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• Chinese Checkers is based on Halma and the only difference is that it is played on a six-pointed star-shaped game board and then can be played by 2 to 6 players. Each player has only 10 pieces each and the distance to the opponents home arena is fewer spaces away than in standard Halma. In some modern versions for children the board is smaller and the player have only six pieces each. In a two-player game many prefers to play with 15 pieces each.
• The first game of Chinese Checkers was published and patented by the German game company Ravensburger (Otto Robert Maier) under the name Stern-Halma (stern means star in English; Star-Halma) in 1892. Spears & Sons introduced the star board to England in 1909.
• The first Chinese Checkers game to be published in the United States was 'Hop Ching Checkers' in 1928 by J. Pressman & Co . This was exact the same game as the 1892 Star-Halma. The brothers Bill and Jack Pressman made up the name 'Chinese Checkers' during or shortly after 1928. The game was given a Chinese name and theme in keeping with the current interest in all things oriental (among them the discovery of King Tut's tomb in 1922 and the 'mah jongg' game that was introduced in 1923).
• In the 1930s a craze for Chinese Checkers swept across America. Several other 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). This is also very odd.
• An interesting question is why Halma is still favored in many European countries (especially in Germany) while almost disappeared in others and replaced with Chinese Checkers? Remember also that Chinese Checkers is called Halma many places (again especially in Germany). Note how many of the Chinese Checkers computer games on this site who comes from Germany are always named Halma...
• The Chinese Checkers board is in the shape of a six pointed star. Each point of the star is a triangle consisting of ten holes (four holes to each side). The interior of the board is a hexagon with each side five holes long. Each triangle is a different colour and there are six sets of ten balls (or pegs) with corresponding colours. The aim of the game is to be the first to player to move all ten pegs across the board and into the triangle opposite.
• Chinese Checkers can be played by two, three, four or six players. Obviously, for the six player game, all balls and triangles are used. If there are four players, play starts in two pairs of opposing triangles and a two player game should also be played from opposing triangles. In a three player game the balls will start in three triangles equidistant from each other. Each player chooses a colour and the 10 balls of that colour are placed in the appropriately coloured triangle. • A toss of a coin decides who starts. Players take turns to move a single ball of their own colour. In one turn a ball may either be simply moved into an adjacent hole OR it may make one or more hops over other pegs. Where a hopping move is made, each hop must be over an adjacent ball and into a the vacant hole directly beyond it. Each hop may be over any coloured ball including the player's own and can proceed in any one of the six directions. After each hop, the player may either finish or, if possible and desired, continue by hopping over another peg. Occasionally, a player will be able to move a ball all the way from the starting triangle across the board and into the opposite triangle in one turn!
• The balls are never removed from the board. It is permitted to move a peg into any hole on the board including holes in triangles belonging to other players. However, once a ball has reached the opposite triangle, it may not be moved out of the triangle, only within the triangle. • The first player to occupy all 10 destination holes is the winner.
Debate has always arisen over the situation where a player is prevented from winning because an opposing player's ball occupies one of the holes in the destination triangle. Many game rules omit to mention this implying that it is perfectly legal to block opponents in this dubious fashion.
• Masters Games suggests the following additional rule which should be wide enough to capture all such situations: If a player is prevented from moving a peg into a hole in the destination triangle because of the presence of an opposing peg in that hole, then instead of playing in the usual way, the player is entitled to swap the opposing peg with that of his own peg.
Alternatively, you can just say that should one or more of the holes in the target triangle contain a peg belonging to another player, this does not prevent a player from winning. The game is simply won when all the available points within the triangle are occupied .