Really Bad Chess is just like chess, but with totally random pieces. Try 8 Knights, 4 Bishops, and 3 pawns — why not?

As heard on NPR's Weekend Edition

5 out of 5 Stars "An essential puzzle experience for anyone even remotely interested in strategy games" - TouchArcade

Whether you play chess daily, or quit just after learning the rules, this small twist will open the door to an entire new world of chess.

The free version of Really Bad Chess lets you compete vs. an AI in Ranked, Daily, or Weekly Challenges. Improve your skills using the included Freeplay mode. A single in-app purchase unlocks Versus Mode so you can compete against your friends locally! It also removes ads, displays captured pieces, and adds soothing alternate color-palettes to choose from.


"Makes chess fun even if you’re really bad" - The Verge

"Feels more modern than chess has ever felt" - Applenapps

"Really Bad Chess takes a really bad idea and somehow manages to make it a lot of fun." - Pocket Gamer

"Really good fun" - MacLife

Chess is one of those games I always wished I enjoyed, but its commitment to beauty, elegance, and perfect balance always turned me away. Really Bad Chess removes these boring restrictions and flips chess on its head.

As much as random pieces change the game in some ways, I was really surprised to notice how much the game remains the same, and how powerful some pieces are — you've never truly struggled against a pawn until you've struggled against a pawn in the back row.

For chess pros, Really Bad Chess will give you a new type of challenge — the pieces & the moves are the same, but you'll have to throw out your openings and your understanding of normal patterns of play.

For novice chess players (like most of us), Really Bad Chess greatly opens up the game. Instead of starting by studying openings, in your first games you'll get to discover the joy (and challenge!) of learning how to checkmate.

I hope you have as much fun with Really Bad Chess as much as I did making it.


What’s New

Version 1.4.5

fixes for a crash experienced by some players outside the US due to a bad advertisement being served

Ratings and Reviews

3.9 out of 5
1.4K Ratings

1.4K Ratings

Editors’ Notes

Chess can be intimidating, but this tongue-in-cheek take on the classic game goes easy on our mistakes. Really Bad Chess is really good at mixing things up with a wild variety of challenges, board configurations (six bishops and three queens? Sure, why not?), and an undo button that lets us pretend we saw that checkmate coming all along.

Warehouse Mike 42 ,

Really Bad Chess?

This game has pretty much ruined me for the traditional version, although I make myself play regular Chess at least once a week. The best part for me, AND the worst, is when the AI gets a lot of Knights.. trying to get a non-piece losing move in is really challenging. I’ve found that the only way to play is to throw out any defense and just attack. Also, the AI seems to throw out its offense when I get any pieces close to its King, which is fun. Sometimes when I’m in dire straights and I take my Kings defenders completely away and place them by the AI’s King, it inevitably makes “really stupid moves” and I can capture its Queens on down. The app does crash once in a while, and the AI will put you in check sometimes, and keep repeating the same 2 moves indefinitely, which is why I gave only 4 stars. If this gets fixed, I’ll give 5, no problems. GREAT FUN! I highly recommend this game, pay the $2.99 simply because it helps support the great minds behind this great game, and the others by Noodlecake Studios Inc. Any haters out there? Drop your pride and give it a shot, why not. Keep up the good work Zach! I also love your arcade pool game.

MinutesPerBeat ,

Great, but...

I absolutely love this game. A wacky take on a great strategy game. My only problem is that the game seems to refuse to tie. I somehow ended up with two kings. I know this game said to throw out all we know about chess, but it seems odd that I have to forfeit just to go to another game. Even moving a piece back and forth 50+ times to the same two spaces didn’t draw the game. That means the AI wins and I lose rank when in reality it should be a draw and I keep the same rank. I know loss in rank is very minimal, but it still seems like the game should know when winning is impossible and will draw the game. This and the fact that I can’t free mode the daily after I have lost both time. I understand you shouldn’t be allowed to free mode the daily if you haven’t won, but it would be fun to give extra tries to it even though I lost. Anyways, these two issues are extremely tiny and arguably nit picking, so I only took off one star as everything else is a ton of fun!

App Privacy

The developer, Zach Gage, indicated that the app’s privacy practices may include handling of data as described below. For more information, see the developer’s privacy policy.

Data Not Linked to You

The following data may be collected but it is not linked to your identity:

  • Identifiers
  • Usage Data
  • Diagnostics

Privacy practices may vary, for example, based on the features you use or your age. Learn More


  • Game Center

    Challenge friends and check leaderboards and achievements.

  • Family Sharing

    With Family Sharing set up, up to six family members can use this app.

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