Board Games: Chess II (Ungame, 1978)

Chess II 1978-1

Chess II 1978-2

Chess II 1978-3

What is Chess II?

You follow the rules of standard chess, devise your strategy, develop your tactics and make your move. But your playing piece attacks like a space craft, changing trajectory as it travels.

Here’s how I think it happened. The president of Ungame Corporation was smoking a joint in “the office” (a beanbag-sized section of his studio apartment demarcated by a bead curtain) and said to himself, “Like, hey man, how can I make some money on Star Wars without actually doing anything? I got no money to spend on development, no money for licenses—wait, man, wait, I’ll just make a kind of trippy chess board, call the pieces spaceships, and give one of my buddies some drugs to paint a far-out chess game in outer space…”

Was there a Checkers II? Not as far as I can tell. But there was a Space Checkers (1965), which was used as a prop in several episodes of the original Star Trek. A Space Chess game followed in 1969, hence the folks at Ungame settling on the decidedly unimaginative name of Chess II. Something wrong with Intergalactic Chess?

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