What the Draught Game Really Is: A Look at the History & Variations

Classic game of checkers

Whether you enjoy family game night at home or play board games online, playing a draught game is sure to be challenging and fun.

The History of Draughts

Known in the United States as checkers, it is possible that the game of draughts evolved from a game played in ancient times. A similar type game board and pieces carbon dated from 3,000 B.C. was unearthed in Ur, Iraq, during an archaeological dig.

Another ancient board game from Egypt, Alquerque, dates from 1400 B.C. This popular game, played on a game board measuring 5x5, is still played throughout the world today and is also known as Quirkit.

In the early part of the twelfth century, the French began playing Alquerque on a chess board which necessitated adding more game pieces to each side. The new game was called Ferses or Fierges. To make the game more challenging, mandatory jumps were added, and the game's name was changed to Jeu Force.

The popular game spread to England where it was called Draughts and has remained a favorite board game ever since.

Variations of the Game of Draughts

Played throughout the world, there are a number of variations of draughts. Although the games are all similar, each variation of the game has its own set of rules and game play. Depending on the game being played, the size of the game board varies. The most common draught game board sizes are:

  • 8x8
  • 10x10
  • 12x12

Played on a 10x10 game board with 20 game pieces on each side, International Draughts, also known as International Checkers or Polish Draughts, is the most popular version of the game.

Following in popularity is American Checkers also known as English Draughts. The game board for English Draughts is 8x8 and is played with 12 game pieces on each side.

Other popular variations of Draughts include:

  • Brazilian draughts
  • Derecha is played in the Philippines and is very similar to Brazilian draughts.
  • Canadian checkers is played on a 12x12.
  • Ghanaian checkers
  • Frisian checkers is played in the Netherlands.
  • Singaporean checkers is also known as Malaysian checkers and Black and White Chess and is played on an 8x8 or 12x12 board.
  • Spanish checkers
  • Pool checkers
  • Italian checkers
  • Russian checkers is also known as Russian shashki checkers or Shashki.
  • Argentinian checkers
  • Czech checkers
  • Turkish checkers
  • Thai checkers is also called Dama.

Where to Find a Free Draught Game Online

Many draught game players enjoy playing this interesting board game online. There are a large number of websites that provide draughts as a free game. Many offer you the choice of downloading it to your computer or playing it from your browser on the website. The following is a small sampling of these websites:

  • Online Games Zones offers draughts in their classic game section. Online Games Zones provides directions that are easy to understand and offers players the following options:
    • Playing against the computer or another person
    • The choice of having forced turns
    • Optional sound
    • Three levels of difficulty - easy, medium and hard
  • Fly or Die
  • MSN Games

Download Droughts for Free

The following are websites where you can download draughts, or checkers, onto your computer.

  • Checker City also gives players the option of playing online.
  • Shareware Connection offers players thirteen variations of the game.
  • Jaleco provides players with five different versions of draughts.

Resources for the Game of Draught

The Board Game Encyclopedia provides the general rules and directions for playing a draught game. Also included on this website are:

  • Terminology
  • Strategies
  • Variations

Masters Games provides the rules and directions for the playing a game of draught.

Playing a draught game is not only fun, it is also educational, developing abstract thinking and strategy skills.

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What the Draught Game Really Is: A Look at the History & Variations