Home page
                                                  Games Page  
       This page includes
Laska    (Checkers like game. But better! Prisoners are taken and often rescued!)

Realm is a new 4 person laska type game  Made by brian white          Check it out and contribute to its evolution.

Game 44    (game for four) A new board game for 4 people which is more easily winnable than realm.
A Better more enjoyable game in my view! Easy to adapt a checkers board to play it or to download the board.

Dammen Checkers on speed! played in north east Europe

Animation to explain laska
Diagram to help explain dammen rules

Everybody knows of chess, checkers, Backgammon, poker, bridge and monopoly and soccer.
It is "normal" for the world to be arranged in this way.
One game gets dominance, perhaps because its practitioners were successful colonialists,
perhaps it was favoured by a cultured elite and then the snowball effect takes over and it excludes
other competing formats. Microsoft Windows is an example too.
Some of the other excluded games have merits too.
In fact, some include concepts which are never included in the world leading games.
My favorite 'new' game is Laska.
As a boy,  I tried to make a draughts or checkers like game based on clashes between the old Greek, Roman and Phoenician empires. When the game board is big enough for Italy, Sicily, etc., It is too big for any short game. My games were fun though, and included 3 or 4 nations, boats, passes, etc.
Laska includes a concept which I had thought of but never figured how to include in a game.
In war, (chess and draughts are war games)  very few conquerors killed all their vanquished opponents. However in war games,  the vanquished are invariably slaughtered. How about a war game which is less violent??
Please note that laska and dammen are officially played on different size boards. However, in my experience, they work perfectly well on an ordinary checkers board with 12 checker counters each side!
Laska is such a game.  It was invented by a world chess champion called Emile Lasker in 1911. It is played on the white squares of a 7X7 board. A checkers Board with 2 rows blanked out. 11 counters for each opponent with one empty row in between. Rules are like draughts rules. The big and crucial difference is that when a player is jumped, their piece is merely captured. The piece is placed under the attackers piece and carried with him. If a player makes 2 jumps, they capture 2 pieces and these 2 are placed under making a 3 high pile.  If this warder is captured in a following move, the prisoners are released and become a two story piece. If a 2 storey piece is jumped only the top piece is taken prisoner and the the bottom piece remains on the square after the jump. (You cannot jump back and forth over the same square). When you reach the end row, you become a king as in draughts. A king can move in any direction, non kings can only move and jump towards the end row. You can most easily play it with a drafts game with 2 rows blanked out and with lego or some equivalent brick as pieces. You can only realize the complexity of the game as you play it. You can end up with several monsters with 3 or 4 lives fighting it out. Sometimes a player jumps a  double piece only to find that they have released  a king underneath which captures them on the next move. The game ends when one side captures all of their opponents. Its a really great game! and I think that it could be modified for 3 or 4 players.

Laska animation
                 shows how a game might start and some of the complexity later in the game


          Download a printable Laska board            Download a printable Dammen board
Here finally is the dammen rules and details  Hope it was worth the wait.
Dammen differs from checkers in that
1 A pawn can jump any opposing piece beside it,  this means that it can also jump backwards!
   This adds an extra tactical dimension to the game. Pieces can be sacrificed to prevent pawn promotion or greatly delay it.
2  When a pawn is promoted, it becomes a queen not a king. The queen moves as a bishop
     moves in chess. Any distance along the diagonals. A queen is really powerful because of this
    and because when she jumps, she can land on on any square on the diagonal  opposite the
    piece and therefore she can sometimes end a game in a few moves.
   This makes queens very powerful indeed!
     Remember  you can play dammen on an ordinary checkers or draughts board with 12
        pieces per player but it is better with the bigger board and extra pieces!  It is really
    popular in the Netherlands and it gets the same attention in the newspaper columns as chess
   and bridge gets in English speaking countries
            Below you will find a diagrammatic explanation of the basic rules. The jump options
          shown have end points shown for pawn jumps. The queen shown has 11 moves. So
          many queen jump paths and end points are possible for the other one that I
                   did not put them all in!

Page Contents
Home page
Games page contents