We received Super Mario Collector’s Edition Chess for review from The Op. The timeless battle between Mario and Bowser meets the ancient game of chess. This collector’s edition of a classic strategy games boasts 32 custom hand-painted pieces that will add flair to any board game shelf. The pieces are beautifully crafted and come in a tin box that will keep your pieces neatly safe while they rest on your shelf.
Chess is a two player strategy game with unique moving pieces. Your job is to take out your opponents king piece (in this case Mario or Bowser) or make it so that their movement is impossible. First you select what side you want to play on. You can play on Mario’s side or on Bowser’s side. Should you choose to play on Mario’s side you will have coins as your pawns. The same little coins you collect as you make your way through levels on the video games. Your queen is Luigi, your rooks are Toad, your bishops are Daisy and Peach, your knights the cute Yoshi and of course Mario as your King.
Playing on Mario’s side is no different than playing on Bowser’s side in terms of gameplay. They have the same abilities and effects as it is no different than regular chess with rules. Your pawns are easy to keep track of as they are the iconic gold coins that everyone has seen in the games. Mario as your king makes perfect sense as he is the protagonist (and the series is named after him). Yoshi makes perfect sense as the knight as you can ride Yoshis like horses in the games and classic chess has horses as their imagery. Toads are your rooks and while it is not a bad decision, we felt as though Toads would have made better pawns than rooks. They are numerous in the games and they come in all shapes and colors. Luigi as your queen seems a little strange, seeing as he is considered (in many of the video games) as a misunderstood coward and not as powerful as his brother Mario. It seemed strange to make the most powerful piece Luigi because of this. He is our favorite character of the franchise though.
Your bishops are Daisy and Peach and while having both princesses is a great addition it is difficult to remember that these two very different pieces are the “same” in terms of movement and gameplay. We found ourselves struggling to remember that they were both the same pieces. It would have made more sense in terms of the Super Mario lore to have made Princess Peach the queen as she is very powerful in her own right and have Luigi and Daisy be the bishops (as they are dating in the video games). Of course, you are allowed to use the pieces as you like and are not required to use the pieces as they are designed, it does take away a little from the immersion of the game in terms of lore and strategy. We encountered many situations where we were trying to find our bishop and forgetting that both Peach and Daisy were the “same.”
Should you play as Bowser, you have the King of Koopas himself as your king. It makes perfect sense to have him as the most important piece as he is Mario’s nemesis. Bowser Jr. is your queen and while that sounds a little strange it makes sense as he is Bowser’s son and is your right hand henchman. Your bishops are represented by Magikoopas, which we assume are Kami but it is not made clear. We felt this was also a great choice as the Magikoopas are classic villains that also serve an important role in Bowser’s army. Your knights are represented by Birdo, also a great choice in terms of lore. Your rooks are Goombas, which seemed a little odd as they are the easiest enemies to defeat and they are treated as disposable to Bowser in the video games. We felt as though they would have made much better pawns. Speaking of pawns, your pawns are represented by Koopa shells. They are gorgeous little pieces but we thought it would have been better to have full Koopas as rooks and the Goombas as pawns. Of course all of these things are just aesthetic and do not affect gameplay much.
The game plays as regular chess and as such, it is a fantastic game to play. It is an incredibly strategy heavy game and is easy to learn but tough to master. It can be a great addition to any shelf for Mario and chess fans alike. The pieces are also different sizes and are quite hefty. Bowser in particular is very large and while he is excellent to look at, he can be a little tough to move around the board as he bumps into everything. The board is also double sided allowing you to choose a different color scheme to add a little variety in looks as well.
Language Barrier Playability: Excellent. As this is just chess you need only explain the rules and start playing. This is definitely a great addition to any chess collection especially since Super Mario is known worldwide.
Replayability: Very replayable. Since this is chess, almost every single time you play will be different in terms of strategy and moves. The double sided board adds a little variety to aesthetics.
Artwork: Excellent. The pieces are all very well crafted and hand painted. There are some subtle nuances between figures which gives each piece a “unique” quality. The pieces look identical to their video game counterparts.
Quality: Excellent. The pieces are made of hefty acrylic and hold details very well. Each piece has its own base that labels what piece it is. This way you can look closely and remember that Luigi is the queen.
Strategy: Light but also hefty. It is a very strategic game that is easy to learn but it is also very tough to master. It is by no means tournament quality (as chess has its own little world) but it is definitely of high quality and offers just as much strategy as a classic set.
Instruction Manual: As all manuals should be, short, sweet and to the point. On the other side of that argument, it is merely a piece of folded paper instead of an actual manual.
Organization: Excellent. The game comes in a tin box that is easy to store and each piece has its own slot in a plastic holder. It is an easy to store game and takes up minimal space compared to its contents.