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The first thing you will need to do when you have selected this project is print out a copy of the Chinese Checkers Procedure. Check off your progress using the Chinese Checkers Checklist. Look over the GRADE RUBRIC so you will know what you will be graded on in advance. You will not need to print it until you have the Chinese Checkerboard completed. After you are finished with the Chinese checkerboard you will need to print and complete the Grade Rubric.

History of the Game

Despite its name, the game is not a variation of checkers, nor did it originate in China or any part of Asia. The game was introduced to Chinese-speaking regions mostly by the Japanese.

The game was invented in Germany in 1892 under the name "Stern-Halma" as a variation of the older American game Hamla. The "Stern" (German for star) refers to the board's star shape (in contrast to the square board used in Halma). The name "Chinese Checkers" originated in the United States as a marketing scheme by Bill and Jack Pressman in 1928. The Pressman company's game was originally called "Hop Ching Checkers".

In the 1930s a craze for Chinese Checkers swept across America. Several manufactures started to make the game. Many were given other names; but since no one seemed to own the rights to the name; many were just called Chinese Checkers. Why this happened is unanswered. The Milton Bradley Company got a patent on Chinese Checkers thirteen years later (1941).


The aim is to race all one's pieces into the star corner on the opposite side of the board before opponents do the same. The destination corner is called home. Each player has ten pieces, except in games between two players when 15 are sometimes used. (On bigger star boards, 15 or 21 pieces are used.)

In "hop across", the most popular variation, each player starts with their colored pieces on one of the six points or corners of the star and attempts to race them all home into the opposite corner. Players take turns moving a single piece, either by moving one step in any direction to an adjacent empty space, or by jumping in one or any number of available consecutive hops over other single pieces. A player may not combine hopping with a single-step move a move consists of one or the other. There is no capturing in Chinese checkers, so hopped pieces remain active and in play. Move turns proceed clockwise around the board.

A basic strategy is to create or find the longest hopping path that leads closest to home, or immediately into it. (Multiple-jump moves are obviously faster to advance pieces than step-by-step moves.) Since either player can make use of any hopping 'ladder' or 'chain' created, a more advanced strategy involves hindering an opposing player in addition to helping oneself make jumps across the board. Of equal importance are the players' strategies for emptying and filling their starting and home corners. Games between top players are rarely decided by more than a couple of moves.

Differing numbers of players result in different starting layouts, in turn imposing different best-game strategies. For example, if a player's home destination corner starts empty (i.e. is not an opponent's starting corner), the player can freely build a 'ladder' or 'bridge' with their pieces between the two opposite ends. But if a player's opponent occupies the home corner, the player may need to wait for opponent pieces to clear before filling the home vacancies.



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