Star Trek baked the Tridimensional chess set into its very fabric. We’re introduced to it in practically the opening shot of the second pilot, “Where No Man Has Gone Before.” Now there is a new replica from Noble Collection that you can play as a game too. We have a review and full unboxing video below.
“Queen to Queen’s Level Three”
“You play a very irritating game of chess, Mr. Spock,” Captain Kirk says before irritating his first officer with an unexpected move.
After the second pilot, Tridimensional chess went on to play pivotal roles in TOS episodes like “Charlie X” and “Whom Gods Destroy.” The game went on to appear in numerous episodes of The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, as well as Discovery and Picard. Let’s face it – even the general public would recognize a tridimensional chess set as THE futuristic game from Star Trek (sorry, Parrises Squares).
The Noble Collection recently released a beautiful new replica, which includes 32 die-cast pieces that measure approximately 1.5 inches tall. The set itself measures approximately 13 inches tall – which is about half as tall as the one seen in TOS – and features translucent acrylic game boards. At the same time, once you get it out of the packaging, you’re committed. This isn’t like your standard chess set, which you can fold back up into a box and store in a cupboard. The base is one big piece meant for display. And, really, if you are buying this, you are going to want to keep it out. It’s simply gorgeous.
Set up is pretty easy. The bulk of the board comes already attached to the curved metal base. The four Attack Boards come out of the box separately and then easily slot into place – or places, since they’re meant to move during the game. The half-dome baseplate features a nice Starfleet emblem, and it has a felt bottom, so it won’t scratch up your display case.
The individual chess pieces, too, have a soft underside which, combined with their solid, weighty feel, make for satisfying movement across the boards. In design, they look just like the ones featured in “Charlie X” – attractive, minimalist, retro-future.
All in all the Noble Tridimensional Chess Set is a quality replica that looks screen-accurate and also displays well.
But this is not just a display piece, it is also a game. The Noble Tridimensional Chess Set comes with an instruction sheet that details the moves each piece can make. However, it doesn’t go into a lot of detail, especially about the attack boards. I did find this video helpful in getting a general feel for how to play. My son and I found ourselves continually reorienting as we played, standing up so that we could get a bird’s eye view. This helped keep us aware of how the board would look from a more conventional frame of reference. One drawback for this set is that the bishops are essentially identical to the pawns, only slightly taller, so it’s easy to get them confused the first couple of times you use them in gameplay.
After a few games, I’m sure the multilevel play will start to feel a little more natural to navigate. It certainly makes for a great way to surprise an opponent whose pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking. (Sorry I don’t have a photo of my son’s reaction when my bishop slid up two levels to take out his queen.)
Our next step will be to read the “tournament rules so we can get a better handle on utilizing the attack boards and I can then neutralize my opponent and, in so doing, show my son that I AM THE SUPERIOR INTELLECT… Sorry, got carried away there.
Unboxing Tridimensional chess
The following video gives you a closer look at the set, including the pretty large package it will arrive in.
The Noble Collection Tridimensional Chess Set is nice to look at and to feel, and it’s fully functional. Even in a home that doesn’t have a lot of Trek items on display, this would make a great conversation piece – and a thought-provoking pastime.
The board is yours, Reader.