All That Glitters….Is Not Necessarily Pewter or Bronze – Elbren’s Review of the Parker Brothers LOTR Chess Set

by Sep 16, 2002Games

All That Glitters….

<!–±6148|center|LOTR Chess Set from Parker Brothers±–>

I am a chess player, so before anyone makes fun of me for making yet another LOTR merchandise purchase, in my own defense, at least this one will get out of the box and be used.

I had seen the LOTR Chess Set by Parker Brothers advertised on the New Line Shop website a few months ago. $39.99 and set to ship at the end of September, (in fact, it still says that). It also had the words “pewter” and “bronze” in there. Silly me, I skipped the word that followed both “pewter” and “bronze”, which is, “finish”. So, before you go rushing out to buy this or pre-order it, do not be misled or misunderstand (as I did) that this chess set has pewter and bronze chess pieces.

It doesn’t.

It IS a very nice chess set to gaze upon. It looks like pewter and bronze, I’ll grant that. However, the pieces are some sort of plastic; which, at first, made me regret my purchase, (at this point, I was still expecting pewter and bronze!) Now, though, after taking the pieces out and setting them up, I LIKE that they are some sort of plastic. Why? Because if someone knocks them over while playing or just inspecting the set, they won’t shatter, chip, or break. I have another LOTR chess set that is very nice, but it’s made out of some kind of material that definitely chips, shatters, and breaks. Don’t ask; I’m sure you can figure it out. As a result, my really nice, really expensive LOTR chess set is in my Tolkien room at home and does not get played.

The Parker Brothers set, (the one that we’re looking at in this review), is not only playable and won’t get damaged by the occasionally dropped piece or knocked over piece, it will look very nice on display. So, yes, you can put it in your living room and everyone will think that you have lost your mind and bought a pewter and bronze chess set. If you really want to see their eyes grow wide, knock over a few of the pieces “by accident”. Oh, another attribute for the plastic: If you have children that like to pick up your LOTR collectibles and play with them, you won’t have to worry if they next choose to play with your chess set.

So, we’ve established that the chess set is plastic with pewter finish for the good guys and plastic with a bronze finish for the bad guys. Yes, it’s worth the $24.99 price tag at your local Target. On the other hand, in my opinion, it’s not worth the $40.00 that you’ll pay at the New Line store if you choose to order from them. Go to Target, save the $$, and feel good about your purchase.

<!–±6146|right|Your King, Your Rook, Knight, and Queen±–>

Now, what about the chess set itself? The figures are very nice, (did I say that already?) Each piece has a small icon on its base to show you what chess piece it represents, (nifty, huh?) Gandalf is the White King and Galadriel is the White Queen. Yes, they both look fantastic. Aragorn is your White Knight; in fact, he’s BOTH of your White Knights. (Why couldn’t they make Gimli or Legolas one of them?) Boromir is your White Rook. Both White Rooks. Again, why not make Gimli and Legolas one of these pieces? Yes, I’m upset that Legolas and Gimli are missing from the chess set. I mean, there is only ONE Elf in the whole chess set: Queen Galadriel. Does Parker Brothers have some sort of bias against Elves? I would accuse them of being Dwarves, except there aren’t any Dwarves either!

Your pawns are Sam, complete with backpack and cooking pans. Frodo, with Sting in hand, is your Bishop, (which makes no sense to me!); oh, he’s BOTH of your Bishops. But, you saw that coming, didn’t you?

On the dark side of things, with your bronze finish bad guys, you get Saruman as your Black King and the WitchKing as your Black Queen. I never knew that the WitchKing was female, did you? He is rather androgynous, I guess, in all of those robes. Lurtz is your Black Knight and the Orc Overseer is your Rook. Kneeling orcs with scimitar blades make up your pawns. Now, the Black Bishops are quite cool; they’re the Cave Troll from Moria. They’re HUGE. They’re UGLY. They’re almost awkward on the chess board. I said “almost”.

<!–±6144|left|Saruman, Cave Troll, and WitchKing from LOTR Chess Set±–>

Ah, and the chess board. It’s a map of Middle Earth. It’s beautimous. It makes you WANT to play this game. It IS a game, or didn’t I mention that?

<!–±6147|left|The Middle Earth Battleground±–>

Okay, so despite the fact that the chess set is missing Pippin, Merry, Legolas, and Gimli, it gets 8 rings out of 10 from this Tolkien collector. For $24.99, it’s a steal. You can play it, display it, and not worry about breaking it.



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