The article below appeared in the The Ithaca Times, a free weekly newspaper published in
Ithaca, NY, USA (The Ithaca Times, Sept. 16-22 issue, 1999), and is reproduced verbatim
with permission (with the exception that several editorial corrections to the text have been
noted in square brackets).
Make Your Move--
Artist's board game combines best of the rest
by Gene Ira Katz
LOOKING something like an abbreviated checkerboard with arrows and other
strange markings placed here and there, backgammon-like pieces sitting in the
white and black squares as well as in the borders between them, Chebache, a new
board game invented by local artist Scott Pardee, has come of age.
The innovative board game has been selected for the prestigious annual buyers
guide published by Games magazine. "It's a very interesting design," says Robin
King, who helps test toys and games for the magazine.
"It's hard to play chess and socialize with other people. You can't carry on
a conversation. There's also way more attitude than there needs to be."
Pardee hastens to add that he's not trying to put chess down. "It was out of a
love for these games that Chebache was developed," he explains. "I just think
chess is too competitive. Games should be fun."
During his journey to the east, he began to sketch an idea for a game that
would be something in between, and so, borrowing some of the elements of the
classic games, he came up with a way of combining features of checkers,
backgammon and chess. From this Chebache was born
(from CHEckers- BACkgammon-CHEss).
The artist visualized how his game should appear with an eye toward the
classics. "I always loved the mystery of the more abstract-looking game boards,"
he explains. The Chebache playing surface was designed from a modified chess
board. "Working from the basic concepts of these games I drew the Chebache
board, adding marks to provide directional cues."
Starting with a primitive layout, Pardee spent six years of serious play,
testing among friends, acquaintances and family, perfecting the rules,
trying to keep his new game as playable as possible.
Briefly, the object of Chebache is to move all your pieces through a defined
pathway along the 16 squares of the board, similar to backgammon.
However, there are no safes spaces. In addition, there is something like the
"check" concept of chess in which an opponent's pieces can be threatened.
Despite the recognizable elements from these popular games, Chebache has a
classic character all its own. This was appreciated by Games magazine's
Robin King and their editor in charge of playtesting, John McAlion [John McCallion].
"We like it when inventors have new ideas and not just a rehash of
things you see all the time," he says.
"The rule book was a great challenge," says Pardee, explaining that it went
through many revisions. "Not only do you have to know how to play the game,
but you have be able to describe it in a clear, concise manner to a wide audience."
Pardee was granted two patents, one for design and the other for utility.
He decided to put it out for play testing in earnest, with serious game players,
chess enthusiasts and a wide variety of ages from children to seniors.
"Fall Creek Elementary School administration was very supportive," recalls
Pardee. "We had the kids playing it during recess and I was amazed at how
quickly they picked it up." With the basic math involved in Chebache and the
simple analytical skills, the inventor notes, "It also gives kids a fun way
to learn without them knowing that they're learning."
Initially, Pardee created about two dozen prototype Chebache packages by
hand, complete with board, pieces, dice, rule book and box. These were followed
by another fifty or so of improved design. By the spring of 1998, he says
"I got to the point when I realized I was ready to start manufacturing
Working entirely with local and regional suppliers for molding the plastic
pieces, printing and packaging, the newly formed Pardee Games produced a
thousand Chebache sets, which he took to trade shows, like the
International Toy Fair, GenCon and the East Coast Game Fair. "I got a very
strong, positive response," he says. Pardee also realized that the rule book
still needed overhauling, which took an additional three months.
Now Chebache joins the coveted ranks of "Games 100," the top hundred
non-electronic games as judged by the nation's top gaming publication. The
list comes out in the December issue of Cames magazine's annual buyer's guide.
"It's a nice honor," says Pardee, "a pleasant surprise, especially for a game
that's just come out." Now the challenge is to focus on marketing and to
continue seeking investment capital.
Chebache sets are available locally at Logos,
Comics for Collectors, Cat's Pajamas and the Oak with a retail price of $29.95.
Pardee appreciates the enthusiastic support from friends who have helped him
take the game this far. "There's a certain amount of obsessiveness you have
to have. There's a point where you have to just go for it--there's no turning back."
Chebache® is a registered trademark of Pardee Games.
This website & all contents Copyright © 1997-2014 Pardee Games.
All rights reserved.
Chebache is protected by U.S. Patent #'s 5,791,650; D384,376; and 6,062,562.
Last modified Wed. Feb 26 16:55:58 2014; Q's & comments: