June 25, 2004


When did you last play a game of Checkers? I remember playing it a number of times with my older sister when I was small, but I don't believe I ever made a regular thing of it. Some time in elementary school I moved on to Chess, and when I found I hadn't the patience for it I discovered games like Backgammon and Othello. Somehow I never got back to Checkers.

But a couple of years ago, we were given a nice hardwood family game set. The lid has a Checker/Chess board on one side and a Backgammon board on the other, and the box contains all the pieces you need for Chess, Checkers, Backgammon, Dominoes, or various card games. My boys have been fascinated with it since we got it, and recently I've been playing Checkers with them.

James, my going-on-five-year-old, enjoys it most. He gets caught up in the moves he wants to make, and forgets to check whether my last move did anything nasty, but he's got a pretty good grasp of the rules. I have to be careful and not win too often, or he gets discouraged.

It's a surprisingly interesting game. One of the rules, which I had completely forgotten until we got back into it, is that if you are in a position to capture one of your opponent's pieces, you have to capture it. You've got no choice. And that makes the game quite a bit richer than I'd realized when I was a boy--you can force your opponent to make moves he doesn't want to make. It's sneaky.

If you're interested, you can find the rules here.

Posted by Will Duquette at June 25, 2004 07:17 PM