Chinese Chequers Board. Product development Mark Lewis, Lewis Design London 2017
The game was invented in Germany in 1892 under the name “Stern-Halma” and has been produced worldwide in many different forms and materials, some using pegs instead of the different coloured glass or stone spheres as the pieces that are moved across the hexagram-shaped board. The objective of the game is to race all of one’s pieces across the board into the “home” the corner star opposite one’s own starting corner using single step moves or moves that jump over other pieces via the geometrically aliened indents in the board. The unique nature of the game is that, unlike chess or back gammon Chinese chequers is simple enough for children to play and as such is a family or group game allowing 6 players to compete at any one time. Other variations of player No include 2, 3, & 4.
The concept for the prototype illustrated is that the size of the board be large enough to hold, 25mm, or 35mm diameter, polished stone or semi precious stone spheres. This size of game would give the item a gravitas currently not evadible on the market. The standard option illustrated has the 25mm spheres and shows two boards. One forming the base used to play on and the other the lid used to sandwich the spheres in place allowing the game to be stored or carried vertically like a briefcase. Leather straps would bind the boards together and provide the carry handle. The board accommodating 35mm pieces would need to be of a more substantial design incorporating a folding table and a separate storage case or bag for the stone spheres given the collective weight of the larger pieces would be approximately 4kg.
Leather veneered on to board would provide the desired finesse for the finish allowing each stone sphere to rest softly within the indent when stored and as play progressed. The folding table made of hard wood with some plated steel components would be topped with leather veneer to the playing surface facilitating the same feel of stone resting in the soft indents during play.