3 Player 3D Chess Set

Introduction: 3 Player 3D Chess Set

Chess is a fun and challenging game, I have loved it for years and it has been a past time of mine since I was in school. There are many different versions, including 3 player and 3D chess, but no combination of both. I thought it would be great fun to make such a game, which would require rules from both forms of chess being merged into a whole new game.

Before making this, I would reccomend that you learn how to play chess, in its basic form to prevent confusion and to allow for a full appreciation of the game. This chess set is designed to be produced on a 3D printer, using all plastic parts (you can use other materials if you like). For whichever material you use, I would reccomend checking the settings you need on your printer so the print is produced correctly.

I have made this so it can be made on a 3D printer, while entering it into the Instructables 3D Printing contest. The aim is, if I win, to build these as kits, as an open source project.

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Step 1: Printing the Chess Set

To print this model, you will need all its parts. All the files are given in .stl format and were produced using Blender. All the models have been triangulated, laid flat and placed at the centre axis (0, 0, 0), which should make this easier to print.

The files are available HERE, and are released under a creative commons license 3.0

To build and play a 3 player 3D chess set, you will need;

1 * Centre base

3 * Base feet

1 * Player 1 support

1 * Player 2 support

1 * Player 3 support

1 * Player 1 fixed board

1 * Player 2 fixed board

1 * Player 3 fixed board

6 * Movable boards

6 * Connecting rods

1 * Player 1 middle board

1 * Player 2 middle board

1 * Player 3 middle board

48 * Board squares

3 * Kings (1 for each player)

3 * Queens (1 for each player)

6 * Rooks (2 for each player)

6 * Knights (2 for each player)

6 * Bishops (2 for each player)

24 * Pawns (8 for each player)

Step 2: Piecing the Board Together

After you have printed all the required parts, you will need to piece the board together (the King and Knight player pieces also need some assembly, which will be covered on the next step).

Firstly take the Centre base and slot the supports for all three players. It is best to use the images in this instructable to be able to see which way everything should go. Once you have done this step, you should have something like THIS.

After this step, you will need to connect the Base feet to the player supports. This will allow the chess set to stand on its own and will be the base of the chess set. After this you will need to connect the 3 fixed boards (one for each player) to the supports. Each players one is unique so the fixed board for player 1, will only fit on the support for player 1 and so forth.

After this, you need to attach the middle boards for each player onto the supports. These again, only fit the correct board, for the appropriate player. After this you should have something that resembles THIS.

Almost there! The next step is to attach the six movable boards. To do this attach the boards to the fixed boards using the connecting rods. The main thing here, is to make sure, that the colours for the fixed board, and the square which overlaps on the movable board, are both the same colour, as seen in this IMAGE.

The only thing left to do now is to place the board squares into the slots on the fixed, middle and moveable boards. The choice of colour is your own, and if you have a dual extruder on your printer, then you may alter the files so you can print the different coloured sqaures in a single model.

Step 3: The Playing Pieces

The pieces needed for each player, are the same as conventional chess. Each player requires the following:

1 King

1 Queen

2 Knights

2 Bishops

2 Rooks

8 Pawns

The pieces are shown in the image above, easily recognisable to any chess player. To anyone new to chess however, these pieces are (left to right): King, Queen, Bishop, Knight, Pawn and Rook. The king and the knight are made of two parts, I made them like this to reduce the requirement for support structures in printing.

The Knight has a base, and the "horse" part, simply place the "horse" body into the base part to construct the knight. The king, has a base and a cross at its top. The cross is a small part, which will be fiddly but easy to assemble. As with the knight, simply put the cross inside the space for it in the Kings head, and the player is complete.

The playing pieces in chess move and capture other players in different ways. I have listed each player, and how they can move below. There are links to images in the description showing such moves for each playing piece.In these images, the red circle is the starting position for the playing piece. While the blue circles represent where the player can move this piece to.


A pawn in chess, moves forward one space except for its first move where it can move two places if the player wishes. To take another piece with a pawn, it must be onj the diagonal square infront of the pawn. For 3D chess, the pawns on the moveable sqaures can move down one, or down one and forward one (effectively moving two spaces). An example of how a Pawn can move in this game can be seen HERE.

The Pawn at the top right of the image, is on the moveable platform, at the far side. This means that there is nowhere this Pawn can move forward to. This Pawn can only move diagonally, which can only be done to take another piece. The other two Pawns on the board can move normally, where they are shown in their starting positions.


The Rook can move forward, backwards, left or right any number of spaces. It can only move in one direction each time it moves. A Rook can take other pieces which are in its path, as always with any piece, it can only take one piece at a time, cannot move through other pieces (this differs for a Knight only), and stops its turn when it takes another piece or has finished moving.

An example of how a Rook can move in this game is shown HERE. There are two Rooks in this image, one at its starting position, and another in an arbituary position.


The Knight moves in an "L" shape on the board. It moves two places forward and one place to the left or right. A Knight can move forward, left, right or backwards in this manner (the "left" and "right" movement after moving two spaces is relative to the direction it has moved. An image showing how a Knight can move on a typical game of chess can be found HERE.

While an image of how a Knight can move in a game of 3D 3 player chess is HERE. To take a playing piece with a Knight, it must be where the knight finished moving at the end of the "L" shape. The knight can move past other playing pieces, going over them or through them.


The Bishops typically start on alternating colours. One starts on a black sqaure, and the other on a white sqaure. Bishops can only move in a diagonal direction, which means that they will always be on the same colour square throughout the games duration.

An image of how Bishops move in this game is HERE. A Bishop like other pieces (except for a Pawn) can take a playing piece from another player which is in its path.

The Queen

The Queen is commonly known as the most powerful playing piece on the board. The queen can move any number of spaces in any direction. An image of how this works for 3D 3 player chess is HERE.

The King

The King, is the most important playing piece, where the main goal to win is to "capture" the King. The King cannot be captured like other pieces. The King can move in any direction, but only one sqaure at a time, as seen HERE.

Step 4: How to Play

The rules for playing 3 player 3D chess, are surprisingly simple compared to regular chess. The rules are naturally a composite of 3D and 3 player chess, with the board being designed to allow moves to be thought out on a ratio of 1:1 and 1:2 players at the same time.

To anyone who has played 3 player or 3D chess before, these rules will be familiar. All the playing pieces move in the same way as regular chess. The only difference is how they the shape and layout of the board affects their movement, which is minimal.

Board layout

The board layout is very simular to both regular chess and 3D chess, just with 3 players. The player places their pieces on the first two rows in front of them on the board. On on the first row (cloest to the player and the edge fo the board), the player has (in order left to right);









Infront of all these players is a pawn. For 3D chess these need to be placed in their respective places on the movable and fixed boards as seen in the image HERE.

Some of the movements of the players in the middle portion of the board may seem confusing at first. An easy way to remove this confusion, is to treat the board as a two player board, ignoring the third player, then do the same again for the third players portion of the board while ignoring the second player.

By comparing the possible movements, and layout of the board on a 1 to 1 basis each time, for both other players may help you greatly in playing this game for the first time.

Step 5: Game Rules and Objectives

The game as with all Chess games, has the objective of winning by placking the other player into checkmate. The game can have a clear winner, a draw or sometimes has to resort to counting points to determine who has won.

How to win!

To win, you will need to place the other player/s in checkmate. Checkmate is where the opposing players King cannot move in any direction without it being captured by one of your playing pieces.


A player is placed into check when a playing piece is able to take the king. The King however cannot actually be taken, as the King cannot be taken off the board. When this occurs the player needs to declare "check" and the opposing player MUST move the king out of check by either moving the king, blocking the other playing piece or taking the playing piece.


A draw in Chess is known as a stalemate, this is when neither player can win. This can occur when only kings are left on the board, or that no player can move without gonig into checkmate. On a side note, if anyone manages to produce a stalemate with all three players then please let me know and post a picture!

Rules for 3D 3 Player chess

The rules for this version of Chess contain the basic rules for traditional chess except for a few added rules. At the start of each game, usually the white pieces go first, however with three colours, one will not match the board sqaures (which are usually made of two different colours for ease of playability).

In this case it is up to the players to decide, maybe by rock paper scissors ;)

On each players turn, they have the option of moving a playing piece OR a moveable platform. A moveable platform can be moved up or down a level but only when it is either empty of playing pieces or contains a single Pawn. Moving a movable platform is not allowed if this will move the player into check.

A movable board can be moved to another corner on the same level it is on, or it can be moved up or down to another level it must only be moved to the same corner of the fixed board.

When moving any of the pieces, I have shown in a previous section where the playing peices can move to. For 3D chess there are a few rules to help guide you. When a player moves, one way to check if it can move is by looking at the board from a "birds eye view." From this view the player should be able to move normally as though it was conventional Chess.

The restrictions of the playing pieces not being able to move over another piece (except for the Knight) applies to pieces only on the same level (the movable platforms count as a different level).

Game types

chess, like most games can be played in a variety of ways. I have thoguht of a few and placed them herein, but you are welcome to find more yourself and post them in the comments for others to play them as well.

Basic play

A basic game here, would be that the winner is whoever manages to produce a checkmate with one of the two other players first. In this mode, no alliances can be formed and it is each player for themselves.


In this game mode, the objective to win is the same as a basic game. The difference is that alliances can be formed between two players, but can only last up to three moves. Any alliances formed cannot be re-established for another two moves.

conqueror mode

The conqueror mode has two modes (basic and alliances), the aim of the game here is to put both the other players into check. Once one player has been placed into check, the player who put them into check takes over their pieces and the other player is out of the game.

In the basic form of this mode, no alliances can be formed, while in the alliances mode aliances can be formed but for only two moves (any alliances formed cannot be re-established for another three moves).

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    8 Discussions


    3 years ago

    Looks like a very interesting set, but it's not self-explanatory as far as play. Is there a site available with the rules? I can't make out where the pawns on the small platforms could move.

    Victor Inox
    Victor Inox

    3 years ago

    awesome idea and realization! i will want to build this one day and try it with friends. i have an up mini 3d printer and it has only 12x12x12cm build volume but i possibly still could make this. but it will take very long since there are so many parts. but still it has to be done, it is epic :)


    3 years ago

    I am wondering what the diminsions are of the pieces. I am limited to small print size with M3d printer.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Have you actually printed one? If you have I would love to see the pictures! It looks amazing!


    Reply 5 years ago

    Hi, thank you :D I have not yet no, I have entered this into the contest here to win a 3d printer. If I win one I will definitely print one :)

    I would like to thank everyone who has hearted and viewed this article :D This is my very first instructable, and it is heart warmnig to see people liking this. Please don't forget to vote for this entry in the 3D printing competition!