
I'm not sure this game is well suited to players who don't have a ready familiarity with classical chess. I have found 3MC to be more open-ended and nebulous in its tactical and strategic options, and a player without much chess experience might well be overwhelmed.
The game has been well thought-out and the rules sheet (1 page, front and back!) has proven to be functionally inclusive of any and all situations I have encountered thus far in play, despite a slightly awkward presentation; it's as if you were looking at the designer's notes, unedited. The rules concerning the "moats" between opposing players' rooks are particularly crucial and a bit tricky- make sure you understand them comprehensively.
Don't underestimate how much different a round chess board is from a square one! The realized concepts of the void in the center of the board and the curving paths along the diagonals are extraordinarily innovative! Likewise, the fact that the rows of squares have become RINGS creates an extremely compelling departure from familiar chess. The lines denoting these curving paths will undoubtedly cause some peering which could strain the eyes a bit, but I'm not sure how they could be improved upon; if they were made brighter and more distinct from one another they would very likely create a much more distracting and confusing mess of the board's overall appearance.
The game is a bit broken in a limited sense. Simply put, if two of the players consistently work in tandem to defeat a third player, no amount of skill can likely prevent that player's defeat. However, the same can be said of ANY "cutthroat" game I can think of playing. In games of 3 Man Chess, temporary and momentary alliances form and shift which makes for very dynamic play, but there never seems to be an impulse for it to become entirely 2 against 1.
It could be considered a drawback that the player count must always be exactly 3. Also, one of the players will frequently have to wait while the remaining two finish. Overall, though, I have found the merits of this chess variant easily outweigh its shortcomings.
Lastly, I do think the price is a bit high for the components, but the board IS pretty cool and I have enjoyed it beyond my money's worth regardless. I wish it were named differently, because my opponents have often been women. :)