Saturday, March 19, 2011

Homebrew Shurro chess set

Shuuro is this sweet new chess alternative game I wanted to try out but given my poor grad student status I couldn't afford the $80 price tag for the 2-player base + 4-player expansion.  Really, the first thought you get when you see this is why don't people just make it themselves?  So I set out to do just that and saved $40, but that's because i scored a sweet ebay deal for 7 chess sets.  W/ithout Ebay, most likely the cheapest you can possibly build this for is ~$50.  Yeah, that's right, you need 7 chess sets for 4 player set, 5 chess sets for 2 players.  Is it worth saving $30 to spend time making it yourself?  Read on and find out!

What is Shuuro?  Shuuro is basically a chess alternative that you can customize your army.  Each piece is assigned a point value and each player selects pieces up to a set total. Of course, you could have up to 3 queens if you really wanted to, but you would not have many other pieces because queens are the most expensive. The other difference is the change of the board.  A normal chess board is 8x8 squares, but in Shuuro it is 12x12 squares since you can have more units than normal chess and there is also additional "Terrain" pieces!  These movement-blocking "mountains" are placed randomly throughout the board by rolling 2D6 die.  The only units that can move through and land on top are the knights, because they normally can hop over things anyway.  Other than that, the game is played normally! 

Building it
Like I said, you need 7 chess sets for the 4 player variant.  The cheapest source of chess pieces I could find was,  $4.50 - $5 for a basic plastic set.  So we're talking $35 just for chess pieces.  Then you need some spray paint to convert some of the black and whites into two new colors (white + 2 colors x $3 each walmart = $9).  For the board, I made my own set of four 6x6 chess grids with 1.1inch squares to match the smaller chess pieces i snagged on ebay (1.75" height, tournament sized ones are 3"), color-printed at the school print shop (55 cents each), then mounted on some leftover chipboard.  
Here is the PDF of the board if you want to use it.
Here is the MS Visio file if you want to modify the size of the square for your own board.
Single 6x6 board is used for quick mini-Shuuro.  Just as fun!
For the terrain blocks, i used some PVC pipe i had lying around, the diameter fit the 1.1inch square perfectly.  Capped off with some foam board.  I'll probably spray paint them gray later.  You can also just get some nice 1" square wooden dowels from Home Depot and cut some suitable blocks out of that. Lastly, the corner pieces for 4 player mode were just blue-colored foam board.  You'll also need a couple of dice but i'm sure you can find some anywhere.  And there you have it! 

Game Review:
It was actually a lot of fun!  We played the 4 player variant and those terrain pieces really add some interesting affect to planning your movements.  Also tried the mini-Shuuro variant (played on a single 6x6 tile) and you can checkmate your opponent within the first few turns if you set up correctly!  So there is some strategy in setting up the board right off the bat.  I must say the game played out much faster than i expected, i think it's because you have more power units and less pawns, there are less turns where you are just moving pawns out of the way.   

Conclusion: It's a great game.  I generally like to support the makers of good games but this case I just couldn't afford it.  I do recommend the set though.  Considering the replayability due to customization of the force and the randomization of the terrain placement, this game is probably worth the cost.  But if you're poor like me, at least I've given you the options to try it out. 

2 player game: 800 pts
2 player mini-game: 200 pts  or 250 pt tournament.
4 player turanga uses 400pt, but uses 250 pt tournament sheet
You can get the roster sheets at BoardGamesGeeks here. 

Here is the unit breakdown:
1x Shuuro double-sided Chessboard 12x12 (or 4 6x6)
8x Shuuro Plinths
2x D6 dice

Red & Blue Chess Piece Sets, each with:
1x King
3x Queens
9x Bishops
9x Knights
6x Rooks
18x Pawns

Turanga Expansion (3-4 players)
Green & Yellow Chess Piece Sets, each with:
1x King
2x Queens
3x Rooks
4x Bishops
4x Knights
8x Pawns


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