From magical Wizard’s Chess and strategies worthy of Game of Thrones, to the mystical wonders of Middle-earth and the MARVELous (see what I did there?) world of heroes, I’ve compiled a list of my all-time favorite novelty chess sets.
Whether you’re a strategist and analytical person, or a dreamer and creative, the wonderful game of chess is the perfect pastime for people from all walks of life. Even more so if you invest in a novelty chess set.
Although playing a classic game of chess with knights and rooks is always fun, why not shake things up by throwing a few interesting characters in the mix? Dinosaurs instead of bishops, roman soldiers instead of knights: with novelty chess sets, your imagination can run wild, creating the ideal playing field for young and old chess players alike.
The Chess Novelty That Doesn’t Wear Off
Don’t get me wrong, I love chess as much as the next person (after all, this blog is my pride and joy), but sometimes it gets a little boring (there, I said it).
Which is exactly why I told a friend “I want to do something more fun,” when he asked me if I wanted to play a game of chess while on a weekend trip.
That is until he bought out the most magical chess set that I have ever seen: an exact (normal playing size) replica of Wizard’s Chess from Harry Potter. Childhood dreams do come true! The only thing that was missing was Professor Quirrell/emerging Voldemort asking me for the Sorcerer’s Stone but hey, we can’t always get everything that we want.
We played for hours on end, as the magical chess set transported me to a wonderful world where owls bring your mail and quidditch is an acceptable Saturday pastime.
The novelty of the (quite literally) out-of-this-world chess set inspired me to create this list, so that you can find a chess set of your very own to sweep you off your feet.
Enjoy! May it bring you as much whimsical joy as it has to me.
The 10 Best Novelty Chess Sets
#1. Harry Potter Wizard’s Chess Set
You already know how I feel about Harry Potter but oh butterbeer I just can’t get enough! This beautifully-created chess set is a replica of the beloved Wizard’s Chess found in Harry’s magical world. Not to worry, these pieces aren’t as brutal as in actual Wizard’s Chess.
Related List: Best Harry Potter Chess Sets
Made from plastic, this chess set tops the list as one of the most affordable novelty chess sets. Who says you have to break the bank to have some good ol’ fashioned wizard fun?
#2. Game of Thrones Chess Set
Get ready for battle between Westeros and the White Walkers, with this cool Game of Thrones-inspired chess set. Although perfectly priced for the chess lover on a budget, this chess set is still beautifully made, and comes with a reference sheet (just in case you get confused about which piece is which).
I mean, is there anything cooler than Jamie Lannister being your knight? I think not.
#3. Jurassic Park Chess Set
Roar into chess action with this childhood-dream-come-true Jurassic Park-inspired chess set. This chess set will transport chess players young and old to an island where dinosaurs roam free (without the minor inconvenience of worrying about getting eaten).
#4. Marvel Chess Set
What could be more MARVELous (sorry, I did it again) than The Black Panther being your knight, in a battle between the heroes of S.H.I.E.L.D and the (still pretty cool) villains of Hydra?
What I love about this epic chess set is that the traditional symbols of chess – like the rook’s symbol on angry Hulk – are on the modern chess pieces so that you don’t get confused. Not that I doubted that Thanos would want to be king – let’s not forget that entire finger clicking fiasco.
#5. Lord of The Rings Chess Set
Related Article: Best Lord of the Rings Chess Sets
The war for Middle-earth is on! Not going to lie, I could not read these books because oh-wow those descriptions are long, and I definitely fell asleep during a few of the movie scenes. But I can definitely appreciate the fact that Gollum (Sméagol?) represent the traditional bishop. What can be more scrumptious than that, my precious?
#6. Egyptian Chess Set
Walk like an Egyptian all the way to pawn promotion with this gorgeous chess set sure to spark conversation and hours of fun in your home. A bit more on the pricey side, this chess set is for serious fans and Egypt fanatics.
My favorite part is the attention to detail even on the side of the board, with Egyptian-inspired art replicated
#7. Dragon Chess Set
What could be more epic than playing chess with dragons on a glass platform over a dragon graveyard? I’ll wait while you think.
See, nothing! This chess set, made with pewter, resin and glass, is one of those wish list items that you just know will be passed down for generations to come.
#8. Cheapest on the list: Viking Chess Set
I’ve added this Viking-inspired chess set to the mix because there’s just something I adore about its simplicity. The minimalist black and white features take me back to the basic chess sets we had at school, which still provide hours of fun.
If you’re looking for a novelty chess set while on a budget, this is a ship you want to be on.
#9. Wobble Chess Set
OK, how adorable is this wobble chess set! Made from maple and walnut, this genius design won a Merit Award in HOW Magazine’s 2008 International Design Award competition. After all these years it’s still a classic, and is sure to provide interesting hours of chess fun.
#10. Gods of Greece Chess Set
Oh, but to play chess with the Gods! This gorgeous chess set, with individually hand carved chess pieces, portrays a world atop Mount Olympus that will even inspire Percy Jackson to play chess. With Zeus and Aphrodite as king and queen, I can’t imagine anything more luxurious.
Go on, treat yourself to a novelty chess set
Excuse me while I go add a few more stunning chess sets to my novelty wish list. I hope you’ve found this list helpful. Although more expensive than average chess sets, there is just something magical about investing in a novelty chess set. In the words of Ron while playing Wizard’s Chess: “That’s chess, you have to make some sacrifices!”
Veronica is a Green Bay-based freelance writer and editor with extensive experience with board games. When not busy scribbling her thoughts, you might find her in her garden, hiking out in the woods, or exploring new food joints.
Veronica is a die-hard board game and chess hobbyist by night. She likes to try out new games and is always on the lookout to recruit new players for her game night (so beware!). When not playing board games or throwing darts, she is usually busy painting miniatures (or doing other nerdy stuff).
She is the CEO & Content Writer of Indoor Games Zone. She shares her expertise from years of playing chess, board games, and darts.