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Chessmaster - Battle Chess

In a world where Harry Potter is king, and Wizard's Chess captured the hearts of millions, it's no surprise that another animated chess game - Chessmaster - has hit the market.

The game has quite a collection of training systems - tutorials, exams, historic games, classic openings. But I went diving right for the fantasy chess, with its animation.

You can choose from the orcs or the humans, white or black. Each side has six leaders to choose from - each with his own style of play. You can play single player, two player or just watch. The play has a variety of backgrounds - stone walls, desert and more.

As much as I used to love Battle Chess and enjoy playing it, this version really wasn't that great. The fights were all extremely simple. While you could spin around the board, you couldn't zoom in or out, and often the not-great graphics made it hard to tell exactly which unit was which. The game played was a good one, but the graphics and angles made me quit back out to the regular game.

The main chess game has a variety of boards and piece styles as well. Each 'theme' has its own pieces, board, background, music. While I enjoyed the Halloween and gnome sets, again they were hard to use and fuzzy at best. I settled on the Irish wood set and got going.

The gameplay again was great, and the tutorials, lessons and examples really help you learn at your own pace and make solid progress. Since that's really what the game is about, I highly recommend you choose a nice, simple chess layout - maybe even going for the 2-D symbol set. Don't fool with the fancy backgrounds - just concentrate on the wealth of information the game offers as far as learning the game. There's even an online option for when you've gotten your feet wet and are ready for a human challenger.

Recommended for anyone wanting to learn the game of chess, or hone their skills.

Buy Chessmaster from Amazon.com

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