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How To Play Chinese Checkers

Updated on December 1, 2016

Chinese Checkers is a game played by 2 to 6 players with colored marbles on a hexagonal checkered board. It is a modern version of the 19th century English Raima (a Greek word meaning "leap"), and became popular in the United States in the 1930's. Generally the board is manufactured in two sizes. The smaller size accommodates 10 marbles (men) in the starting base, or pen (a triangular enclosure). The larger board has places for 15 men in each pen. Each player receives 10 (or 15) marbles of a distinctive color and places them in the depression in the pen. Contestants may compete individually or as partners. If the latter, the players sit directly opposite each other and assist each other in play. The object of the game is for a contestant to move all of his men to the pen directly opposite his starting point. The first player or side to complete this transfer wins the game.

The players move one piece at a time, in turn; the move of any man may be a step or a hop. The step is a move to an unoccupied adjacent square in any of six directions. The hop is a jump over a man on an adjacent point to an unoccupied point beyond, adjacent and on the same line. The pieces hopped may be either friendly or adverse, but the men jumped are not removed from the boards. A player starting a hopping move may continue to jump as long as he can, but he may not combine a step and a hop on the same turn. In addition he is not compelled to make a hopping move or continue hopping farther than he wishes.

The quickest way to advance is to string out some of the men to form a ladder from the original base toward the goal and to advance rearmost pieces by hops up the ladder.

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