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Posted January 9, 2008
Let's get the obvious out of the way. There are two reasons people buy chess sets. For playing and/or decoration. Which are you? If you are reading this, you either enjoy Harry Potter and/or enjoy the game of chess OR you're looking for a chess set to decorate the coffee table with and dazzle your guests. I received this set from my father this past Xmas and love it. I one day hope to pass it on to my own sons once they are old enough to play. Rather than fill this review singing praises to the set, I'm going to warn you of things which aren't mentioned or pictured properly that may affect your decision to purchase it. First, it's made in China. I know, what isn't made in China these days? But if you are like me and thought the Noble Collection was some "Made in Britian" company, think again. To be fair, it is beautiful and durable, though don't try to stack anything heavy on the plexiglass board or stand on it. It probably will break. There are only three small "beams" of wood holding it up. It's made to hold the pieces, nothing more! The pieces themselves look like stone and aren't hollow plastic like some other HP sets. Though upon closer inspection, one can see the gold brushstrokes the factory worker used to highlight the raised designs on each character, hitting some but missing others. Not the tidiest job in the world. The only other hinderance caused by the pieces when playing is visibility. Make sure you stand well above the board before making your move otherwise you may not see a pawn or other piece because of the blocked view these extremely 3-D pieces cause. Also, the knights are splendid to look at, but they take up much more space than the square they stand on. The front hooves and rear end of the horse tend to collide with any piece nearby. Even though the board is very big, it could have been made slightly bigger in order for the squares to be bigger, so that the pieces would have had a little more breathing room between each other during play. Furthermore, I mentioned durability. You do not want to step on or drop these pieces accidentally. Even though they are quite solid, they do have their weak points. The knight's mace and his horse's front legs, the queen's staff/sword, the bishop's arm, etc. All are thin enough to become flexible if pushed and could be damaged if not properly handled. Luckily, there is a custom fitted storage box when not in use. But also be warned. The spaces provided for the pieces are really really tight. You have to pry the pieces out with a crowbar upon first use and snap them back in carefully if they go back into storage. If you can afford to do so, it might be best to leave the board set up in pre-game mode to avoid accidental "snapping off of parts." In closing, the reader might be saying, "Gosh. So many things wrong with this durable yet fragile set, why in the world would I want it?" Let me tell you the best part. So many chess sets go out of style. They are made with trendy materials, stones, jade, clear, what have you and become dated over time. I feel that this set is timeless. Oh, yes, to be sure, it is dated as far as being a reference to a scene in a movie and bears the initials "HP" along its border. But it is more than that. It is timeless in its asthetic quality. The medieval theme, everyone dressed in armor, the stoic look in each piece's pose. My favorite thing is that each piece looks like the piece should. As opposed to other film/tv chess sets (Shrek, Simpsons, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, even the HP Quidditch chess Set, come to think of it) in which it's easy to forget halfway through a game which piece is the rook, bishop, knight, queen, king, etc. because they all look like they could be- unless your memory is better than mine. With the Final Challenge Chess Set each piece is unique in its form and doesn't confuse the play what its role is. The rook is clearly a castle tower. The knight is on horseback. The
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Posted November 14, 2011