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Best Themed Chess Sets | Top 5 Sets Reviewed 2021

Best Themed Chess Sets

Owning a chess set is something that almost any individual or family can claim to have in their household. It’s one of those items that has a versatile appeal and is not necessarily for just the die-hard chess grandmasters!

Some people use chess sets to learn the game, have them as ornaments (especially some of the high-end boards), and even receive them as gifts but among the best options are themed chess boards.

Whether it’s your favorite tv show/movie, brand, or historical reference, there are themed chess sets for everyone. In this article, we are going to cover the very best themed chess sets that would make a great gift or addition to your home.

Quick peek at out Top 5

Prices and images pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

What to Look for in Themed Chess Sets

A themed chess set leaves a lot of interpretation open to the manufacturer and designer so there are certain things you need to consider when purchasing a themed chess set. You wouldn’t want to purchase your favorite tv shows chess set only to find it’s not true to form and has a lot of inaccuracies.

Therefore, we’ve put together a list of things to consider in the following buyers guide to ensure you get the best possible themed chess set.

Character/Piece Detail

The most important factor with a themed chess set is character selection. You want the pieces to resonate with the reader and be an accurate representation of the overall theme.

For a war-themed chess set, you’d expect the pieces to contain some soldiers, and if the theme were presidents of the United States, you’d very much be expecting the movable pieces to be former presidents!

This point can apply to any theme and therefore the most important factor with themed chess sets is that the pieces and board accurately reflect the theme. The very best products will be those that not only get the correct characters and pieces in relation to the theme but also those that utilize fan favorite pieces and hidden subtleties.

This is where the detail comes in. You don’t want a set with some crude interpretation, the pieces need to be detailed and of good quality. Anything else will just be seen as a cheap gimmick that isn’t doing the theme justice.

Board and Piece Material

Another factor to take into consideration is the quality of the board and moveable pieces. There will often be a level of trade-off when it comes to themed chess sets because the effort is going into making a relatable theme rather than focusing primarily on the quality of the board.

You’ll therefore find that a lot of themed chess sets will feature a cardboard board and lightweight plastic or wooden pieces. To find a themed chess set that has attention to the themes detail and high quality, wooden board and pieces will be quite rare.

It’s therefore good to note that you’ll be looking for a themed board that isn’t “cheap” whilst also keeping in mind that the quality will likely not be that of a premium chess set.

Price

A themed chess set will cost more than a basic set regardless of the materials used for it. This is because a theme adds a novelty addition to the product which will often demand a higher price and also for the fact that the manufacturer would have needed to pay for the license for a theme (depending on what it is).

The most popular themes will be from the entertainment industry which includes tv, film, and music. These themes all require the use of likenesses and image licenses which need to be purchased for resale.

You’ll therefore need to keep in mind that you are not just paying for a chess set but also the theme so there won’t be many budget options in this category.


Best Themed Chess Sets

Now that you know some of the factors to look for in a good themed chess set, we are now going to look at some of the best on the market. Trust us, some of this will make GREAT Christmas and birthday gifts!

5. Harry Potter

Harry Potter Wizard Chess Set

The Harry Potter wizard chess set is arguably the most popular themed chess set on the market with Amazon purchases and reviews alone at the 6,000 mark. The popularity clearly shows the appeal that this set has with Harry Potter fans worldwide.

This set recreates the popular “Wizard Chess” scene from the first film, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Each piece is designed to replicate the pieces used in this scene and it therefore actually looks similar to a standard chess set whilst also still being noticeably distinctive.

The pieces are made from plastic and the board is made from heavy-duty cardboard. Whilst it’s definitely a durable set, some users were disappointed as they were expecting more heavy-duty pieces made from metal or wood.

What We Like

  • This is by far the most popular themed chess set you can own regardless of whether you are a Harry Potter fan or not.
  • Rather than being a standard Harry Potter chess set, it instead makes use of the popular scene from the first film for Wizard Chess which really appeals to the fan base.
  • This is a surprisingly inexpensive product and while the pieces are not premium quality, it’s still good value for money.

What could have been better

  • Unfortunately, the pieces do not chop each other up and battle as depicted in the films. (ok that is a joke but it’s surely the only thing that can be improved on this set)

4. Lord of The Rings

Lord of The Rings Battle for Middle Earth Chess Set

The Lord of The Rings chess set is a themed set that will appeal to both film and book worms alike as it’s considered a modern-day classic.

This set has been uniquely divided into a game of good vs evil and adds an extra element of entertainment during play. All pieces are well detailed which brings them to life and includes most of the fan favorites be it Gandalf leading the white pieces or Gollum making cunning moves for the black pieces.

The set is decent quality, especially for the price but it’s worth keeping in mind that this is not a heavy-duty set and some of the more delicate pieces can be prone to breaking if stored and handled carelessly.

Overall, this is a great option for any Lord of The Rings fan and the engaging characters would even make this a great gift for kids.

What We Like

  • This set includes most fan-favorite characters including Gandalf, Frodo, and Gollum.
  • The pieces are well detailed and the attention to detail far exceeds the overall price which makes this set a great value option.
  • The product is highly rated with most customers finding it to be better quality than expected (though keep in mind it’s still a cardboard board with plastic pieces) and an excellent gift option.

What We Thought Could Be Better

  • Some of the more intricate pieces (like swords) are more delicate and can be prone to breaking when stored away and not in use.

3. Star Wars Chess Set

Star Wars Chess Game

Star Wars is one of the most popular franchises in living memory and it should therefore be no surprise that a Star Wars themed chess set is amongst the best (and most popular) on the market.

This particular set comes with a range of popular characters that pits the light side of the force against the dark side in galactic battle on the board. The pieces are detailed and feature some popular characters like Chewbacca, Darth Vader, and Luke Skywalker. 

One issue with these pieces is that they are plastic, not weighted and oversized which leads to some issues when combined, mainly in the form of accidentally knocking pieces during a move.

That point aside, this is a great chess set for fans of the Star Wars universe and is something that players of all ages can enjoy.

What We Like

  • Painted symbols on the base of the chess pieces easily indicate what each piece is and there is also a useful instruction manual that shows which direction the pieces can move.
  • The set combines multiple eras of the Star Wars genre from the original trilogy, prequel trilogy, and The Force Awakened era which will appeal to a range of fans.

What We Thought Could Be Better

  • The pieces are not scaled correctly in proportion to the board which often results in pieces being knocked over by mistake during a move as there is too much overlap.

2. Ricky and Morty

The Op Games Rick and Morty Collector's Chess Set | Collectible 32 Custom Sculpted Chess Pieces Adult Swim Rick and Morty Good and Evil Characters | Officially Licensed Rick and Morty Chess Set

Rick and Morty is an adult animated sitcom that has exploded in popularity with a loyal and engaged fanbase and the Rick and Morty themed chess set is a guaranteed hit for fans of the show.

The attention to detail on the pieces is evident and in terms of character selection, this set definitely includes some of the favorites. Meeseeks for pawns, Evil Morty, and a cowering Jerry are all additions that demonstrate attention to detail and good character selection.

You’ll find this chess set will be priced higher than some of the others on this list but that is more a reflection of the popularity of the show rather than the quality of the set (cardboard board and plastic pieces). We see this being a great collectible item in the future and is not one to miss out on.

What We Like

  • The choice of characters covers most of the fan favorites and shows a lot of thought and attention to detail went into this final product.
  • The pieces are detailed, colorful and a good size making the actual games more interactive and enjoyable.
  • It’s a fairly new product but proving to be a hit with fans of the show and it has one of the highest ratings for a themed chess set.

What We Thought Could Be Better

  • It’s a bit pricey compared with some sets that are made from similar material (though it does have good attention to detail on the playing pieces).

1. Battle of the White House

As Seen On TV Collector's Edition 2020 Battle for The White House Chess Set Board Game by BulbHead - Chess Pieces Look Just Like Politicians & Patriotic Chess Board Democrats Vs. Republicans

For anyone interested in politics, the 2020 Battle for The White House is an amusing (and strangely patriotic) chess set. It pits the Republicans against the Democrats in a battle for The White House as the title suggests.

The pieces (which include Donald Trump, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush) are well detailed and weighted which makes playing the game more satisfying. This can be considered both a political and historical item so it’s ideal for any history collector.

The price is also a key selling point with this item as it comes in cheaper than almost any other themed chess set on the market. While the quality is not the highest, you can’t really expect more given the price and collectible aspect. 

What We Like

  • This is one of the best-priced chess sets on the market.
  • It’s a collectible item that will eventually stop trending but is something that can be passed down through generations.
  • Detailed and weighted pieces make it quite enjoyable to use during actual chess matches.

What We Thought Could Be Better

  • It’s a very current and trendy topic that could lose relevance and novelty aspects in the long run.
  • The materials used are quite cheap and it’s a product more created for novelty than for serious chess players.

Editors Choice

Our choice for the best themed chess set is the Harry Potter Wizard Chess set. It’s widespread popularity and appeal is unmatched (even by Star Wars!) and the decision to base this set on the wizard set used in the film increases its universal appeal.

The pieces and board are quite basic in terms of material used and this is in no way a collectors edition. What it does, however, is come with a very favorable and affordable price tag providing good value for money whilst having detailed and likable pieces.

As mentioned earlier, the only thing this set is missing is for the pieces to come to life and battle as they did in the film!

Summary

Themed chess sets are an excellent idea for gifts or to introduce kids, teenagers, and even adults to the game of chess in a fun and interactive way.

The sets listed above are what we consider to be the best themed sets available. They are either trending topics or timeless genres that will get fans hooked on the game of chess.