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Knightmare Chess

Steve Jackson Games publishes in Summer 1996 a translation of the French Tempete sur l'Echiquier, a set of cards, to be used in combination with a chess board. The cards modify play.

More information on this game can be found at Steve Jackson Games' page on Knightmare Chess. Comparing the US and French versions of this game, one directly notes the large difference in drawing style: Tempete has cartoonish drawings (funny, and black and white line drawings), and Knightmare Chess has colored paintings, in the style of `dark fantasy art'.

See also:

Personally, I really dislike the graphics used in Knightmare chess - so much, that I won't play this game, or recommend it. Where the French original had funny cartoons, the U.S. cards are in a style, often called `gothic', and do remind of real nightmares: ones that you would prefer not to have.

Hans Bodlaender

On February 21, 1997, Maryanne Snyder sent me the following reaction:


I agree with you completely about the artwork in Steve Jackson Game's "Knightmare Chess". My 11 year old son enjoys chess, but the pictures perturb him especially if we play into the late night hours. I hope Wizards of the Coast's Chaos Chess has a lighter touch.

The name, "Knightmare Chess" is also pretty stupid. I can do without the cheap pun.

Your Web page is marvelous, thank you!

In a later email she wrote: Cartoon illustrations would also be more immediately recognizable., and ...the dark artwork prevents elementary school chess clubs from playing Knightmare Chess, at least in the United States.

Bruno Faidutti posted the following on the electronic news: August 20, 1996:

Being one of the authors of Knightmare Chess, I'm ready to answer to any
question on the game, though I've not yet seen the American edition (must
be somewhere over the ocean at this time).
I also don't like the artwork in the American edition, but really think
it's not the most important.

Bruno Faidutti                                   tel: (33) (1) 40 33 17 95 
124 rue de Bellevile                        (email removed contact us for address) 

Below you find the text of a press release of Steve Jackson Games, from March 18, 1996.

For Immediate Release -- March 18, 1996

SJ Games' Knightmare Chess Coming in July

Take a 5,000-year-old classic game of strategy and skill -- and then turn it upside down. That's what Steve Jackson Games has done with Knightmare Chess, a new card game shipping in July, 1996.
Knightmare Chess is a licensed translation of the French game Tempete sur l'Echequier (literally, "Storm on the Chessboard"), a hit in Europe for ten years. This is the original `cards and chess' game (accept no imitations . . . ). In Knightmare Chess, players use cards to affect the traditional rules of chess in different ways. One card might make your knight move like a bishop for one turn, and another builds a permanent wall to stop enemy pieces! The possibilities are endless -- and endless fun -- in Knightmare Chess.
Knightmare Chess is a single set of 80 full-color, oversized cards painted (in a Gothic, surrealist style) by Brazilian artist Rogerio Vilela; players will also need a standard chess set. Each card has a point value, so you can build custom decks based on an agreed point total, or handicap the match so the better player has fewer cards. Or players can play from a common deck, taking whatever chance deals them!
'I loved this game the moment I saw it,' Steve Jackson said. `I'm very pleased to be able to bring it to the American audience'.

For more information, contact Claudia Smith or Steve Jackson at (512) 447-7866.

|      /\                            |
|     /  \       Scott D. Haring     |
|    / ** \      Managing Editor     |
|   / \__/ \   Steve Jackson Games   |
|  /________\                        |

It might be interesting to note that a similar looking game was announced to be published by Wizards of the Coast: Chess Chaos.
Daniel Blum wrote on the electronic news, August 20, 1996:

One interesting thing I noticed about Knightmare Chess (but forgot to include in my last follow-up OR my GenCon report) is that Gary Gygax is listed as a playtester. Nice to see that he's keeping his hand in, I thought.

This project appears to have been cancelled.

WWW page created: May 1996. Last modified: January 4, 2000.