A minimal wooden chess board inspired by the Yoruba game Ayo merges two games in one

African designer Philion has designed a chess board that’s inspired by the rules of chess and takes on the layout of the Yoruba game, Ayo.

Chessboards have seen some pretty creative designs in recent years. The pandemic and Netflix’s The Queen’s Gambit have put the game of chess back on the board again and people of all ages are trying their hand at the game. Similar to the game of chess, Ayo is a traditional board game that’s played by the Yoruba people where two players attempt to “capture” their opponent’s seeds.

Defined by two of six pockets, the board game is rectangular by design and features a similar premise to the game of chess. Inspired by the games’ similarities, African designer @philion.cgi merged the two by abstracting the shapes of conventional chess pieces into rounded forms and incorporating pockets into the chessboard. While the game of chess is being played, using the layout and look of Ayo gives the board a unique personality. The chessboard takes on a minimalist profile, with natural wooden elements and a free-flowing design.

Since Ayo is traditionally played with seeds, Philion adapted their chess pieces to more closely resemble seeds. Rounding out each piece’s edges and fitting them into the board’s pockets, each one fits snugly into its pocket as if it was scooped out. The pockets also give the chess pieces a fastened grip to the board to ensure a balanced, sturdy game. `

Designer: @philion.cgi