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Frisian Checkers
Frisian Checkers
by (Public Domain) (1700)
Player Count
2

Playing Time
30 minutes
Categories
  • Abstract Strategy
  • Designers
  • (Uncredited)
  • Family
  • Checkers
  • Combinatorial
  • Rating: 7/10 from 9 users

    Description

    "Oer Alles" (translates as "Over All")
    aka "Frysk damjen" (Frisian) or "Fries dammen" (Dutch) or "Frisian draughts" (English)

    The "normal" version of draughts only slowly made its way into Friesland, and is known there as "Oer Hoek" (over corners) or "Hollânsk damjen/Hollands dammen". These days you are more likely to hear people talk about "Frysk Damjen" than "Oer Alles".

    The set-up and basic movement is identical to the commonly known game, but it won't be long before the main difference will become very apparent: capturing isn't restricted to just diagonal jumps, but can be executed horizontally and vertically as well. Yes, a piece can capture in all 8 directions! If you think that makes it easier to solve, try it. It has a lot more action but it doesn't become easier.

    There are other subtle variations:
    A promoted King can be moved only three times in succession when a player still has normal pieces. After that it must be "released" by a capture (which can be made with the same king) or by moving another piece. When a player has nothing but Kings then this rule is ignored. When you can capture, you must, but if a King and a standard piece can both capture a stone, or stones, of equal value, then it is the King that has to make the capture. When there are multiple capturing opportunities of equal value than the one that includes most Kings must be taken. The moment a player obtains a second King (and his opponent has only one), than that player has seven moves to finish the match or it automatically becomes a draw. Kings can make long jumps.

    A few more names:
    The Frisians are still proud sailors and it should come as no surprise that there are more pockets along the North Sea and Baltic Sea that play the game, where it is known under many names that all refer to the erstwhile important Frisian harbour village of Molkwar/Molkwerum, famous in Holland for its ad-hoc infrastructure. Early Dutch literature (mockingly) refers to Frisian draughts with its free-form any-direction capturing as "Molkwerums dammen" as an homage to the labyrinthine village.
    "Molkwerums dammen" (Dutch). A similar game is "Makvær" (Danish) or "Marquern" (Swedish), however, it is played on an 8x8 board and, in Makvær, a King doesn't only move diagonally, but also orthogonally, that is in 8 directions.

    And more still:
    "Jeu du Dame Bablionique" (French), "Babylonian Draughts" (English)

    There is even a game played in Siberia that follows very similar rules to Frisian Draughts, except that it is played on a 64 field chess board.

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