Traditional chess sets are usually from middle age European setting, and that is because it was where the game originates from, but battles and wars were fought all over the world and there is a very wide range of themes to choose from as i briefly mentioned in my previous post. Have a look at this Chinese warrior and how he would look on a cool board. Amazing! Yes it goes well with a glass of wine and some traditional flute music or zen music in the background while while the fearsome warriors are pushing the boundaries on the fields..or in our case: on the board. Its probably 5am in the morning and to early for a glass of wine, but these pretty pieces make such a difference to the whole feel of the match, but the board has to mach accordingly ,and this adds such a new dimension to it all ,I even start wanting to play right now ,don"t you? This Zulu soldier was once a strong man on the fields of South Africa and is now the figure on our board who will either put me or you in mate!
Lets talk about boards: I prefer bigger and better ,heavy boards from wood or marble or a mixture of materials and colors matching the pieces so I would suggest you invest well as it makes little sense having bought high quality pieces and playing on a cheaper board. It also makes a big difference to the quality of the game and the internal atmosphere, if -also you have the right music in the back ground .
A few themes that I could also suggest, are the American Indian and Asian wars, and hey we can even play a WW1 game, but the trick is to preferably still be able to see whats going on. I have mentioned though that we do get used to it after one or two games, and if you are the owner of the set and it is a complex set then it might even give you a bit of a head start.