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The Rules of Halma


The Rules of Halma

Halma is a famous old Victorian game in which the objective is not to capture your opponent's pieces but instead to hop over them in an effort to get to the opposite side first. Similar to Chinese Checkers but with more depth and added complexity as there are 8 directions of movement instead of 6.

Halma is quite difficult to obtain these days and certainly there have been no quality versions of the game since the early 1900s. We have rectified this with our beautiful hand made board shown below. Hand-made to our own commission by an experienced craftshop - these boards are unique to Masters Traditional Games and truly are a work of art.

See also: Halma.



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The Equipment

A Halma board consists of 16 x 16 small chequered squares. In each corner, a heavy line delineates 13 squares, which are the starting squares for pieces in the 4 player game. Two opposing corners additionally have another heavy line which delineates the 19 corner squares for the initial position of the pieces in the 2 player game. Pieces are usually flat disks like draughtsmen or upright like the classic pawn in chess. They come in four different colours.

The Preparation

Halma can be played by 2 or 4 players. When 2 players play, 19 pieces are positioned in the appropriate opposing corners in formation 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 4; when 4 players play, 13 pieces are positioned in each corner in formation 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 3.

The Objective

The aim of the game is to be the first to player to move all pieces across the board and into opposing corner, within area delineated by the heavy line. Should one or more of the squares in the target area contain a piece belonging to another player, this does not prevent a player from winning. In this case, the game is won when all the available points within the area are occupied.

The Play

A toss of a coin decides who starts. Players take turns to move a single piece of their own colour. The piece may either be simply moved into an adjacent square OR it may make one or more hops over other pieces. Where a hopping move is made, each hop must be over an adjacent piece and into the vacant square directly beyond it. A hop may be over any coloured piece including the player's own and can proceed in any one of the eight directions. After each hop, the player may either finish or, if possible and desired, continue by hopping over another piece. It does occasionally happen that a player is able to move a piece all the way from the starting corner across the board and into the opposite corner in one turn!

Pieces are never removed from the board. It is permitted to move a piece into any square on the board including squares in areas belonging to other players but, once a piece has reached the opposite area, it may not be moved out of the area but it may move within the area.



These rules are provided by Masters Traditional Games, an Internet shop selling quality traditional games, pub games and unusual games. For general information or for copying and copyright, see our Rules Information page.

Our rules are comprehensive instructions for friendly play. If in doubt, always abide by locally-played or house rules.

Copyright Masters Traditional Games © 2019. All rights reserved.

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