Kids Invent Skylanders Chess

Geek Culture

I’m not sure if my kids were inspired by me telling them about another GeekDad’s daughter reinventing chess, but they have set about doing the same with their growing set of Skylanders figures.

It came about at the end of the weekend when they had run out of playtime on the Wii – we limit them to a couple of hours a day at the weekends. They wanted to play more Skylanders to upgrade their characters but I was resolute that they needed to play with something non-screen based.

A smile grew on the face of my daughter as she realized that they could still play with the Skylanders characters even if they couldn’t use them on the Wii. The next half hour was spent by the three of them chasing each other around the house, each in charge of a different Skylander.

Skylanders Chess

Having exhausted themselves they collapsed in a heap in the living room, inadvertently knocking over to a game of chess I had been playing with my son — trying to teach him the basics. As they tried to put the pieces back on the board they slotted in their Skylanders to the empty spaces.

“Hey dad, let’s play Sky Chess” my daughter exclaimed. And thus, Sky Chess was born. What developed over the next two hours was an intricate strategy game based where each Skylanders Character has special abilities and is matched by particular chess pieces.


Two sides are setup on the dark squares of a checkers board, Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure figures against Chess pieces. Each side needs seven pieces although this can be supplemented if not enough Skylanders figures available. The following pieces have special abilities, otherwise the game proceeds like Checkers:

  • Flight: Winged figures like Spyro can move two squares — matched with Knights.
  • Shoot: Figures with guns like Trigger Happy can eliminate another piece (in line of site) rather than moving – matched by Castles.
  • Bomb: Area effect characters like Eruptor can eliminate all piece around them in a two square radius – matched by Bishops.

They were enthralled with their creation and have actually spent more time playing “Sky Chess” than actually playing the videogame. At first I thought I should limit their time on this like I do the videogame, then I realized I really didn’t need to. They were working together, inventing rules, using their imagination and documenting the game for their friends to play.

They’ve headed off to school today with a bunch of Skylanders toys in their pockets and some chalk to mark a board out with. I expect by the end of the day all their friends will be playing as well. I also expect that the number of rules and special characters will have trebled.

[Originally posted on]

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