How To Play Chinese Checkers

Learning how to play Chinese checkers is simple. This is one of the easiest games in the world to learn, but don’t be fooled: It can be a tough game to win. Follow these instructions and you’ll not only know how to play Chinese checkers, but you’ll increase your odds of winning, too.

  1. Number of players. Chinese checkers can only be played with two, three, four, or six players. It cannot be played with five people since the players cannot be equidistant, or an equal distance, from one another.
  2. Know where to set up. The board for Chinese checkers is a six-pointed star. Each tip of the star is a triangle consisting of ten holes. Each player places their ten colored pieces into the ten holes at a triangle one tip of the star. This is where you and the other players will start each game.
  3. Important note about setting up. Players must be spaced an equal distance from one another. For example: If you have two players, you must pick a tip of the star directly opposite one another. Three players means that each player will set up one tip apart. With four players, two pairs of players will be directly opposite one another.
  4. Objective. The goal of Chinese checkers is to move all ten of your pegs across the middle of your board and onto the triangle opposite you.
  5. How to move. You may move only one peg per turn in any direction as long as another peg is not occupying that hole. You can move backwards if you want, but this is not recommended as it will tend to take you longer to cross the board into the opposite triangle.
  6. Jumping. While you may only move one peg per turn, you are allowed to jump other pegs provided there is an empty hole on the other side. You can only jump one peg at a time, so if two pegs are side-by-side, you cannot jump over them. Jumping over your own pegs is permitted, but just like before you must make sure there is an empty hole on the other side.
  7. Jump as long as you want. You can keep jumping pegs until there are no more to jump. Sometimes this can result in jumping pegs all the way across the board and into the opposite triangle. This is perfectly legal as long as you are only jumping one peg at a time and use only one peg to jump per turn.
  8. Winning. You win at Chinese checkers when you move all your pegs across the middle of the board and into the opposite triangle.
  9. Note: Once you move a peg into the opposing triangle, you cannot move it out of the triangle. You can, however, move it to another peg within the triangle.
  10. How to win. If you feel confident that you’ve mastered the rules of how to play Chinese checkers, then consider this tip on how to win. Concentrate on moving your first peg as close to the opposing triangle as possible. Then use your next few moves to get your second peg close to the first one, making sure to leave one hole between them. Do the same with your third, fourth, fifth, etc., until you have a line of pegs leading from your triangle to the opposing triangle with an open space between each one. Then take your peg closest to your starting triangle and jump over all your other pegs and into the opposite triangle. If there is a player moving from your opposing triangle, move fast or they might try to jump your pegs to move their pieces over to your triangle. You can make it harder on them by using each new turn to always jump with the peg closest to your home peg. This will result in additional moves for the opposing player to get into your triangle, but will leave your row of pegs intact for you to hop into their triangle.

There you have it, a clear, simple guide on how to play Chinese checkers. Whether you’ve played before or you’re just starting out, these steps will give you a great leg up on your competition.

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