What first attracted me to this travel game board were the images on Amazon. The images indicated this would be a partially carved wooden game board that brought to mind one of my favorite portable chess games that I own, which was handcrafted in Poland circa 1996. Although the brand listed on Amazon is Kisluck, when I received the set in the mail it was branded as Xinliye, with exterior packaging that didn’t exactly indicate quality. Fortunately, what was inside was more mixed bag than total disappointment.
So, first things first. What looks like a partially carved and shellacked wood board is nothing more than a sticker. What’s odd is that since it’s a sticker you would think the letters and numbers would be perfect, but the letters in particular are fairly sloppily formed and a bit misaligned. Now, I can put up with that on the handcrafted Polish chessboard I have – it does in fact have that quirk – but it’s harder to put up with it on something clearly mass-printed.
The board itself is very light, but opens easily and reliably. The backgammon board underside appears to be printed directly on the wood, so that’s a positive.
The highlight of this game package is the chess pieces. They’re both magnetic and well-shaped in the classic Staunton style. You’ll have no trouble identifying the pieces.
A bit more curious are the checkers/backgammon pieces. While the ultra-tiny backgammon dice are a nice addition and the pieces again are well-shaped, they oddly lack any magnetic properties. So while you can play chess in a moving vehicle should that be your thing, doing so with the checker/backgammon pieces is just not going to work. Whether that’s an actual issue of course depends on how you plan on using this set. For my usage, I don’t anticipate that being a particular downside.
This is the 240x240x20mm size, which is a few dollars less than the 290x290x20mm size. I’d say go for the bigger size if you have the choice unless you really do prize the extra portability. Overall, considering the price point and some of the strange design decisions, this is not really an easy recommendation. It’s definitely a good idea to balance the positives and negatives of this product as they relate to your particular needs against other travel boards around its price point.
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