Dungeons and Dragons arrives in virtual reality, but not like you would expect

The Dungeons and Dragons brand is typically synonymous with adventure, exploration, and fighting evil monsters to gain experience and loot. Naturally, Dungeons and Dragons and virtual reality would seem like the perfect marriage, but the franchise’s first foray into the immersive virtual realm is not about adventure and exploration at all. It is about playing chess.

Available now for the Oculus Rift ($10) and Gear VR ($5) headsets, the game is called Dungeon Chess, and was developed by Experiment 7, the same studio that produced Magic Table Chess (free) for the same platforms. Dungeon Chess is based on “iconic” creatures pulled from the Dungeons and Dragons universe including beholders, dragons, elves, and more.

To be fair, Dungeon Chess is more than just a themed chess game. According to publisher Wizards of the Coast, all chess pieces are fully animated: The dragons breathe fire and the beholders blast death rays. That said, dragons play the part of the queen, beholders serve as rooks, mind flayers play the role of bishops, and drow elves take most of the initial heat as pawns. In the video shown above, unicorns and fiery horses serve as the knight.

The playing environment consists of various rooms with seats parked around a table. These rooms are customizable using a variety of different items including unique playing boards, decorations, avatars, and more. Players can even test their chess-playing skills in Faerûn’s  Yawning Portal tavern, one of the legendary locations in the Forgotten Realms universe.

Dungeon Chess includes both single-player and multiplayer components, enabling VR chess players to battle against the computer, their friends, or online adventurers. On the solo front, the game provides a dynamic “multi-tier” artificial intelligence ranging from beginner to master. Meanwhile, the online multiplayer aspect includes friendly and ranked matches.

“As huge D&D fans ourselves, it was a dream come true to be able to work on Dungeon Chess,” said co-founder and creative director of Experiment 7 Geoffrey Zatkin. “We’ve created what we believe is a killer VR game worthy of D&D enthusiasts, chess fans, and the VR community’s attention.”

Dungeon Chess supports the Oculus Touch and Gear VR Touch controllers, enabling players to grab and place their chess piece on the board for a more “physical” experience. Once moved, these pieces come alive as they take on opponents or defend their position on the grid.

Dungeon Chess arrives during the Oculus Summer Sale, although it does not appear to be part of the discount bonanza. Some of the seriously discounted games include Serious Sam VR: The Last Hope ($30), Job Simulator ($21), Elite Dangerous ($35), Arizona Sunshine ($32), Edge of Nowhere ($27), Raw Data ($32), and loads more.