Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Recommended age: 8 year-old ++
Who would love this: Collectors of classic games / rare-to-find Thai & Cambodian chess set
I received this “Makruk Chess” set from Funyards Australia for review recently. This is a really refreshing experience for me as I had never played with a Thai/ Cambodian-style chess-variant before. This set has a timeless touch, and is a rare-to-find gem that would make a classy centrepiece in any household.
Why I love ❤️ this set:
(1) Uniqueness - I grew up playing “XiangQi”, which is a Chinese chess variant with quite substantial differences in feel, rules, and strategies compared to the orthodox chess. What I notice about the Makruk Chess is how similar it is to the international version, yet retaining unmistakable uniqueness in certain aspects. The chess pieces are divided into darker and lighter wood colours. The pieces feel familiar but with an unusual, exotic style. The King, Queen, and Bishop pieces look alike, but are different in sizes (the King is large and wide, Bishop is medium, and the Queen is the smallest). The stocky Rook reminds me of an ancient dome found in some Asian architecture. The knight is distinctively distinguishable with its intricately-crafted horse head design. The pawns are essentially checker pieces in round disc but with beautiful spiral pattern. The chessboard consists of 64 squares, 8 rows by 8 columns, in chequered pattern.
(2) Tactical & Slower-Pace Rules - The board is laid out with the pawns a row ahead of where they are in orthodox chess. The King, Knight and Rook have equivalent moves like the Western kind. Bishop and Queen take a “slower” pace with only one square per move. One major difference is that the Queen in Makruk is the weakest piece in the game, very unlike its Western counterpart. There are also special “counting rules” which can change a pursuit into a draw. Makruk appears to be a much tactical and slower game that requires more patience to play. I love the included easy to-read one-page rules, in English and with illustrations.
(3) Elegant Foldable Box - I love the foldable wooden box with brass hinges and a magnetic “closure” that keeps all the pieces compactly stored in a box. I also love the compartmentalised tray, the elegant workmanship, solid wooden material, and the convenient portability design.
# gifted in exchange for review
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