As you will have no doubt read, Skylanders Swap Force will require a new Portal and Starter Pack this year. Family Gamer TV owner and occasional Nintendo Life contributor Andy Robertson asked his kids what they should do with their old Portal of Power, and they came up with a version of Chess using Skylanders light-core toys and a hidden Portal under the board.
This meant that the figures would light up on certain squares which counted as “safe zones” in the children’s board game, as you can see here:
Since then the kids have moved on to the Wii portal for Skylanders Spyro’s Adventure. Because it is wireless it is much easier to hide and position under the chess board.
While Skylanders Giants on both Wii and Wii U replaced the wireless Portal with a wired version — citing battery life as the reason — both the PS3 and Wii versions of Spyro’s Adventure offered a wireless peripheral. The wired approach has also been adopted for Disney Infinity in what they seem to be calling their "Infinity Base" peripheral that comes in the game’s Starter Pack.
The Skylanders Chess game is certainly a novel use for the old portal, but raises an important question: will the new Swap Force portal be compatible with the old games too? It seems likely that this backwards compatibility will be included, but so far no announcement has been made on this.