In a world where physical board games are rapidly being digitized, Particula, an electronic gaming company, has taken a unique approach to amalgamate the tactile satisfaction of physical play with the convenience of online gaming. The firm has introduced GoChess, a chessboard equipped with robotically moving pieces that allow chess enthusiasts to play online matches using an actual, physical board.
The groundbreaking GoChess project is currently seeking backers on Kickstarter, and has collected close to $1.35 million as of this writing. If you’re familiar with Particula, you might recall their previous innovation, the GoCube, a modern reinterpretation of the traditional Rubik’s Cube. In the same vein, GoChess breathes new life into the ancient game of chess.
At a glance, GoChess seems like a typical chess set, but upon closer inspection, its uniqueness is apparent. Tiny robots beneath its translucent surface move the magnetic chess pieces across the board, responding in real-time to moves made by remote opponents on popular online platforms such as Lichness and Chess.com. The opponents interact via a keyboard and onscreen chessboard, negating the need for their own GoChess setup.
The GoChess board connects to a companion app via Bluetooth. Players manually move their pieces on the GoChess board, and sensors within the board detect the magnets in the pieces to register which piece has been moved where. Players can also command their pieces to move using voice commands, adding an extra layer of convenience.
Besides engaging with human opponents, users can take on an AI adversary that can be set to 32 different levels of difficulty, catering to everyone from beginners to seasoned chess players. The board also offers a coaching feature, using color-coded LEDs beneath each square to suggest the next possible moves, indicating the best and worst choices.
The accompanying app enhances the GoChess experience with features such as skill-building chess puzzles and the ability to watch famous historical chess matches. It also tracks users’ games, monitors progress, and provides personalized improvement suggestions.
Interestingly, the sensor- and LED-loaded surface of the GoChess board can be removed for portable play, providing a robot-less version called GoChess Lite. This setup can also serve as a conventional chessboard for face-to-face games, reinforcing the blend of the traditional with the high-tech.
Pricing for this innovative project on Kickstarter starts at $269 for the full GoChess system, while the Lite version is available at a pledge of $229. The planned retail prices are expected to be $379 and $319, respectively. If all goes according to plan, backers can expect their boards to be shipped next May.
Overall, GoChess offers an intriguing blend of the old and the new, providing a revolutionary way to enjoy the age-old game of chess. It successfully bridges the gap between physical and digital gaming, offering a uniquely engaging chess experience.