How to Win More in Chinese Checkers
Chinese Checkers has a lot more strategy than what most beginning players might think. Much like in chess, it was never just a matter of where to move but also when to move. But this is only the start of the game going all over the place!! Do note that house rules may prevent certain moves and tactics and the variations will make you pay attention more. But before all that, the true blue beginner might want to consider learning the game first!! For someone that already knows the game, learning some basic strategies can be helpful. Now on with the strategies!!
This has been mentioned in countless places. That’s because it happens to be true!! Much of the game is already decided by the opening moves. Not just your first, but around the first 5 moves of you AND your opponent(s). It was never just a matter of what you’re doing. Even against an AI opponent, you better pay attention to all sides of the story as best you can. The 2 most used opening moves are placing the outer front row pieces either further outwards or inwards. But depending on what you’re trying for, you might even consider other pieces first.
Using groups effectively can make a big difference. It’s not just in blocking even though blocking helps. It’s also being able to move all your pieces together to leave no strays. Even if it’s just a pair of pegs, that’ll do. Keep your pegs together as best you can until you’re certain you can make a longer hop without leaving sizable openings for your opponent. But even when attempting a longer hop, you also have to not leave a stray. Stray pegs can cost you more and more moves.
The big group tactic involves trying to keep all your pegs together across the board. The downside is that this is a lengthy tactic especially when it really is your entire set of pegs together. The upside is that you should be able to leave no real chances for your opponent(s) to hop through your pieces. You’re attempting to make them go around you at all times while you’re running everything right up the center. The variation to this is smaller groups of 3 to 4 pegs at a time. For example, 2 sets of 3 pegs stay together at all times. The last set is 4 pegs.
Being able to quickly, or at least quickly enough, recognize a hop pattern comes in handy. The idea being, setup a longer set of hops especially when your opponent plain didn’t see it coming. There’s no limit to the number of hops you can make in a single move. The direction is also included. So those that can setup the hop patterns easier which use any direction will have an advantage. The trick to this is to make it appear as though you were just making a mess of your pegs. Your opponent(s) starts getting confident and thinks you’re easy to defeat. Next thing they know, surprise, you just put 3 or more of your pegs in their destinations with a series of long hops!! Truth is, this is a hard tactic to even try.
The variations of the game can be fun. They’ll be a lot more fun if you use them to your advantage. “Super Chinese Checkers” is the prime example variation. In this version, the pegs do not have to be adjacent to each other to be hopped. You simply count the amount of spaces between the peg that you want to move and the peg to be hopped over. There must be the same amount of free spaces on the opposite side of the peg to be hopped over. For example, the peg you want to move is 4 spaces away from the peg you want to hop over. There must be 4 spaces on the other side of the peg for that to be a valid move. But in this variation, setting up and/or spotting hop patterns comes in very handy!!