Checkers, or English draughts, is a strategy board game for two players. It's in the draughts family of games, which have the following properties in common:
- The board is a grid of squares, usually in two different colors
- The pieces are identical short cylinders, in two colors (one for each player)
- The goal is to capture (remove) all of your opponent's pieces
- Capturing means jumping over an enemy piece with one of your own
Checkers contains examples of:
- But Thou Must!: If you are able to capture an enemy piece, you are required to. If you have a choice between which piece, you get some flexibility there.
- Color-Coded Armies: The colors for the teams are usually black and red or dark and light.
- Large and in Charge: When a piece reaches the other side of the board they become a king and a second piece is added on top of them.
- No Plot? No Problem!: The game has a bit less "theme" than, for example, chess.
- One-Hit Polykill: One piece can jump over and capture multiple pieces in one turn if given a path to do so.
- The Siege: A player reduced to a single king can prolong the game by taking refuge in a double corner. This requires a simple yet tedious series of choreographed moves similar to a siege to flush him out.
- Smart People Play Chess: Which leads poor checkers to often be thought of as a game for those not smart enough to play chess. However, checkers actually does allow for a fair degree of strategizing, so it's certainly not "for dummies".
- As checkers has less rules and allows for less individual moves in the average situation than chess, it's easier for beginning players and computers. Good players will see an average of two viable moves on every turn in both games, meaning not slipping up becomes about equally hard for them in both games. Blind checkers, especially the "Polish" version (which almost certainly originates either in France or the Netherlands), played with 20 pieces on each side, actually appears to be a lot harder than blind chess. Chess players have less individual pieces to remember, and have an easier time distinguishing between them. Almost all chess pieces furthermore threaten a straight line, while a checkers piece can jump in the strangest zigzags when taking other pieces.
- It's been solved by computers. All you need to do is memorize 500 000 000 000 000 000 000 possibilities and you can force any game to a tie.
- Even before it was solved, most high level tournament games tended to end in a draw unless a participant found some unseen before move.
- We Have Reserves: Once you get ahead you have an almost inevitable chance of exchanging your way to victory. This is the case even more than in chess because the pieces are of equal value.