Halma is a classic game invented in the 19th century, and the original game behind the variant Chinese Checkers. It has simple rules but provides plenty of interesting strategy, while including enough unpredictable interaction to make it fun for the whole family.

At a glance:

2-4 players

20 minutes

Complexity: low

Components used:

25 tiles

10 cubes pr player

Setup:

Board set up for 4 players, with 10 pieces each on a 10×10 board.

Make a square board with 5×5 tiles. You will be counting each tile as 2×2 spaces, so the board has a total of 10×10 spaces.

Each player arranges their pieces in one of the corners in a triangular formation. This is the starting position, and the object of the game is to move all pieces to the other side of the board and arrange them in a similar formation.

Select a starting player randomly, or let the youngest player start.

Play:

Taking turns, each player moves one single piece. A piece can either move one space in any direction, including diagonally, or jump across another piece (owned by you or an opponent) effectively moving two spaces. When jumping, you can continue to perform consecutive jumps as long as you have valid options for doing so.

It is important to exploit opportunities presented to you for jumping across the opponents pieces, as well as trying to block the opponents from using your own.

Winner:

The winner is the first player to arrange all her pieces in the opposite corner from where she started.

Variations:

The original Halma is played on a board with 16×16 squares. The most you can make with the Green Box is 12×12, but smaller boards are also possible. Smaller boards with fewer pieces make for quicker games. Crowded boards make for more chaos, while boards with extra open space make for a more strategic game, as moving into good opening positions is vital. For a 3-player game, you can even arrange the tiles in a triangle in stead of a square. You will however only be able to play with one space on each tile in this arrangement, so the board will be quite small.