Chess has sneaked into many a famous sci-fi franchise. It made cameo appearances in "Blade Runner," in "Star Trek" (as a three-level board) and on board the Millennium Falcon in "Star Wars." Maker Ian Martin of Dejarik Creations undertook the epic task of crafting a playable holochess board from Star Wars.
Holochess appears in "Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope" when R2-D2 plays against Chewbacca as C-3PO watches. Animated holographic monsters fight each other on the tabletop. Han Solo warns the droids that "it's not wise to upset a Wookiee." The scene spawned this famous C-3PO line: "Let the Wookiee win."
Martin's holochess table features hand-sculpted and painted holochess monsters. It has 54 functioning buttons, 26 lights and 10 turnable knobs. They're not just for show. They control volume, monster choices, game length and sound effects. The official name of the game is Dejarik, which gave Martin the name of his personal maker studio, Dejarik Creations.
The next phase of the project involves 3D-scanning all the monsters and using an augmented-reality app to view the holographic creatures as they battle on the board. Two of the monsters have already been scanned and a demonstration video showing them emerging like ghostly forms from the table is crazy-cool. Eventually, the augmented-reality monsters could engage in animated fights.
Dejarik Creations is one man in a garage with a few volunteers helping him out on occasion. You can't just ring Martin up and ask to buy a holochess table, but he intends to do Star Wars fans a solid and help other makers realize their own futuristic chess tables. "The current plan is to release printable rules and game pieces, and a companion augmented-reality app that our fellow fans can download and use for free," notes the Dejarik Creations Facebook page.
If you do happen to spend an insane amount of time building your own functioning holochess table, then it's still best to keep C-3PO's advice in mind. Let the Wookiee win. It's not worth getting your arms torn off.