If chess is the game of kings, then Square Off is chess for the cyborg kings of the future, where complex technology is layered underneath age-old board game traditions. It’s a real board, with real pieces, but it can be controlled via smartphone and synced up to opponents anywhere with an internet connection, so you get the tactility of a classic chess match combined with the excitement of global internet-facilitated play.
Square Off works with a two-axis robotic arm and a system of magnets to make the reality of the self-playing chessboard come true. Back in the old days, you had to play chess by mail in order to get the satisfaction of seeing a game play out in real, three dimensions with a friend far away, but now you can play in real time.
Naturally, Square Off also has an AI function so you can actually play against the board itself if you’re hard up for opponents. And you can pre-order one starting at just under $200 at the product’s Kickstarter listing right here.