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Bad Chess

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Play OverviewPlay Overview

Really Bad Chess (2016) is like chess, but with random pieces selected for each player. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns. Starting positions are also non-standard. It sounds like a bad idea (hence the name) but actually opens the imposing chess challenge to newcomers.

Play involves taking on different scenarios using the standard chess moves. The pieces start in different places each time, and you have a different collection to work with. The result is a surprisingly engaging puzzle game.

You will take on a range of weaker opponents and this will be much easier than trying to play the proper game. But as the opponents and scenarios get harder, real joy in chess emerges. It's an approach that levels the playing field for newcomers and experts and is an excellent first step for children.

There's a daily challenge that lets you take on higher-ranked board setups. There are also leader boards that you can climb as you complete different levels.

Really Bad Chess makes highly unconventional choices about reinventing the game of chess. In doing so, it not only makes it accessible but does away with the stuffiness, memorisation and openings that can put so many people off the classic game. It's a bit bonkers, and because of that it clearly isn't a replacement for the real thing -- but it is a lot of fun.

Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Really Bad Chess 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 23 months ago.
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Play StylePlay Style

This is a Brain Game and Sequencing game with Puzzle elements. This is a single-player game.

You can play this game in the following styles:


Play Time: It takes between 1 minute and 5 minutes to play a round of this game.

Age RatingsAge Ratings

Content Rating

This game has been rated PEGI 3.

Skill Level

6+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it’s important for parents and guardians to ensure they understand in-game purchases and have spending limits set-up. The simple rule-flip approach to chess opens it to very young children, who can (if they want) graduate into the traditional more static game of chess.


There are the following additional costs associated with this game:
  • In-Game Purchases: Additional in-game purchases are offered for items that enhance the experience.
As well as playing via Apple Arcade, you can play a free version of the game and then pay to unlock the full version. You can also purchase undo tokens to help your play. 
It's important to set up your accounts and devices appropriately. More information is on our Financial Resources page.

DetailsGame Details

Release Date: 13/10/2016, updated in 2017

Out Now: Android, iOS and iPhone, iPad

Skill Rating: 6+ year-olds

Players: 1

Genres: Brain Game, Sequencing and Puzzle

Accessibility: 0 features documented (Tweet Developer )

Components: 2D Overhead, Grid and Text

Developer: Helvetica (@Helvetica)

Taming Gaming Book Written by parents for parents, the database complements the in-depth discussion about video game addiction, violence, spending and online safety in the Taming Gaming book. We are an editorially independent, free resource without adverts that is supported by partnerships.

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