The rules mention men and kings. A king is a promoted man. If the difference doesn't matter, they may also mention pieces, for instance 'the number of pieces on the board'.
On the board there are squares and lines. These are always dark squares and oblique lines, like the 'e-line' or the '5-line'. A square is identified as the intersection of two lines. The 1- and 0-line each count but one square.
The five most distant squares from a player's point of view are called the back rank.

Initial position
Initial positionThe diagram shows the board and the pieces in the initial position. There are two players, black and white. White begins. Players move - and must move - in turn.

  • If a player has no legal move he loses the game. This may come about either by being eliminated or being blocked completely.

Capture has precedence over a non-capturing move. If the player to move has no capture to make, he has the following options:

  • Moving a man or a line of men.
  • Moving a king.

piece movementPiece movement
  • A man moves one square forward along a line, provided the target square is vacant. If a man reaches the back rank, it is promoted to king. This marks the end of the move.
    A king moves any distance along an open line to a vacant target square.

linear movementLinear movement
  • A line of men is an unbroken row of men of one color on a line. The shortest possible line of men consists of two men. A king is never part of a line of men. A line of men moves, as a whole, one square forward along the line of squares it defines, provided the square in front is vacant. A line of men may not move backward. If it hits the back rank, only the front man promotes.

In actual play not all men of a line of men are moved. One simply picks up the last man of the line of men one intends to move, and puts it in front. This may be any man of the line of men from the second to the last. In the diagram all white's initial options are displayed.