How to Play Chinese Checkers

The following are simple instructions for how to play Chinese Checkers.

A wooden Chinese Checkers playing board. This board is nice because it has colored triangles and looks nice in the living room. View Wooden Chinese Checkers Games

What you need in order to play Chinese Checkers

The number of players: Chinese Checkers allows for 2-6 players.

A Chinese Checkers playing board: A Chinese Checkers playing board consists of 121 round indented slots in a hex-star shape and 20-60 marbles depending on the number of players. The marbles are in sets of 10 and each set has its own identifying color or markings. Different manufacturers may use pegs instead of marbles but the gameplay remains the same.

How to set up the Chinese Checkers game board

Have players select their 10 same-colored marbles or play pieces. You will notice that the Chinese Checkers playing board has 6 triangles that make each point of the star. Each triangle corresponds to the colored marbles. Orient the playing board so that each player is sitting fairly close to their designated triangle. Each player will then fill all 10 slots within the triangle with their marbles. Once each player has all their marbles in place the game can begin. The youngest player begins.

Rules of Chinese Checkers and gameplay

Your goal is to be the first player to move all marbles to the exact opposite triangle. A game move consists of moving one marble at a time into one slot. This can be achieved in any direction. You cannot skip any slots unless a marble is already occupying a slot. In that case, your marble can jump any number of consecutive marbles that stand in the way. A player may hop in any direction and can hop over their own marbles as well [see the example picture]. Marbles that are jumped are not removed from the board.

Chinese Checkers gameplay showing marbles jumping over (hopping) other marbles.Chinese Checkers New Arrivals on Amazon

Gameplay rotates in clockwise order. Once a player’s marble reaches the opposite triangle it can move anywhere within that triangle but never re-enter the main playing area. Also, players cannot leave their marbles at their beginning triangle as a strategy to block other players from entering.

How to win Chinese Checkers

The first player to fill all the holes in the opposite triangle wins.

Was Chinese Checkers invented in China?

Chinese Checkers was not invented in China. It was conceived in 1892 in Germany. It was a variation of an American game called Halma but with a six-pointed, hex star shaped playing area. Halma traditionally has a square shaped playing area.