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How to play Frisian Draughts?

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Frisian Draughts is a popular checkers game played from the Friesland region of Holland. This game may look like International Draughts at first glance, but there are some differences that make it really unique. In fact, Frisian Draughts predates International Draughts and has been played for over 400 years. Frisian Draughts has quickly been gaining popularity over the past 10 years because it's orthogonal capture rules solves one of the biggest problems in International Draughts: frequent draws. In this article, we will cover the rules of this exciting game.

The Board

The game is played on a 10x10 board just like International Draughts. Each player starts with their pieces on the first 4 rows of their respective sides of the board. The board also has a double corner on the right of each player.

The Pieces

In Frisian Draughts, the pieces are called "men," and they move diagonally one square forward left or forward right if the square is empty. If a man reaches the last row on the opponent's side, it becomes a "king."


Kings are special pieces that can move on all the squares on the two diagonals that intersect the square where they are located. If there is no piece blocking their way, kings can move as far as they want along these diagonals (known as the Flying King rule). A King can only be moves 3 times consecutively unless the player only has kings in which case the rule does not apply.


The most significant difference between Frisian Draughts and other variants of checkers is that pieces can make captures on orthogonal squares i.e., along the same column or row, in addition to diagonals.

This variant, much like Italian Draughts, distinguishes itself with its own unique mandatory capture rules. The move that captures the highest value must be made where a King is worth 1 one-and-a-half men. For example, if a player can capture a king or two men, he must capture the two men because 2 > 1.5. If multiple moves are possible that capture equal value then the player must make the capture with a king if possible. Players can capture pieces on vertical, horizontal, and oblique lines, which provides more opportunities for strategic moves.

Capturing with Men

Men can capture pieces forward and backward on diagonal, vertical, or horizontal lines by jumping over one opponent piece (man or king) if the following square is empty. If the man can make another jump from the arrival square, they must continue the capture.

Capturing with Kings

Kings can capture pieces on the same diagonal, horizontal, or vertical line if there are no other pieces in the way. They can stop on any square along that line and continue capturing if they have more jumps available.

Winning and Draws

The goal of the game is to either capture all of your opponent's pieces or block them from making any more moves. If a player cannot make any more moves, they lose the game. If neither player can win (e.g., one king against one king), it is a draw. If one player has two kings, and the other has one, the player with two kings must win within seven moves, or the game ends in a draw.

Frisian Draughts may not yet be as popular as other variants of checkers, but it's quickly catching up. Allowing orthogonal captures solves the most frustrating aspect of more traditional draughts variants.