Dark Chess takes a classic game and reinvents it to win The Big Indie Pitch at Game Dev Days 19

Local talent takes The Big Indie Pitch by storm in Tallinn

Dark Chess takes a classic game and reinvents it to win The Big Indie Pitch at Game Dev Days 19

Not content standing still, The Big Indie Pitch is once again back on the road, this time returning to the Estonian capital of Tallinn.

In fact, we were so impressed with what we saw at last year's Game Dev Days, that when we were asked to return to the show floor of Estonia's leading games conference in order to once again highlight all of the incredible indie talent, it was a very easy decision.

For those not in the know though, The Big Indie Pitch is a regular event run by the makers of It gives indie developers the chance to pitch their games to industry experts and journalists in a speed-dating-style format.

Teams get the opportunity to get valuable feedback on their games, as well as win great prizes such as promotional packages and, more importantly, the coveted Big Indie Pitch bat.

This year we saw 10 exciting indie developers from Estonia, Finland and Russia take to the floor to showcase their latest developments to our panel of expert judges From chaotic factory management to daring road crossings, and even the reinvention of a classic, this pitch had quality in abundance with more than one game highlighted as a potential global hit.

Pitching at Game Dev Days 19

As always though there can only be the one winner, despite how close the voting was, and this time around that winner was Tall Troll Games' Dark Chess. A game that seemingly does the impossible by taking the classic game of chess and turning it on its head entirely.

Interestingly, whilst Tall Troll Games came out of nowhere to take top spot, both second and third were taken away by returning developers, with recent GDC pitcher Beyond 39 Hills walking away with second place for its  coding puzzle platformer Robo_Proxy, and Pocket Gamer Connects Helsinki finalist Tuokio walking away with third place for the now even more polished Boom Slingers.

Interested to know more about these three prize-winning games? Well if so, simply read on.

First place - Dark Chess by Tall Troll Games

You wouldn't think it's possible to completely reinvent the game of chess whilst not altering the rules would you? Well that's exactly what Tall Troll Games has done. In Dark Chess the rules of the game are exactly the same, the twist is that your opponent's moves and pieces are shrouded in secrecy unless you get close enough to reveal that portion of the board.

It may not sound like a massive difference, but what it does mean is that now you'll have to play both offensive and defensive at the same time whilst also second guessing your opponents moves.

Combine all this with triple-A presentation alongside a wealth of customisable options and multiplayer modes and you've got everything ready for a potential instant classic.

Second place - Robo_Proxy by Beyond 39 Hills

Charming, challenging and educational for all ages, Robo_Proxy is a complete package. In this game, players must hack and code their robot buddy in order to navigate the level and reach the goal.

Not only does this give players the chance to experience a heart-warming story and an in-depth puzzle platforming campaign, but everyone will also have the chance to learn the skills that are required to code and create their own game.

Additionally, Beyond 39 Hills is also planning to include their own advanced and user-friendly level editors so that players can utilise the skills they have learned throughout the course of the game's main story campaign, before sharing these with players around the world.

Third place - Boom Slingers by Tuokio

Think Worms crossed with the movement of Angry Birds and the card-based magic of Clash Royale and you're on course to understanding the unique gameplay of Boom Slingers.

In this 2D arena shooter players must sling spells at one another in order to defeat their enemies. However, in order to survive the battle they'll have to carefully and effectively manage their deck of spells, whilst also finding ways to avoid enemy attacks. Doing so will not only see you win the battle at hand, but also climb the ranking ladders in order to prove your team are the greatest spell slingers the world has even seen.

That's not all though, as in addition to all this, Tuokio also plan to include a level editor so that players can create and share their very own battlegrounds.

Want to show off your exciting new game? We host Big Indie Pitch events throughout the year, so be sure to keep an eye out on our events page for an event near you.

Upcoming BIPs include:

More coming soon so make sure to regularly check our upcoming events page here and over on

Developer Evangelist & Big Indie Pitch Manager / Special Features Writer

Queen of all things Indie. Sophia is Steel Media’s Big Indie Pitch Manager and Developer Evangelist. She’s also a global speaker and lifelong gamer with a fanatical love of all things Nintendo and Japan. So much so that she’s written a thesis on one and lived in the other.