initial positionStapeldammen is a Dutch column checkers variant based on International Draughts, but without promotion. Pieces reaching the back rank are stuck, yet in constant threat of being drawn back into the game because of forced backwards capture. Strong pieces in particular, seldom a bad thing in other column checkers variants, run the risk of being trapped by tempo conditions, and being forced to proceed toward a blind wall, putting themselves 'offside' so to speak.

The rules are the same as those of International Draughts, except for the 'column checkers' method of capture: a capturing piece takes an opponent's man, or the top-man of an opponent's piece, along under it as a prisoner.
For those unfamiliar with this method, Emergo is the best game of reference. Other games that employ the same method are Bashni, Lasca and Grabber.
The other differences are:

  • There is no promotion: pieces reaching the back rank can only move in a capture.
  • In the course of a capture, a piece may be jumped more than once (going roundabout).

Usually, in column checkers variants, it is better to have one strong piece than a bunch of weak ones. The means to get a strong piece are invariably the feeding of a large number of men to an opponent's weak piece, forcing him to build a nice high stack that is next, crucially, liberated by capturing the guard or guards.
Basically, Stapeldammen is no different. However, due to forced progress, a single strong piece may be forced to move, and that means forwards, towards a brick wall, where it is parked conveniently, from the point of view of the opponent at least. Regardless of a piece's strenght, not being able to move means a loss, as in Draughts. Draws cannot occur.

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a word on notation

Java applet © Ed van Zon