It’s hard to find a game that can stand up to the almighty Chess. Invented in the 2nd Century and played all over the world by millions of people it’s a hard game to beat. Heck even my school had a chess club, with school on school leagues and stupid tournament robbing idiots… but that’s another story.
So with chess such a huge success worldwide you have to wonder why there aren’t many spin off’s on the format, at least not in the 21st century anyway. Most likely it’s because chess is still seen as a hard game to pick up and play. Give a child chess these days and they’ll probably throw it on the floor and go back to their Xbox 360’s. But who can blame them? I mean who wants to learn what all those pieces do when happiness is just a few button presses away?
This is probably the logic behind Cirondo, a new spin on the chess format that tries to simplify everything by giving you only three pieces: Planets, Moons and Solar Systems. Of these ‘Planets’ are knights and can move diagonally. ‘Moons’ are pawns and can only go forward and take pieces diagonally, and ‘Solar Systems are your queens which can travel in all directions. Simple. Although the instructions in the box try to complicate all of this by talking about ‘arcs’ and ‘orbits’, why can’t they just say what it is you need to do?
Hang on what’s that? The board is a circle? Yes when we said Cirondo puts a new ‘spin’ on the chess format we weren’t kidding. Whilst confusing at first (especially if you’re used to chess or even checkers) it’s easy enough to pick up. One problem we did have was picking up our pieces and then forgetting where we picked them up. This happened a lot when our moons made it to the center of the board, which is where they turn in to solar systems. We’d put our piece in the middle, grab a solar system and then forget where we needed to put it down again!
For those who have trouble following rules there’s always www.cirondo.com an online version of the game which makes sure there’s no foul play. Sadly it’s not free to play so you’ll need to shell out £10 for 12 months play but they make up for this with an online community and the ability to globally play anyone who is logged in. If you like the online games provided through MSN and Yahoo Games this is a little cheaper than most and it’s even cheaper than the actual board game so if you’re not really a board game household there’s always this option.
If chess is a cryptic crossword then Cirondo is Arrowwords, an easy to pick up activity that doesn’t require too much mental strain. If you fancy a new take on Chess then give Cirondo ago. Although for those who still don’t think it looks exciting enough you could always take up Chess Boxing
You can learn more about Cirondo and purchase the game at www.Cirondo.com