Second Look - Boardgame reviews in depth. Check out that cat.So there I was, an avid gamer, writing about Chess, reporting on Chess tournaments, and yet, without a Chess set of my own to play. Finding one I liked, though, proved difficult. Perhaps I was being a bit picky but I wanted a set that was both good for playing and nice to display.

While I continued to look, I was, by coincidence, contacted by The Game Supply, an online retailer that focuses mostly on classic board games like Chess, Backgammon, Mahjong, and the like. The company was, of course, looking to promote its offerings. But seeing as we were having the same problem from opposite perspectives—mine: how to evaluate a unbranded product online; the company’s: how to convince online shoppers of the quality of its generic games—I agreed to accept a wood Chess set sample for review.

Cutting to the chase, if like I was, you’re looking for something in between plastic tournament and sculpted marble, the Black Mustang wood Chess set from The Game Supply is a fine choice. The set, which is currently on-sale for $195, is classic-looking, solid, and smart. Players especially will appreciate the traditional, instantly recognizable shapes and weighted pieces.

Chess Pieces

This is not to say that there are no trade-offs with the Black Mustang set. While I would still call it a player’s set, at 17 inches square, the board is not particularly convenient for carrying to the park, or really transporting on any regular basis. Nor does it come with any kind of storage beyond the cardboard box. Also, unlike many tournament sets, the Black Mustang doesn’t include extra queens.

On the other hand, the set is not only playable, it looks impressive on the table. The pieces are large (the kings stand at 3.75 inches tall), the carving is well-done (smooth, consistent, and appropriately detailed on the knights), and the staining is beautiful.

Overall, the Black Mustang Chess set is one I enjoy playing and also am proud to leave on display.

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