You remember Kintan Strider, Grimtaash, M’onnok, Ng’ok, and Ghhhk, don’t you? OK, maybe you don’t recognize them by name, but these fetching fellows are the alien horrors doing battle in the “holochess” game of Dejarik as seen in Star Wars: A New Hope.
Ian Martin is a 28 year old web applications developer who recently moved to a town in western Washington state. For the first time in his life, Martin found himself with a real garage. “I’ve gone a bit crazy,” he admits. “I’ve outfitted it as a sort of workshop with a 3D printing station, soldering station, a rotocaster, and soon, a laser cutter.”
Ian, his wife, and brother had been playing Star Wars holochess (minus the “holo”) on a small replica board using a set of rules that someone had developed and posted online. Given his new maker dream garage, he decided to undertake an ambitious project to build a full-scale Dejarik table, complete with working control interfaces, sound effects, and programmed gaming aids. Martin tells Make:
Nine months ago, I started the “Dejarik Project” as a creative outlet. I began to hand sculpt and cast 1:1 scale replicas of the original Star Wars: A New Hope Holochess monsters. I honestly didn’t think I would have the determination to finish all eight, but instead, I found that I not only finished all of them, but managed to put together a full-sized table with working electronics (10 working knobs, 54 functional buttons, 26 lights, and two LCD display screens), that can actually play the unofficial game using a program I have written. Now my brother Scott is writing and illustrating a Dejarik Rule Book and Table Manual, and modeling a custom set of dice that can be used to play the game when an electronic Dejarik table is not available.
One set of 8 monsters alone is comprised of 42 molds which produce 75 separate pieces. As part of the Dejarik Project, Martin and his dad even built a tabletop rotocasting machine so that they could cast hollow models to reduce the weight and to balance otherwise top-heavy models.
Until we all get our castAR glasses, we may have to settle for more carbon-based versions of Dejarik, like Martin’s table. Or maybe not. He has also been experimenting with an augmented reality version of the game. You can see a video of his early experiments with this on his YouTube channel.
Oh, and a word to the wise. In real life Dejarik, as in as any version of Dejarik, always let the Wookie win.
You can find out more about Ian’s Star Wars Holochess project on these links: