Martian Checkers

by Jesse Welton

Development of Martian Checkers stalled almost immediately after the game's invention. These rules are not final, but neither are they currently undergoing revision. If you find this game interesting, please contact me, so that perhaps we can bang on the rules a bit.

Martian Checkers, like many other great games (including some Earth games such as Chess and Checkers), is played on a Martian Chess Board. From two to 6 players may play, if a suitable number of distinguishable sets of pieces and a suitably shaped board may be found. (See Eeyore's 3-player Martian Chess board if you don't know what I'm talking about.)

Each player begins the game with three pieces in each of three sizes, worth 1, 2, and 3 points for small, medium, and large, respectively. Each player's pieces should be of a distinguishing color. They should be arranged in that player's corner according to the following diagram[*]:

(This is the same arrangement as for Martian Chess. I plan to experiment with different starting positions, to see if there is any better alternative, given the very different ways pieces move in the two games.)

A player's turn consists of moving one piece one space in any of the 8 directions, or else making any number of consecutive jumps with a single pieces. A piece of value N may jump a piece up to N squares away, and lands an equal number of spaces past the piece jumped, as in the following diagram:

The 2- and 3-point pieces may, of course, also make any jumps a smaller piece could make:

A jump may not be made if any of the spaces jumped over is occupied, other than the pivot piece being jumped. Nor may the space landed on be occupied.

When a piece owned by another player is jumped, it is immediately captured; that is, even in the middle of a multi-jump move. The player making the jump removes the jumped piece from the board and adds it to his or her stash of captured pieces.

Like non-jumping moves, jumps may be made in any of the 8 directions. A player is not obliged to make jumps when possible. A player with no legal moves is skipped; play passes clockwise to the next player with a legal move.

The game ends as soon as any one player has no more pieces on the board. Each player totals the value of all his or her captured pieces, and the player with the most points wins.

Note: Because pieces are removed immediately when jumped, and the game ends as soon as one player's pieces are cleared from the board, the game may end before the current player's jump sequence is fully exhausted. If you need more points to win, collect them before capturing a player's last piece.

Variant: Martian DropCheckers