New LEGO Chess Board

March 9th, 2008

In January I posted an article about a Small LEGO Chess Set I had built. Originally I constructed a board using an X-Large Grey Base Plate and covered it with eight 2×2 tiles and a center 2×2 plate for each square. I was never really happy with this flimsy board, so I’ve taken the time to build a much better board shown below.


I took additional pictures during construction which are shown below.


The picture above highlights the key design element of this project, which is building open cubbies and filling each with a 6×6 stud square laying on its side.  Instead of using tons of tiles to form the smooth surface, the sides of bricks (which are smooth) form the squares the chess pieces sit on.  Each square is capped with tiles to make it perfectly square (and without studs) so it fills the cubbies with no gaps.  I copied this design element from Eric Harshbarger’s larger chess board.


Shown above is the board complete, with most of the frontward cubbies filled and many rearward cubbies still waiting for the square inserts.  Also shown is one completed square insert ready to be placed into a cubby.


Above is a picture of the old board, having been cannibalized for parts for the new one.  The old board used many more tiles, but far fewer bricks overall.

I estimate the new board uses over 4000 bricks.  Each square insert is 22 bricks, so these alone comprise 1400 bricks.  The new board is very heavy, but also very sturdy.  It can be picked up by two edges or corners and even when full of chess pieces it doesn’t flex enough to tip them over.

There are several additional advantages of the new board. First, it is a bit larger, having a one stud border around each square.  This makes the pieces less crowded and game play easier.  Second, the border is slightly raised so each square has a lip around it keeping the pieces within the squares.  Third, for both reasons above, it doesn’t have any studs to hold the chess pieces on the squares, which also makes game play easier.  Previously the pieces would often get the board tiles stuck to the bottom of them.

 Here is one last picture showing red pieces in starting formation in more detail on the board.  I really like the contrast of the squares and the black border both in color and texture.


With this board complete, I am also building checkers which are much simpler than chess pieces.  I am using the studs from my 10x bricks as the checker design.  I should have pictures to post of these to post very soon.

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