Check! Star Trek tridimensional chess set makes a logical gift

One board is way too easy. Play like Kirk and Spock and unfold your game across seven boards, four of which are movable.

Gael Cooper
CNET editor Gael Fashingbauer Cooper, a journalist and pop-culture junkie, is co-author of "Whatever Happened to Pudding Pops? The Lost Toys, Tastes and Trends of the '70s and '80s," as well as "The Totally Sweet '90s." She's been a journalist since 1989, working at Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, Twin Cities Sidewalk, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and NBC News Digital. She's Gen X in birthdate, word and deed. If Marathon candy bars ever come back, she'll be first in line.
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The tridimensional chess set, made by the Franklin Mint, is selling at Think Geek for $274.99.

Think Geek

The "Star Trek" version of future chess is as elegant as the curves of the Enterprise. You may remember the multi-leveled game from this episode, the show's second-ever, where Captain Kirk somehow moves himself out of check to immediate checkmate of Mr. Spock.

Spock's response? "Your illogical approach to chess does have its advantages on occasion, Captain."

Back in the 1990s, the Franklin Mint sold a tridimensional Star Trek chess set, which can be pretty pricey on the secondary market these days. To celebrate the show's 50th anniversary, the set is back. But it's still not cheap: Think Geek is selling it for $274.99 (£216, AU$369).

The game comes with seven boards, which you set up on different levels, and of course with 32 silver- or gold-plated chess pieces. Three of the boards are main playing boards and four are moveable attack boards. If that just lost you, no worries, it comes with a rulebook (plus numerous YouTube videos explain how to play), or you can just set it up for a pricey display.

"Perfect for folks who fall into the not-insignificant Venn diagram conjunction of Star Trek fans and chess players," the Think Geek site notes.

Star Trek isn't the only sci-fi franchise to have a go at reinventing chess. In a memorable scene from the first Star Wars film, R2-D2 and Chewbacca are playing a sort of hologram version, where alien creatures capture each other. When Artoo pulls ahead, C-3PO delivers the memorable advice: "Let the Wookiee win."