Review: Fun Family Chess by Brain Blox

Major mom confession. I do not know how to play chess. I know, total failure, right? For years I kept telling myself that if I only had a cheat sheet to tell me which pieces moved where, perhaps I could learn. Then we discovered Fun Family Chess by Brain Blox. Excuses aside, it was time this mama learned the fine art of the game.

Brain Blox is a family-owned company whose mission is to help families draw closer to one another and be purposeful in their time together. Every item available at Brain Blox Nation seeks to help them accomplish these goals. Available now, Fun Family Chess encourages families to stop thinking of chess as too complicated and instead embrace this epic game.

Ready to finally learn this incredible game, our family was offered one Fun Family Chess set. Fun Family Chess includes a folding wooden chess board, thirty-two wooden chess pieces in pouches, a full-color chess book, two reference cards, and a chess cube. In addition to the game itself, we were encouraged to take advantage of the multitude of free resources available on the Brain Blox website and given a free two month Gold Membership at the ChessKid website, a family safe website where kids can learn and play chess online.
Once our box arrived, we immediately began to explore. We were pleased to discover the game board and pieces are well made and beautifully designed. The included reference cards are printed on heavy card stock, durable and beautifully designed. I would definitely be using these while learning the game. Our Fun Family Chess book shared everything from how to set up the chess board to tips on better game play. After familiarizing ourselves with the set, we took time to peruse the Brain Blox website; learning more about the free resources available and how they might better help mom learn how to play.

As everyone in my family already knows how to play chess, it was my turn to put aside any reservations I might have and learn the art of strategy. I immediately jumped on the Brain Blox YouTube channel and began their tutorials. My first video taught me how to set up the chess board; noting the chess board is bordered by images of game pieces to help beginners. The second and third videos explained how to play Fun Family Chess, a game which incorporates the rolling of a chess cube to determine which piece will be moved. Using the reference cards, I would then determine how that piece should be moved and learn to strategize. This would help me become familiar with each of the pieces on the board and practice moving around the playing field. Simple, straightforward, and easy to learn; without the rules of standard chess. My fourth video shared how to play a standard game of chess.

I spent several days playing Fun Family Chess, and have since proceeded to playing Standard Chess. I have not set myself up on a schedule of play, but do my best to incorporate this into my routine as often as possible, with the goal of playing several times per week. Each game can take anywhere from twenty minutes to an hour, depending on my ability to strategize and focus on the game. I have also taken a moment or two to try the ChessKid website but, as the purpose of my learning is to spend more time with family, found being on a website useful for personal practice when no-one else is available.
I didn’t want to miss out on anything, so I was sure to take a few minutes to explore “Free Stuff” on the Brain Blox website. I was pleased to find a free Conscious Kids Journal; a set of colorful printables designed to build character in our children. Journal pages include exercises in Affirmation, Weekly Kindness, Generosity, and more! I imagine these would be lovely to incorporate into a weekly routine with littles.

Thus far, I have truly enjoyed Fun Family Chess. The set itself is well-made and lovely. I found the chess book to be a helpful resource to have on hand, and appreciated that Brain Blox included this with our set instead of assuming we would prefer to learn online, all while reminding us that video tutorials are available for those in need. Fun Family Chess game play was very fun. As a beginner, it took the stress out of choosing which piece to move and instead allowed me to focus on learning the pieces, as well as strategy. Using the resource book, I enjoyed learning about Standard Chess. I was able to acquaint myself with terms such as “Check”, “Checkmate”, “Stalemate”, “Pawn Promotion”, and more!
Viewing the YouTube tutorials was amazing fun. Each video was entertaining and simple to follow. Their videos are very well made and a joy to watch.
Being OCD, the only observation I might make regarding Fun Family Chess, is that I wish the board and the pieces were not different colors. Silly, but true. The wooden board is black and white; the pieces brown and white. I am sorely tempted to paint my brown pieces black. But that is still up for debate. Other than my ridiculous need for things to match, I love everything about Fun Family Chess!

It’s true. I didn’t know how to play the game. But, thanks to Fun Family Chess, that has all changed. Now if I could only manage to strategize a tad better… Oh, well. I’m sure it will come with time, right?

If you’d like to learn more about Fun Family Chess or Brain Blox, please visit them at their website and on FacebookYouTube, or Instagram!

To read additional reviews like this one, and gain more insight into this series, please visit The Homeschool Review Crew.

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