Skip to main content

The Queen’s Gambit board game wants to turn you into a chess prodigy… without actually playing chess

Cash that Check.

The Queen’s Gambit, Netflix’s surprise smash-hit mini-series about chess prodigy Beth Harmon, is getting a tabletop adaptation that somehow isn’t just a chess set.

Upcoming release The Queen's Gambit: The Board Game does take place on a traditional chessboard, but swaps the standard rules of chess for a two- to four-player game driven by decks of cards. (Thanks, BoardGameGeek.)

Players lay down cards from their hand into a row to programme three moves at a time, revealing their cards to move their gambit piece around the board and capture tiles styled after standard chess pieces.

The idea, according to the game’s blurb, is that players will embody Harmon’s impressive ability to visualise the board and plan three turns ahead of her opponents. Apparently playing normal chess doesn’t quite fit the bill for us non-prodigies.

The game ends when all of the tiles on the board have been captured, with the player who collected the most tiles taking the win. Matches are estimated to take around 15 minutes.

The Queen’s Gambit board game comes from Mixlore, the publisher behind the tabletop adaptation of fellow Netflix series Black Mirror, as well as films Top Gun and The Shining. The game is due out later in 2021, with an English-language release listed on various retailer sites for release later this month. The UK RRP will be £19.99.

Watch on YouTube

The Queen’s Gambit’s release in October 2020 saw sales of chess sets rocket on top of the classic strategy game’s already rising popularity during lockdown. According to market analyst NPD, sales of chess sets in the US almost doubled in the three weeks following the Netflix series’ premiere, with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) adding that the term “chess sets” was searched for every six seconds on eBay in the first 10 days after its release - an increase of over 270%. Books on how to play chess, opening moves and chess strategies similarly boomed.

Based on Walter Tevis’ 1983 novel, The Queen’s Gambit follows Anya Taylor-Joy’s Beth Harmon as she rises to fame during the 1960s and faces the pressures of competing in chess at a professional level. The series received critical acclaim and became Netflix’s biggest scripted limited series to date.

Read this next