Checkmate: process


Work collaboratively to redesign the game pieces in chess. we will use chess rules, mechanics, and goals as the game system; the focus of this design is to use the system as a potential for a new narrative device.


My partner an I are beginners at chess, so we did research on chess pieces and how they move. With our research, we decided to create chess pieces that would be beginner learner friendly. We also decided to create chess pieces that told a deeper story about the game.


Split joints


Our intentions in our iteration process was to create architectural forms that told a story about gentrification. I created templates so that I could began my prototype stage.



My measurements for my prototypes were off, so I had to put one together with tape and the other one was very loose and the joints didn’t connect. To solve this I used illustrator to decrease the length in my split joints so that they can be tighter.








I used these templates and cut them each out using the cricut machine. My split joints finally came together correctly and I was able to build my final pieces.


Concept statement and individual chess pieces

Chess pieces (by Aaron Beckhon and Elise Aultman, 2022)

Concept statement

There is a war in the city of Columbus. It’s not very violet however, it will cause poverty and increase division. While some students enjoy exploring the new architecture of the city and the amenities, there are also students on the other hand that can’t afford the new upgrades to the city and are forced to move out of the campus zone. The primary objective of the game chess is to capture your opponent’s king while keeping your own well-guarded. If you are a beginner in the game of gentrification, you may be faced with a journey through ever-changing and often unfair rules. The strategies used to take your property come with knowledge that is limited to the player who is still learning the game. Our chess pieces will tell a story about two sides that work against each other for power. What will be represented visually is contrast, hierarchy, and a diptych pieces. We will use black and grey card stock to create a modern wealthy aesthetic on one side and use brown and tan cardstock to create a working-class aesthetic to the other side. The player who is most experienced in the game of chess, will take the side of the wealthy architecture and the person who is least experienced will take the other side. The black and brown chess board will be used for our pieces to create a sense of harmony and belonging for the chess pieces. Our chess pieces will be tiny architectural buildings that will show hierarchy and symbolism in each piece. Our overall initiative is to show the damage that gentrification continues to do to many great cities like Columbus, Ohio and how being a beginner in the game of chess, means you may struggle against your opponent due to the circumstances that are already put in place to suppress you.


What I enjoyed most about this project was coming up with the concept statement for our chess pieces and deciding what narrative we wanted to visualize. Working with split joints allowed me to expand on my iterations so that I have more than one way of prototyping. If I were to make any adjustments to this project, I would change the material I worked with to something heavier however, due to the laser cutting machine availability, I had to choose a material more suitable for cricut cutting.