It turns out this game is not Chinese, but the alliteration is good, and as it's exotically different from "real" checkers," it needs an exotic name. "French checkers" has no alliteration. French FRIES—that's two words starting with "fr" and Mickey Mouse and ever super heroe's alter ego could attest to the nearly magical need for English speakers to have alliteration. So Checkers, starting with "ch," can only be elevated by being matched with another "ch" word.
I didn't read that anywhere. This is a SandraDodd.com exclusive.
I could be wrong, but what are the odds?
(I've used that line before, and have been wrong before, but not often in either case.)
I really like Chinese Checkers boards. They're pretty. I have a collection, stashed up around the entry. One day (yesterday, as I write this) in a busy, loud conversation as Marty, Keith, Holly and I came back in from Keith's 50th birthday dinner, Marty said I would have made a good lawyer. I said "Don't say that," as Keith went on his repeated rant (repeated when someone stirs it up) about how YES, I should've been a lawyer and we'd have twice as much money." Holly said "If mom had been a lawyer, we would have a HUNDRED Chinese Checkers boards."
Well there you have it.
(I also really like Snakes and Ladders art.)
This is art by Linda Lane. It's called "No Batteries Required," and I found it by accident at allposters.com
SO MUCH for the gameboards (my favorite part). The game is jumping without capturing. The jumps and single moves both go along the lines, so diagonally. The object is to move your ten pieces (usually marbles, but sometimes pegs) across the board and put them into the same formation you started. With two players you're crossing each other's stuff in the middle. (Well you always are.) With three, you're moving into an empty triangle. I like it with three players best. With six sometimes there are so many pieces out there you can't jump at all for the middle part of the game. The cool and different part is that you can jump over your own pieces too, so you can set up little across-the-board combos, so that four of them can leapfrog across (if nothing else gets in the way).
A candid shot of my Chinese Checkers boards in situ. There are a couple more not up in that corner.
Below is a closeup of a metal tray (nice because the marbles don't get away). The one at the top in the middle is plywood with a border, and the holes are drilled through. I bought it at a garage sale in a fancy part of Colorado Springs the summer I turned 15, 1968. I still have it and all the marbles that came with it. In college there was one season when I took it to the dining hall at dinner. My regular friends played it until they were unbeatable (all tied for first), and others would come by to see what we were doing, learn it, and hang out. Michael Hersh and Mary Ann Beck, I remember, both mastered it and then we moved on to other entertainments. (Dev Singh was nearly as good as they were, or maybe as good. And I remember what we moved on to next, because he was great at it: Twenty Questions.)
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