How to do the chinese checkers dance

How to Play Chinese Checkers? (Rules & Instructions)

So you’ve found that old Chinese Checkers board you had as a kid and want to play, but you can’t remember how to play.

Or, perhaps you’ve never played it before and want to learn this game with its intriguing looking game board. What are the rules to Chinese Checkers and how do you play? 

Well, blow the dust off that old board and pull up a seat. Because we are going to be teaching you how to play. 

(Trivia fact: Chinese Checkers does not originate from China. It was, in fact, invented in Germany in 1892)

The Easy Set-Up

Set up is as easy as saying “Chinese Checkers”.

The board is in the shape of a six-pointed star with each point assigned a different color.

Each of these points has ten pegs or marble holes to place your pieces and face one another from across a hexagonal field of additional marble holes.

The hexagon’s outer edges are made up of five marble holes from each of the star points.  

Just place the board in front of you and fill in the colored triangles with their corresponding color for as many players as are playing – between two and six.

There are different ways of playing depending on how many players are in each game, but we’ll cover those details more below.

That’s it. You are done setting up and ready to play. Now, simply toss a coin to determine who makes the first move and it’s game on. 

But wait … What is the objective?

Before you start moving your pieces around the board, you need to know where and why you’re moving them. 

Your objective is to move all of your marbles from your colored triangle to the colored triangle opposite you.

The first person to move all of their marbles into their opponent’s triangle wins the game

Now, let’s take a quick look at the rules and some instructions on how to play.

Do you love board games? Check out our list of the best strategy board games you should try!

Chinese Checkers Rules 

The rules for Chinese Checkers are simple and straightforward. They are listed below but as with all games, they must begin with … 

The All-Important First Move

There are two popular opening moves you can choose from, but you are certainly not limited to these. Try them to see how they work for you. 

The first move is called the Sidewinder.

The Sidewinder involves moving your outermost marble or peg from your front line, diagonally outwards from your color triangle, away from your centerline. 

The second move is the Cross Caterpillar. 

With the Cross Caterpillar, you start again with your outermost marble on your front line but this time you move it diagonally inward, toward your centerline. 

Each of these moves allows for a different strategy and both are very effective. 

Taking a Turn

With each turn, a player can move one marble.

The marble can be moved adjacently, or it may be hopped.  

You can hop over as many marbles as are available to hop, including your own, and you may change the direction of your piece with each jump if there is a place open for it. 

When hopping, you may only jump over one marble at a time if there is a space between them.

In other words, you cannot hop over two marbles next to one another with one hop or jump; there must be a gap between them in which to land.

If there is a gap after the next marble, you may hop again. 

(Trivia fact: Chinese Checkers is based on an American made game called Halma – similar to Chinese Checkers but with increased complexity as Halma is played on a board with eight sides rather than six.)

Do you like playing backgammon? You should read our top strategies on how to win in backgammon!


Blocking can occur when one player obstructs another player from being able to move their piece.

This can be done by filling in peg holes around their pieces to block a player from hopping.

Blocking can also happen when one player has filled the other player’s star point with all their colored marbles but one.

The opposing player may have left a piece there to block the final marble from being placed. 

One way around this would have been agreed on before the game began. You may choose to allow that the winning player simply swap the blocking piece for their own and thus win the game.

Playing with 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 players.

There are several ways to play Chinese checkers:

  • The 2 player Game

Both players move all of their marbles across the board to the other player’s start point.

You also have the option to play with multiple sets of marbles. Each player would play using 2 or 3 sets or colored marbles moving all of them across the board in order to win.

  • The 3 player Game

With 3 players, each can use 1 or 2 sets of marbles.

If using just one set, the players simply move to the opposite empty star point, which is the same as a 2 player game.

If 2 sets are used, the players will set up their colors on opposite sides of the board and must then move their colors to their own opposite side.

  • The 4 player Game

 In a 4 player game, it is a standard game of Chinese checkers where two opposite sides are left open.

  • The 5 player Game

This is an unusual one and not played often.

One player will have an advantage as they will have an empty space opposite and so less resistance.

This version tends to be played with the youngest player as player five, to help them learn the game and feel the accomplishment of sometimes winning. 

  • The 6 player Game

Similar to the 2 player game. The players each have a separate color and must move their marbles to the opposite corner.

The Win

When one player has been able to move all of their pieces from their colored triangle or start point, into their opponent’s colored triangle, they have won the game.  

It is time to do the celebration dance.

If you are playing with a younger player who won, we suggest the losing players pick up the winner and put them on their shoulders and parade them around outside as the Ultimate Chinese Checker Champion.

(Trivia fact: Chinese Checkers was marketed in America in 1928 as “Hop Ching Checkers but the name was later changed to Chinese Checkers. It was all a marketing ploy to appeal to America for the popular interest in oriental themes.)

Some things to consider
Forfeits – You may choose to put a rule into place that states: if a player finds themself unable to move during a turn, they forfeit the game. 

Though you may consider a less harsh ruling that they simply miss a turn and continue on as normal once the other player or players play through. 

Are there strategies to increase your chances of winning? Yes, of course there are!

We’ve written up some strategies specifically to help you win. Just click here to find out more about them. 10 Chinese Checkers Strategies to Always Win 

Have a look at our Chinese Checkers playing board recommendations. 

‎Chinese Checkers HD on the App Store


[NEW] according to players' report, to prevent trouble-maker taking other seats, we will take the rules below from June 9th, 2015
1) each player can make at most 51 steps;
2) The player will be punished 8 score if he places his pieces on other's seats when the game ends.
Please obey the rules and have a good fun on Chinese Checkers.

[Grand Update, Must Download!] or you will miss the new features here :
* Optimize the 5 jumper AIs;
* Add Onine Game Hall, you can play it with your friends;
* Add Tips, FootSteps;
* Add Fast Paced Jump to jump over multiple empty grids.
Especially, you can enjoy all above free!

The most popular Chinese Checkers on App Store, over 5 000 000 downloads worldwide! The iPhone version is also available now.

The most intelligent Chinese Checkers on App Store! With 5 different AI levels, support players from 1 to 6!

Chinese checkers is a board game that can be played by two, three, four, or six people, playing individually or with partners. The game is a modern and simplified variation of Halma. The objective is to be first to race one's pieces across the hexagram-shaped game board into "home" – the corner of the star opposite one's starting corner – using single-step moves or moves which jump over other pieces. Others keep playing to establish 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and last place finishers. The game involves some strategy but is popular even among young children.

A basic strategy is to find the longest hopping path that leads closest to, or immediately into, "home" – the destination star point at the opposite side of the board. (Multiple-jump moves are obviously faster to relocate pieces than step-by-step moves.) Since either player can make use of any hopping 'ladder' or 'chain' created, more advanced strategy involves hindering an opposing player, in addition to helping oneself find jumps across the board. Of equal importance are the players' strategies for emptying and filling their starting and home corners. Games between experts are rarely decided by more than a couple of moves.

Differing numbers of players result in different game layouts. Each layout imposes a different best-game strategy. For example, if a player's "home" or destination corner is empty (not an opponent's starting corner), the player can freely arrange his/her pieces to serve as a 'ladder' or 'bridge' between the two opposite ends. But if a player's opponent occupies the home destination corner, the player might be better advised to play a "waiting game" until all pieces have moved out.

Version 2.2.6

Add real name verification in China zone.

Ratings and Reviews

5 Ratings


Best Chinese checkers I have played


The music is nice. The game graphically is nicely presented. I like to play it but it can not be that it does not let you win at least once in every 5-6 games. No one feels well to loose al the time. It just not attract you to come back and play.
I know the game perfectly well , I should have won the game from time to time. This game does not allow to win! Pity.

Better than some

Allows computer to block moving pieces into destination which is illegal. Would be better if you could play three triangles for one player. Okay interface. Ads a bit irritating but it's free so you expect that

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Chinese checkers - the rules of the game and how to win in Chinese checkers

Let's look into the depths of the history of the appearance of the game - Chinese checkers. On an autumn evening in 383, when a messenger arrived in the Jin capital with a dispatch for the first adviser, Xie An, he was playing drafts with the guest. After reading the report, he put it aside and continued to think about the combination. "What's in the letter?" his partner asked. “Yes, it turns out that my boys defeated the bandits,” Xie An answered absently, not looking up from the blackboard. So it became known in Jiankang that the decisive battle between the North and the South, which took place on the banks of the Feishui River, ended in the complete defeat of the hitherto invincible Fu Jian.

  • “The square board represents the laws of the Earth.
  • The lines are straight, like divine powers.
  • Black and white stones are separated like Yin and Yang.
  • Their arrangement on the board is like a model of the heavens.
  • Chinese historian Bang Gu (32-92 AD). The Essence of Go

Unlike Shupu, playing checkers (also called weiqi) has always been considered an aristocratic pastime . “The ability to play checkers is a small art, but it can be mastered only by concentrating thoughts and purposeful will,” the philosopher Mencius once said. “Let's take Qiu, known throughout the country for his art of playing checkers.

The game of checkers required the ability to analyze and memorize combinations , "pursuing the will", which, in principle, distinguished it from all other games where success or defeat was determined by blind chance. It is quite natural that the ancient Chinese compared the ability to play checkers with the art of governing the state, and the decision-maker of the ruler - with a player preparing to make an important move. Ma Yun, the author of "Ode to Siege Checkers" (2nd century AD), argued that a checkers player is akin to a commander commanding troops on the battlefield.

The fact that the checkerboard was likened to a map, according to which the commander carries out his battle plan, was also reflected in the fact that individual parts of the board were designated by the names of the countries of the world . At the decisive moment of the game, in which Xie Hong-wei was about to play a spectacular combination, one of those present prompted his partner: "A strong wind blew in the southwest, so that the boat does not capsize." He took the hint and saved the situation in time. Xie Hong-wei, outraged by the prompt, threw the board to the floor and refused to continue playing. 9Ol000

V-VI centuries. in the South of China, there was a qualification system, according to which all famous checkers masters were assigned ranks. At the end of the 5th century Wang Kang had the first category, Xu Si-chuang and Xia Chi-song had the second. At the beginning of the VI century. Liang Wu ordered Liu Hui to develop a new table of checkers ranks, which included 278 names.

Myths and legends about Chinese drafts

Ancient Chinese myths claim that the Yellow Emperor and the legendary Emperor Yao played in Weichi 围棋 (Guo 碁) (he is credited with creating the famous "Book of Changes").

There is a number of evidence confirming the existence of the game in earlier eras, Shang and Xia, 2100 - 1100 BC. Archaeologists unearthed a tomb in the former capital of the state of Shang and found in it, next to the head and right shoulder of one of the skeletons, something called "stones for the game", and something similar to a board, and nearby - the remains of pottery dated 5000 BC.

The Tang Dynasty ruler combined the three Confucian virtues—Li (righteousness), Chi (wisdom), and Ren (philanthropy)—with Guo. Scrolls with these hieroglyphs adorn the walls of many Go clubs in our time.

From China, the game moved to Korea, where it was called Baduk . In the 7th century, the game appeared in Japan, gaining immense popularity among the samurai. They played Go to perfect the art of strategy, tactics and form. It was the Japanese who raised the standards of the game of Go to unattainable heights by creating a professional school supported by the state.

It was in Japan that the art of making Go accessories reached its peak. Nowadays, Chinese and Korean pros often outperform Japanese s. So, what is modern checkers.

Chinese Checkers Rules


Chinese Checkers is a very simple game, you just need to understand the rules. Two to six players sit opposite each other to find out who can be the first to move all the colored checkers, they are also called "pegs", into the desired triangle.

Board in the form of a six-sided star, ten holes on each side.
There are also holes for pegs on the inside of the hexagon on the board. There are five holes along each side of the hexagon.

On most Chinese checkers boards, each triangle has a different color. There are also six sets of checkers or pegs, each corresponding to one of the colors of the triangles.

Purpose of the game: needs to transfer all his checkers to the opposite ray of the star (house) as quickly as possible. The one who does it first wins. The Chinese checkers game ends when all participants have successfully moved their peg pieces.

Game progress: first you need to play the right of the first move, which then passes to the next player in a clockwise direction. Only one checker is allowed to be moved in one move.

At first, there are not so many options for moves, but by the middle of the game, when everyone has already brought their checkers to the middle of the playing field, the most interesting begins. Algorithm of moves: One move is the movement of one checker. You can move them in any direction. It is allowed to jump over one checker (one's own or someone else's) if there is a free cell immediately behind it . In one move, you can sequentially jump over any number of checkers, if the basic rules are followed.

You can also change the rules of the game yourself or create new ones, observing the essence of the game.

How to win in Chinese checkers

The player who first moves his checkers into the opposite triangle wins.

Once the winner is determined, you decide whether to continue the game. Usually the game ends when one person wins and everyone else loses. You can continue playing until all players have made their triangles.

Decide on the rule to "block" cell . In Chinese checkers, the rules do not prohibit taking a cell in the opponent's triangle so that he cannot win before others.

You can enter a rule that a player who is blocked in a square in a triangle can exchange the blocking checker for his own.

You can also use the rule that if one or more checkers occupy your triangle, you can consider these checkers as yours. If the player has filled all the unblocked cells with his checkers, he wins.

Decide on the rules for fines . Although not an official rule, many players introduce the rule that if he or she cannot make a move, they lose.
If this happens, the loser must remove his checkers from the board and wait for the end of the game.

Legends of Chinese checkers

There are many legends about this game.

One evening a tired woodcutter was returning home. Along the way, he met two old men playing Go. Glancing at the game, the woodcutter froze with delight. After a while, the party ended and the two old men vanished into thin air.

But the woodcutter did not feel time - he forgot himself, making thousands of combinations of black and white stones in his mind. When he finally came to his senses, he saw that his hair had turned gray, and the handle of the ax had rotted. Crossing the bridge, the woodcutter saw a rainbow and only at that moment realized that he was returning from the Other World, where he witnessed a game between two Immortals. Having reached the village, he does not recognize it: a hundred years have passed, the house lies in ruins, all his acquaintances have died long ago, and his very name is forgotten. He showed his ax without a handle and taught the villagers Weichi. From this legend came one of the names of Go - "Ran-ka", which translates as "decayed ax".

There is a legend that Weichi came to China from India . Here the legend is based on the famous game between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, which was an important episode in the plot of the Mahabharata. From time to time, a version flashes that the game was not in dice, but in Go. And as if the game was cursed and forgotten in India as a source of contention and the cause of the Battle of Kurukshetra.

One of the reasons for the emergence of this legend is that Go (Weichi) seemed to have already appeared in finished form: from ancient times to the present day, the basis of the game has not changed much.

While the whole world was throwing dice at random, the Chinese were solving the most difficult problems (for example, solving some of the classic problems of the Tang era is beyond the power of today's average amateur).

Chinese checkers help out at various parties, when guests need something to entertain. It's funny to watch how adult uncles and aunts gather in a tight circle, start rearranging chips with excitement and arguing about how best to make a move.

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New Year master classes in St. Petersburg in St. Petersburg

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