Fan crafts novelty chess set from MTG cards

A fan has blended two great games, mixing chess with Magic: The Gathering to form an awesome chess board from black and white MTG cards.

MTG cards chess set - A chess set constructed from Magic: The Gathering cards.

This Magic: The Gathering fan has combined the TCG with his love of the classic board game chess, to create the ultimate MTG chess set. Seth Borgo, from California, loves a good novelty chess set. And he likes Magic and chess, in part, for the same reason: how damn cool the pieces look. So it only made sense to try and construct a chess board using some sweet-looking MTG cards.

In chess, it’s crucial that the pieces are all clearly discernible, and when they’re all the same shape (rectangular) that’s pretty tricky, so clarity was an obvious priority for Borgo. “I chose cards that had the piece names in them, for easier identification,” he explains. “The rooks, bishops, and knights all have their piece names first, but they also look like their characteristic pieces.”

On the white side of the board, there’s quite an Eldraine-heavy theme, with Mr and Mrs Kenrith leading up the army. On the other side, we’ve a less traditional couple with Lolth, The Spider Queen and Karumonix, The Rat King. We’re not judging though. “With the kings and queens I decided to go with legendaries (and one planeswalker) to make them stand out more,” says Borgo.

Crucially, it’s worth pointing out that each piece is made with two cards, one in the front, and one in the back. So you’re not just facing off against a sea of mysterious Magic card backs.

Assessing his work, Borgo says “Novelty chess sets are always difficult to play with. This one I would say is equally bad, but not really worse. Sitting at the board, it’s easy to read the piece names, but in a complicated position it might be difficult to take in the spatial relationships between the pieces.”

He adds that he enjoyed putting the project together, but having just made the set and with no one home to play with, hasn’t yet had a chance to test the board out in a real bout. “I moved some of the pieces around playing a classic chess opening and it worked fine,” he says, though adds that a larger board would help: “right now it’s tricky to manoeuvre pieces around each other”.

Borgo adds that the MTG chess set is still a work in progress. He’s used MTG lands for the pawns, “because they worked nicely and basic lands are an icon of Magic” but is considering swapping them out for soldier and zombie tokens, and constructing a board out of lands.

Check out our MTG release schedule guide for everything coming up this year, from MTG Lord of the Rings to MTG Lost Caverns of Ixalan. And don’t miss out on these crucial MTG Arena codes! And in case you’re a newbie, here’s how to play chess.