The Story of ‚Hyperchess,‘ a 3D Chess Game Inspired by Star Trek

Image: Wikimedia Commons
Max Chappell spent a lifetime developing an outlandish 3D chess game and selling it at Star Trek conventions.

By Jason Johnson | MOTHERBOARD

In 1993, Max Chappell, an obscure board game designer from San Diego, California, loaded his Plymouth Voyager minivan with a bunch of funky-looking chess sets and headed north. A Star Trek convention was being held at the Westin Bonaventure in downtown Los Angeles, and Chappell smelled an opportunity to hawk his singular creation, a 3D chess game called Hyperchess.

Hyperchess is a tale of two obsessions: one with chess, and the other with Star Trek. If one of these obsessions is more vital than the other, it would be Star Trek. To your average chess player, Hyperchess was just a weird chess game. But to a subset of Trekkies in the mid-90s, Hyperchess was a weird chess game that kind of looked like the iconic chess board from Star Trek: The Original Series.

“Star Trek fans just loved it,” Chappell, who is 69 years old, told me on the phone. “They thought that that my game was the original chess board that was on TV. But it wasn’t. It was actually a playable game.”

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