How to Play Chinese Checkers

Here are a few instructions for how to play Chinese Checkers to get your game ready for competition. Although Chinese Checkers is a simple game with few rules, there are definite advantages to approaching the game in a strategic way.

Although many people are familiar with Chinese Checkers, few are familiar with its origins. Chinese Checkers started life as a German game called Stern-Halma. In 1928, the Pressman game company imported Stern-Halma to the United States and renamed it to give it a more "exotic" feel.

Chinese Checkers Strategy
The goal of Chinese Checkers is to move your 10 pieces across the board into your "home" triangle before any of your opponents can do the same. There are several things to consider as you move your pieces:

  • It's all about the opening. A classic opening move is to start with one of the pieces at the ends of your front row. Moving the first or last piece towards the center is a strong way to start.
  • Keep your herd together. Try to group and move your pieces as close as possible. Closely grouped pieces will keep your opponent from getting multiple jumps.
  • Speed wins. Always keep an eye out for multiple jump opportunities. In a game with several players, the middle board will quickly become crowded-take your time and look for as many jump possibilities as you can.
  • Don't get greedy when jumping. Learn to look for blocking opportunities when multiple jumps present themselves. Sometimes it's better to give up a jump if you can block your opponent by ending your turn early.
  • Make room at home. As you enter pieces into your home triangle, try to place them as deep and as far to the sides as possible. Nothing will ruin your end game like having to shuffle pieces like an over-worked valet!
  • Work your way from the back of the pack. When moving your group, try to get the pieces at the back of the pack to leapfrog to the front. Moving your back pieces forward is a good way to keep your group together.
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