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Checkers is the name of a group of board games where the object is to capture enemy pieces by jumping over them. They are relatively simple, easy, and quick, and are very popular as a result. This sort of game dates back to at least ancient Egypt.

English Checkers (draughts) is played on an 8x8 Chess Board, but only uses the black squares. The rules are:

  • Each side starts with 12 pieces on the last three rows of the board.
  • Each turn, a player can move one of his pieces diagonally forward or jump diagonally forward over a series of enemy pieces, which are then removed from the board. Sometimes players are required to jump whenever they can.
  • When a piece reaches the opposite side, it becomes a king with the ability to move and jump diagonally backwards.
  • The last player with any pieces left wins!

There are many other variants worldwide:

  • In German checkers the kings can move as far as they want along any diagonal, like a bishop in chess.
  • In international checkers, or international draughts, the board is 10x10 with 20 pieces each, and the kings move as far as they want on diagonals. This is popular in The Netherlands, France, some parts of Africa and some parts of the former USSR and other eastern European countries.
  • In Turkish checkers pieces move straight forwards or sideways, kings moving like a rook in chess, so that both red and black squares are used. Each player starts with 16 pieces in the first two rows.
  • In Halma (Greek) pieces can move in any direction and jump over any other piece, friend or enemy. Each player starts with 19 (2-player) or 13 (4-player) pieces all in one corner and tries to move them all into the opposite corner.
  • Chinese Checkers is based on Halma, but uses a star-shaped board divided into triangles, and is played using marbles instead of chips.

Anyone know of any others?