Basic Chinese Checkers Rules

Talk about confusion! Chinese Checkers rules didn't originate in China and aren't a variation of checkers.

Chinese Checkers evolved from an American game called Halma, developed in the 1800s. In 1893, a German company replaced the square Halma board with a star-shaped board, creating a game called Stern-Halma-"Star Halma" in German. In 1928, an American company introduced Stern-Halma, but renamed it to sound more exotic, and the game "Chinese Checkers" was born.

Setting Up A Chinese Checkers Board
The Chinese Checkers board features a six-sided, star-shaped playing field. Each of the six points of the star contains 10 holes. The central hexagonal area is made up of 61 holes.

Play starts by determining how many people will play-up to six players can play. Each player starts with 10 pieces (typically marbles) placed in the holes of one star point.

Chinese Checkers Rules
The object of the game is to move all 10 of your pieces from the starting triangle to the opposite ("home") triangle of the board. Players may move one piece per turn. Movement is determined by the following rules:

  • A piece may move to an adjacent hole in any direction.
  • A piece may make more than one move if that piece can "hop" over an adjacent piece. Any piece (player or opponent) can be used to determine a "hop."
  • A piece may hop as many times as possible, but a player may choose to stop hopping at any time.
  • A piece may move into any hole on the board, including an opponent's start and home triangles.
  • Once a player's piece has moved into the "home" triangle of the star, it may not move out. Pieces in the home point may move about within the area to make room for other pieces.

The game ends when one player has moved all 10 of his pieces into his home area.

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