Story Time Chess Review from Jazz Paladin

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Quick Look: Story Time Chess

Publisher: Thinking Cup Games LLC & Story Time Learning (STL)
Year Published: 2019

No. of Players: 2
Ages: 3+
Playing Time: 10 minutes.
Find more info HERE.
From the Publisher:

Story Time Chess is the ONLY game in the world that can teach children as young as 3 how to play chess!

Awards include TIME Best Invention of the Year, 2021 Toy of The Year Award, & ASTRA Best Toy for Kids.

Story Time Chess is a board game that teaches chess to young children using silly stories, vibrant illustrations, custom chess pieces, and a unique double-sided chessboard.

The stories and supporting materials communicate the rules of chess to children ages 3 and up in a way that makes learning chess simple and fun.

Best of all, no chess experience is required for parents or children to learn!

Disclaimer: The publisher provided the copy of Story Time Chess. The opinions expressed in the review are completely my own.

Disclaimer: Anytime you see a link to Amazon on our site, it is another way to get your product there for the normally listed price as well as a way to support Everything Board Games and everything we’re doing here, without paying any extra. We appreciate the support!



After realizing a certain degree of success with Story Time Backgammon, I thought it would be worthwhile to pursue  another similarly designed product from Thinkingcup Learning. You may remember that this went particularly well with me for my last review, so the prospect of having my 8 year old initiated into the world of chess did not seem like it would be an impossibility given what she managed to achieve last time. Thus began her foray into the world of Story Time Chess.

Like with its similarly-oriented Backgammon sibling, the concept revolves around using a series of chapter-like episodes with an overarching story to convey the methodologies involved in the relatively complex game. This new, chess-themed story uses a variety of silly illustrated stories involving two warring kingdoms (feuding over food or pillows) to draw kids into the world of chess, and, just like Story Time Backgammon, the idea works again—brilliantly.

Before evaluating the game itself (I am not evaluating the gameplay itself, but rather, the ability of the game to teach the subject matter at hand as claimed), it is necessary to go into describing the quality of components and materials.

And these are all first rate! 


I expected to be greeted with small, cheap pieces of plastic that were identical to the sets that I grew up with or buying for children when I was a childcare director—one encounter with a boot or shoe back in the day was always enough to shatter one of those pieces instantly. 

Instead, I was presented with large, hulking pieces that were orders of magnitude more durable than what I had been anticipating. These pieces are huge! 

This made it virtually impossible to have accidents in identifying pieces, but also made maneuverability for a child much easier (yes, this sounds ironic and perhaps counterintuitive, as you would expect things to be easier being made for small hands to grasp, but when put into practice, this design choice really does facilitate things. 

Moreover, the pieces themselves can also be used with standees, thanks to individual slots that are fitted into each piece, again, making identification a cinch.

Giant drawstring bags will ensure the gargantuan pieces won’t get jumbled together.

The board itself is two-sided, with one side sporting pictures of where to place the pieces, and the other being unmarked and traditional. It is suitably large to fit all of the respectively sizable pieces. 

A handful of tokens are included to help with the learning process as well. Though not at all a part of the game itself, they are nevertheless part of the educational experience. 


Now I will not go into the rules of chess, as they are probably already known to readers of this review, but I will say that I was expecting much more of an uphill battle teaching chess to my 8 year old as opposed to the perceptibly “simpler” backgammon. The game, after all, sports a wider variety of movements and movement types over the backgammon counterpart, and I originally envisioned this type of knowledge being much more complicated to impart as opposed to my last venture into educational gaming. However, by the end of my journey with my daughter, you could color me shocked.

It wasn’t just that the story managed to work its magic ; it was rather that it managed to do so with limited parental involvement. I was largely able to leave my daughter by herself for the duration of my experience over the course of several weeks. Every day, I would let her read a chapter or two, and have her set up the game, pieces, and follow the instructions as given. And every day or two I would have her teach me what she learned, and apply it towards me, using the game’s “two player” challenges.

Slowly, but steadily, she managed to learn how to move pawns, bishops, knights, pawns, queens and kings, and had a creatively sufficient explanation as to why each piece moves the way it does, thanks to the aforementioned story, serving as a great way to ensure that lessons learned are retained in the future. By the end of one week, she was playing a full game of chess with me, without me really having to do anything!


Now you would think that would be the end of my tale, but it continues.


It just so happens that as the game was being learned over the course of the week, my 5 year old was also wanting in on the action. And the result of this particular fascination was doubly rewarding, as she stated that she wanted to learn as well. So it happened that my 8 year old spent several days reading the story to her as well, explaining how to move the pieces, how to capture, etc. And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to report that my 5 year old was also able to learn the game as well (given that her logic and reasoning skills are generally better than her older sibling’s were at the same age). 


But nevertheless, I am.


Even though the game has been put away to make way for other activities, I still get requests from her to set up chess—she clearly wants more to do with this game, and it definitely has gotten the developmental cogs whirling. 


Are there any complaints I have about the game? Yes and no. Mostly no, though.


The game, as advertised, can indeed convey the concepts of chess faster than I could, with results that amaze. While I cannot guarantee the same outcome for every child, there is truly marvelous potential — I can see why the game has won so many awards!



The only “negative” I might see is that the game doesn’t quite teach everything about chess. More advanced techniques such as “Castling” I did not see mentioned, but not to worry, I have noticed that there is a second product available from the same company that serves as a sort of “sequel” to story time chess, involving presumably more advanced material. Will that particular maneuver be included in that “expansion”? 




Am I upset that not every aspect of chess is included in the particular set of Story Time Chess I received? Not at all. Given the resounding degree of achievements my children managed to unlock with this first product, I am more than satisfied with the outcome, and would not expect anything less from any subsequent offerings in the Story Time Chess series.


Parents, teachers, or anyone looking for a STEM-related game for children should definitely check this one out! 




After reading Jazz’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Story Time Chess is available for purchase on AMAZON for only $39.99 and free Prime Shipping via our Amazon Affilate Link!! (Won’t cost you anymore and it’s a way to support us here at Everything Board Games!)

Check it out and get yours HERE.
Disclaimer: Anytime you see a link to Amazon on our site, it is another way to get your product there for the normally listed price as well as a way to support Everything Board Games and everything we’re doing here, without paying any extra. We appreciate the support!

Find out more HERE.


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Check out Story Time Backgammon and Story Time Learning on:


Disclaimer: Anytime you see a link to Amazon on our site, it is another way to get your product there for the normally listed price as well as a way to support Everything Board Games and everything we’re doing here, without paying any extra. We appreciate the support!











Jazz Paladin- Reviewer


Jazz Paladin is an eccentric at heart — When he is not learning to make exotic new foods at home, such as Queso Fresco cheese and Oaxacan molé, he is busy collecting vintage saxophones, harps, and other music-related paraphernalia. An avid music enthusiast, when he is not pining over the latest board games that are yet-to-be-released, his is probably hard at work making jazzy renditions of classic/retro video game music tunes as Jazz Paladin on Spotify and other digital music services.

CD’s are also available here!
See Jazz Paladin’s reviews HERE.

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