by Sharon Cichelli and Jonathan Leistiko
There are two goals:
Card Values: Aces are low, Kings are high.
Seperate the Poker deck into suits. Shuffle one red and one black suit together and give that half-deck to your opponent. Do the same with the remaining half-deck and keep it for yourself.
Without looking at your cards, lay them out face down to create the “live squares” of one half of a checker board. You opponent should do likewise to create the other half. In the end the board should look like this:
You may look at your remaining cards. This is your stockpile.
Place the checkers on the board like you normally would for a game of checkers.
Choose a player to go first.
Play is identical to a normal game of checkers with the following five exceptions:
The game ends when:
If you have the most checkers in your “rescued” area, you win a “survival” victory. If you have the most checkers in your “captured” area, you win a “tactical” victory. If you have a survival and tactical victory, you’ve accomplished a total victory.
Assassins: If your checker captures a checker sitting on a face-up black queen or red jack, then your checker is captured.by your opponent.
Kings: If you turn a King face-up, immediately king the piece that landed on it. It behaves in all ways as a normal King in checkers.
Queens: If you turn a Queen face-up, immediately queen the piece that landed on it. A queen may capture backwards or forwards like a king, but may only move forward.
Footmen: If you turn a Jack face-up, the piece that landed on it becomes a footman. A footman may capture an adjacent enemy piece without moving from its square. When it does, it ceases to be a footman, reverting to a normal piece.
Many, many months ago, Sharon suggested this checkers variant. Fortunately, I wrote it down in my book of game ideas or it would have been forgotten. This is the kind of game that seems so simple and elegant that I’m surprised that I’ve never seen it, or at least a variant thereof, before. If you’re aware of a checkers variant that uses a poker deck as a board, please let me know.
Thanks to Sharon for thinking of the game and playtesting it with me.
Last modified on 06/30/2003. Unedited as of 07/27/2005.