Chess can be one of those games that you either get or you don’t. It’s not like checkers where pretty much anyone can get the basic concept down quickly. Instead, chess has a pretty steep learning curve and while it’s not terribly difficult to memorize what each piece can and can not do, chess requires a lot of strategy and thinking that can be quite intimidating to novices.
That’s where Really Bad Chess comes in. Developed by Zach Gage, Really Bad Chess is meant to make chess more accessible to players by making it fun. While the rules and concept are the same, the way you play it is not. Really Bad Chess randomizes the board so instead of your standard pieces and formation, you could have 6 rooks or 7 bishops, and they could be placed in any position at the start.
This is what makes Really Bad Chess really unique. For novices, this game can still teach you all the basic rules and concepts of chess, just in a more different way in which each game you play is essentially new requiring new strategy and a new way of approaching the board.
Playing chess like this means you throw out the monotony of chess and replace it with the unexpected. You never really know which pieces will show up on the board on either end which makes the whole experience quite fun since it changes the game significantly. What is neat for beginner players is that tapping on a chess piece will show you all possible moves you can make, which makes this incredibly easy for them to pick up the game.
While I admit that I don’t really play chess nor had any real desire to play it, Really Bad Chess actually has me playing every now and then. Being able to play with a different arrangement of pieces is pretty neat and it’s an interesting way to learn how to play real chess as well.
Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not?
Whether you play chess daily, or quit just after learning the rules, this small twist will open the door to an entire new world of chess.
——WHATS IN THE “BOX”?
The free version of Really Bad Chess lets you compete vs. an AI in Ranked, Daily, or Weekly Challenges. Improve your skills using the included Freeplay mode. A single in-app purchase removes ads, displays captured pieces, and adds soothing alternate color-palettes to choose from.
——A WORD FROM THE DEVELOPER
Chess is one of those games I always wished I enjoyed, but its commitment to beauty, elegance, and perfect balance always turned me away. Really Bad Chess removes these boring restrictions and flips chess on its head.
As much as random pieces change the game in some ways, I was really surprised to notice how much the game remains the same, and how powerful some pieces are — you’ve never truly struggled against a pawn until you’ve struggled against a pawn in the back row.
For chess pros, Really Bad Chess will give you a new type of challenge — the pieces & the moves are the same, but you’ll have to throw out your openings and your understanding of normal patterns of play.
For novice chess players (like most of us), Really Bad Chess greatly opens up the game. Instead of starting by studying openings, in your first games you’ll get to discover the joy (and challenge!) of learning how to checkmate.
I hope you have as much fun with Really Bad Chess as much as I did making it.