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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2010
I have purchased numerous ThinkFun games. Our favorites include all versions of Rush Hour, Sudoku, Clever Castle, Zingo, S'Match, and Chocolate Fix. I've tried a few others which we like, but those are my favorite. This is a new one to add to the favorite list! Having spent the summer learning how to play Chess, I am very excited that we can use the rules of the chess pieces to solve logic puzzles. It is really, really well done! The goal of each card is to have the chess pieces capture the other pieces until only one is left standing. The game is set up in a grid, so that you can look up the answers in the order at which you need to move the pieces. Ex. A2 moves to B4, etc. etc. The chess pieces are in a sliding drawer underneath the case which holds the challenge cards. Just beware, the cards are difficult to get out at first. It took some effort to slide them out.
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65 of 66 people found the following review helpful
on January 2, 2011
I bought this for my brother as a gift because I know that he enjoys chess but doesn't usually have anyone to play with. There are easy, medium and hard puzzles. The easy ones are really really easy and only require a move or two (I finished them all within a few minutes by just looking at the cards and not using the board). My brother was able to finish all of the puzzles without using the board at all. I think that this game would be great for children just learning how to play chess, but I wouldn't recommend it for anyone that is analytical or likes to play chess regularly because it will be far too easy for them.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on October 13, 2010
As a non-chess player, I was intrigued by this game's promise to challenge experienced chess players while also teaching novices the basic rules of the game. WOW! What a fantastic way to learn the rules of chess! Early challenges help new players get used to the various moves each chess token can make, and there's a handy reference provided just in case. By challenge 4 I felt comfortable remembering the chess moves and was on a roll! Each of the 60 puzzles challenges you to eliminate all but one piece, kind of like a peg solitaire game, and you need to plan moves carefully or you'll be stranded and need to reset. Great brain exercise in strategy and planning.

I would recommend this game to any game lover, whether a chess newbie or someone who has been playing for years - it is a blast, and the packaging design allows it to pack all together and travel easily, I'll take this on my next trip!
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37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on April 18, 2011
Thinkfun's "Solitaire Chess" has its good points. It's a nice little squat plastic box with squat pieces who's bases rest neatly in slight circular depressions on the playing board. The pieces feel good and have an original style. The pawns and knights are especially pleasurable to hold and look at. The pieces all fit nicely into the base - which slides open like a drawer - and has some sturdy rubber feet so it won't slip on your table. Overall, I'm impressed with the physical quality and craftsmanship of the unit.

Where the game falls short is in execution; I am hardly an experienced chess player and I didn't even BEGING to feel challenged until puzzle #47 (of 60!). The first 20 or so can mostly be done in your head if you have ANY capacity for visualization whatsoever. That said, when a puzzle does stump you, it sure is satisfying to figure it out. Basically, your goal is to move pieces (starting with any piece) until all pieces except one are cleared from the board. There's only 16 squares (4x4) so you won't be struggling too hard to figure out the solution to each puzzle.

I'm enjoying my time with the game, but it's nowhere near a good puzzle game for an experienced chess player. It is nice to have a chess puzzle with actual physical pieces though; this is something no chess puzzle book can simulate.

I paid $19.99 plus tax for my game, and while I can't recommend it to the chess community at large, it's definitely a fun little toy - probably more appropriate for younger kids and those who don't know enough about chess to feel cramped and limited by the 1/4 of the chessboard used (plus it only comes with 10 pieces). But personally, I wouldn't pay $20 again for (effectively) 15 puzzles. I'm most likely going to donate it to the waiting room in the hospital I work at, as this would be the perfect type of thing that could keep you busy for a short time and would help take your mind off the up-coming procedure you're about to have.

Should you buy Thinkfun's "Solitaire Chess?" Perhaps, but don't expect to be blown away or engaged for a long time. Of course, by today's standards, it's definitely $20 worth of entertainment - compared to something like seeing a movie or going out to eat. But that's just my opinion.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on December 30, 2010
My 7-year old boy has been playing Rush Hour for a long time so this year we got him this for Christmas. He plays this sometimes on his own by setting up puzzles and solving them and other times he wants to set up puzzles for us to solve. After a while we'll switch and set up the puzzles for him to solve. (he does the same thing with Rush Hour)

He's not even remotely aware that he's using critical thinking skills in logical areas in addition to getting practice focusing on problem-solving. While I would have a hard time arguing that improving chess skills by solving chess-themed puzzles will directly give him better life skills I emphatically believe that the practice spent focusing on problems but sticking with it until it's solved is very helpful. I also believe it's a good opportunity for kids (or some adults...) to learn when to ask for help and once you're past the beginner puzzles to even try to work together on a problem that's difficult to split up into tasks.

Still, I don't think this is a perfect toy. The design is pretty clever but the spot where the puzzle cards fit can be difficult to get in/out, especially for a child. I also don't like how it's difficult to use without all the cards being out which makes it easy to jumble them up, drop them where they'll be stepped on / frayed, set them where they may be spilled on, etc. I'd rather be able to feed out the "next" card and then slide it back in the bottom of the stack, for instance. I don't even believe that would have been very difficult to design or have cost any more to product.

All that said I'm very glad we got it for my boy and would do so again.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
This is an incredible new game from ThinkFun! We all know and love Rush Hour and this is another great one! Even if you don't know how to play chess, this game is perfect! You actually learn how the chess pieces move while solving these puzzles! I gave this to my eight year old who didn't know how to play chess and he totally gets now how the pieces move. I figure he's now ready to learn how to play actual chess as learning the piece movements is half the battle in the beginning!

What an innovative new game that is really a logic puzzle but based in the game of chess! Great for experience chess masters and beginners alike! Have fun!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on January 26, 2011
I got this set for my husbands office. I was very excited, since he's always dabbled in chess. At first he seemed like it was for kids and just a toy (it doesn't help that the box says ages 8+). I mentioned my thoughts for it - as an interesting piece for his desk - and then he started playing with it. After a three hour session he loved it and wouldn't stop commenting on how great it was.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 1, 2011
I started playing chess when I was a kid as an alternative to checkers (since I kinda hated checkers and my board came with chess pieces) and played off and on throughout high school, then put it aside in college. Now that I'm in graduate school and am buying a ton of board games and the like to play with my fiancee and our friends, I've been thinking about picking it back up and teaching my fiancee how to play. So this is perfect for two reasons: I can get my chess fix by myself and my fiancee can learn the pieces' movements and some strategy. She's getting into it (can't say she'll actually play chess though...) and I'm loving the puzzles so far. Logic puzzles and chess together? Yes please.

The game's built well overall. It feels sturdy enough (although I wouldn't want to step on it) and has convenient storage places for both the puzzle cards and the pieces. The cards are glossy so they would be easy to wipe off if something got spilled on them. The pieces are kind of chunky, which would be good for smaller hands learning how to play the game.

As far as the puzzles themselves, there are 60 of them that are divided into four difficulty levels (Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert, 15 of each). I blew through the Beginner ones and have moved into the Intermediate ones, where I have started feeling a bit of a challenge. I tried an Expert puzzle out of curiosity and decided I needed to work my way up to it. I'm by no means a chess expert, but I play plenty of games and do plenty of puzzles; I think this game offers a nice logical challenge to chess players and non-players alike, especially those learning how to play or returning to the game after some time away. Highly recommended.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 11, 2010
This is a fun puzzle game, but not a real challenge for someone used to moving pieces in his head.

As others have noted, getting the cards out at first is hard. A simple physics trick will get them out: rap the box against a hard surface. The cards will slide far enough that the hole underneath can be used to wedge them the rest of the way out. With the wrapper and instructions removed, the fit is still snug but not so tight.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on May 26, 2011
I bought this as a present for my 8-yr old, and both he and I have found it to be extremely enjoyable. While my son knew how to play chess (thanks to the truly spectacular software program Learning to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster), I think you could enjoy this game a lot even if you only knew how the chess pieces move (and that can be learned very quickly). The only problem is that there are only 60 puzzles, and while that still took us a few weeks (we did it off and on), I found it so enjoyable that I wish there were a couple hundred more. My hope is that if I goo back to it in a few months, it'll be fun all over again. For anyone who likes puzzles, this is a must-have!
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