Backing Immortal Game — the play-and-earn platform for competitive chess players

by Gleb Dudka, Sep. 21

We are excited to be investing in the Series A of Immortal Game after leading their seed round earlier this year. In this article, we share why we believe that this project is strongly positioned to revolutionize the most well-known and one of the oldest board games on the planet by adding its opt-in metagame layer, powered by cryptoeconomics.

Immortal Game is a play-and-earn take on the game of chess built on the Immutable X blockchain platform. We envision this to be the natural evolution of competitive, online chess. As such, unlike many existing GameFi products, Immortal Game is strictly chess first; earning is a by-product — an optional means to monetize time, attention, and skill.

Therefore, our investment in Immortal Game falls in line with our belief in play-and-earn over the play-to-earn GameFi philosophy, where the game itself is the primary driver of player activity and retention.

As such, the earning mechanic and crypto layer of the chess game is an optional buy-in. Users can play with free NFTs and choose at which point — if at all – they want to monetize their time and skill. This is a critical fundament for competitiveness and natural user growth.

In our post on Unbound Nation we dive deeper into the dynamics and stakeholders of a play-and-earn ecosystem.

A Metagame to Chess

Immortal Game introduced NFTs called “Immortals” which represent chess pieces (pawns, knights, bishops, etc). Players will assemble a team of one to four Immortals and place them on the board. Each of those Immortals will have challenges to complete which will increase winning bonuses (e.g. an offensive Immortal pawn will gain bonuses when it takes other pieces). Immortals can be acquired on Immortal, ImmutableX, and Rarible marketplaces.

When talking about play-and-earn, it is important to note that none of the NFTs impact the game balance and chances to win (no pay-to-win), but quite the opposite. The challenges which come with Immortals introduce “handicaps” to players who want to complete them while still winning the game in order to reap the associated rewards. We believe this second layer, or metagame, which complicates the rules for the more hardcore players, will attract professionals joining the Immortal community.

There are currently different leagues based on players’ performance. More competitive leagues will yield higher bonuses (tokens and/or NFTs). In addition to those leagues, there will be co-branded leagues where GMs or influencers/celebrities will have their own competitions. In each of those leagues, there will be weekly tournaments.

The gameplay takes place on ImmutableX, powered by Starkware. This means that the transactions are fast and cheap while maintaining compatibility with Ethereum in terms of NFTs as well as utility/governance tokens.

A Masterful Opening

Immortal Game is gaining considerable traction. This is not surprising to us as the Paris-based team adds a colorful lens to traditional chess that speaks to both enamored chess players and crypto enthusiasts. In addition, the team managed to secure support from advisors like Scott Frank, the Queen’s Gambit producer, and a wide set of grandmasters (GMs) who became the game’s ambassadors.

We did the seed round earlier this year because we were already intrigued by the founders Thomas Zaepffel, David Cingala, and Geoffroy Mestrallet, and their backgrounds and vision. Given our history of investment in YGG and Unbound, we felt very confident and as such wrote the first cheque. We are very happy to see them advance to their Series A now. It includes several well-known crypto and entertainment investors, such as TCG (lead), Kevin Durant’s 35V, Cassius, Sparkle Ventures, Blockwall, Kraken Ventures, and Spice Capital.

A Call to All Chess Players

Capitalize on your skill, grab your free NFTs, earn some CMT (CMT is the native governance token for Immortal Game), and trade Immortals on the in-game marketplace. To learn more visit Immortal Game, join its vibrant Discord community, and try out the beta. You can also reach out to Unbound Nation for a smooth onboarding into the game and a rare Immortal allocation to further leverage your skill.