Drinking games are as old as spirits themselves. Any time anyone needed an excuse to get themselves or someone else drunk games like toblero or shot checkers would arrive. Until now I wouldn’t have thought chess would need something so complicated as a drinking game but here we are and someone had enough of an idea to make a stab at it.
The basics: What is it.
A chess set where the pieces are shot glasses.
Now I’m going to give credit where it’s due. They solved a lot of obvious problems with a set like this. Making the pieces out of glass seems like a kind of obvious choice but as anyone who has owned a glass set before will tell you they are holy hell to store and they WILL get broken. It’s just a matter of time. Making the pieces out of tempered glass will give the set some lifespan but glass is glass and it’s not going to become unbreakable overnight. On the subject of storage they did make another interesting choice of making the piece holders into ice cube trays. I might be inclined to buy these on their own just for the size and styling which are pretty cool. The only drawback I can see is that the ice pieces aren’t also shot glasses but there probably wasn’t an effective way to make them work for both.
Moving on, normally when you play a game like this the glasses are open and spills will occur. Glass Knights seems to have resolved this problem and created a more stylish piece by putting the opening on the bottom. So you get pieces that look like pieces but are hollow. To do this they provide rubberized gaskets to cap off each shot so they won’t leak or spill on your board. The gasket I’m sure will also prevent the glass pieces from scratching the board or chipping the rim of the shot.
From a design perspective I think they’ve traded one problem for another. The rubber gaskets are going to age. Even silicon will dry out and crack, particularly if they’re exposed to the somewhat corrosive effect of alcohol and citrus containing cocktails on a regular basis. The second problem is that there isn’t a flat base to set the pieces on to fill them. The “top” of the piece is irregular and heavier than the shot portion meaning you’ll need to fill them a few at a time unless you’ve got a lot of hands.
Glass chess sets are cheap. Regular sets are even cheaper. Shot glasses are cheap. Non-glass ones even cheaper than that. MSRP on a Glass Knights set now that the kickstarter is over is $260. Individual pieces were $15 and who knows what replacement costs on broken pieces or worn out gaskets will be like if you want to keep your set in tip top shape.
My last concern, frosted glass is a fragile fragile thing. It takes nothing at all to start rubbing off the frosting on glass and even the oils from your hands will wear it down. A dishwasher will scour it to the bone in a couple of runs. Rather than creating two different colors, or different styles they elected to frost the board and half the pieces. I can’t say for sure that the frosting is going to wear off but every frosted glass I’ve ever owned has worn out and I doubt they’ve invented a new kind of glass or a new kind of frosting technique just to make this chess set.
So if you like toblero or shiny coffee table set pieces feel free to check out Glass Knights. But if you’ve got $280 to drop on drinking paraphernalia may I humbly suggest you instead try a nice Speyside https://www.caskers.com/samaroli-19-year-old-1996-speyside-blended-malt-scotch-whisky/
or a bourbon
or even a lovely Appleton Estate Rum
you can even drink them out of my new custom glass drinking vessels, $17 for a dozen and you can pretend they look like a castle once you’ve had a couple drinks.