This eight-piece set is a prototype I made for a birds and botanicals themed chess set.  Each chess piece has a different bird and botanical to help distinguish it from the others, as well as a different shape to help ground it in chess history.  The rook, for example, has a rook/raven as its bird, and is in a typical castle shape.  It has a lid that can open and the vessel can hold peanuts or other victuals to keep the game players fed, as long as they keep their pieces.  Very utilitarian.  The botanicals are invasive but pretty oriental bittersweet vines–strong enough to take down native trees.  The knights have kingfisher birds atop them, as the most horse-like shaped avians I could come up with.  Their pieces, too, are lidded and can hold edible or other treasures for the winning.  They are the ninjas in the group, with Japanese Maple leaves as their botanical. The bishops are owls–inscrutable birds, atop the typical bishop-shaped rounded-top chess piece.  These pieces do not open. Their botanical is invasive honeysuckle–that sweet, sweet smelling vine that one loves but can’t get out of one’s garden.   The queen is a powerful piliated woodpecker (I was going to have her be a kingfisher (for obvious poetic reasons, until I needed the kingfishers for their shape to be the knights)) sitting atop the most bottle-shaped piece on the board.  Her botanical is wild rose leaves and berries.  Indeed, this piece should hold the most precious liquid–the 30, 40, 50-year old Scotch (or whatever)–that you do not what to have captured, and that you most certainly DO want to capture on the other side.  The king is a vulture–yes, an old scavenger, but a necessary part of the society.  His piece, too, is open-able, and can carry precious liquid or M&Ms or other tradeables.  The botanical on the king is Virginia creeper.

I have also made three prototype pawns with starlings atop, no botanicals.  Anyone interested in commissioning a full set, with or without modifications, please do feel free to call me.  These work on 6″ square tiles, so the playing board, without a frame, would be 48″ wide at minimum.  This is NOT a miniature set.  The queen is 11.5″ tall; the king is 10″.  Also, I must say, that in this prototype, both the vulture and the woodpecker are off-center enough that I’ve needed to use gallery putty on the lids to ensure a solid enough fit so that curious hands don’t accidentally knock the lids off and break the birds.  I would re-design the 2.0 version.

This eight piece prototype set is available for purchase as is, until separate pieces of it sell, for $2500.  The three pawns are available at $175 each.